Toronto Tea Festival!

   My good friend Tao of Tao Tea Leaf, has been eagerly pursuing the creation of Toronto’s own Tea Festival.  After a lot of research its happening~
  All the information is at the website (click the logo above). It will  be February 2nd 2013 at the Toronto Reference Library’s Appel Salon (2nd floor). The day will consists of speakers, demos and of course all of the exhibitors. Shop for all your favourite teawares, teas, and related products – this is the perfect opportunity to shop for your Valentine (hint hint).
       Together with help of the team that consists of sponsors and members of the Tea Guild of Canada, this is sure to be an event you DON’T want to miss.  Best part is that if you sign up before the new year you save $5 off your ticket! Great Christmas gift to give to your love ones who also love tea. Get one for your self you know you deserve it, see you all there!

              Here are the speakers that we have so far!

Michelle Pierce Hamilton

Michelle Pierce Hamilton is a Nutritionist, Certified Tea Sommelier, and Healing Arts Practitioner/Teacher. These combined philosophies and disciplines are the spirit behind “beTeas”, Michelle’s unique online tea store where exceptional teas and tea experiences now come alive in London, Ontario.

Michelle also teaches the Canadian Tea Sommelier Certification program now offered at Fanshawe College in conjunction with the Tea Association of Canada. A long-time industry professional in project management, Michelle also continues to work part-time as a Project Management Consultant and Educator for London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC).

Passionate about tea and health, Michelle believes tea is the world’s healthiest beverage and that it provides doorway to healthier diet and lifestyle.

Gillian Niblett – As founder of “Tea At The White House”, a successful tea room and tea shop in Waterdown, Ontario and current owner of “Niblett and Wiggins – Purveyors of High Tea” in Oakville, Ontario, Gillian Niblett has an extensive background in the world of tea

Gillian is a qualified Tea Specialist, certified by the Specialty Tea Institute of the USA, and an accomplished speaker often called upon to share her expertise about tea at corporate events and educational seminars.

Gillian is looking forward to attending the Toronto Tea Festival where she will share her knowledge of tea gleaned through her education, her business experience, and her travels to the tea gardens of India and China.

Tao Wu – A Certified Canadian Tea Sommelier, is the creator and founder of the Toronto Tea Festival.Tao Wu is a second-generation tea exporter.Raised in the Wu Yi Shan area of Fujian, China, a region known for its oolong and black teas, Tao uses his background and experience to continue the rich history of Chinese tea culture.

Founded in 2009 by Tao Wu, Tao Tea Leaf (934 Yonge St.) is an award-winning, full-service tea store located in Toronto’s fashionable Yorkville area. Best known for it’s extensive loose Chinese tea selection, Tao Tea Leaf also offers a variety of loose teas from Japan, India, South America and Africa, as well as an extensive line of USDA-certified organic loose teas. Tao Tea Leaf hosts regular tea workshops for beginners and experienced tea drinkers, conduct traditional Chinese style tea ceremonies and offer an Annual Tea Tour to China.

Bill Kamula – Tea Sommelier professor, Created the tea appreciation certificate at George Brown College, Tea Guild Co-Chair/George Brown College Tea Sommelier program instructor.

   **Speaker information directly sourced from Festival website November 28th, 2012.**

Spring Teas at Tao Tea Leaf

With thirteen teas in all it took a little over 2 hours to go
through them all.  Tao steeped most of
the teas using a Professional Tea Tasting sets. Each set consists of a cup with
a lid and a small bowl. This set works similarly to a gaiwan when a fair cup is
used with it.  In competitions and for
tea merchants this is the set that is used to pick the teas which win or get
purchased.

Tao brewed the teas for us using these sets in a certain
manner. If you have been part of a Chinese tea ceremony before, you will recall
a part where the leaves are added to a warmed vessel and shaken. This releases
the aroma of the tea. Tao used the Tasting set in this manner during our tasting.
It increased the intensity of the teas aroma for us to determine which teas to
purchase in the end.

            After this step Tao then added more
water to steep the leaves. After sufficient time the cup set was turned into
the bowl to catch the brew. Once all the tea had left the cup some leaves were
placed on top of the overturned lid to display the leaves. We then used a
Chinese soup spoon to spoon the tea into our cups.  This worked especially well for the lighter
teas such as the Silver Needles.

            At this very moment of finishing up
this post I am enjoying a cup of Jun Shan Yin Zhen, a yellow tea.  Yellow tea production is just about one step
further from white tea, because of this additional time most places do not
produce yellow tea. As well the way to create such tea is not being passed down
from lack of interest from current generations.

 To explain the extra
step required to make this tea, white tea is let to ferment covered which
changes the colour of the tea to a “yellow” hue. Te resulting tea when steeped
has a bit of a “fermented taste” which comes across as a little spicy as
well.  For those of you who want a
lighter tea but has a bit more body then certainly try this tea out before this
tea disappears.

            Tao has two big tastings a year,
spring and for the Anniversary of his shop. Look out for the Anniversary
tasting outing in December! Support your local tea shops in your area by
checking out this year’s spring teas.

            Here is the list of teas we sampled:
Silver needle Top grade, Silver needle old bush,  Jun Shan Yin Zhen, Anji Bai Cha, Bi Luo Chun,
Long Jing, Phoenix Dan Cong- Honey Orchid, Tie Guan Yin, Jin Ping, Purple
Puerh, and Shui jing gui.  

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!

  


Surprise at my door!

Thursday, I went outside to get some fresh air after watching a lot of Chinese dramas, I set up The Sorcerer and the White of Snake(白蛇传说) to load and went out the door. Upon opening it I found a box at my door which the customs label stated there was a tea cup inside. At first I thought I had forgotten about an e-bay or Yuuki-cha purchase I had made perhaps over my vacation. 
    Once I finally opened the box I came to realize this was the package from KingKoh who also sent me incense.
    This tea cup is a beautiful chawan. I am still in shock that I have this piece of art. Strangely enough I had just purchased a cast iron pot to use for chanoyu practice this very same day. Since opening it I have been starring at the bowl, picking it up and feeling the unique textures it has. 

     Koh left me a note inside of it, ” I put this tea bowl in that I made as a suprise. It has a white Shino glaze with a white oak ash on the outside that turned green. The inside has crawled and stayed white. I also infuse my bowls with reiki energy. I hope you enjoy it.”

 On a smaller green note says” Shinorei”, which I believe is this bowls name. I am curious as to which kanji is used to write it’s name. On another note, I am glad that this came when it did. I have been working on an assignment for Tea classes which I am to create a Problem-free-contemporary tea service. I choose Chanoyu to use as a basis, which I am slowly studying. The tea bowl, I am sure, will inspire such assignment. This gift made my week much better after having an Asthma attack on the way to work Tuesday, I am fine now though as I am taking various medications. I am off to grab a few things so I may work on an art piece this afternoon (after going to Tao Tea Leaf~). 
   I can not thank my friend King Koh enough for this amazeing surprise!

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.