Monday, March 20, 2017

Women in Tea: Jennifer Brenner

Today I would like to introduce you to Jennifer Brenner. She is leading the effort to bring a tea festival to Portland, and I am so excited to see this come to fruition!  Mark you calendars for July 22nd, and check out the website for details.  

Here's my interview with Jenn:

Q: I know that you were a Peace Corps volunteer, and that experience included tea.  Would you please tell us about that?
A: As a young adult, I traveled to Niger in West Africa for 3 years with the Peace Corps. It was there that I met tea. Tuareg people in Niger have a modified Moroccan tea ceremony that included three rounds of gunpowder tea and sugar, a small metal teapot, and a wire frame holding hot coals. The three rounds were for life, for friends, and for love. We would drink tea during the hottest time of the day, when the shade of the Neem tree beckoned.  These afternoons of drinking tea with my friends came to represent the spirit of Africa for me, where time was not to be hurried, laughter was abundant, and friendship and family prized above all.  

Q: You've taken on an exciting project with TeaFestPDX.  What will this be like?

A: TeaFestPDX is Portland's first tea festival, to be held at the World Forestry Center on July 22nd, 2017.  There will be a vendor area outside, selling tea and tea-related merchandise, as well kombucha, boba, and other tea vendors selling prepared tea.  Indoors we will have a variety tea tastings in the outer ring of the building, and the inner area devoted to exploring the larger tea cultures of the world.  Each area will have classes, tastings, and talks related to tea culture in that area of the world.  For example, there might be an area devoted to Chinese tea culture, with a Gong Fu ceremony, a talk on organic tea growing in China, or a tasting of Pu-er teas.  The first festival will be a one-day celebration.  Please check out our websites to sign up as a vendor, a presenter, or to volunteer -

Q: What brings you joy about this work?

A: Tea is interwoven into the fabric of my life and I love drinking tea with strangers, friends and family. Tea brings people together and encourages a pause and a slowing down.  I experience the joy of sharing this pause with others, either through dropping in at my favorite tea shop, or through an event as large as a festival.  

A giant THANK YOU to Jennifer and the core team of volunteers working to make the TeaFestPDX happen.  I am excited to be a part of the event!


Marilyn Miller said...

Love this interview. I didn't know about the Peace Corp part of Jennifer's life adventure. Thanks!

Inspired but Tired said...

The TeaFestPDX sounds like it will be a great event! I have to say, the tea ceremony and the way Jenn describes it, sounds so lovely! Why do we not make these rituals a more important part of our day? That is something I plan to work on.

Tracy Bosnian said...

So excited for the first ever Tea Fest in Portland!

Angela McRae said...

Enjoyed the interview with Jennifer, and I'll look forward to reading about the Portland tea festival. Lucky you!

Rosemary said...

Fun interview. I found the question and answer about tea in Africa intriguing. Thanks also for the link to the Portland Tea Festival - love the creative logo.