How It All Started

            Say you want to learn more about tea, but don’t want to go crazy. You’re intrigued by the varieties to choose from, have heard about the health benefits, and are eager for a taste of something different. What’s this about decaffeinated tea? What about all those blends you hear about? What’s the difference between green and black tea?  With new teashops popping up all over, is tea the new coffee?

            Begin with a brown clay teapot, a, multi-stamped package and a friend of my daughter’s from halfway around the world. Eager to escape dorm life and college food, my daughter brought a new college friend home for a few days. This College Friend sparkled, radiating enthusiasm about everything. When the two sauntered downstairs the next morning, I decided to make my daughter’s favorite of the moment, which happened to be bok choy with tofu. (What can I say, she’s an original.) I thought it only fitting to made a fragrant pot of “Miss Jasmine” tea from Lupicia, a Japanese tea company with stores in California and Hawaii. The CF, all 110 pounds of her, ate everything – and asked for more. Turns out she was a vegetarian from Hong Kong ravenous for something other than pizza and pasta.  As she drank cup after cup of jasmine tea, the leaves unfurling in the pot, she told me that her father also loved tea. “Great,” I said, immensely enjoying her company to the amusement of my daughter.

A few weeks later, the mysterious package arrived – filled with boxes and bags of tea. That spring, we went to visit our daughter and met CF’s parents, who, as described, were dedicated tea enthusiasts, if not scholars of tea. The next morning, CF’s parents gave us the small brown teapot. “They’re famous for this,” said the CF. As CF became a regular at our house, the packages continued. I thought I knew something about tea, but the oolongs — energizing, deep, delicate — the green tea in bright packages– and the strange and alluring bricks of pur-eh showed that I was just a novice. That was years ago. Since then, the world of tea has slowly unfurled its limitless varieties to me – from numerous tastings, meetings, and more recently certification classes at the Specialty Tea Institute.

Yet the more I learned, the idea of an online salon that would be a resource about tea without any affiliation and a forum to talk about anything at all took shape. To paraphrase what Lawrence Durrell said about wine “oiling the tongue,” tea excites the senses, calms the nerves and opens the mind. It’s not only about liquid in a cup.

Why Lilac?

Have you ever met anyone who doesn’t like the haunting aroma of lilacs? Like tea, lilacs come in infinite varieties, but come basically from the same plant. And like tea, the scent of lilacs is unforgettable and both soothes and excites the senses.  Simply put, lilacs often lead people to talk about things beyond flowers.

Send us a “sip” to tell us what is on your mind; read what we have to say and use this as your forum. The Lilac Tea Room is not affiliated with anything other than the pursuit of knowledge about tea and the satisfaction of sharing tips and sips about anything that excites, elevates or even infuriates.