My relationship with tea began at age five, in my Grandma Sharon's kitchen. I wouldn’t settle for less than a cup of my own, because I picked up on a funny little coincidence: that’s clearly when all the good conversations began. We weren’t drinking anything fancy—just tea in bags. And mine was loaded with milk and sugar, something that future-me as a tea sommelier would discourage. But it was warm, malty and sweet, and it let me pick up on a key facet of tea: it is a great connector... and a plant that creates balance.
A few decades later, post film school (fueled by herbals like yerba mate), and then after a dozen years producing film content (where my 6am call-times began with green tea)... and after marrying a British gent (did someone say Earl Grey?)... I sat in my Los Angeles living room, as a newly sleep-deprived mom. I was surrounded by twenty women, and we were drinking puerh tea in ceremony, led by some wonderful Chajin. I loved hosting these teas—even though I was fully delirious... It was a nice way to create space for community, busy lives aside, in stillness and introspection. We sat silent with our tea bowls, and shared reflections... There was laughter and tears and a palpable openness to one another, and to nature.
Pulled to explore tea further, separate from ritual and study in practice, I began certification as a tea sommelier with the International Tea Masters Association, discovering a whole new world in the science and senses of the tea plant, camellia sinensis, which is much like wine. A giddiness overcame me during that first weekend of tastings, and it didn't really go away... So, I went on for various additional certifications... in tea blending with ITEI, as well as advanced tea sommelier coursework with Tea Master Roy Fong, and Oolong studies with Thomas Shu and Josephine Pan, in Taiwan. I've also enjoyed many spirited tea sits with David Lee Hoffman. I am certainly happiest sitting amongst favorite elders, nerdlings, and spiritualists in tea… traveling to new terroir with fellow tea geek friends, tasting teas… meeting the makers... I feel so fortunate to be on this path.
I've only begun my adventures—tea is a true rabbit hole of lifelong learning and gratitude. Anyone devoted to the study and also the practice, will tell you that.
Thanks for stopping by, spirit animal... Let's have tea...