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Posted by Sashee Chandran

The Tea Drops team enjoyed a wonderful weekend at The Tea Lovers Festival in Pasadena! Spending time with fellow tea lovers re-affirms our connection to community and a passion that only strengthens over shared cups of tea. Aside from being a part of the Tea Lovers Marketplace, we also hosted our very first tea lab over the weekend.The Teatime Around the World Tea & Dessert Lab was such a highlight for me. It was the first tea class I ever taught and was deeply inspired by this Buzzfeed article: This Is What A Cup Of Tea Looks Like In 22 Countries

As I was reading the article I thought,"how awesome would it be to actually be to take a journey around the world and experience the tea traditions and cultures of various countries?!" So inspired were we by this beautiful celebration of history, culture, and tea that we pitched our idea to the Head of the Tea Festival, Kulov, who immediately embraced it. From there, we made our global tea trip very budget friendly at $35 per person! :)

In the weeks leading up to the event, our entire team prepared by researching the fascinating tea cultures, traditions, and history of teatime in our featured countries: China, Japan, Great Britain, India, and Morocco. We also really wanted to make our class an authentic and all-encompassing experience so we treasure-hunted for appropriate teaware and decor true to each country.

Here was our tea & dessert pairing menu for the 1 1/2-hour tasting experience:

China: Tieguanyin Oolong from Autumn 2014 Harvest + Egg Custard Tart + Mooncakes

Japan: Matcha Green Tea Drop + Green Tea/ Red Bean Mochi

Great Britain: Rose Earl Grey Tea Drop + Homemade English Scones

India: Cardamom Spice Tea Drop + Pistachio Barfti 

We were so excited when our class SOLD OUT just a few days before the actual event! And we certainly did not disappoint. We had trays of food and treats and we set up a little place-setting for each guest. We all sat at around a square table where each person socialized with their neighbors and shared in the communal convention of having to self-serving their teas/treats. Seeing everyone at the table laughing, eating, and reminded me why I fell in love with tea in the first place -- tea's ability to bring people together in a shared experience is undeniable and endlessly humbling! 

Some of the goodies at our beautiful and delicious teatime trip around the world!

We started with China where the tea originated. We then ordered our tour, traveling to the countries with the longest history of tea first and culminating with the ones that possess the youngest presence of tea: Japan, GB, India, and ending with Morocco. For every country we shared some very interesting historical and cultural highlights. If you are curious to learn more, here are the full-length handouts that survey the culture of tea in each country:

The time flew by, in fact we went way over our hour-and-a-half window. We were getting lost in each country. When we parted, the mutual feedback from that it was a delightful and fun afternoon spent together. People were very full, almost in a blissful food-slash-tea coma. Many commented that it was like taking a trip around the world, without having to pay a fortune, which was music to our ears! We felt that we had accomplished our goal.

For us, it was another extention to do what we love to do most -- fostering community and connection through the shared experience of drinking tea. Thank you for joining us on this magnificent journey and we hope to see all of you next year. Tea Drop on!

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