Thursday, April 17, 2008

Coffee & Tea Festival: More Lectures

Today I'll run through two more lectures of note that I caught at the Coffee and Tea Festival, Green Tea 101 and The Future of Tea.

Green Tea 101--Tafu Tea (NYC staff and visiting Japanese teamaster)

Although this presentation was a bit heavy on the advertising of Tafu, it was interesting to attend. Most of the information was a very basic rundown on Japanese tea. Chinese tea and other green teas were not addressed. However, the teamaster clearly knew his tea extremely well and there were a few gems doled out in the lecture. My favorites:

Notes on brewing sencha included the saying, "If you are sweet to it, then it will be sweet to you."

An emphasis on the aroma of houjicha and genmaicha (Americans are rarely taught to focus on the aromas of their foods and drinks)

Information on cooking with tea and pairing foods (especially desserts) and teas from Kyotofu... yum!

The Future of Tea--Chris Cason (Tavalon)

Somehow, I had never been to an event by NYC's Chris Cason before. I was glad to see he lived up to his reputation of delivering lively and fun lectures. After covering some of the basics of tea, he discussed ways in which tea can be integrated into mainstream American culture. These methods of "making tea accessible" included:

Educating peole about tea (Obviously, I'm a big advocate of that!)
Baking and making candy with tea
Cooking with tea, and doing so in unusual ways, like poaching halibut with brewed chai in lieu of water, or using lapsang souchong leaves with wood chips to smoke foods
Making tea cocktails (which I talked about yesterday)
Incorporating tea into the spa (I used to manage a teabar at a spa, so this is an area of interest for me, too)

Chris is working on a book about his ideas on new approaches to tea and tea trends in the US. Exciting! Maybe you'll get to see an interview or book review on Vee Tea before it comes out.

Tomorrow, I'll be wrapping up a few loose ends with the Festival. Don't forget that it's Earth Day this weekend! Do something to make your life a little greener, and enjoy your tea!

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