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 balances.

A few decades later, post film school (fueled by herbals like yerba mate), and then after a dozen years producing 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, I got certified as a tea somm with the International Tea Masters Association, discovering a whole new world in the tea plant, camellia sinensis.  A giddiness overcame me during those first tastings. So, I went onwards for various other certifications and then visits with farmers and makers at origin. I am certainly happiest sitting amongst tea elders and friends, sharing the moment. 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... xx RR


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