62 episodes

Conversations on tea and tea culture.

Talking Tea Ken Cohen

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.8 • 44 Ratings

Conversations on tea and tea culture.

    A Product of the Place: Creating Teaware and Ceramic Art, with Willi Singleton

    A Product of the Place: Creating Teaware and Ceramic Art, with Willi Singleton

    Willi Singleton is a Pennsylvania potter who's well-known among students and teachers of the Japanese way of tea as a maker of beautiful, lustrous teawares that are joy to use. Today we're sitting down with Willi in his Kempton, Pennsylvania studio, at the base of Hawk Mountain, to explore his creative process and the techniques and philosophy that go into the creation of his unique teaware and other ceramic art.
    We chat with Willi about his introduction to clay art and especially Japanese clay art, his time in Japan studying and working with traditional Japanese potters, and his transition back to the US and the beginnings of his Kempton studio. Willi almost exclusively uses local and regional clay and glazes in his work, and we talk about the importance of connecting to the place, the locality, in which a work is made and how that plays out in Willi's process and its results. We discuss the techniques and challenges of working with place-connected materials, the "flavor" and what Willi calls the "veto power" of the clay, Willi's focus on elemental processes and mateirals, and the mystery and unpredictability inherent in the way Willi creates clay art. And we talk about Willi's connection to the tea community, how the community has influenced and continues to influence his teaware, about the communal aspects of art-making, and how each of Willi's pieces are a confluence of potter, place, landscape and community.
    Willi Singleton's website is at willisingleton.com
     
    Follow Talking Tea on Instagram at talkingteapodcasts.
    Talking Tea is produced and hosted by Ken Cohen. 
    more about Talking Tea 
     
    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.
     

    • 46 min
    Balhyocha, A Uniquely Korean Tea

    Balhyocha, A Uniquely Korean Tea

    Balhyocha is a tea unique to Korea - it's not produced anywhere else - and its rich and varied flavor profiles are also unique, not quite like any other teas we've tasted here at Talking Tea. But for many tea drinkers, even afficianados of balhyocha, it's also rather mysterious. What exactly is balhyocha? How is it processed? What gives it its unique, lovely complexity?
    To explore these questions we're chatting with Eric Glass, who, with Arthur Park, runs the annual TeaBuy Korea at Morning Crane Tea. Eric talks with us a bit about his own tea journey and how we came to discover Korean tea and in particular balhyocha, and then we delve into what balhyocha is and what it isn't. We discuss what defines balhyocha and what makes it difficult to categorize, we talk about the subcategory of balhyocha known as hwangcha or "yellow" tea (not to be confused with Chinese yellow tea), we discuss flavor profiles of balhyocha and we look at comparisons with oolongs and black tea or hongcha. We look at the origins of Korean tea cultivars and the impact of seed-grown versus clonal bushes, terroirs and processing techniques unique to balhyocha on the flavor profiles and body-feel of the teas.
    In addition to the TeaBuy Korea, Eric ran Morning Crane's tea tour to Korea in 2023, and we discuss some of the challenges Eric saw tea producers encountering and the uncertain future they're facing. Eric also shares his perspectives on why Korean teas in general and balhyocha in particular aren't widely known outside of Korea, and he makes some recommendations for what kind of cups to use to best enjoy balhyocha.
     
    Morning Crane's website is at morningcranetea.org.
    The Korean Tea Drinkers Facebook page is here.
    In addition to his work with Morning Crane, Eric Glass has his own tea company, The Fragrant Cup. Though The Fragrant Cup's website is currently being redesigned, for info about Fragrant Cup's offerings you can contact Eric directly at Tea@fragrantcup.com.
    Follow Talking Tea on Instagram at talkingteapodcasts.
    Talking Tea is produced and hosted by Ken Cohen. 
    more about Talking Tea 
     
    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 of the Dosim Dawan tea gardens, discussed in the episode, by Eric Glass. 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.

    • 33 min
    Turkish Tea: An Introduction

    Turkish Tea: An Introduction

    Today on Talking Tea we're exploring a tea origin and tea culture we haven't yet visited on the show. Turkish tea isn't widely known outside of Turkey, even though Turkey is a significant tea producer and has one of the largest per capita tea consumption rates in the world. To introduce us to this unique tea and tea culture, we're joined by Aimée Lévesque, owner and founder of Le bruit de l'eau, an online and brick-and-mortar tea house located in Rimouski, Quebec.
    Aimée tells us about her own tea journey and the impetus for her starting a tea house in her home town of Rimouski, located on the St. Lawrence River about 500 km northeast of Montreal. And then we delve into Turkish tea. We discuss the history of tea production in Turkey, from early attempts at tea growing to the establishing of tea agriculture in the Rize region of northeastern Turkey, as well as the influence of Georgian tea and the use of assamica and sinensis cultivars in tea production. We chat about Turkish tea culture, which is ubiquitous in Turkey, the uses and benefits of the uniquely shaped Turkish tea glasses, and methods of brewing Turkish tea, especially in the traditional tea pot known as a çaydanlık.
    More information about Le bruit de l'eau, including the location of the teahouse, its online store and special event info, is at its website, lebruitdeleau.ca.  You can also find Le bruit de l'eau on Instagram at lebruitdeleau  and on Facebook at salondetherimouski. 
    The article on design and aestheics in Turkish tea glasses Aimée references in the episode is at design-and-semantics-of-form-and-movement-desform-2010-november-3.
    Nilgün Yalçın, the Turkish tea educator Aimée mentions, is on Instagram at @nnilgunyalcin. 
    The tea we're drinking in the episode is Hemşın Çayı from Çaykur.
     
    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 Turkish tea served in glasses, courtesy of Aimee Levesque.
    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
    Tea as Daoist Meditation, with Robert Coons

    Tea as Daoist Meditation, with Robert Coons

    After nearly a year hiatus from releasing new episodes, and nearing what’s hopefully the end of a worldwide pandemic, we’re very happy to welcome back Robert Coons to talk with us about tea as a medium for meditation and health, from a Daoist viewpoint. Robert is a well-known teacher and writer on Daoist meditation, a tea vendor, an acupuncturist and practitioner of qigong and martial arts,  and was our guest two years ago in our episode “Tea & Daoism: Adjacent Connections”. He’s about to launch an online course on tea meditation, so we took this opportunity to get an overview of Robert’s perspectives on tea as a meditation practice. We begin looking at the origins of tea as herbal medicine in China and possible historical roots for tea meditation, and we also look at tea meditation as a novel practice built on older influences. Robert chats with us about how our setting and intention in preparing, serving and drinking tea can lead to the generation and movement of qi, or energy,  and we discuss the roles mindfulness, physical movement and tactile sensations, as well as our choices of tea, play in this process. We talk about why tea meditation is gaining a lot of attention at this moment, how tea fits in with goals of opening the mind and improving health and longevity, and why tea can serve as a gateway for deeper levels of meditation practice. Robert also gives us a peek at his new “Tea Mastery” course and how it will be part of a broader platform for tea meditation and self-care resources. For more info on Robert’s upcoming course, go to the Tea Mastery page on Robert’s Qigong Meditation website (https://courses.qigongmeditation.online/tea-mastery-course), and be sure to subscribe to the email list for updates and registration info.
    Robert’s other online platform for qigong and traditional Chinese medicine resources, mentioned in the episode, is https://tcmsix.com/.
    Internal Elixir Cultivation: The Nature of Daoist Meditation is available on Amazon at this link. 
    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 Robert Coons courtesy of Robert Coons.

    • 1 hr 1 min
    Lakyrsiew: Unlocking the Magic of the Leaf

    Lakyrsiew: Unlocking the Magic of the Leaf

    Today we're continuing with our periodic series of shorter episodes focusing on one tea, one producer or one region that may be new to the tea stage or that we're excited about and want to explore further. We're joined by our frequent guest Kevin Gascoyne, co-owner of Montreal's Camellia Sinensis Tea House and one of the world's leading experts on Indian tea,  to explore Lakyrsiew, a young boutique tea garden in India's very wet Meghalaya state.
    Kevin chats with us about the history of tea growing in the Meghalaya region, from its origins in the mid-19th century to its revival in the early 21st century. Meghalaya is situated just south of Assam and has some of the highest rainfalls in the world. We discuss the effects of the climate, soil and altitude of Lakyrsiew on the Darjeeling plants being grown there and the cultivars finding success in this terroir. Kevin gives us some tips on comparing the Lakyrsiew autumnal flush with other teas, particularly Darjeelings, to see how the same cultivars can exhibit different qualities when grown in different terroirs. And we look at the recent development of the Lakyrsiew garden and its efforts to find what Kevin calls the "magic" to unlocking what's unique to the leaf.
    Kevin also gives us a brief update on the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on the Himalayan tea production regions and updates us on Camellia Sinensis' online and in-person programs and operations during the pandemic.
     
    For more info on Camellia Sinensis, including its online store and blog, go to its website at camellia-sinensis.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.
     
    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 the Lakyrsiew garden courtesy of Camellia Sinensis. Adapted from original.
     

    • 17 min
    Emptiness in Tea Practice

    Emptiness in Tea Practice

    When a friend who's a longtime Buddhist meditation teacher asked me recently if "emptiness" comes into our study and practice of chado, the Japanese way of tea, I didn't quite know how to answer. On Talking Tea we had chatted a bit about emptiness in a Daoist context, and its relation to tea, in our episode Tea & Daoism: Adjacent Connections, and we touched on some of the connections between tea and Buddhism in a few of our earlier episodes. But I hadn't thought about how, or if, emptiness comes into play in the specific practices of the Japanese way of tea.
    To explore this question further, we asked Drew Hanson, an instructor in the Urasenke school of chado and founder/owner of the Boukakuan Japanese Tea House in New Jersey, to join us again on Talking Tea. (Drew was our guest in two earlier Talking Tea episodes, Tea, Heart to Heart and Chabana: Flowers for Tea.) 
    Drews begins by talking with us about what emptiness might mean in the context of tea: about thinking and non-thinking in our tea practice, about being and breathing, physicality and non-verbal communication between the host and guests at a tea gathering. Drew discusses how, through all of this, there is "mindfulness but also emptiness". We look at spatial components of emptiness in chado, from the pathway leading us to the teahouse, to the space in the tea room, to the "spaces between" (you'll have to listen to find out what that means), and how these components allow us to let go of everything that defines us in the "outside world". Drew chats with us about the importance of dropping our agendas in tea practice, about what our objective (if any) should be, and how the emptiness pervading all of this ultimately leads to joy.
    For more info on Drew Hanson and the Boukakuan Japanese Tea House, including info on Japanese tea ceremony classes and demonstrations, go to the Boukakuan website at njgreentea.com.
    Some resources on emptiness or other works mentioned in the episode are:
    Progressive Stages of Meditation on Emptiness, by Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche, translated and arranged by Lama Shenpen Hookham, 2016 edition, available as an audiobook on Audible or in paperback/Kindle editions on Amazon. The audiobook version was narrated and produced by Talking Tea's Ken Cohen.
    Baisao, The Old Tea Seller, translated by Norman Waddell. 
    The commentary mentioned on the Heart Sutra is The Heart Attack Sutra by Karl Brunnholzl.
     
    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.

    • 44 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
44 Ratings

44 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.

Can't signup acorns ,

Dead show.

Twitter account doesn’t exist. No new episodes for over a year. This show’s dead and buried.

Chadkub ,

Very informative podcast

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

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