"Storytelling to remind us of who we are." Ann Curry, as heard this week in a live zoom talk.
This week I was asked, "I’d love to know your story of how you fell in love with tea" I probably have shared much of it before, but here is my story for storytelling reminds me of who I am.
Coffee, even as a child, smelled delicious to me, but tasted "yucky". So I became intrigued by tea about the time I was entering the 6th grade. My mother and I were looking for a new home to rent and the two ladies that owned the tiny house we eventually rented wanted to get to know us over tea. They were British and brought out the silver teapot on a tray with tea and store bought cookies. They told me about the tradition of teatime in England. We lived in that little house through the years I was in junior high and high school and I don't ever remember meeting those two ladies again. But that one encounter had an impact on my mother and myself. When my mother would get depressed the chipped teapot would come out, we would make toast cut in soldiers, and for awhile we would pretend to be rich ladies sipping tea. We drank Lipton black tea or sometimes Friendship tea made from instant tea and orange Tang.
By college I had expanded into Constant Comment tea drinking and took a box of that tea with me to my dorm room with a little coil heater to heat a cup of tea.
Later as a young mom we moved to Portland and I heard about Stash Tea Company. It was a local company that had all kinds of flavored teas. They would have a garage sale occasionally and for a dollar you could fill up a paper bag full of outdated teabags. Being on a slim budget I thought this was amazing, even if the tea was outdated I didn't think tea could go bad. I did learn differently later.
And this is how I drank tea for a long time with a teabag dunked in a mug of hot water.
Moving forward to my late 50's I started thinking about making a career change and maybe opening a tearoom. I searched and found two women in Georgia that were teaching seminars on how to open a tearoom for profit, Magnolia & Ivy. I flew to Georgia and took the 3 day workshop. There I started learning about loose leaf teas and began my journey of tasting different teas. It opened the door to doing more research in that next year and I realized I didn't want to open a restaurant. My expertise was in product development, so I developed a line of jams and jellies made with tea and thus began Marmalady's. Take Me to Tea Expo (which later became World Tea Expo) was starting that year (2003), so I took my jams and jellies to the expo to sell wholesale for other tearooms. Attending the expo also continued my education in tasting teas and meeting growers from around the world.
What I must say here is growing and learning about anything, whether tea or whatever, is a life long process. It is a continued curiosity to learn more. That is what I have continued doing, always curious and always sipping something new.
About 8 years ago a tea friend I met through social media said she had met a woman that worked with her husband that was starting a new tea group called WuWo Tea Ceremony (http://www.nwwuwotea.com/). She invited me and I became one of the 5 original members of that group. Each month we share tea and I continue learning.
So Heather, this is my tea story. Always keep sipping, always be curious, and always be willing to continue learning. Tea is a life long learning experience and I love the journey.
Happy Weekend, dear Friends!
Also, Happy First Day of May!