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Andrea Riesenfeld

My tea journey seemed to start by chance, yet was always destined to be. Nine years ago I wandered into a Japanese teashop in Paris for a sublime cup of sencha, and then found my way into the 1st arrondissement boutique of a Hong Kong tea master for an amazing experience with my first pot of puerh. Unknown to me then, my life in tea had begun.

At first, I was attracted to tea as a beverage. Jumping right in, I trained as a tea sommelier at the UK Tea Academy, climbed in the Japanese tea gardens of Uji, and learned to make Taiwanese oolong on Ali Mountain. Cha Dao, Chanoyu, Senchado, and (of course) a proper afternoon tea are all traditions within the global tea culture that I have been fortunate to experience. 

“Tea friend” was a new expression for me, and now it has become my view of the world. I have shared tea with amazing people in New York, London, Paris, Montreal, Tokyo, and Taipei. And This extended family has been generous and kind, with a deep wisdom and understanding of tea itself, the healing properties of tea, and the culture and community of tea from ancient times to the present.

In the last seven years, I have begun to practice Cha Dao, or the Way of Tea. I now see tea as both a beverage and a plant medicine. After decades of personal meditation and meditation retreats in the Buddhist and Advita traditions, I have found through Cha Dao a deepening spiritual path. 

It is the one year anniversary of Leaves in a Bowl in Irvington. It has been a great pleasure to create a warm and welcoming space in which to share tea. 

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