Best of 2013 in Tea

With 2014 finally here, it is time to look back at the best of 2013 together. With the new year beginning today we need to start things off on the right foot together with tea. My goal is to make Tea Journey a fun place to learn about tea, art and  all things connected to them. This year is going to be an adventure to remember for years to come, now it’s time to look over my favorite posts from 2013.


Japanese Tea Books

The number one thing I am passionate about telling people I meet is that I love Japan and its culture. Being a Canadian there is only 146 years of history to learn about, with Japan there is over 2000 years to drool over.  Part of that history is the cultivation of tea and its own culture with it.  These books each give their own insight into Japan’s personal world with tea itself.

Tea- Shirt Shop OPEN!

 As an artist and designer, I always love to give something back to those around me. My secret project completed and I was able to present you with the first design for Tea- Shirts on Spreadshirt. 

   With new beginnings starting with 2014 I can not wait to release the next design!

Teavana neighborhood store: Hit or Miss?

Teavana did it, they created a master piece in the heart of Manhattan. I was very pleased to know it was happening and eagerly waited to hear from my old colleagues in NYC. Who could not be blown away by their artful ceiling of…. TEA!

    This store marked the beginning of something new in the tea world, let’s see what happens in 2014~

Sommelier Exam Study: Some Tips

  Being a Tea Sommelier to me means that you need to keep learning every day. I took the exam not only to complete my journey with the program but to push myself to study intensively and gain new knowledge.
   This guide is perfect if you wish to do the exam or even just to learn a bit more about the complexities and subtleties of teas.

Which posts were your top 3? Comment below, much love.
-Kat xxooo

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Sommelier Exam Study: Some tips

  Studying for this type of exam is hard work. I work towards the day I would be finished my classes and have to be fully ready for it. Back in 2012 I participated in the “So You Want To Be A Tea Sommelier” event at the Coffee and Tea Show. Here I had my first chance to try to identify 10 teas with only the liquid present. It is not as easy as some may think. When brewing teas in class we always had the leaves to look at, both dry and then wet. This helped narrow down which tea it was and the taste sealed the deal. The part that you have to get around is that all of the teas are steeped with boiling water for 5 minute steep. It was a lot to take in for a first try but I am glad I did it.

The last day of my class we did this exercise with 15 teas and then last week again with 20. Repeating this with many more teas than there will be helps you recognize where you need to focus. 

Friday last week I had organized a tasting with those who had also finished the program. The turn out was small but we got great pointers from Tao.

  We did three sets of teas. The first was white and green. Second was Oolong and Pu-er. And last was blacks.

 In this manner we were able to focus on the slight differences between them.

For example: Japanese green teas have a bit of a bite to them with a distinct vegetalness while Chinese green teas still maintain their sweetness. Another note to taste for is smokiness as some styles of Chinese teas are pan fried by hand. 

For Our oolongs and Pu-er, we looked for the difference between a green and dark Ooong. Then tried to find the pu-er by colour alone, and checked it by taste and smell on the back of our spoon. 

Black teas were interesting, I personally mixed up Golden Yunnan and Golden Assam. When I asked Tao how to tell the difference he mentioned about the astringency of an Assam                                  and roundness of the Yunnan.

 Using this last study method helped me feel more at ease for the up coming exam.  I hope these points help anyone else who is going as I like to share information I learn. So if this helps you please share it with other students. This way we all benefit from these experiences.

 The Tea Association of Canada exam guide can be found here for download.

 Suggested books to read:  

   So good luck! I hope this helped out out a little. I would love to know how it goes for everyone. Please e-mail me or comment below!

                  Happy Steeping!