Having a (virtual) tea party…

As many countries still have shelter-at-home directives in place, businesses – and people — are finding creative ways to work and stay connected. Even if used before, Zoom, Skype and Microsoft Teams have become critical business tools, while social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook and Tik Tok are helping people interact and feel connected to friends, family and, essentially, the world outside their homes.

The tea industry has routinely offered online training, but associations, schools and businesses have taken their virtual efforts to new levels amid the Covid-19 pandemic. For example, the Tea and Herbal Association of Canada offered a “Tea and Health” webinar earlier this week. The UK Tea Academy’s “classroom” is currently closed, and all courses and events have been postponed, but it announced a new online Tea Foundation Course, which is (oddly) taking place on 12 April — Easter Sunday. For more information, or to register, email: [email protected].

The US-based Specialty Tea Institute (STI) is offering a variety of events to educate and connect with tea enthusiasts. It held its first “Virtual Tea Party” on 31 March, with guests joining via Zoom. This week, in addition to hosting another Virtual Tea Party, STI conducted several webinars such as “Update on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (Covid-19) Response” and “Working Directly with Growers – How Pandemics & Climate Change Are Affecting Tea Trade,” which was held in conjunction with the European Tea Society. The presenter was Elyse Petersen, founder of Tealet, a transparent supply chain for independent tea producers to share information and do efficient trade with the international tea market.

Elyse is also launching the world’s 1st Virtual Tea Festival, which takes place today (9 April) from 11am to 4pm PDT on Tealet’s Facebook page. Presenters will host livestreams and “attendees” are invited – for free – to watch, ask questions and engage with other viewers. Presentations will include tea lectures, tea performances such as ceremonies, tea video screenings, and music performances. A portion of the festival will be dedicated to an interactive tea-drinking session where tea lovers from all over the world will drink tea together and talk in Zoom rooms. “This is a non-commercial event meant to be a fun place for tea lovers to gather,” said Elyse.

For more information, or to participate in the Virtual Tea Festival, visit: (www.facebook.com/Tealet).

So, enjoy a cuppa of your favourite brew while partaking in one of the many virtual tea events being offered to help tea professionals and tea enthusiasts feel engaged and connected while we remain socially distanced.

  • Vanessa L. Facenda, editor Tea & Coffee Trade Journal. She may be contacted via [email protected].

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4 responses to “Having a (virtual) tea party…”

  1. Patricia says:

    To whom it concerns:

    I don’t know if this is the correct platform to voice my question, but as a middle school teacher, I would like to host an online tea party for the mothers in our school of which I think about 20-30 would like to participate. Is there any suggestion, resource, or previous format that anyone has used that would aid me in this endeavor??

    I would appreciate ANY feedback.

    Thank you so very much!


  2. Sally Wei says:

    I am offering my experience to Patricia, regarding the online tea party.
    I’ve hosted a few tea classes for the SF district teachers; each class consists 15-20 people. Most of them are not tea drinkers, so I designed a gathering that they don’t have to worry about where to get their teas. Perfectly measured loose tea teabags (2 -3 kinds of teas per gathering) with instructions on the bags were shipped to them prior to each session.
    The agenda is as follows:
    1. A short and simple tea class was offered, followed by a tea brewing session. Allow discussion to happen with some questions.
    2. Tea cookies or some kind of prepared dessert may be included in the shipment. Or, ask the teachers to prepare some treat for themselves. A tea dessert cooking session can be offered by one of the attendees to raise varieties.
    3. Select a piece of music to enjoy together. I will also include the historical information of that music.
    My session lasts about one hour, and they have been quite popular among the teachers, men or women.
    Thank you for reading. Sincerely, Sally

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