Featured Photo: A cup of tea is served during a Shreveport Tea event in 2015.
In Louisiana, we drink a lot of tea. Especially during the summer. But Garrett Johnson of Shreveport Tea doesn’t want to talk about iced tea, sweet tea, peach tea or your grandmother’s sun tea. He wants to talk about – and drink – a carefully curated selection of loose leaf teas during traditional Chinese gongfu tea ceremonies. Johnson has just announced a series of ten events for the Summer of 2016 called “Gongfu Tea: Making Tea With Skill.” He hopes that these events will increase public appreciation of tea beyond what is commercially available in restaurants and grocery stores.
“What I’m hoping people will take away from this experience is how vast the world of tea is, and how the leaf of one specific plant can be embraced by cultures all over the world and tailored to a region’s specific taste and environment,” Johnson wrote in an e-mail. “For this series, I focused on finding really top-tier teas.”
The 90-minute tea ceremonies, which will be held during weekend afternoons and some weekday evenings, will seat only four people per event. Each event will be held at Shreveport’s Rhino Coffee beginning on June 12 and ending on August 21. See the full list of dates and reserve your space here. Admission is $5 per event and each attendee will receive multiple small cups of each tea being sampled.
I’ve attended a few Shreveport Tea events and have always found them to be fun and educational in a laid-back way. I’d especially recommend these tastings for individuals who are interested in sharpening their palates and learning to appreciate subtle flavors – craft beer enthusiasts, wine lovers and aspiring sommeliers, for example, would benefit a great deal from these events.