About Me Katherine Bellman

Monday, February 10, 2014

  Welcome to Camellia Sinensis: Salon de Thé in downtown Montreal. The day after the Ottawa Tea Festival I finally had my chance to visit this lovely store. Back in 2010, I asked a friend to get me a few teas as they were visiting the area. They were also as blown away as I was at the end of November last year.
     The day prior at the Ottawa tea festival , I had the pleasure to meet Kevin Gascoyne. We chatted about the Toronto Tea Festival and about the store locations within Montreal. It was a great honour to talk to him face to face and visit his Salon the next day.

The location I spent the most time at was on Rue Émery, one side is the tea shop and the other is a cafe. On the shop side I was greeted by the warm colours and delicious displays of tea ware. I left with a tray for ryakubon and tea, Matcha Sendo. After finalizing my purchase, I made my way over to the Salon side.

The space was full but still maintained its calm meditative feel. Patrons were chatting with friends, studying, reading or simply enjoying the atmosphere of the space. Once I was seated I was served a sample of tea and handed the menu to look over. Each table was given a small bell to ring once you were ready to order.
  For this visit I decided to enjoy Sensha Nagashima and a selection of Japanese sweets. While waiting for my order I took in the space, warmth of the colours around me washed over. It felt like a home away from home. The space was lightly decorated my various artifacts from tea growing regions around the world. It was very hard to not touch them.
    My tea arrived and I could not wait to start brewing this delicious selection of sencha. The grassiness was balanced with the sweetness that quickly came. Perfect development in the mouth. Paired with the quickly devoured Japanese sweets it made for a perfect evening. 
    I quite enjoyed that the service was focused on quality rather than speed of other establishments, it matched the atmosphere very well. Everything was simplified for quests right down to the amount of teas on the menu, which I must say should be between 15-20. This made it very easy for the Salon to be stocked with these teas at all times. 
       If you are looking for a quiet moment in the busy downtown of Montreal, I highly suggest making your way over to this establishment for some well deserved R&R, your taste buds will thank you.




  Welcome to Camellia Sinensis: Salon de Thé in downtown Montreal. The day after the Ottawa Tea Festival I finally had my chance to visit this lovely store. Back in 2010, I asked a friend to get me a few teas as they were visiting the area. They were also as blown away as I was at the end of November last year.
     The day prior at the Ottawa tea festival , I had the pleasure to meet Kevin Gascoyne. We chatted about the Toronto Tea Festival and about the store locations within Montreal. It was a great honour to talk to him face to face and visit his Salon the next day.

The location I spent the most time at was on Rue Émery, one side is the tea shop and the other is a cafe. On the shop side I was greeted by the warm colours and delicious displays of tea ware. I left with a tray for ryakubon and tea, Matcha Sendo. After finalizing my purchase, I made my way over to the Salon side.

The space was full but still maintained its calm meditative feel. Patrons were chatting with friends, studying, reading or simply enjoying the atmosphere of the space. Once I was seated I was served a sample of tea and handed the menu to look over. Each table was given a small bell to ring once you were ready to order.
  For this visit I decided to enjoy Sensha Nagashima and a selection of Japanese sweets. While waiting for my order I took in the space, warmth of the colours around me washed over. It felt like a home away from home. The space was lightly decorated my various artifacts from tea growing regions around the world. It was very hard to not touch them.
    My tea arrived and I could not wait to start brewing this delicious selection of sencha. The grassiness was balanced with the sweetness that quickly came. Perfect development in the mouth. Paired with the quickly devoured Japanese sweets it made for a perfect evening. 
    I quite enjoyed that the service was focused on quality rather than speed of other establishments, it matched the atmosphere very well. Everything was simplified for quests right down to the amount of teas on the menu, which I must say should be between 15-20. This made it very easy for the Salon to be stocked with these teas at all times. 
       If you are looking for a quiet moment in the busy downtown of Montreal, I highly suggest making your way over to this establishment for some well deserved R&R, your taste buds will thank you.




Monday, February 3, 2014

    

  Marketing should be taught in high school and higher levels of education. We market ourselves when we submit a resume, cover letter or network at a gallery opening. The new system is all about selling yourself. As an artist I was only just learning more about branding myself as the last days passed in University. Over time I have taught myself some skills and  continue to learn.  I wanted to share with you some great points that you should try out and see what fits for your own marketing efforts. These also apply to small businesses but I would suggest researching and creating a plan for all marketing/branding material before starting. This will save you a lot of time should there be a company that has a similar logo design from you. 

   
1- Be Social
      If you don't already have a few key social media accounts (Facebook, twitter, G+) then you need them. Being active on these accounts will boost the chance you have to show up in a google search. It also is great material for requiters to get to know you. The point is these are the places to be you, but be professional about it.  So before you post that picture of yourself last night at the bar wasted, think, Do I want potential employers to see this? I didn't think so. 

2- Start a blog
      This is very important for everyone. Blogging lets you express your ideas and if used right can help show your expertise in your field. The key thing here is to be humble and admit when you don't know the answer to something. Everyone honours honesty above everything else.  

3- Create Business cards
      I strongly believe that everyone should have this, no matter who you are! How great does it look when you are at a gallery opening or networking event and you exchange cards. Not only will the other party has your contact information, but you can have your blog address on there for them as well! These are important for anytime you meet someone.

4- Get away from your studio/computer
          Getting out and attending gallery openings is a great way to reset and inspire yourself. Although the key to attending gallery openings is to have your cards with you. Being social at these events helps you build your network. If you find someone who works in the same medium as you, having them in your network is invaluable. If you ever run into a problem you can ask them how they solved it. This also applies to small businesses as well. Create your own network to help eachother out. Finding out where to get the best deal on a POS system is hard
    
5- Be ambitious create a website
       Connect your website to your blog, this comes after starting a blog as it creates a following that would be interested in your page. Your website will be your online home for your portfolio, shop or library of literary works. What ever you decide it to be make sure you submit the url to top search engines to start getting traffic from these sources. 
  Make sure you have a simple design that lets viewers navigate easily, have a few friends check it out and give their honest feedback. 

    

  Marketing should be taught in high school and higher levels of education. We market ourselves when we submit a resume, cover letter or network at a gallery opening. The new system is all about selling yourself. As an artist I was only just learning more about branding myself as the last days passed in University. Over time I have taught myself some skills and  continue to learn.  I wanted to share with you some great points that you should try out and see what fits for your own marketing efforts. These also apply to small businesses but I would suggest researching and creating a plan for all marketing/branding material before starting. This will save you a lot of time should there be a company that has a similar logo design from you. 

   
1- Be Social
      If you don't already have a few key social media accounts (Facebook, twitter, G+) then you need them. Being active on these accounts will boost the chance you have to show up in a google search. It also is great material for requiters to get to know you. The point is these are the places to be you, but be professional about it.  So before you post that picture of yourself last night at the bar wasted, think, Do I want potential employers to see this? I didn't think so. 

2- Start a blog
      This is very important for everyone. Blogging lets you express your ideas and if used right can help show your expertise in your field. The key thing here is to be humble and admit when you don't know the answer to something. Everyone honours honesty above everything else.  

3- Create Business cards
      I strongly believe that everyone should have this, no matter who you are! How great does it look when you are at a gallery opening or networking event and you exchange cards. Not only will the other party has your contact information, but you can have your blog address on there for them as well! These are important for anytime you meet someone.

4- Get away from your studio/computer
          Getting out and attending gallery openings is a great way to reset and inspire yourself. Although the key to attending gallery openings is to have your cards with you. Being social at these events helps you build your network. If you find someone who works in the same medium as you, having them in your network is invaluable. If you ever run into a problem you can ask them how they solved it. This also applies to small businesses as well. Create your own network to help eachother out. Finding out where to get the best deal on a POS system is hard
    
5- Be ambitious create a website
       Connect your website to your blog, this comes after starting a blog as it creates a following that would be interested in your page. Your website will be your online home for your portfolio, shop or library of literary works. What ever you decide it to be make sure you submit the url to top search engines to start getting traffic from these sources. 
  Make sure you have a simple design that lets viewers navigate easily, have a few friends check it out and give their honest feedback. 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014


   Small businesses put in a lot of love for their customers and always make sure you are #1 on their list. Which little things do they do while keeping us in mind? Here is a list of points that shows the contributions that small tea businesses make just for you.


1. Support yourself: When you buy from an independent, locally owned business rather than a nationally owned business, significantly more of your money is used to make purchases from other local businesses, service providers and farms - continuing to strengthen the economic base of your community.

2. Support community groups: Non-profit organizations receive an average of 250% more support from smaller business owners than they do from larger businesses.

3. Keep our community unique: Where we shop and where we eat and have 
fun is what makes our community home. Our one-of-a-kind businesses add to what makes our community distinct and original. Our tourism businesses also benefit - when people go on vacation they generally seek out destinations that offer them the sense of being somewhere different.

4. Reduce environmental impact: Locally owned businesses can make more local purchases requiring less transportation. They generally set up shop in town or in city centres as opposed to developing on the fringe. This generally means contributing less to sprawl, congestion, habitat loss and pollution.

5. Create more good jobs: Small local businesses are the largest employers nationally and in our community, provide the most jobs to residents.

6. Get better service: Local businesses often hire people with a better understanding of the products they are selling and take more time to get to know their customers. 

7. Invest in community: Local businesses are owned by people who live in your community, are less likely to leave, and are more invested in your community’s future.

8. Put your taxes to good use: Local businesses in town centres require less infrastructure and make more efficient use of public services compared to nationally owned stores entering the community.

9. Buy what you want: A marketplace of tens of thousands of small businesses is the best way to ensure innovation and low prices over the long term.  A multitude of small businesses, each selecting products based not on a national sales plan but on their own interests and the needs of their local customers guarantees a much broader range of product choices specific to your needs.

10. Encourage local prosperity: Entrepreneurs and skilled workers are more likely to invest and settle in communities that preserve their one-of-a-kind businesses and distinctive character.
    
(Via. Sawadee Tea House )


   Small businesses put in a lot of love for their customers and always make sure you are #1 on their list. Which little things do they do while keeping us in mind? Here is a list of points that shows the contributions that small tea businesses make just for you.


1. Support yourself: When you buy from an independent, locally owned business rather than a nationally owned business, significantly more of your money is used to make purchases from other local businesses, service providers and farms - continuing to strengthen the economic base of your community.

2. Support community groups: Non-profit organizations receive an average of 250% more support from smaller business owners than they do from larger businesses.

3. Keep our community unique: Where we shop and where we eat and have 
fun is what makes our community home. Our one-of-a-kind businesses add to what makes our community distinct and original. Our tourism businesses also benefit - when people go on vacation they generally seek out destinations that offer them the sense of being somewhere different.

4. Reduce environmental impact: Locally owned businesses can make more local purchases requiring less transportation. They generally set up shop in town or in city centres as opposed to developing on the fringe. This generally means contributing less to sprawl, congestion, habitat loss and pollution.

5. Create more good jobs: Small local businesses are the largest employers nationally and in our community, provide the most jobs to residents.

6. Get better service: Local businesses often hire people with a better understanding of the products they are selling and take more time to get to know their customers. 

7. Invest in community: Local businesses are owned by people who live in your community, are less likely to leave, and are more invested in your community’s future.

8. Put your taxes to good use: Local businesses in town centres require less infrastructure and make more efficient use of public services compared to nationally owned stores entering the community.

9. Buy what you want: A marketplace of tens of thousands of small businesses is the best way to ensure innovation and low prices over the long term.  A multitude of small businesses, each selecting products based not on a national sales plan but on their own interests and the needs of their local customers guarantees a much broader range of product choices specific to your needs.

10. Encourage local prosperity: Entrepreneurs and skilled workers are more likely to invest and settle in communities that preserve their one-of-a-kind businesses and distinctive character.
    
(Via. Sawadee Tea House )

Sunday, January 19, 2014


    Taiwan black teas were first created from fields that were created during Japanese occupationTodays review is of Easy Tea Hard Choice. They choice focuses on Taiwanese teas and ensures that every tea is vacuum sealed for the day it is finished. The teas are very fresh and each has their own unique notes.



Four Seasons
   Dry leaves, sweet apples and fresh plum.  Wet leaves also held a similar smell with a touch of a toasty smell. It reminds me of thanksgiving cooking and being with family.  The taste has hints of caramel and cinnamon apples. It has a creamy texture that is cool that coats your mouth. The longer you sip it you find notes of freshly baked bread and apples.


Red Rhythm Black Tea
   Dry leaves have notes of sweet grapes or white wine. Wet leaves smell like cooked green grapes.  The taste reminds me  of white wine. It is fruity initially, then has a tannic bite that dissipates.



Red Jade Black Tea
    Dry leaves, white grapes. Wet leaves, apples, Chinese white peach. Grapes. Taste cools the mouth. Grapes taste with apple taste under notes. Smells like Bai Hao oolong. Mouth eventually feels dry, that reminds me of the muscatel in Indian teas.





 




    Taiwan black teas were first created from fields that were created during Japanese occupationTodays review is of Easy Tea Hard Choice. They choice focuses on Taiwanese teas and ensures that every tea is vacuum sealed for the day it is finished. The teas are very fresh and each has their own unique notes.



Four Seasons
   Dry leaves, sweet apples and fresh plum.  Wet leaves also held a similar smell with a touch of a toasty smell. It reminds me of thanksgiving cooking and being with family.  The taste has hints of caramel and cinnamon apples. It has a creamy texture that is cool that coats your mouth. The longer you sip it you find notes of freshly baked bread and apples.


Red Rhythm Black Tea
   Dry leaves have notes of sweet grapes or white wine. Wet leaves smell like cooked green grapes.  The taste reminds me  of white wine. It is fruity initially, then has a tannic bite that dissipates.



Red Jade Black Tea
    Dry leaves, white grapes. Wet leaves, apples, Chinese white peach. Grapes. Taste cools the mouth. Grapes taste with apple taste under notes. Smells like Bai Hao oolong. Mouth eventually feels dry, that reminds me of the muscatel in Indian teas.





 



Tuesday, January 14, 2014

 Every tea drinker wants to ensure they always have their favorite tea with them at all times. Now for someone obsessed with tea, I bet that is most of us, we need more than one type.  While packing for Halifax I packed my tea first and thought of an easy way to make it where ever I am.
     In a box I packed up all the teas I thought I might want. This included a few kinds of matcha, samples from various companies and a tea cake.

    The vessel I picked out was my tumbler from the Camilla Sinensis that I got at the Ottawa Tea Festival while talking to Kevin Gascoyne. The exterior is coated in bamboo with a stainless steel inside. The infuser opens up to hold any type of loose leaf tea and screwes closed.

Here are a few other options for brewing:

1- Paper Tea filters
       These are great, even for when introducing others to loose leaf tea. It's close to how a tea bag works but allows you to choose your tea. My favorite kind is by Finnum, the extra long ones are great for all teas and for a teapot.

2-  Travel gaiwan set
        Sadly, mine broke while packing, but they are super handy. They come with a small fair cup to decant your tea into and several cups so that A great site I found  in Toronto is from Tao Tea Leaf.It is great for trips .

3. Double walled travel infuser
     These babies are a fantastic way to bring tea with you, even to work. Libre is a great Canadian company that has a plastic wall on the exterior and glass on the inside. This way it keeps your hand cool while keeping the temperature inside.
     

 Every tea drinker wants to ensure they always have their favorite tea with them at all times. Now for someone obsessed with tea, I bet that is most of us, we need more than one type.  While packing for Halifax I packed my tea first and thought of an easy way to make it where ever I am.
     In a box I packed up all the teas I thought I might want. This included a few kinds of matcha, samples from various companies and a tea cake.

    The vessel I picked out was my tumbler from the Camilla Sinensis that I got at the Ottawa Tea Festival while talking to Kevin Gascoyne. The exterior is coated in bamboo with a stainless steel inside. The infuser opens up to hold any type of loose leaf tea and screwes closed.

Here are a few other options for brewing:

1- Paper Tea filters
       These are great, even for when introducing others to loose leaf tea. It's close to how a tea bag works but allows you to choose your tea. My favorite kind is by Finnum, the extra long ones are great for all teas and for a teapot.

2-  Travel gaiwan set
        Sadly, mine broke while packing, but they are super handy. They come with a small fair cup to decant your tea into and several cups so that A great site I found  in Toronto is from Tao Tea Leaf.It is great for trips .

3. Double walled travel infuser
     These babies are a fantastic way to bring tea with you, even to work. Libre is a great Canadian company that has a plastic wall on the exterior and glass on the inside. This way it keeps your hand cool while keeping the temperature inside.
     


    A few weeks ago I made a choice to start my life fresh. After I decided this I had the opportunity to come to Halifax and I applied for positions in customer service. After being out of art school for 4 years, it became evident that I always need structure. The place I find the most structure is in having a job, but I am turning 27 later this year. It was time to face reality that the positions I was in previously were not a career to support a family I could have in the future.
   This does not mean I will stop creating or writing to Tea Journey but I will have further opportunities to share a wider world with you all. If you are considering a day job to help you on your creative journey, perhaps my points will help you.

1- You need a constant income to create
       The reality is that I am still an emerging artist, even after self teaching myself marketing along the way. Coming home from work to create, to my second job, was relaxing and fulfilling.  Having an income made me feel safe and kept the roof over my head. The great part is, you may have enough for either a larger apartment or an outside studio.

2- You have time to think about your next step away from the studio and see people regularly
       Having the chance to work with others is very great tool for an artist. It takes the anti-social stereotype away from you and gain respect in its place. Through conversations with others through the course of your day, they can inspire you and feed your work. It's the other "food" which  as artists and humans, we need to thrive.

3- With time management you always have time to create
         My time is important to me, and money is time. Also, time is money. Structuring your time helps you have it. If your apartment is a mess and you need to create which are you going to do? Create first and clean latter or the opposite? Your third option, when you have a regular income, is to pay someone else to come and clean for you. It gives you back your time for things you enjoy.
    That was just one example, scheduling your posts for social media helps as well. It allows you to continue to have an online presence, just make sure you reply to questions as soon as you can. The scheduler on your phone can help you break down tasks as well.

4-  Use your vacation time to be inspired and find new venues
          I will admit to only taking vacation once while working for Teaopia/Teavana and I miss it. The time I had was used to focus on my work (and blog) as well as visit my hometown to inspire myself.  With a career, I want to visit other provinces and states, having the time to meet other artists and tea professionals. It would not only feed you as a person, but also for your second job as a creative individual.

5- Learn new skills while you work
    At every position I had in the past, I learned something new from the job and from my peers. Without my peers at Teaopia I would not have learned about the laws that protected me as a tenant in my apartment. It saved me imposing  on a friend for too long after the fire at my first apartment. They also taught me how to start filing taxes as an artist.
    There is always something new to learn, either through work or taking classes. Constant improvement is important for anyone to become a better version of you.
 


    A few weeks ago I made a choice to start my life fresh. After I decided this I had the opportunity to come to Halifax and I applied for positions in customer service. After being out of art school for 4 years, it became evident that I always need structure. The place I find the most structure is in having a job, but I am turning 27 later this year. It was time to face reality that the positions I was in previously were not a career to support a family I could have in the future.
   This does not mean I will stop creating or writing to Tea Journey but I will have further opportunities to share a wider world with you all. If you are considering a day job to help you on your creative journey, perhaps my points will help you.

1- You need a constant income to create
       The reality is that I am still an emerging artist, even after self teaching myself marketing along the way. Coming home from work to create, to my second job, was relaxing and fulfilling.  Having an income made me feel safe and kept the roof over my head. The great part is, you may have enough for either a larger apartment or an outside studio.

2- You have time to think about your next step away from the studio and see people regularly
       Having the chance to work with others is very great tool for an artist. It takes the anti-social stereotype away from you and gain respect in its place. Through conversations with others through the course of your day, they can inspire you and feed your work. It's the other "food" which  as artists and humans, we need to thrive.

3- With time management you always have time to create
         My time is important to me, and money is time. Also, time is money. Structuring your time helps you have it. If your apartment is a mess and you need to create which are you going to do? Create first and clean latter or the opposite? Your third option, when you have a regular income, is to pay someone else to come and clean for you. It gives you back your time for things you enjoy.
    That was just one example, scheduling your posts for social media helps as well. It allows you to continue to have an online presence, just make sure you reply to questions as soon as you can. The scheduler on your phone can help you break down tasks as well.

4-  Use your vacation time to be inspired and find new venues
          I will admit to only taking vacation once while working for Teaopia/Teavana and I miss it. The time I had was used to focus on my work (and blog) as well as visit my hometown to inspire myself.  With a career, I want to visit other provinces and states, having the time to meet other artists and tea professionals. It would not only feed you as a person, but also for your second job as a creative individual.

5- Learn new skills while you work
    At every position I had in the past, I learned something new from the job and from my peers. Without my peers at Teaopia I would not have learned about the laws that protected me as a tenant in my apartment. It saved me imposing  on a friend for too long after the fire at my first apartment. They also taught me how to start filing taxes as an artist.
    There is always something new to learn, either through work or taking classes. Constant improvement is important for anyone to become a better version of you.
 

Monday, January 6, 2014


After spending good money on a match it is nice to know it will stay fresh till you are ready to use it. The easiest way to keep it tasting as it should be very simple and it's easy to do.

 The trick is to store sealed matcha in the freezer. Although the freezer can be the worst location if the proper preparation is not taken. We do not want our matcha to taste like the various foods in there do we?

   To prevent this, the first thing you will need is a tightly sealed container. This will protect your tea from absorbing smells in the freezer. Thereafter it's a simple matter of finding a place for it in your freezer. I tend to store mine on the door of a fridge freezer for easy access.
 
  If you need the tea, make sure you take it out at least 15-20 minutes before so it can adjust back to room temperature. Put the kettle on, it's tea time!
           
               Follow me for more @bellmanart  /katherine.bellmanart 
Don't forget to follow this blog.  Join the Tea Team!


After spending good money on a match it is nice to know it will stay fresh till you are ready to use it. The easiest way to keep it tasting as it should be very simple and it's easy to do.

 The trick is to store sealed matcha in the freezer. Although the freezer can be the worst location if the proper preparation is not taken. We do not want our matcha to taste like the various foods in there do we?

   To prevent this, the first thing you will need is a tightly sealed container. This will protect your tea from absorbing smells in the freezer. Thereafter it's a simple matter of finding a place for it in your freezer. I tend to store mine on the door of a fridge freezer for easy access.
 
  If you need the tea, make sure you take it out at least 15-20 minutes before so it can adjust back to room temperature. Put the kettle on, it's tea time!
           
               Follow me for more @bellmanart  /katherine.bellmanart 
Don't forget to follow this blog.  Join the Tea Team!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

With 2014 finally here, it is time to look back at the best of 2013 together. With the new year beginning today we need to start things off on the right foot together with tea. My goal is to make Tea Journey a fun place to learn about tea, art and  all things connected to them. This year is going to be an adventure to remember for years to come, now it's time to look over my favorite posts from 2013.
______________________________________________________

Japanese Tea Books

The number one thing I am passionate about telling people I meet is that I love Japan and its culture. Being a Canadian there is only 146 years of history to learn about, with Japan there is over 2000 years to drool over.  Part of that history is the cultivation of tea and its own culture with it.  These books each give their own insight into Japan's personal world with tea itself.


Tea- Shirt Shop OPEN!

 As an artist and designer, I always love to give something back to those around me. My secret project completed and I was able to present you with the first design for Tea- Shirts on Spreadshirt. 
   With new beginnings starting with 2014 I can not wait to release the next design!





Teavana neighborhood store: Hit or Miss?

Teavana did it, they created a master piece in the heart of Manhattan. I was very pleased to know it was happening and eagerly waited to hear from my old colleagues in NYC. Who could not be blown away by their artful ceiling of.... TEA!

    This store marked the beginning of something new in the tea world, let's see what happens in 2014~




  Being a Tea Sommelier to me means that you need to keep learning every day. I took the exam not only to complete my journey with the program but to push myself to study intensively and gain new knowledge.
   This guide is perfect if you wish to do the exam or even just to learn a bit more about the complexities and subtleties of teas.


Which posts were your top 3? Comment below, much love.
-Kat xxooo
__________________________________________________________________________

Follow me for more @bellmanart  /katherine.bellmanart 
Don't forget to follow this blog.  Join the Tea Team!

With 2014 finally here, it is time to look back at the best of 2013 together. With the new year beginning today we need to start things off on the right foot together with tea. My goal is to make Tea Journey a fun place to learn about tea, art and  all things connected to them. This year is going to be an adventure to remember for years to come, now it's time to look over my favorite posts from 2013.
______________________________________________________

Japanese Tea Books

The number one thing I am passionate about telling people I meet is that I love Japan and its culture. Being a Canadian there is only 146 years of history to learn about, with Japan there is over 2000 years to drool over.  Part of that history is the cultivation of tea and its own culture with it.  These books each give their own insight into Japan's personal world with tea itself.


Tea- Shirt Shop OPEN!

 As an artist and designer, I always love to give something back to those around me. My secret project completed and I was able to present you with the first design for Tea- Shirts on Spreadshirt. 
   With new beginnings starting with 2014 I can not wait to release the next design!





Teavana neighborhood store: Hit or Miss?

Teavana did it, they created a master piece in the heart of Manhattan. I was very pleased to know it was happening and eagerly waited to hear from my old colleagues in NYC. Who could not be blown away by their artful ceiling of.... TEA!

    This store marked the beginning of something new in the tea world, let's see what happens in 2014~




  Being a Tea Sommelier to me means that you need to keep learning every day. I took the exam not only to complete my journey with the program but to push myself to study intensively and gain new knowledge.
   This guide is perfect if you wish to do the exam or even just to learn a bit more about the complexities and subtleties of teas.


Which posts were your top 3? Comment below, much love.
-Kat xxooo
__________________________________________________________________________

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Thursday, December 26, 2013

 We are now on week four and the conclusion to our taste experiment. The Fourth  in series of matcha tastings to see if taste, location and price equal up to a good quality tea. Kohei from Tales of Japanese Tea wrote  matcha is not about price or origin , which made me want to do this little experiment. The previous three posts can be found here, here and here. It's Christmas so let's have some tea (by the way the Doctor Who Christmas Special is on~)!
     
     This weeks tea is very unique. Maiko Tea was introduced to me during my Tea Sommelier classes earlier this year. Shortly after I was talking to Dr.Ralph Faerber who taught me many new things about matcha and  Japanese Teas. 
        This matcha I bought is called "Kyo Mukashi". The package depicts a Maiko on the box and tin with a double lid.  Maiko Tea is located in Uji, Kyoto, Japan. The cost was about $13.72 CDN, very decent cost for much a tea.
     
   It had a creamy thick foam sweet, Very smooth lingering taste. I did find a  slight sweet lemon taste behind it all, quite a pleasant surprise. Very vivid green and a tea that held together very well. 
   
   This tea was very different as it had a low cost, great taste and was from Uji. After these four experiments, I feel that you can find something that has a great taste for a low cost. You just need to try different ones to find it. Over all I feel that this tea is my favourite out of the four we tried together, but I still will be looking for new ones to try. After all there are so many different teas in the world and so little time to experience them all. 

Which matcha is your "go to" matcha and why?
____________________________________________________________________________
Follow me for more @bellmanart  /katherine.bellmanart 
Don't forget to follow this blog.  Join the Tea Team!



 We are now on week four and the conclusion to our taste experiment. The Fourth  in series of matcha tastings to see if taste, location and price equal up to a good quality tea. Kohei from Tales of Japanese Tea wrote  matcha is not about price or origin , which made me want to do this little experiment. The previous three posts can be found here, here and here. It's Christmas so let's have some tea (by the way the Doctor Who Christmas Special is on~)!
     
     This weeks tea is very unique. Maiko Tea was introduced to me during my Tea Sommelier classes earlier this year. Shortly after I was talking to Dr.Ralph Faerber who taught me many new things about matcha and  Japanese Teas. 
        This matcha I bought is called "Kyo Mukashi". The package depicts a Maiko on the box and tin with a double lid.  Maiko Tea is located in Uji, Kyoto, Japan. The cost was about $13.72 CDN, very decent cost for much a tea.
     
   It had a creamy thick foam sweet, Very smooth lingering taste. I did find a  slight sweet lemon taste behind it all, quite a pleasant surprise. Very vivid green and a tea that held together very well. 
   
   This tea was very different as it had a low cost, great taste and was from Uji. After these four experiments, I feel that you can find something that has a great taste for a low cost. You just need to try different ones to find it. Over all I feel that this tea is my favourite out of the four we tried together, but I still will be looking for new ones to try. After all there are so many different teas in the world and so little time to experience them all. 

Which matcha is your "go to" matcha and why?
____________________________________________________________________________
Follow me for more @bellmanart  /katherine.bellmanart 
Don't forget to follow this blog.  Join the Tea Team!



Monday, December 23, 2013

Japanese Tea Books curated collection by Katherine Bellman

   I have always loved a good book as I sip my tea. The books I would love to introduce you all to are all Japanese Tea themed in nature. Japanese tea and literature has always given me the feeling of a meditation, calmness and serenity. I hope these books give you the same peace as it does for me.
____________________________________________

Japanese Tea Books curated collection by Katherine BellmanThe Book of Tea by Kakuzo Okakura- Written in 1906, I found Okakura enlightening and gave a unique perspective of the time. He was brought up in Japan then was given a thorough Western education as opposed to the traditions of his own culture.  He then connects with the traditions and allows us to see and understand the traditions and his opinion of the changes in Japan at the time. Western education had become a priority households and traditions were left behind, this reminds me of  the many cultures around us. I am a big history fan, especially with tea and Japan, this book was very moving when he connects the development of tea to the development of art. Two of my favourite things in life together.                                                                                                                                                                                                     Tea Life , Tea Mind is written by the former Iemoto of Urasenke. Iemoto is like a father or head teacher of the tea school. He inspired me through his words in this book. He urges us to not only learn about tea but to live it through our daily life. By recalling memories from his life and tales from the life of Sen Rikyu's Grandson, Sen Soutan. With these stories he breaks them down from their Zen parable like wording to make the reader feel on the same level as him. This book inspired me to focus on the four virtues of Sen Rikyu. Wa (Harmony), Ka(Respect), Sei (Purty) and Jaku (Tranquility). I plan to get each character written down my back as I understand them through tea.                                                                                                                                                                                               The Simplest way of Japanese Tea Ceremony- Japanese Tea Ceremony can seem overwhelming but it does not need to be. This book comes with a DVD video to help you see the steps to making matcha in a very simple way. It takes the bare bones and allows anyone to prepare matcha in no time. I added this one to my collection as it is written in both Japanese and English for all text, it helps me recognize which kanji are for tea and learn Japanese from a unique angle.                                                                                                                                     The One Taste of Truth caught my eye while looking through the Philosophy section at Chapters. One could say that it should have been in the religion section as it deconstructs Dao and Zen proverbs throughout history. As both followings are very philosophical and dense, I will admit it is hard for me to follow the most of the stories with in the book. Although I hope that returning to it again after gaining some wisdom through life will allow me to read it with a new perspective in the future.


 Most books can be purchased through Chapters or Amazon, with exception of  The Simplest Way of Japanese Tea Ceremony. This one I obtained from Karen Hartwick of Stratford Tea Leaves. 
   All books are my own and were purchased to further my education of Tea and the traditions behind it.
________________________________________________________________________________

Follow me for more @bellmanart  /katherine.bellmanart 
Don't forget to follow this blog.  Join the Tea Team!

Japanese Tea Books curated collection by Katherine Bellman

   I have always loved a good book as I sip my tea. The books I would love to introduce you all to are all Japanese Tea themed in nature. Japanese tea and literature has always given me the feeling of a meditation, calmness and serenity. I hope these books give you the same peace as it does for me.
____________________________________________

Japanese Tea Books curated collection by Katherine BellmanThe Book of Tea by Kakuzo Okakura- Written in 1906, I found Okakura enlightening and gave a unique perspective of the time. He was brought up in Japan then was given a thorough Western education as opposed to the traditions of his own culture.  He then connects with the traditions and allows us to see and understand the traditions and his opinion of the changes in Japan at the time. Western education had become a priority households and traditions were left behind, this reminds me of  the many cultures around us. I am a big history fan, especially with tea and Japan, this book was very moving when he connects the development of tea to the development of art. Two of my favourite things in life together.                                                                                                                                                                                                     Tea Life , Tea Mind is written by the former Iemoto of Urasenke. Iemoto is like a father or head teacher of the tea school. He inspired me through his words in this book. He urges us to not only learn about tea but to live it through our daily life. By recalling memories from his life and tales from the life of Sen Rikyu's Grandson, Sen Soutan. With these stories he breaks them down from their Zen parable like wording to make the reader feel on the same level as him. This book inspired me to focus on the four virtues of Sen Rikyu. Wa (Harmony), Ka(Respect), Sei (Purty) and Jaku (Tranquility). I plan to get each character written down my back as I understand them through tea.                                                                                                                                                                                               The Simplest way of Japanese Tea Ceremony- Japanese Tea Ceremony can seem overwhelming but it does not need to be. This book comes with a DVD video to help you see the steps to making matcha in a very simple way. It takes the bare bones and allows anyone to prepare matcha in no time. I added this one to my collection as it is written in both Japanese and English for all text, it helps me recognize which kanji are for tea and learn Japanese from a unique angle.                                                                                                                                     The One Taste of Truth caught my eye while looking through the Philosophy section at Chapters. One could say that it should have been in the religion section as it deconstructs Dao and Zen proverbs throughout history. As both followings are very philosophical and dense, I will admit it is hard for me to follow the most of the stories with in the book. Although I hope that returning to it again after gaining some wisdom through life will allow me to read it with a new perspective in the future.


 Most books can be purchased through Chapters or Amazon, with exception of  The Simplest Way of Japanese Tea Ceremony. This one I obtained from Karen Hartwick of Stratford Tea Leaves. 
   All books are my own and were purchased to further my education of Tea and the traditions behind it.
________________________________________________________________________________

Follow me for more @bellmanart  /katherine.bellmanart 
Don't forget to follow this blog.  Join the Tea Team!

Friday, December 20, 2013


  Matcha whisks (Chasen) vary from school to school in some instances. I am going to focus in on Urasenke as I do not know much about the other schools.  For this school they keep to the classic bamboo colour as seen in these pictures, but can you spot the difference between them?

    First off the handle (jiku) thickness varies. I have small hands so I prefer the one with a smaller Jiku, but these are hard to find. The other difference is the thicker Jiku Chasen is made in China. You can get Japanese made ones but here in Toronto they are next to impossible to find, I have two Japanese ones and I still feel I need to stock up on more.
   The second difference is the number of tines on the head (hosaki). The China made one has 100  and the Japanese made one has about 90-80, both perfect for Usucha (thin) tea.
   The weight of them is different when using as well. While I can quickly whip up a bowl with the 100 hosaki whisk, with the other one I need a little more time and muscle power.  This is something that I need to work on considering my preference in size and weight.
   I feel for the spring I will gift myself a good chasen. Nara, the place for the best chasen, is a type I would love to have these range in price from 35-60$ depending on where you look, sometimes more. The best advice is to try things out but always keep on hand what you are used to.

What kind of whisk do you have?

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Follow me for more @bellmanart  /katherine.bellmanart 
Don't forget to follow this blog.  Join the Tea Team!


  Matcha whisks (Chasen) vary from school to school in some instances. I am going to focus in on Urasenke as I do not know much about the other schools.  For this school they keep to the classic bamboo colour as seen in these pictures, but can you spot the difference between them?

    First off the handle (jiku) thickness varies. I have small hands so I prefer the one with a smaller Jiku, but these are hard to find. The other difference is the thicker Jiku Chasen is made in China. You can get Japanese made ones but here in Toronto they are next to impossible to find, I have two Japanese ones and I still feel I need to stock up on more.
   The second difference is the number of tines on the head (hosaki). The China made one has 100  and the Japanese made one has about 90-80, both perfect for Usucha (thin) tea.
   The weight of them is different when using as well. While I can quickly whip up a bowl with the 100 hosaki whisk, with the other one I need a little more time and muscle power.  This is something that I need to work on considering my preference in size and weight.
   I feel for the spring I will gift myself a good chasen. Nara, the place for the best chasen, is a type I would love to have these range in price from 35-60$ depending on where you look, sometimes more. The best advice is to try things out but always keep on hand what you are used to.

What kind of whisk do you have?

________________________________________________________________________
Follow me for more @bellmanart  /katherine.bellmanart 
Don't forget to follow this blog.  Join the Tea Team!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


If you just joined us today, we are exploring if there is a connection between taste, price and growing region for matcha. The first two parts can be found here  ,and here. The series started after reading a post by Kohei over at Tales of Japanese teas in his post Matcha is not about price, or origin. We are on our third matcha for the month. This one is by Morihan they are located in Uji within Kyoto, Japan.

 This tea is sold as a Tea Ceremony Practice quality, which is also good for baking. It has a good shade of green in the bag and a wonderful quantity of 100g. This one I purchased  for $14 CDN , approximately, on e-bay. Very good price when you consider how much is in it.

     Time to taste it! This one frothed very well and looked very smooth on the surface. It did not have the thickness that I look for in my matcha. Although, it did whisk very well and held together longer than matcha from Teavana.
  When tasteing the tea it had a slight vegetable taste, that most call a "green tea" taste. Along side of it there were notes of dark chocolate that came through the creamy-milky texture of the whole tea.

    Over all it was a great tea but I found a slight dryness that came after. This could be balanced perhaps with a sweet before drinking the tea, how it was originally meant to be enjoyed.

     Next week is the last installment for this series. All matcha teas for this series were purchased by me and all opinions are my own. I highly suggest to try them out as we all taste things differently.

Happy Holidays everyone!

What qualities do you look for in your matcha?
________________________________________________________________________
Follow me for more @bellmanart  /katherine.bellmanart 
Don't forget to follow this blog.  Join the Tea Team! 


If you just joined us today, we are exploring if there is a connection between taste, price and growing region for matcha. The first two parts can be found here  ,and here. The series started after reading a post by Kohei over at Tales of Japanese teas in his post Matcha is not about price, or origin. We are on our third matcha for the month. This one is by Morihan they are located in Uji within Kyoto, Japan.

 This tea is sold as a Tea Ceremony Practice quality, which is also good for baking. It has a good shade of green in the bag and a wonderful quantity of 100g. This one I purchased  for $14 CDN , approximately, on e-bay. Very good price when you consider how much is in it.

     Time to taste it! This one frothed very well and looked very smooth on the surface. It did not have the thickness that I look for in my matcha. Although, it did whisk very well and held together longer than matcha from Teavana.
  When tasteing the tea it had a slight vegetable taste, that most call a "green tea" taste. Along side of it there were notes of dark chocolate that came through the creamy-milky texture of the whole tea.

    Over all it was a great tea but I found a slight dryness that came after. This could be balanced perhaps with a sweet before drinking the tea, how it was originally meant to be enjoyed.

     Next week is the last installment for this series. All matcha teas for this series were purchased by me and all opinions are my own. I highly suggest to try them out as we all taste things differently.

Happy Holidays everyone!

What qualities do you look for in your matcha?
________________________________________________________________________
Follow me for more @bellmanart  /katherine.bellmanart 
Don't forget to follow this blog.  Join the Tea Team! 

Monday, December 16, 2013

 With the holiday season getting closer, I wanted to give back to you for your years of following Tea Journey. My gift to you is designing a selection of  t-shirts. I have been wanting to do this all year and I am glad to finally have these available for you
.
     Right now I only have one design in two different colours, all are available on different colour t-shirts. In addition there is some other cute things in the shop right now such as cellphone cases, bandanas and totes.  I will be getting my own t-shirt soon as I love the design.
    The designs I have up right now is tea inspired but has a bit of a twist to the geeky side if you are a Dr.Who fan. "Bigger On the Inside" is just like the Tardis but is very much like all of our teapots. They hold so much tea and keep on giving.

All proceeds will help me continue to run this blog. The money will be used for art supplies, tea, tea shows etc. Everything that will provide me with the chance to write for you. As I come up with new ones I will let you all know.
                                                             Visit My Shop for TEA-shirts



What ideas do you have for TEA-Shirts?
________________________________________________________________________
Follow me for more @bellmanart  /katherine.bellmanart 
Don't forget to follow this blog.  Join the Tea Team!

 With the holiday season getting closer, I wanted to give back to you for your years of following Tea Journey. My gift to you is designing a selection of  t-shirts. I have been wanting to do this all year and I am glad to finally have these available for you
.
     Right now I only have one design in two different colours, all are available on different colour t-shirts. In addition there is some other cute things in the shop right now such as cellphone cases, bandanas and totes.  I will be getting my own t-shirt soon as I love the design.
    The designs I have up right now is tea inspired but has a bit of a twist to the geeky side if you are a Dr.Who fan. "Bigger On the Inside" is just like the Tardis but is very much like all of our teapots. They hold so much tea and keep on giving.

All proceeds will help me continue to run this blog. The money will be used for art supplies, tea, tea shows etc. Everything that will provide me with the chance to write for you. As I come up with new ones I will let you all know.
                                                             Visit My Shop for TEA-shirts



What ideas do you have for TEA-Shirts?
________________________________________________________________________
Follow me for more @bellmanart  /katherine.bellmanart 
Don't forget to follow this blog.  Join the Tea Team!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Markyu Koymaen Matcha- Aoarashi, Katherine Bellman
  As part of my matcha taste tests that I mentioned last week, we are on tea #2. I talked to my good friend KingKoh about  different matcha and he brought up that hoarding matcha is not good. The reason for this is after it is open it starts to oxidize and loose its fullness. I try to keep this in mind when I am getting new matcha. With that right now I have three- four open right now and in room temperature. With that said I have been trying to drink them all up. Once they are done I have a closed can of Camillia Sinensis' Matcha Sendo in the freezer waiting. 
Markyu Koymaen Matcha- Aoarashi, Katherine Bellman    Just a note on keeping matcha a bit longer, put the tin in a zip lock bag or sealed tupperware to protect it from smells. With that said, on to this weeks tea.
 Aoarashi from Ko no en (Marukyu Koymaen), the lowest ceremonial grade they have on their website.  This tin is 40g of delicious matcha. I got this one from e-bay from a seller who lives within Toronto somewhere. 
     I will admit this tea I have been hoarding and it is not in its best state. Even still I can not pass up this tea when given the chance. 
Markyu Koymaen Matcha- Aoarashi,Chawan by Kingkoh.  Katherine Bellman The taste in the mouth and lingering after taste were the similar , just a touch weaker. Notes of dark chocolate  develop after tea has been swallowed. The taste reminds me of the dry sweets that go with Japanese tea, higashi. 
   As you can see it would not whisk properly. This is a good reason not to let matcha sit around for too long. Although unlike our previous tea from Teavana, this one held together very well. This means it mixed well but just could not create a froth.
  Ko no En's tea is from Uji, Kyoto. Ko no en is a distributor of Marukyu Koymaen tea here in Toronto. I am lead to believe that the e-bay seller may be part of Ko no En, but they do not say so.  
    With Kohei's post in mind, I still prefer Uji matcha. The taste is far more complex in the mouth and lingers for a long time. This tea although is fairly cheep on e-bay, it goes for $16.00CDN. Going back to Kohei's post price does not determine quality. This one has similar notes to Yugen from the same company but is much easier on my wallet.  Let's see what our next tea has to offer, join me next week for part three. 

                                                            How do you store your matcha ?
________________________________________________________________________
Follow me for more @bellmanart  /katherine.bellmanart 
Don't forget to follow this blog.  Join the Tea Team!

Markyu Koymaen Matcha- Aoarashi, Katherine Bellman
  As part of my matcha taste tests that I mentioned last week, we are on tea #2. I talked to my good friend KingKoh about  different matcha and he brought up that hoarding matcha is not good. The reason for this is after it is open it starts to oxidize and loose its fullness. I try to keep this in mind when I am getting new matcha. With that right now I have three- four open right now and in room temperature. With that said I have been trying to drink them all up. Once they are done I have a closed can of Camillia Sinensis' Matcha Sendo in the freezer waiting. 
Markyu Koymaen Matcha- Aoarashi, Katherine Bellman    Just a note on keeping matcha a bit longer, put the tin in a zip lock bag or sealed tupperware to protect it from smells. With that said, on to this weeks tea.
 Aoarashi from Ko no en (Marukyu Koymaen), the lowest ceremonial grade they have on their website.  This tin is 40g of delicious matcha. I got this one from e-bay from a seller who lives within Toronto somewhere. 
     I will admit this tea I have been hoarding and it is not in its best state. Even still I can not pass up this tea when given the chance. 
Markyu Koymaen Matcha- Aoarashi,Chawan by Kingkoh.  Katherine Bellman The taste in the mouth and lingering after taste were the similar , just a touch weaker. Notes of dark chocolate  develop after tea has been swallowed. The taste reminds me of the dry sweets that go with Japanese tea, higashi. 
   As you can see it would not whisk properly. This is a good reason not to let matcha sit around for too long. Although unlike our previous tea from Teavana, this one held together very well. This means it mixed well but just could not create a froth.
  Ko no En's tea is from Uji, Kyoto. Ko no en is a distributor of Marukyu Koymaen tea here in Toronto. I am lead to believe that the e-bay seller may be part of Ko no En, but they do not say so.  
    With Kohei's post in mind, I still prefer Uji matcha. The taste is far more complex in the mouth and lingers for a long time. This tea although is fairly cheep on e-bay, it goes for $16.00CDN. Going back to Kohei's post price does not determine quality. This one has similar notes to Yugen from the same company but is much easier on my wallet.  Let's see what our next tea has to offer, join me next week for part three. 

                                                            How do you store your matcha ?
________________________________________________________________________
Follow me for more @bellmanart  /katherine.bellmanart 
Don't forget to follow this blog.  Join the Tea Team!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013


     
    Every year around this time of year there is a percentage of us that suffer from Seasonal Depression. I will admit I am one of them. It's hard to tell as I will be all smiles around people but when I am alone, with my cat, its hard to think of anything to do or even find the energy.
   I decided to let you all know this because I feel that tea helps me get through by pushing through these feelings.  I will admit to laying on my bed for long periods of time but those moments I get up to make a cup of tea just help push through down moments..
    The teas that help the most are those with a good amount of caffeine. I feel that the reason behind this is due to it giving you energy to move and also l-Theanine calming effect.
    For this reason I like to have a nice warm bowl of matcha to keep me going and focused. My favourite Matchas are:
-Yugen from Kono-En
-Kan no Shiro from Ippodo
-Matcha Sendo- Camellia Sinensis

Drink up and stay healthy!
________________________________________________________________________
Follow me for more @bellmanart  /katherine.bellmanart 
Don't forget to follow this blog.  Join the Tea Team!


     
    Every year around this time of year there is a percentage of us that suffer from Seasonal Depression. I will admit I am one of them. It's hard to tell as I will be all smiles around people but when I am alone, with my cat, its hard to think of anything to do or even find the energy.
   I decided to let you all know this because I feel that tea helps me get through by pushing through these feelings.  I will admit to laying on my bed for long periods of time but those moments I get up to make a cup of tea just help push through down moments..
    The teas that help the most are those with a good amount of caffeine. I feel that the reason behind this is due to it giving you energy to move and also l-Theanine calming effect.
    For this reason I like to have a nice warm bowl of matcha to keep me going and focused. My favourite Matchas are:
-Yugen from Kono-En
-Kan no Shiro from Ippodo
-Matcha Sendo- Camellia Sinensis

Drink up and stay healthy!
________________________________________________________________________
Follow me for more @bellmanart  /katherine.bellmanart 
Don't forget to follow this blog.  Join the Tea Team!