The Tea Maestro

  • December 16 is the 250th Anniversary of the Boston Tea Party

    March 11, 2023 by

    December 16 marks the anniversary of one of the most iconic events in American history. On that night in 1773, about 150 men disguised their faces and tossed 340 chests of tea from three ships docked in Boston Harbor. The already contentious relationship between the colonists and their English overseers deteriorated even further until April… Read more

  • Frank Lloyd Wright and The Book of Tea

    February 26, 2023 by

    Frank Lloyd Wright was given a copy of The Book of Tea by the Japanese ambassador to the United States. One quote from Okakura Kakuzo’s book influenced the way he interpreted space within his buildings.

  • The Tea Things of Jane Austen

    July 20, 2022 by

    Perhaps you have been watching the new Netflix adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel Persuasion and you wondered about the type of tea her characters drank. Tea historian Bruce Richardson describes the tea habits of Jane Austen and her characters in Regency England.

  • The Tea Things of George Washington

    February 16, 2022 by

    President George Washington loved his teatime so much that he ordered a bachelor tea service from China long before he married. Read tea historian Bruce Richardson’s account of our first president’s tea habits.

  • Is Bottled Tea Actually Healthy?

    February 16, 2022 by

    Are all grocery store green teas created equal? Bruce Richardson explains why homemade green tea can be healthier and less expensive than bottled teas.

  • What Tea Would 007 Drink?

    October 7, 2021 by

    What if Sean Connery as James Bond had been a teetotaler rather than a expert? What tea would he drink to leave us shaken, not stirred?

  • How to Clean a Teapot

    September 1, 2021 by

    Tea Maestro Bruce Richardson shares basic guidance to help you care for your teapot collection.

  • Taking Tea with Mackintosh

    July 1, 2021 by

    The advent of the tearoom came about in 1875 when Glasgow tea retailer Stuart Cranston hit upon a simple idea for encouraging customers to sample his teas. He provided tables and seating for 16 people at his Queen Street store and advertised a cup of China tea “with milk and sugar for two pence–bread and… Read more

  • Who Was Earl Grey?

    April 9, 2021 by

    Earl Grey is a name that has been synonymous with tea drinking for over a century. It ranks at the top of the list of the five most recognized teas in western society. It is, after all, the favorite flavored tea in the world, and its derivatives are legion – Lady Grey, Earl Grey Lavender,… Read more

  • Seven Steps to Making Good Tea

    February 26, 2021 by

    At the conclusion of my lectures, I am often asked, “Can I heat my tea water in a microwave?”  The straight answer is “yes.”  However, my question to the inquirer is, “Will the use of a microwave add to your sense of ritual?” Most tea professionals will forego a microwave in favor of a proper… Read more

  • The 6 BEST TEAS of 2020

    January 11, 2021 by

    As 2020 drew to a close, I looked back on the exceptional teas that came my way throughout the year – even as gardens experienced temporary lockdowns and shipments from Asia encountered delays. While I was unable to visit gardens in person, I continue to search for teas that represent the classic taste profile from… Read more

  • Jane Austen Describes Tea Etiquette in Northanger Abbey

    October 30, 2020 by

    Throughout the novels of Jane Austen, detailed tea scenes help up know the tea rituals of the British upper class in the early 1800s. In Northanger Abbey, Austen sets the stage in the Assembly Rooms of Bath, where Regency-era rules of etiquette leads to an embarrassing situation at the communal tea table.  First, readers must… Read more

  • COVID-19 Locked Down the Tea Gardens in Assam. Then The Floods Came.

    August 11, 2020 by

    The 800 tea gardens of Assam have experienced one of their most challenging growing seasons in history this year. At the outbreak of the COVID-19, the government ordered the shutdown of all tea plucking, fertilizing, and pest management activities for three weeks. That closure slowed the spread of the virus and provided the opportunity to… Read more

  • What Is a Dish of Tea?

    July 2, 2020 by

    It was a common occurrence in the Colonial era to receive an invitation to “share a dish of tea.” In 18th century Boston or Bath, a dish of tea referred to a teacup or tea bowl, containing black or green tea, placed on a saucer.

  • Which Countries Ship the Most Tea to the United States?

    June 18, 2020 by

    Where does America get most of its tea? Statistics just released from the Tea Association of the United States indicate that the major tea producing countries continue their usual rankings in tonnage exported to the U.S.A through the first four months of this year. World tea supplies have seen some disruption as producing countries deal… Read more

  • Look Deeply Into Your Cup of Tea

    May 21, 2020 by

    May 21 is International Tea Day, a day when we believers in the communal cup of humanity gather to spread the good news of our favorite beverage. Teaists are all part of this colorful cult of tea that has simmered worldwide for over a thousand years. Although Westerners are new comers to this global tea… Read more

  • When Monkeys Picked Tea

    May 9, 2020 by

    I received a call a few years ago from an MTV staffer who was producing a story on “manly teas.” He had been offered a monkey-picked oolong in a tea store. He was fascinated about this rare tea and thought it would be appealing for his male audience. “How do they train monkeys to pick… Read more

  • Is Chinese Tea Safe To Drink?

    March 4, 2020 by

    I was in Shanghai between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, just as the first mention of a mysterious virus was beginning to appear in the news. I returned two weeks before travel from China was banned and I continue to stay in touch with Chinese industry officials as well as with importers here in America.… Read more

  • The Dutch First Brought Tea to America

    February 25, 2020 by

    The earliest reference to the use of tea in Holland appears in a letter dated January 2, 1637, from the “Lords XVII,” the name by which the seventeen directors of the Dutch East India Company were popularly known, to the Governor General of Netherlands East India at Batavia. It reads: As tea begins to come… Read more

  • Tea for Thomas Jefferson

    February 16, 2020 by

    Thomas Jefferson was an early “foodie” and his great passion for food and drink included Chinese teas, both black and green.   According to the archives of Monticello, Jefferson’s financial records and correspondence show consistent purchases of tea and provide valuable information about the kinds and amounts of tea he and his family drank. The few… Read more

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