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!



   A new set has been released from work in celebration of the Chinese New Year. As it happens to be the year of the dragon, head office has come up with this commemorative set.
     It has 100g in total split between the tins. The teas are Green Dragon (Green Oolong), Red Dragon ( Dark Oolong), Dragon Eyes (Jasmine Green Tea) and Dragon well (Green Tea).
      The company has the following description on the website:

“In celebration of Chinese New Year, Teaopia has curated a hand selected collection of our finest teas to commemorate year of the dragon. The dragon is the mightiest of the Chinese Zodiac signs. The symbol dates back to 3,000 BC ,and is admired for it’s uniqueness, beauty and auspicious powers. This beautiful set comes with 4 Dragon inspired teas including two specialty teas. “

   Over the next while I am going to do small tastings in a gaiwan of each tea. This is in preparation of my commencement of the Tea 
Sommelier  Program at George Brown College in the spring. My aim is to broaden my pallet. Each tasting will be done along side with Teaopia description of the teas, which is printed on the back of the box. I hope to “look” for these notes that they have found and at the same time find my own description for them. Till then じゃね!

New Tea Book!

    This afternoon we received a shipment of the new tea booklet. I am overjoyed to make this post because of all the useful information for anyone interested in tea, great for beginners and for those of us that need a refresher.
    The cover is thick and sturdy, all the images are well taken. Another bonus (especially at family dinners) is all the prices are included. Explanation of how a tea comes to be make me so happy, I find it hard to explain to those new to tea about Oolongs. Tea region map makes it simple to show everyone where all major types come from.
     Comparisons between tea bags and loose leaf tea, and bottled tea vs. Loose leaf. To top it all off we have a letter from (My boss) David Bellisario who is President and founder of the company.
   This year has brought a lot of changes for the company. Tea cafes, new teas and line of products.  I am eager to see what is next for this growing company.
      To show you the tea book, the image to the left is linked to a digital copy that will open in a new window. Enjoy~

Holiday Gift Guide

Click the image to see the GUIDE

     As we are getting closer and closer to December I found it time to inform my readers about this guide. Inside there is a full and complete list of all the new products Teaopia has obtained for your holiday needs. Everything from hostess gifts to teacher gifts and at every price point.  As one of the many employees for this Canadian company I am very proud to help everyone who comes in gift hunting or even looking for a little something for themselves. 

                    I have included images of the new additions to our gift collection, these are but a few of the new pieces we carry.    Starting from the far left we have the Kids Tea Set. This set has an adorable small tea pot with a built in filter and four cups with saucers. I love the fruit design that was chosen to accent them all.  Next, the new Matcha Set.  It comes with raku made chawan (tea bowl) and whisk holder, a 100 pronged bamboo whisk (chasen) , beautifully illustarated instructions and a bamboo scoop (chasaku). I have had the pleasure to meet someone who purchased the set in Alberta, she loves her lattes. Finally, The Hostess Gift. Really great for newbies or seasoned tea drinkers. It has card with instructions, rock sugar, basket infuser and four teas. Marrakesh Mint green tea, Burbon Vanilla black tea, Plum Oolong, and Solie De Provence white tea. 
 The best thing about these three are you can use them anywhere; office, home or even outside. Just add water~ Till next time.

Matcha Set

Hostess Gift

Kids Tea Set