The Hague is one of our favorite places to visit on the Euro Tour, as here we can simply talk the language of tea and need no translation. Our events in The Hague are hosted by the International Tea and Coffee Academy, that teaches the new generation of tea and coffee professionals, who have an unimaginably strong interest in tea and ask the most difficult questions.
After a great success last year, this year we decided to stay longer and hold two events: a Japanese Tea Workshop and a Masterclass. While quite a bit of information about the history and different types of tea is readily available, everyone wanted to know more about Japanese tea production and culture – something we have local knowledge and experience of.
Same as last year, we got a difficult question about organic tea. While the word organic is trending nowadays, distinction between organic and conventional is not so white and black. To be honest, agricultural chemicals have an important function – to protect the crop from damage. And even organic production, while really hard, cannot guarantee 100% purity. So maybe instead of chemicals or no chemicals, what we should be asking is how much.
The cultural topic of Japanese tea also got a lot of attention. Everyone was really interested in Japanese tea ceremony and wanted to see the demonstration. Almost 50 people, who came to the Masterclass got into a tight circle around Simona showing a short extract from the tea ceremony, with their phones and cameras to capture every second.
Encouraged by so much enthusiasm from the attendees, Matsu-san even introduced a new idea of a mobile Matcha factory in Europe and had some constructive back and forth with the guests, that will hopefully help to bring it to reality.
We are fantastically grateful to Richard and Deirdre and all ITC Academy team, for such a wonderful chance to meet and talk tea. And by continuing annual events in the ITC as well as having ITC Academy staff and students visit our tea farm in Japan, we are sure the connection will only go stronger.