Let’s face it, a Darjeeling teabag from Dammann Freres is never going to be that great, nor is it remotely worth the price of admission. I had some Dongding in my backpack that I would infinitely prefer to drink instead, but that would be rude. Their water wasn’t really hot enough anyway, and adding Taiwanese oolong to water (instead of pouring water over the leaves) is a loser’s bet. The overly aggressive pigeons trying to eat my apple pie were also not particularly welcomed, with me having to fend off their attacks while attempting this photo three times. I gave up trying to take a better one, lest I lose my pie to the indomitable birds.
I still thoroughly enjoyed my tea. The pie was good. The tea was serviceable. The view was excellent. The weather was almost perfect, if only it were a little bit warmer. I won’t remember this tea session for the tea itself, but it’s hard to beat St. Mark’s Square for location. The where and when of a tea session is often just as important as the what.
I’m in town for a colloquium on tea, which was organized by the Ca’Foscari University and the Confucius Institute here in Venice. As an academic with a research project in tea, it is rare to actually meet others similarly interested, more so as almost everyone was coming from a different disciplinary angle. Maybe I should’ve posted about this before the colloquium actually happened. But then, if you are from the area you might’ve already heard about it, and not rely on some long dormant blog to tell you. If you’re passing through like me, don’t waste your time in this gem of a city by spending a day listening to some academics talk about tea. Besides, the Italian Association of Tea Culture’s YouTube channel has posted the 2016 and 2017 renditions of their colloquiums for all to see. So maybe if you wait two years the 2019 one will be there too.