About

My name is Scott and this is my blog, Scotttea.  For almost two decades now I have been a “tea person” (茶人), making tea everyday, and practicing 功夫茶 (gong fu cha, literally “the skill and challenge of tea”), 茶の湯 (chanoyu, literally “water for tea”), and various other East Asian “tea ceremonies”.  In addition to this, I have also been involved in the tea industry and have performed academic research on tea history and tea production.

This blog is a reflection of my exploration of tea, the people I meet in tea, and the travels I go on in pursuit of this beverage.

I regularly present and moderate at museums, universities, tea houses, cultural centers, etc. For speaking inquiries, feel free to reach out to scotttea888 (at) gmail.com.

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10 responses to “About

  1. Dear Scott
    Thanks for your wonderful post on the small tea pot by Otagaki Rengetsu.
    We (bachmanneckenstein) have been buying and selling her fascinating work for over 15 years. If you would like to send me some images of the poem inscription I will try to figure out which poem it is… I have some experience in this.
    Regards, Thomas

    • Hi Thomas,
      Thank you for reading and reaching out! I’ve been admiring your collections for several years now and love that you have fine pieces by Ōtagaki Rengetsu.
      I would love to take you up on your offer to help with the translation/deciphering. I will try to snap some today and send them your way!
      Best regards,
      Scott

  2. Kevin

    Hi Scott,

    I stumbled upon your blog today an enjoyed reading about your trip at sea. You mentioned that you were a seasoned backpacker and I would love to know if you had any plans on sharing your experiences with gongfu cha while outdoors.

    -Kevin

    • Hi Kevin,
      Thanks for the comment and for the positive feedback. I definitely have plans to share my experiences of gong fu cha while outdoors. I’ve had loads of opportunities to bring tea along with me while backpacking and there are certainly “strategies” to doing this right. That said, there is also a long, long, long history of enjoying tea outdoors. With so many facets to this topic, I’m sure there will be plenty of posts discussing this!

  3. Sweden A.

    Greetings from California!

         I just wanted to show my support for all of the wonderful work here on your blog. Your writing and photography are both very enjoyable and informational. I greatly appreciate all of your Youtube videos as well – which, in my opinion, are not long enough! It’s hard for me to get my hands on books about traditional tea, so I learn a lot from you. Looking forward to seeing more quality content!

    Cordially,
    Sweden A.

    • Thanks for the lovely feedback Sweden! Happy you found the blog and are enjoying the videos I’ve put up onto the web. Let me know if there are any particular points in history or categories of tea you’d like me to explore… I’m always looking for more inspiration for my next tea talk!

      • Sweden A.

        Glad you asked! Since I mostly drink Taiwanese high mountain oolongs and Chinese white teas, I prefer using non-yixing gongfu teaware. It would be really interesting to learn about the history/production of the different kinds of porcelain, like Qinghua and celadon, and of other ceramic teaware.

        Hope you’re staying healthy these days, especially in NYC!

      • Thank you Sweden! Love the approach you describe! I would recommend watching my most recent tea talk on the 宋 Sòng period. It dips into the different ceramics of the Sòng period. You might enjoy this. I’d love to dig into other non-Yixing ceramics more.

        As for my life in NYC… I’m stayin’ alive.

  4. Daniel Denommee

    Hi Scott!

    I have been a follower of your blog for over a year and I must say, I love it! Reading your post is like a small meditation session by its own and the tea I drink while discovering your latest post is always better.

    As an amateur tea lover, I find your collection quite impressive. It is very nice of you for sharing pics of your teaware.

    From those pics, my eyes amd attention were taken to the various tea caddy, and most of all to the natsume ones. I am a wood worker and seeing those nice wooden caddy got me the idea of turning one for me. As I check the net I couldn’t find any info about it uses. I’d like to know if it is meant as a storage tin or is it used only for ceremony? Does it have to close tight, air locked?

    Thank you again for any help, and your nice blog!

    Daniel

    • Hi Daniel,

      Thank you for your comment, your feedback, and for sharing your creative passion for tea and woodworking. One art is always stronger when it is combined with another!

      In regards to your question about the natsume, it is not air tight nor is it really meant to be. Your intuition of it being mostly for the tea gathering is correct. In chanoyu, it is the practice to retrieve the powdered tea from a storage vessel and place this into the natsume. The natsume is, therefore, a caddy to bring the matcha into the tearoom.

      The vessel that stores the tea prior to this can vary. Historically, traditionally, and for some tea practitioners even today, tea was (and still be) stored in its leaf form as 展茶 tencha inside of a special jar made for tea storage (茶壺 chatsubo). This jar is usually made of glazed ceramic and is sealed with a paper and wax or paste seal. When one wants to make a bowl of matcha, it used to be that one would remove the leaf tea from this jar and grind it. Only enough tea was ground for the occasion, meaning it would be very fresh.

      The natsume and other lidded containers have their origins most likely in wooden and lacquered containers for food, incense, cosmetics, medicine, and other daily items. The form of the natsume is not uncommon and carried into the world of chanoyu. These containers provide protection against light degradation, and do keep tea relatively fresh (I usually scoop tea into a natsume and assume it’s ok to use for about 2-3 days). There is a very thin gap between the top lid and the inner rim of the bottom half. This gap can be thin enough to prevent a single sheet of paper from coming between the top and bottom halves.

      For most wooden/wooden-based natsume, they are carved from a single block of wood. The artisan takes care to preserve the continuity of the grain, so that the lid and the bottom of the vessel remain in line. I have a small 平棗 hira-natsume that showcased this. You can see how the woodworker was mindful to keep the grain lines up in a way so to let the center of the heartwood become the “face” of the little tea container. It is very simple but very special.

      I am sure if you look online for resources or videos on how to make a natsume from wood you will find one. Try searching in Japanese. Perhaps looking under 木から棗を彫る. This might work.

      As always, I am quite interested in learning more about your practice(s). Please feel free to share, either here or via my email at scotttea888(at)gmail.com.

      Thank you,
      Scott

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