58 episodes

Conversations on tea and tea culture.

Talking Tea Ken Cohen

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.9 • 40 Ratings

Conversations on tea and tea culture.

    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
    Bamboo Pu'er, Beyond the Novelty

    Bamboo Pu'er, Beyond the Novelty

    There's a certain novelty factor to bamboo pu'er - sheng or shou pu'er packed and (usually) aged in a bamboo tube. It's not the way we usually acquire our pu'er, and it can be both challenging and fun to crack open the bamboo log and see what's inside. But aside from the novelty, are bamboo pu'ers worth exploring for serious tea drinkers?
    To look inside the bamboo log a little more deeply, we're joined once again today on Talking Tea by John Wetzel, founder and owner of Stone Leaf Teahouse in Middlebury, Vermont. Specifically we're focusing on one bamboo pu'er, a 2016 sheng from Naka Shan. 
    John chats with us about the location in Yunnan Province this tea is from, and how the bamboo used in the processing of this tea is a link to the culture, natural environment and life of this region. We discuss the process used to make this particular bamboo pu'er and the flavor profile that results from it, as well as some of the challenges in making bamboo pu'er. We talk with John about how and why this tea evolves rather quickly after unpacking it from its bamboo home, and John gives us some suggestions on how best to store it after unpacking. 
    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. And for the backstory behind Stone Leaf, check out our episode "A 'Tea Cave' In Vermont".
    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 Naka Shan bamboo pu'er courtesy of Stone Leaf Teahouse. 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.

    • 21 min
    The Korean Way of Tea, with Brother Anthony of Taizé

    The Korean Way of Tea, with Brother Anthony of Taizé

    For quite some time we've been wanting to explore Korean tea culture on Talking Tea, so we're very happy to be joined in this episode by Brother Anthony of Taizé, a prolific writer, translator and teacher and co-author of two notable books on Korean tea, The Korean Way of Tea and Korean Tea Classics.   
    Brother Anthony chats with us about the roots of his own passion for tea and his connections with the modern revival of Korean tea culture, and how that revival was spurred on in large part by the initiatives of the Venerable Hyodang, a Buddhist monk and tea maker at the Dasol-Sa Temple near Jiri Mountain (pictured), and his wife Chae Won-Hwa, who carried on the initiatives after Hyodang's death. We look at the history of tea in Korea and the connections between Buddhism and Korean tea culture, we discuss some of the unique aspects of how high-quality Korean green tea is processed according to the methods of the Venerable Hyodang and Chae Won-Hwa, and we look at why the quality of the tea and the tea-making process is central to Korean tea practice. 
    Brother Anthony gives an overview of some of the history of Korean tea literature, and also talks with us about the history and method of making balhyocha, a relatively recent innovation in Korean tea. And, perhaps most importantly, we discuss with Brother Anthony what he views as the essence of the way of tea, a practice of mindfulness, stillness and communion with nature, whose motto is: "No fuss."
    The Korean Way of Tea: An Introductory Guide and Korean Tea Classics  are both available on Amazon at this link. 
    For more info about Brother Anthony and his many translations and works on Korean tea and (non-tea) literature, visit his website, anthony.sogang.ac.kr.
    Morning Crane Tea, a vendor mentioned by Brother Anthony in the episode, is at teaatmorningcranetea.blogspot.com.
     
    Follow Talking Tea on Instagram at talkingteapodcasts.
    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.
    Episode image "Jirisan 008"  of Jirisan mountain, a historic Korean tea growing region, by travel oriented, used under a Creative Commons CC By-SA 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.

    • 44 min
    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.   
    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.
    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

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
40 Ratings

40 Ratings

ccccxxxxcxxxxxx ,

Great podcast

Ken is excellent. Great voice and very interesting topics. Learned so much about tea !

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.

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