What are you going to be? A Tea Sommelier!…Why?

    Back in October 2011 It had been about a year since I had finished at OCAD U and a year at Teaopia. All of my family over Thanksgiving dinner asked me what I wanted to do now that I had a years experience in the “real world”.
      There are so many movies on people my age trying to find out what they want to do. So, instead of finding something else I stuck with tea. That same fall I had joined The Tea Guild of Canada and felt I had a found a long-lost family. Ian from Majesteas urged me to join the board, and I am still with them today. At Teaopia I continued to meet great people at the store in the financial district here in Toronto. Two regulars even joined the Tea Guild the following year.
        February 2012, My co-worker joined The Tea Guild , she turned to me latter that month and proposed we take classes together. Not just any classes, but The Tea Sommelier Program. I had been advised to take them for over a year before but did not know how to go about it.  So I learned how to and began to strengthen my knowledge of tea.After the first class she found she had to move her focus on work and I kept on going with the classes. I even started taking Japanese Tea Ceremony classes during that year.  I let my family know my new focus was to become certified and keep working with tea. At the time it was with Teavana, where I learned how to manage and teach the great staff we had at our stores.
      Fast forwarding to now, I have finished my certification. I am still hearing these questions from family and friends.

What does it mean to “be a Tea Sommelier”?

             In response to this I created the video below to help  you out. Feel free to comment or e-mail me any questions you may have (ps. My website is now up, you can find my e-mail in the contact section at http://www.katherinebellman.com ). I absolutely love questions so at anytime you want a question answered, send it my way, Thank you all.

Shout out to Ian at Majesteas, Tao at Tao Tea Leaf, Carol Savage and the rest of the Tea Guild. I would not be who I am today without you. Thank you so much for supporting me and I hope we can continue to support each other in the future.

How tea effects art for me – 2 Year Anniversary for Tea Journey!

For my TWO year anniversary post I decided to put together a little montage to visually show my growth with Tea since I began consuming tea regularly. To do this I used my own art work as they both grew together over these years. Please enjoy~

First step towards my ink style. 
ukiyo-e  with screen printing  ( Abe no Seimei 2008)
Drinking tea regularly and learning new styles around this time. Stopped drinking coffee due to a seizure around Thanksgiving
One of the few first works I have done in ink  at OCAD U  ( Dream or reality 2009)
Regularly looking for new teas in Toronto and regular customer for Davids Tea.
Began to learn other methods of painting with sumi-e ink.
Bought Matcha for the first time and used a fork. Soon after
purchased a chasen to prepare it right. (Fetus Fear 2009)

Purchased first Yixing from Tao Tea leaf. Bought first porcelain gong fu set and a glass gaiwan. Began to understand more about Oolongs and a little about Puerh. Finally moving FAR away from Japanese sencha and genmaicha! Utilized old watercolour skills with Sumi-e, encouraged by thesis professors to  be bolder and less controlling with future work.( Hold 2010, Thesis at OCAD U
Utilized tea in a work for the first time. Visited Majestes regularly for quality teas. And learned of
the Tea Guild of Canada. Joined Summer 2011!
Attained another Yixing from Majesteas. Working for Teaopia for
over a year! Attained more yixings from work. Began tea antique collection
and began to read The Way of Tea. My second tea book after a tea handbook!
Began to work slowly towards the direction I was told to go by professors. Been graduated for over a year.
Started to take Japanese lessons!
(Lace 2011)
Became a Public Relations rep for The Tea Guild of Canada.  Now has too many teas, extensive knowledge
byond what I need for work. Helps out with “World in Your Tea Cup” Event! Great fun.
Now has too much tea ware (no such thing!) and too much tea (blasphemy!).
Began to experiment more with “tea” as tone. (Hair 2011)
Brings tea where ever I go practically! Creating many entries on tea to Tea Journey!
Reviewed Do Matcha! Made more tea friends at the Guild, two I knew from work. Encouraged a co-worker to join Guild!
Began Tea Sommelier classes, been taking Chanoyu classes when able (I love to learn!). Working on promotional materials for the Guild!
Me working in the back in a Sumi-e workshop at the JCCC in March  2012
Tried some amazing teas at Majesteas and Tao Tea Leaf for Spring!
Learning more about processing of teas in the process outside of class. Been
 supporting The Global Tea Hut since February! Enjoying the large selection of spring teas
 and refined taste of my pickings~ My chop for new work, It says ” Guren” Crimson Lotus.
I will have it by next week! I picked these characters as my hair is red and the lotus symbolizes
 growth for me. Growing out of the mud and into the world as a flower.
Been with Teaopia for 2 years (June 10th 2012) and have had Tea Journey for
just as long. Now I work for Teavana, and hope to grow some more as a 
茶 人 (Tea person), Artist and as an individual in
general.  I truely hope to meet more wonderful tea people and have long lasting
 friendships (Tiffany, Grace, Kingkoh,
Brooke  etc <3 Love you all!) I will be meeting with the Guild
board this summer to plan out fall meetings. I can not wait to get things rolling~
  I am on my second tea class
and I am having one more before I start my super summer. After that third class I am
 about half way done the program.
Certification exam to follow there after and my N5 exam for Japanese Proficiency as well!
“Sheng Nong” in progress for 2012!

  


Spring Teas at Majesteas!

I had a great Saturday afternoon last week at Majesteas. Nothing beats sleeping in, small lunch and then a few hours of stories and tea.

     I was very glad that the turn out was intimate, more focus on the tea.
     The set of teas Robert brought back was to die for, especially the Purple Puerh. That which I need to go back for as I did not grab it last weekend.

    I did end up purchasing a set of the springs teas (no Puerh) and I am very glad I have it.

  The teas we had (hopefully in order) were : Jing Ping (Red Tea), Yin Jun Mei (Red Tea), Dragonwell, Bi Lo Chun and Silver Needle. In the set they also included Spring Mist which I got to try earlier this year. I took it to Tea Sommelier class in a glass tumbler, used 60-70 degree water, and it was excellent even after a street car ride to George Brown College. I am very pleased with it as it was not bitter at all when I sat down to enjoy it.

 
  This coming Saturday is when I booked to have a tasting at Tao Tea Leaf with two friends. I will try to post a follow up a few days after to that I can gather my thoughts and drink what I end up with. Both shops are part of The Tea Guild of Canada.  Please support your local shops!
 

Majesteas- Website up and running!

Majesteas website- Robert and Ian are both part of The Tea Guild of Canada 

          After a lot of hard work from my good friends at Majesteas, it is finally up and running. Great timing too since Robert Gignac is off to China with Tao of Tao Tea Leaf latter this week. He has even started off the blog with an entry detailing information about various teas he will get to try.  I wish him well on his trip and a safe return with teas to try.
     

Ceremonial Matcha – Majesteas

                       Recently I have been starting each day with matcha. I set aside enough time to quietly prepare it in a meditative way. I quickly ran out of my matcha and went out to get a new one to try. This one is from Majesteas.  I noticed it in the shop about a week before I ran out. The kanji on it captured me as I sought to translate it, but failed.
      Getting it home I eagerly waited till the next morning (Friday) to enjoy the tea. Although it was not until Saturday evening I decided to write about this brew. Earlier I had visited a Man I had met over a year ago at Allen Gardens who I over heard taught Japanese Tea Ceremony. I contacted him and I enjoyed a ceremonially prepared cup of match with him. We discussed the utensils he used, the historical aspects of ちゃのゆ, and he began to teach me how to fold the ふくさ(fukusa).
       Starting in November I will begin learning 盆略手前 (bonryaku temae), tea prepared on a tray. It is quite different from how he served me which was 立礼 ( ryūrei) which he used a table like structure and I sat at my own table as a guest. As an artist I am eager to learn more about ceremonial styles as I can. Especially with my tea series taking over my usual women dominated work.                                                 
        Anyhow enough of my ramblings and back to this tea. When I opened the package inside the tin I was welcomed by a very vibrant green powder. I eagerly filled my kettle with spring water from Muskoka.  After letting it cool in my glass pitcher for a while I sifted the powder and whisked it. Vibrant green with  fine foam greeting me. I quickly drank it. It was like milk chocolate with 40% Dark mixed in. Very smooth on the tongue. I decided to accompany this with a mini sponge cake with apricot filling, they complimented each other very well. I can not wait to learn more about matcha preparation from my new sensei, and perhaps I can get my Japanese sensei to help me translate this tin some time.