London is always bubbling with tea, and so going there always feels like coming home. This year we could add some strength to the collaboration with the UK Tea Academy, led by Jane Pettigrew; and went to hold two events at their seminar room in Westminster Kingsway College.
The day started with a Sencha Workshop that was followed by a Matcha Workshop. Both gave an introduction to Japanese tea and its current situation in Japan. That was followed by a practical exercise of either brewing Sencha or whisking Matcha. It was great to see that many people were interested in learning deeper about Japanese tea. And actually, almost everyone decided to participate in both workshops.
Luckily this time we could spend a bit more time with Jane Pettigrew as well. She is always so busy, and we even saw her in a Chinese tea documentary on the airplane. She was generous with her time to go with us for lunch in-between the workshops, and it was wonderful to talk and exchange about the tea situation in Japan and in the UK.
We could also meet many of Obubu internship alumni. Kate Popham who was in Obubu just a few months ago, now teaches for the UK Tea Academy and helped us organize the events. Fiona, Monica, Mark and Ale are all also in the UK, working with tea or trying to keep the connection with tea in some way. Jordan even came from Florida to spend some time with everyone.
There also was some time to explore the tea scene in London. We could meet our good friends Good & Proper Tea, as well as, Tea & Glory, and hear more of how they are doing today and what the tea life in London is. We also could visit Tiosk, a beautiful tea room with whom we started the connection quite recently. It was also interesting to visit some of the tea shops that specialize in a particular kind of tea: My Cup of Tea, that introduces Lithuanian herbal teas in London; Mei Leaf that works mostly with Chinese and Taiwanese teas, as well as Katsute, that focuses on Japanese teas and has created an authentic environment. And what a surprise, we even discovered the East India Company in London, that connects back with the original company that brought tea to Europe a few centuries ago. It is wonderful to see such a variety of tea in London!