54 episodes

Conversations on tea and tea culture.

Talking Tea Ken Cohen

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.9, 26 Ratings

Conversations on tea and tea culture.

    Tea & Daoism: Adjacent Connections

    Tea & Daoism: Adjacent Connections

    Today we're exploring connections between tea and Daoism, the millenia-old Chinese religious and philosophical tradition that has had such a profound influence on culture and history in and beyond China. We're joined by Robert Coons, who straddles both the tea world and the world of Daoism. Robert is a well-known tea vendor based in Canada and China and is also a writer, teacher and podcaster on Daoism, qigong and Daoist meditation. 
    Robert tells us a little about his own journey from martial arts and other Daoist-related activities into tea culture, and then we delve into the relationship between Daoism and tea. We begin by looking at some of the definitions, history and relationships of some key practices in tea - chado or sado, chadao and gongfucha - and Robert gives us an overview of Daoism, its core elements, its history and its cultural forms. We explore references to tea in Daoist texts as well as concepts of energy, or qi, in Daoist medicine and traditional Chinese medicine, and Robert explains how both tea and meditation are seen as elixirs in Daoist tradition. We chat about the Daoist role of harmonious energy in chado, chadao and gongfucha, and we look at Daoist concepts of "action", "non-action", "action without action", "knowing sufficiency" and emptiness, and how they can come into play in our tea practice. 
    Robert is the author of Internal Elixir Cultivation: The Nature of Daoist Medititation, published by Tambuli Media and available on Amazon at this link. 
    Info on Robert's teas, as well as some of his classes and teachings, is at his websites, chayotea.com and daoistmeditiation.com. Also be sure to check out Robert's new podcast Sinotexts, available on YouTube, and his older podcast, This Daoist Life, on Soundcloud.
    Note about Robert's classes: In the episode Robert mentions classes he holds in the Toronto area. During the COVID-19 pandemic, please check with Robert on the status of these classes. If you need to know how to contact Robert about his classes during the pandemic, reach out to us and we'll do our best to put you in touch.
     
    Talking Tea is produced and hosted by Ken Cohen. You can follow Ken on Twitter @kensvoiceken.   
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    The views and opinions expressed by guests on Talking Tea are those of the guests and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of Talking Tea or its staff.
     
    This podcast features music from “Japanese Flowers” (https://soundcloud.com/mpgiii/japanese-flowers) by mpgiiiBEATS (https://soundcloud.com/mpgiii) available under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/). Adapted from original.
    Episode image "Teacup" by Cosmin Dordea, used under a CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 license. Adapted from original.
    Header image “Raw Puerh mid 1980 Menghai” by Cosmin Dordea, used under a Creative Commons CC By-SA 2.0 license. Adapted from original.

    • 58 min
    Sensory Immersion Into Tea

    Sensory Immersion Into Tea

    In this episode we're at the 2020 Toronto Tea Festival and its kick-off event, Kevin Gascoyne's Rare Tea Tasting. Kevin is an internationally recognized leader and innovator in the tea industry,  a co-owner of the Montreal-based Camellia Sinensis Teahouse and a frequent guest on Talking Tea, and this is just the second time Kevin has presented a tasting in this format.
    Kevin's Rare Tea Tasting was the most unique tea tasting experience we've ever had, and we think it's safe to say, probably unlike anything experienced before by most everyone attending the event. We were able to chat with Kevin after the event about the inspirations for and origins of the evening, its connections with sports and wine training, and what Kevin hopes to accomplish through these carefully planned tastings.
    In a nutshell, through the course of the evening we tasted six teas in a darkened room, with no information given to us about any of the teas until after the event was over. But this nutshell summary doesn't begin to describe what really happened that night, in that space. Because of the unique nature of the event, we're avoiding any spoilers. But to get a sense of what went on we're including in this episode short chats we had with five attendees just after the event concluded. Their reactions and comments give some great insights into the event and tell a story of our connections with tea, and with each other.
    We don't yet know where or when Kevin Gascoyne's Rare Tea Tasting will pop up next,  but you can check out Camellia Sinensis' website and social media feed to get updates.
    Talking Tea is produced and hosted by Ken Cohen. You can follow Ken on Twitter @kensvoiceken.   
    more about Talking Tea 
    Sign up for our email list to get updates on new episodes and events.
     
    The views and opinions expressed by guests on Talking Tea are those of the guests and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of Talking Tea or its staff.
     
    This podcast features music from “Japanese Flowers” (https://soundcloud.com/mpgiii/japanese-flowers) by mpgiiiBEATS (https://soundcloud.com/mpgiii) available under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/). Adapted from original.
    Header image “Raw Puerh mid 1980 Menghai” by Cosmin Dordea, used under a Creative Commons CC By-SA 2.0 license. Adapted from original.

    • 31 min
    Talking Teapots, In-Depth with Scott Norton

    Talking Teapots, In-Depth with Scott Norton

    When a listener requested an episode about teapots. we realized that this was a topic we haven't really delved into on Talking Tea. And having attended one of tea blogger, writer and teacher Scott Norton's incredibly comprehensive seminars on yixing teaware, we invited Scott to join us for an in-depth overview of teapots, their design elements, their history and how to best match your teapots with your teas.
    You may remember Scott from our episode Glimpsing Tea's Past, Finding Tea's Presence, at New York's Floating Mountain.  Today we begin by chatting a bit about Scott's "teapot journey" and his background collecting, curating and teaching about teapots. And then we begin to explore various styles of Japanese and Chinese teapots. We start by comparing two very different teapots from 19th century Japan, a larger blue and white porcelain teapot and a small lotus-leaf design kyusu, and we discuss the advantages offered by small teapots in control over the brewing process and obtaining more pronounced flavors from our teas. 
    As we move to Chinese teapots, we compare porcelain, glazed ceramic and unglazed clay teapots and the relative advantages and disadvantages of each. Scott chats with us about how to tell if an unglazed clay teapot is highly fired or low fired, and how the levels of firing and coarseness of the clay can create distinct differences in flavor and the results of our brewing. We also touch on the history of teapots and the influence of the Silk Road trade on teapot design and evolution in China. Scott has some rather large teapots in his collection, and we discuss when we might want to use a larger teapot and how to best use a large-size pot. Finally we chat with Scott about the questions we need to consider in matching our teapots to our teas, and Scott gives us tips on buying teapots and how shopping for a teapot can and should be an extension of our tea practice.
    Scott Norton's blog is at  scotttea.wordpress.com. You can find Scott on Instagram @cutechajin, and videos of a number of Scott's workshops and seminars are available on his YouTube channel.
    Talking Tea is produced and hosted by Ken Cohen. You can follow Ken on Twitter @kensvoiceken.   
    more about Talking Tea 
    Sign up for our email list to get updates on new episodes and events.
     
    The views and opinions expressed by guests on Talking Tea are those of the guests and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of Talking Tea or its staff.
     
    All images on this episode page, other than the header image, are courtesy of Scott Norton.
    This podcast features music from “Japanese Flowers” (https://soundcloud.com/mpgiii/japanese-flowers) by mpgiiiBEATS (https://soundcloud.com/mpgiii) available under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/). Adapted from original.
    Header image “Raw Puerh mid 1980 Menghai” by Cosmin Dordea, used under a Creative Commons CC By-SA 2.0 license. Adapted from original.

    • 1 hr 2 min
    Chemistry, Climate Change, Bugs & Tea

    Chemistry, Climate Change, Bugs & Tea

    Today we're exploring a bit of tea science on Talking Tea. We're joined by Eric Scott, a a tea scientist and researcher at Tufts University, to chat about some of the many ways a basic understanding of the science of tea can benefit us as tea consumers and tea professionals.
    Eric tells us a bit about his own tea journey and the work he's doing in tea chemistry, the chemical ecology of tea and the effects of climate change on tea. We chat with Eric about how even a little knowledge of tea chemistry adds to the story behind the tea we're drinking, can enhance our enjoyment of tea and our perception of flavors, and, if we're working in the tea industry, can help us educate consumers. We look at tea's relationship with caffeine, the importance of caffeine to the tea plant and how understanding this can bust some myths about caffeine and tea. We touch on two topics relating to shou pu erh and heicha: we look at why you might want to rinse your leaves if you're drinking shou pu erh or heicha, and we look at "fermentation". Most of us in the tea world have probably heard that oolongs and black/red teas are oxidized, not fermented, but we go a little deeper into what "fermentation" actually is and why it's not what actually happens in the processing of dark teas and shou puerh, even though those are often called "fermented" or "post-fermented". 
    Eric also gives us a peek into his research on the impact of climate change on tea. We chat about the effects of climate change on the monsoon season in Yunnan, and it's potentially game-changing effects on pu erh the pu erh market. We touch on the effects of drought on tea farms in India and Taiwan. And we look at Eric's work on climate change and bug-bitten teas, and how bug-bitten teas may help tea farmers succeed and innovate in the face of climate-change.
    Eric's Tea Science Tuesdays video series is available on the Tea Geek YouTube channel (and sometimes on Instagram). Eric is on Instagram @leafyeric and on Twitter @leafyericscott. More on Eric and his work is at his website, ericrscott.com.
    Talking Tea is produced and hosted by Ken Cohen. You can follow Ken on Twitter @kensvoiceken.   
    more about Talking Tea 
    Sign up for our email list to get updates on new episodes and events.
     
    The views and opinions expressed by guests on Talking Tea are those of the guests and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of Talking Tea or its staff.
     
    Image “Chemistry is Awesome!!!”, by erika.hicks, used under a Creative Commons CC By 2.0 license.  Adapted from original.
    This podcast features music from “Japanese Flowers” (https://soundcloud.com/mpgiii/japanese-flowers) by mpgiiiBEATS (https://soundcloud.com/mpgiii) available under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/). Adapted from original.
    Header image “Raw Puerh mid 1980 Menghai” by Cosmin Dordea, used under a Creative Commons CC By-SA 2.0 license. Adapted from original.
     

    • 47 min
    Gender, Empire and the Making of the Western Tea Market

    Gender, Empire and the Making of the Western Tea Market

    We're delving into some sticky topics today on Talking Tea as we look at the roles mass marketing, gender, racism and modern British history have played in shaping tea markets and tea culture in the West. Joining us is historian Erika Rappaport, author of the recently published book A Thirst For Empire: How Tea Shaped the Modern World. Erika's work as a historian focuses in the areas of gender, consumer culture and British history, and "A Thirst for Empire" delves into all of these areas in looking at the forces that shaped tea culture and tea markets in the West.
    Erika talks with us about how tea can shine a spotlight on the role of mass marketing in shaping modern tastes and trade. We discuss the origins of her book, exploring the long association of tea with women and feminine culture in the UK and the US. We chat about the influence of the "temperance" movements of the 19th century, promoting tea and tea culture as a healthier and spiritually beneficial alternative to alcohol, and the role of industry lobbies in promoting sweet tea in the West and especially iced tea in the US. We look at the reasons for the shift in Western consumer preference from green tea to black tea in the 19th and 20th centuries.  And we look at the disturbing use of racism and nationalism in advertising by British tea planters to promote "Empire" tea over Chinese tea, and how this eventually led to the widespread preference in the West for industrialized, mass-produced commodity tea.
    A Thirst for Empire is published by Princeton University Press, and is widely available at retailers. 
     
    Talking Tea is produced and hosted by Ken Cohen. You can follow Ken on Twitter @kensvoiceken.   
    more about Talking Tea 
    Sign up for our email list to get updates on new episodes and events.
     
    The views and opinions expressed by guests on Talking Tea are those of the guests and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of Talking Tea or its staff.
     
    This podcast features music from “Japanese Flowers” (https://soundcloud.com/mpgiii/japanese-flowers) by mpgiiiBEATS (https://soundcloud.com/mpgiii) available under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/). Adapted from original.
     
    Image of British soldier drinking tea in 1944 India, © IWM (IB 1882), courtesy of the Imperial War Museum. More information on the photo is available at https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205193624
    Header image “Raw Puerh mid 1980 Menghai” by Cosmin Dordea, used under a Creative Commons CC By-SA 2.0 license. Adapted from original.
     

    • 44 min
    A "Tea Cave" in Vermont

    A "Tea Cave" in Vermont

    Today Talking Tea is in Middlebury, Vermont, at Stone Leaf Teahouse, a unique tea space in this bucolic town. Joining us is John Wetzel, founder and owner of Stone Leaf.
    The town of Middlebury may be best known for being the home of Middlebury College, but since its founding 10 years ago Stone Leaf has also become well-known in and beyond Middlebury for the quality of its teas and for the warmth and tranquility of its teahouse. We chat with John about Stone Leaf's origins, how he developed his vision for the space and for the company, and how he drew on both US coffee culture and tea culture in Asia and Europe as influences for his design. The teahouse sits partially underground (it's built into a slope), and though John half-jokingly calls it a sort of "tea cave", he also explains how he used this feature as part of his design, to create a space well-suited for the storage, preparation and enjoyment of tea, a space that allows for both focus and connection.
    Stone Leaf carries a wide variety of teas, and we chat about one of their newest teas, a hongcha (red tea, known as black tea in the West) from Alishan in Taiwan. Alishan is usually known for its oolongs, and this tea is in fact made from the oolong Jin Xuan cultivar. We talk about the use of this cultivar in making a hongcha, the influence of cultivar and terroir on the tea's flavor, aroma and appearance, and about emerging trends in making new styles of teas from cultivars and regions traditionally associated with different varieties.
    More information about Stone Leaf, including the location of the teahouse, its online store and special event info, is at its website, stoneleaftea.com. You can  also find Stone Leaf on Instagram at stoneleafteahouse  and on Facebook at Stone Leaf Teahouse. 
     
    Talking Tea is produced and hosted by Ken Cohen. You can follow Ken on Twitter @kensvoiceken.   
    more about Talking Tea 
    Sign up for our email list to get updates on new episodes and events.
     
    The views and opinions expressed by guests on Talking Tea are those of the guests and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of Talking Tea or its staff.
     
    This podcast features music from “Japanese Flowers” (https://soundcloud.com/mpgiii/japanese-flowers) by mpgiiiBEATS (https://soundcloud.com/mpgiii) available under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/). Adapted from original.
     
    Image of interior of Stone Leaf Teahouse, courtesy of Stone Leaf Teahouse.
    Header image “Raw Puerh mid 1980 Menghai” by Cosmin Dordea, used under a Creative Commons CC By-SA 2.0 license. Adapted from original.
     
     
     
     

    • 38 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
26 Ratings

26 Ratings

26tea26 ,

Excellent Tea Podcast

I’ve learned so much from this podcast. It’s umani for your soul and brain. Great guests, excellent information, varied subjects and always entertaining.

Chadkub ,

Very informative podcast

Enjoyed the show but I hope that the audio will improve overtime.

housewives fan in china ,

AMAZING PODCAST

No other podcast like it. Great resource for tea lovers!

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