Memorable places

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.


Comments

Memorable places — 5 Comments

  1. Oddly enough you’re nearly in my neighborhood, I’m just across the bay in Istria (croatia). During the tourist season there’s a ferry that runs Venice to Poreć which is down the hill from me. Feel free to pop by for some tea if you’d like to meet up and see the beautiful Motovun medieval metroplex (population about 260).

    Thanks for the tea btw, it’s very passable and I’m enjoying it in the gaps between the rain. Today is a no gap rain day so it’s a 2006 bing dao that may even be authentic but probably not. Enjoying it quite a bit though. It’s been a steep learning curve adapting to the water and lower altitude here and I finally feel like i’m finding my feet a bit.
    Safe travels and happy teaing.

  2. “The where and when of a tea session is often just as important as the what.”

    This a great point. A thermos of the most generic grandpa’d hongcha can deliver wonderful sessions when hiking in the mountains, for instance.

    The quote is true not only for one’s physical where and when, but also for one’s state of mind (not that the two are wholly disconnected, though). A premium tea will taste very different if you’re feeling well rested and in an upbeat mood that it will after a terrible night’s sleep. In the latter scenario, I find myself reaching for very different teas.

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