Imagine if the majority of the wines we enjoy weren’t available to us. Instead they were blended and boxed—without an idea of varietal, producer, or vintage. In the Western tea realm, this is very much the mainstream industry’s current reality. Welcome to my little corner, where I share with you an adventure through the specialty tea world, a niche which I’d love to see flourish in greater appreciation here in the West. Because tea, and its hundreds of cultivars, which come from the evergreen bush camellia sinensis (and varietal assamica), historically has many parallel similarities to wine, vitis vinifere. And tea, like wine, depends on myriad and complex factors like bioregional diversity, soil quality, precipitation, garden management, elevation, and manufacturing. The true journey of communing with this dear tea plant actually can and should encompass an exploration in energetic and connective balance, but must begin with knowledge and appreciation. xo, RR

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