At the beginning of this year Tea&Sympathy was very much in its infancy, having just started up in late 2011.
We set out to curate a range of the less-commonly known but fantastic tasting, small-scale production artisan crafted teas - often sought out by tea enthusiasts. The emphasis is on quality and flavour, and showcasing everything that tea can be.
Education about these teas has also been a focus, as they really are one of Asia’s best-kept secrets, and therefore a relatively new product in the marketplace.
Here are some of the highlights of 2012 ...
In February we collaborated with May King Tsang, one of the USA’s Speciality Tea Institute’s top 50 globally recommended speakers to hold ‘Tea & Terroir’ , a tasting workshop where we focused on the role of terroir in tea.
This workshop was so successful that May King returned in July for the ‘How to of Tea: Make Tea and Taste Tea Like an Expert’. Participants tasted teas from around the world, learned about them, and about the different methods used to brew them, including Gong Fu.
This was a sell out with a waiting list. The workshop went well over time with loads of keen participants generating a lot discussion. Thanks May King!
In May, we hosted the first Melbourne performance of Nonchalant Bombasi-tea by Camellia Cha (aka Anne Norman) in our workshop space. This is a very entertaining tea-centric performance incorporating the mystical sounds of the shakuhachi, many tea tales from the depths of China, and even a Lady Ga Ga spoof.
Throughout the year we’ve held tea and cheese pairing workshops in collaboration with cheese expert Rebecca Rozencwajg. This has been an innovative take on food pairing and a great way to get the word out about these speciality natural products. All participants left the workshops well under 0.05, feeling calm and alert!
Several of Tea&Sympathy’s teas were included on Vue De Monde’s restaurant menu, after Tea Sommelier, Charles Serveau attended on of the tea and cheese pairing workshops. Vue De Monde is not only one of Australia’s best restaurants, but is very serious about tea and is the only restaurant in Australia to engage a Tea Sommelier on its staff.
We also met many tea lovers at the stalls we held at many markets around Melbourne, including Southside Handmade and Vintage Market, Made’n’Thornbury, and the Richmond Weekender.
What’s ahead in 2013
There are already some exciting things in the pipeline for 2013!
There will be more Tea & Cheese workshops, which have become very popular, plus we have a few more collaborations and pairing ideas up our sleeves - so stay close!
We are also thrilled to be partnering with a community mental health organisation to conduct a series of workshops that will promote mental health and wellbeing through tea. We’re looking forward to collaborating with other tea friends, Sarah Cowell (Tea Sommelier), Andrew Yee (Gong Fu tea brewing and Pu’erh tea specialist) and Adam Wojcinski (Japanese Tea Ceremony) to put this together.
We’d love to thank all our partners and customers who have supported Tea&Sympathy in its first year. We look forward to bringing you more great tea and great tea experiences next year and in the years to come!