chance to finally share tea with them, partly because it made me feel so grown up. My sister had brought home strawberry flavoured black tea bags that were packaged in a cute wooden box. I selected that as my first tea. There are nothing but happy memories from my first tea moment. I loved the taste of my first tea sip (even if it was essentially liquid sugar), and I loved that tea (even though it was just that strawberry flavoured black tea bag and Red Rose tea bags) was the perfect thing to create a closer connection between my mom and sister.
I’ve been following Lu Ann Pannunzio’s blog, The Cup of Life, for a long time. She’s always been one of my biggest blogger inspirations because of her writing style, gorgeous photos and passion for tea. I recently started reading her book, and it’s really made me think more about my day-to-day steeping experiences. “Tea-Spiration” is all about slowing down and enjoying the small moments in life — with a focus on those involving tea.
The book isn’t a tea guide, but rather, takes a unique approach and helps you really learn to savor tea time by focusing on the current moment and making the most of each tea moment, from all of the preparation steps to the time spent steeping and finally, the moment you will sit down and sip. She emphasizes the importance of mindfulness through the process. It’s really an enjoyable and comforting must-read for anyone who loves tea or is interested in learning more about it (would also make a good holiday gift for the tea lover in your life!).
I reached out to Lu Ann to learn more about why she loves tea so much, and what made her interested in writing this book. Read on to learn more about this lovely lady in an exclusive Life’s a Cup of Tea q&a!
1. How long have you been a tea lover, and can you tell me about your first tea experience that you remember?
The first time I had a sip of tea was when I was 7 years old, and it was definitely love at first sip so I like to say I was a teaaholic since then. This tea experience was with my mom and older sister, who always had tea together. I remember being excited to get a
2. What do you love most about tea?
Besides the obvious (the taste), I really love the connection tea brings. Not only does it connect you to those you’re sharing a cup with at the tea table but it also connects you with those who work behind the scenes to bring you the leaves to make what’s in your cup. This aspect of tea is one of the inspirations behind my book Tea-spiration actually.
3. How has your taste in tea changed and grown over the years?
Like most, I started with tea bags. The first time I had a loose leaf tea experience it was with a dessert black tea blend and I was instantly aware of how the leaves make a huge difference in taste. While I still have the occasional teabag today, the main difference is moving to loose leaf 99% of the time. I definitely crave straight teas more than blends, but appreciate the art of tea blending as well.
4. How long have you been blogging, and why did you decide to make a tea blog?
I’ve been blogging for years! However, I didn’t start tea blogging with The Cup of Life until June 2011. I have always loved creative writing and I wanted someplace to share my stories that were fuelled with tea. So, The Cup of Life was started with the idea of sharing my writing pieces and information about the tea I consumed when writing a certain piece. However, I found a small tea community (at the time—it’s much bigger now!) and realized I could also have a blog devoted entirely to my favourite beverage. I continue blogging about tea today because I love connecting with fellow tea lovers and I also think it’s one of the best ways to learn more about tea because you’re constantly drinking new teas, researching and discussing various tea topics to create more content for yourself, your blog and your readers.
5. What’s your favorite kind of tea?
Oh! This is always a tough question. I always just resort to a somewhat simple answer: Oolongs are probably what I drink the most of and especially with the chillier weather right now, I would say roasted oolongs. But, I do drink a variety throughout the day 🙂
6. Tell me about writing “Tea-spiration.” What do you hope people take from it?
I always wanted to bring something with me at the tea table that wouldn’t serve as a textbook to learn more specific things about tea but more as a guide to enhance my tea experience. Even with its size, Tea-spiration can easily fit on your tea table or packed up with your tea ware. The title of the book is kind of named after those tea tags on some tea brands that have inspirational quotes or “tea-spiration” because the main goal was to show readers that more inspiration can come from what’s steeping in your cup than what’s written on your tea tag. This book is meant for any tea lover, whether a casual tea drinker or an aficionado, and I hope that it will help them slow down and enjoy all their tea has to offer.
7. What role does tea play in your everyday life?
I think I would be lost without tea, haha, so it plays a huge role. Some of my friends and family would say my life revolves around tea! If I’m not drinking it, I’m cooking/baking with it. If I’m not writing about it, I’m researching more about it. Even if I’m not doing blog work or other tea writing work, tea is by my side as I always find comfort, joy and inspiration from it. My mornings usually start with a mug of Assam tea or another breakfast tea, I move on to matcha before noon and depending on the work day I may need another mug or two. I know it was a really good tea day if I’m able to get a chance to sit down for a full tea experience with my gaiwan at the end of the day.