Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Tea Master class

Last week I finished saying this weeks' post would be about the beginnings of the English Afternoon Tea tradition.  Well, my week has brought other events (not unusual) and I've decided to share them instead.

I earned one of my Tea Master certifications from the American Tea Master Association and since then have become a Licensee of the ATMA.   The American Tea Master Association has appointed me Training Director and I am very excited about this new opportunity.  In this capacity I will be offering Tea Master Classes in Charleston, South Carolina.   I have chosen Charleston for several reasons, it is a beautiful historic city with a nearby airport and it is near the Charleston Tea Plantation; the only tea plantation in the United States.  As part of the on-site course we will include a tour of the Charleston Tea Plantation so that potential Tea Masters will have the opportunity to see what is involved in plucking and processing tea.

The first east coast ATMA class will be a four day conference, beginning on Monday, April 30th through Thursday, May 3rd, 2012.   For more information about becoming a Tea Master please click on this link to the American Tea Master Association.

I am off to Charleston to finalize hotel location arrangements for our spring 2012 ATMA class and will post more information about the class soon.

Happy Tea Times,
Lady Kelly

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Tea Legends

The year 2737 B.C. is when my favorite legend of how tea was first discovered takes place.  Shen Nung, emperor, scholar and herbalist understood that water was safer to drink if it had been boiled.  While sitting under a large bush (can you guess what bush?  That's right, Camelia Sinensis.) a few stray leaves drifted down and fell by chance into the cauldron of water he was boiling.  He tasted the brew, found it refreshingly delicious and recognized it's healthful properties. 

As Reverend Sydney Smith said "Thank God for tea!  What would the world do without tea?  How did it exist?  I am glad I was not born before tea."

Aren't we all grateful that Shen Nung made his discovery?  Since then the love for tea has grown around the world and is the beverage drank most after water.  Many cultures developed tea ceremonies to honor the liquid that refreshes, calms, energizes, clears the mind and offers us many health benefits.  There is the Chinese tea ceremony "Gongfu Cha", the Japanese tea ceremony "The Way of Tea", the Korean tea ceremony "Dayre" and, of course, the English tea ceremony "Afternoon Tea". 

I utilize the Gongfu Cha Chinese Tea Ceremony at my tea tasting events and find it to be almost a meditation.  During the ceremony you study the tea leaves, the aroma, the feel of it in your mouth, admire the liquor and take pleasure in the taste.  The various steps allow you time to relax, focus on the tea and savor all it's facets.  I am always amazed at the subtle differences between teas and inevitably discover new teas to enjoy.

To view an example of the Gongfu Cha Chinese Tea Ceremony watch this youtube video: (if the link doesn't work, you can copy and paste it into your web browser)

To view an example of the Japanese Tea Ceremony watch this youtube video: (if the link doesn't work, you can copy and past it into your web browser)

In my next post I will share how the English Afternoon Tea ceremony began.  Until then, "When in doubt, brew up" and enjoy that cuppa.

Happy Tea Times,
Lady Kelly

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Tea Lover

Growing up I became enamoured of my mother's tea moments.  She would make herself a nice "cuppa" several times a day, take a few moments for herself and just enjoy sipping that cup of tea.  It became a ritual in my eyes and I began at a young age to enjoy a cup of that lovely liquor as well.  I guess I was hooked beginning even then because as I grew older I shared my love of tea with friends, hosting holiday tea parties for them and was told over and over how special it made them feel.

I have lived in England for the past three years and during that time studied the Art of Tea.  I acquired my Tea Master designation from both the U.K. Tea Council and from the American Tea Master Association.  I am the Training Director of the American Tea Master Association hosting classes in Charleston, South Carolina for others who would like to earn the prestigious title of Tea Master.  I am also a certified Tea Hostess and use that training and my past experience to host private tea parties, as well as, fund raisers using the Traditional Afternoon Tea as my venue.

I love tea, the look of the leaves, the aroma, the liquor and of course, the taste.  There are over 10,000 different teas available all from one plant, Camellia Sinensis.  When you savor a cup of properly steeped premium loose-leaf tea I promise you will find the enjoyment of the beverage that stimulates, clears the mind, calms and provides our bodies with many health benefits, and will want to enjoy it over and over again.

In future posts I will share many facets of tea.  The health benefits, how to prepare it properly, the etiquette of proper tea party hosting, suggestions of teas to try and much, much more. I hope you will join me on this tea journey and become another follower of the "Art of Tea".

Happy Tea Times,
Lady Kelly