Tuesday, July 15, 2014

My Tea Story

Updated 7/15/14

From time to time, I get asked about my tea journey and so I thought I'd share it here...



When I was a child, my Grandma T would visit yard sales and find beautiful old china for my sister and me. Grandma fostered my enchantment with teacups, and as I grew up, it became a passion. Both of my grandmothers had tea parties with me and I remember them fondly!

I grew up on a horse farm in the Midwest, drinking hot tea as a treat in the wintertime. My father, mother and grandmother all enjoyed taking tea. In 1997, my husband (the DH) and I moved to New Mexico where teacup collecting became a serious affair. In 2001, I finished my MBA (while working full-time at a high-tech company) and started Serendipity Teas. I had all these lovely teacups that I wanted to share! I became a Tea Etiquette Consultant, trained by the Protocol School of Washington. I hosted tea parties where I brought the program and tea into homes, and I taught tea classes through the University of New Mexico's continuing education.


In late 2004, the DH and I moved back "home" to the Midwest. I re-focused my tea business to emphasize the tea classes and tea tastings. The in-home work was too expensive and time-consuming to be profitable (I'm not a licensed caterer), and it was becoming less fun. A key lesson for me - keep it fun!


In March of 2007 I indulged in the Tea in London tour. This trip was a gift to myself for working and surviving 10 years with my "day job" company. One of the highlights  was completing the Tea Master's Class, sponsored by the UK Tea Council. I met Jane Pettigrew and Tim Clifton, amazing people and tea educators who are influencing the tea world today!


Over time, my tea knowledge, experience, skills and preferences have evolved.  I am now drinking mostly oolong tea in all its range of glory, as well as Japanese and Chinese greens and pu-erh.  Tho a good Earl Grey is always a comfort.


In 2010,  the DH and I moved to the Pacific Northwest.  Here, my tea life has blossomed in ways I never imagined.  I joined the
Wu-Wo group (for brewing tea outdoors, together) and through that have enjoyed an amazing tea community.  In 2011 I had the wonderful opportunity to travel to China, India and Tibet and in 2013 to Taiwan, both trips focused on visiting tea farms.  I also began studying chanoyu in January of 2012 and that has been a portal into yet another world of tea.  May the journey continue!

Tea is more than a hobby for me, it is my passion and part of my spiritual journey. With each kettle that boils, I try to pause and be no where but in that moment.

14 comments:

Allison said...

I have always wanted to participate in a Japanese tea ceremony. Have you experienced that? It seems so cool!

Jes said...

love this! I'd love to take one of your "tea" classes! How cool you are!!!

xoxoxo
~Jes http://sweetpeas.motime.com

Tea Party Girl said...

Great to hear your story, Stephanie. I'm excited to see where your tea journey continues to take you!

Frivolitea said...

I am so impressed with all that you have done related to tea. wow. Thanks for sharing and I look forward to hearing more!

ankitlochan said...

hi! well written - enjoyed reading it!

ankit
www.xanga.com/lochantea

Anonymous said...

i just bought some sencha from www.teacuppa.com


looking forward for my japanese tea break

Anonymous said...

That is wonderful! Never been to a virtual tea party before. I will be enjoying a cup of oolong loose tea during my virtual party. I just love my milk oolong - can you pass me the virtual sugar please.

artandtea said...

Hi Steph,
I enjoyed reading about your tea journey. How exciting to have met Jane Pettigrew. Her book is one of my favorites on tea. Happy sipping! -Karen

relevanttealeaf said...

I thoroughly enjoyed reading your tea journey up to this point Steph, and it will keep evolving and expanding. You've had some awesome tea experiences.

Marilyn said...

Though I know parts of the story I did enjoy reading your passion for tea story in it's entirety. Thanks for sharing it.

Doug N. said...

I was very taken by your entry today, especially the relationship to your grandparents, and the tea journey being a spiritual one. I believe those early formidable memories are often harbored in a constellated form which can blossom and at later moments motivate our lives throughout our given time, and in unexpected ways. Memories come with an undulating power, they can fuel an assent which is obviously not just about tea but about symbols far greater. Enjoy your tea as the vessel of your life.

Linda @ Friendship Tea said...

I enjoyed reading about your tea journey thus far, and I look forward to hearing about your future tea adventures. I am very glad my own tea journey crossed paths with yours a couple of times!

Angela McRae said...

Well my goodness, you told me quite a few things about yourself I did not know! What a great idea to share your "Tea Journey" with us!

Rosemary said...

What a wonderful sharing post! Am enjoying your tea journey - past and present.