2017 Seminars


All are welcome! Free to attend.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

1:00PM - 1:45PM - Five Teas That Brewed a Revolution (Presented by: Bruce Richardson)

2:00PM - 2:45PM - Mushroom Coffee: Your Morning Fungi (Presented by: Mikael Mäkinen)

3:00PM - 3:45PM - How to Appraise Chinese Tea (Presented by: Zhen Lu)

4:00PM - 4:45PM - Nitro Cold Brew (Presented by: Jarrett McGovern)

Sunday, March 19, 2017

1:00PM - 1:45PM - Why Matcha? (Presented by: Agnieszka Rapacz)

2:00PM - 2:45PM - Coffee Decaffeination: How It’s Done! (Presented by: Mike Strumpf)

3:00PM - 3:45PM - Tea for Cocktails: The Art of Blending Tea & Spirits (Presented by: Jennie Ripps & Maria Littlefield)



Participation fees apply – please purchase additional seminar ticket(s). Seating is limited.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

12:30PM - 2:00PM - Taiwanese Oolong Cupping (Presented by: Sammy Levine), $10

2:30PM - 4:00PM - The Leaf & The Grain: An In-Depth Tasting of Scotch and Tea (Presented by: Kevin Gascoyne), $20

Sunday, March 19, 2017

9:00AM - 1:00PM - Tea Course Fast Track (Presented by: Gail Gastelu) - $199 early-bird pricing until 2/17/17, $245 thereafter

12:30PM - 2:00PM - Chemex Brew Method Class (Presented by: Thea Heilbron), $30 (includes Chemex brewer)

2:30PM - 4:00PM - Wuyi Rock Oolongs: A Comparative Tasting (Presented by: Rie Tulali), $10

Taiwanese Oolong Cupping
Presented by: Sammy Levine, Founder of Everlasting Teas
Participation fee: $10 per person

Taiwan boasts some of the world’s most prized oolongs and has been long known as one of the main producers in the oolong category. Through this in-depth cupping, you will look into the expansive world of Taiwanese Oolongs and learn how to correctly identify what an oolong tea is, talk about what makes a good oolong tea, and see just some of the many types of oolong teas in Taiwan. 

• for tea enthusiasts of all levels

About Sammy Levine:
Tea is a family affair for Sammy. He came to love it through his father, an avid tea drinker for the past 20 years. As Sammy learned more about tea, he began to focus on Taiwanese Oolongs. Always a lover of travel, a desire was stirred to experience this unique country first hand. Through a combination of the father’s wisdom and the son’s adventurous spirit, Everlasting Teas Co. was born.

Since the company’s launch, the mission has always been to create long term relationships with farmers while only selling premium loose leaf tea only from farms that Sammy has visited personally. Over the past six years, he has worked closely with these farmers in hopes of digging deeper into the expansive world of Taiwanese Teas.


Five Teas that Brewed a Revolution
Presented By: Bruce Richardson, Co-Owner of Elmwood Inn Fine Teas

Eighteenth-century Bostonians understood tea not as a foreign curiosity, but as one of many global goods that signaled their participation in a worldly culture modeled after the lifestyles of their English cousins. Considering Bostonians’ taste for good teas, King George's worst offense might not have been the tax on tea, but instead his willingness to send us boatloads of stale black and green teas which were past their prime. Join Bruce Richardson, Tea Master for the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum, as he shares the stories behind the five teas that were tossed overboard into Boston Harbor in 1773.

• for tea enthusiasts of all levels

About Bruce Richardson:
MSN calls Bruce Richardson “a leading tea expert involved in tea’s American renaissance for over 20 years.” The native Kentuckian is a writer, photographer, tea blender and frequent guest speaker at tea events across the country. He can often be found appearing on television and radio talk shows, or as a guest speaker at professional seminars such as World Tea Expo. He has been a contributing source for articles found in Slate Magazine, MTV, CNN, The Smithsonian, National Geographic, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and BBC. Several Fortune 500 companies have sought Bruce’s counsel as they investigated tea’s future in the world marketplace.

In 2011, Bruce was named Tea Master for the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum, where he is helping define tea’s historical role in the iconic 1772 event that helped shape America’s destiny.

Bruce regularly visits Great Britain in his unending quest to discover new tea shops for the latest edition of his Great Tea Rooms of Britain. His other photo-guidebook, The Great Tea Rooms of America, is in its fourth edition. Bruce joined London’s Jane Pettigrew in producing three editions of the popular reference guide to tea, The New Tea Companionfor Benjamin Press and the National Trust of England. In 2011, Bruce edited and expanded Okakura Kakuzo’s classic Book of Tea for Benjamin Press.

Bruce Richardson and Jane Pettigrew recently completed their latest work, an expanded edition of A Social History of Tea: Tea’s Influence on Commerce, Culture and Civility.


Mushroom Coffee: Your Morning Fungi
Presented by: Mikael Mäkinen, Head of Sales at Four Sigmatic

Mushrooms and fungi are (literally) everywhere. You’re currently breathing in mushroom spores right now. There’s so much more to them than just delicious portobellos. You actually share 30% of the same DNA with mushrooms! In this seminar, learn about the kingdom of fungi, why mushrooms (especially medicinal ones) are good for us, and how to add mushrooms to your diet… specifically through coffee. Understand how the mushrooms are grown, picked, dried and made into extract powder which is then combined with coffee to provide you a superfood for your morning cup!

• for coffee enthusiasts of all levels and those interested in alternative, holistic health

About Mikael Mäkinen:
Mikael is one of the ‘FunGuys’ at Four Sigmatic, a superfood company founded by a group of Finnish friends. They aim to popularize medicinal mushrooms by incorporating them in more mainstream products like coffee and hot cocoa. Four Sigmatic was founded in 2012 and its products launched in the U.S. in 2015. Before starting Four Sigmatic, Mikael worked in Google where he got interested and researched about the healing powers of medicinal mushrooms. Mikael loves beach running, crossfit, and kickboxing. He can found snacking on homemade raw chocolate, kombucha and shroomy smoothies.


The Leaf & The Grain: An In-Depth Tasting of Scotch and Tea
Presented by: Kevin Gascoyne, Tea Taster of Camellia Sinensis
Participation fee: $20 per person

Two drinks, one from leaf and one from grain, both boast a vast variety of flavor profiles that reflect the relationship between their artisanal process and environmental variables – parallel worlds of terroir and technique. In this seminar, attendees will be guided through a comparative tasting that brings these two worlds (tea and whisky) together to create a completely new arena. Tea’s heat and subtle delivery creates a smoother release of the whisky’s flavour points; Scotch showcases the quiet force and depth of the tea’s complexity. As the two profiles blend we experience unexpected fusions and contrasts, harmonic flavour bridges and aromatic synergies that enhance our understanding of the fascinating details of each drink.

• for tea and whisky/scotch enthusiasts of all levels; ticketholders of this seminar must be 21 years of age or over (valid photo identification will be checked upon seating; anyone underage will not be permitted to enter – no refund will be provided)

About Kevin Gascoyne:
British tea taster Kevin Gascoyne first bought tea in Asia in 1989 and has spent every Spring there for over 20 years.  Living in Montréal, he is one of four taster/owners of Camellia Sinensis, whose catalogue at Camellia-Sinensis.com has gained world renown. He lectures all over the planet and runs two tea schools, a wide selection of workshops, conferences, field consulting, trade development and seminars. Aside from his obsessive quest for Darjeeling’s finest leaf, he also has a passion for shop keeping in his stores.  According to his colleagues his daily tea consumption compares to the flow of some small rivers.

His writing has been published in English, Japanese, Korean, Swedish, Russian and French in North America, Europe and Asia. He is also co-author of the prize-winning book, TEA: History, Terroir, Varieties, which was voted “World's Best Tea Book 2014” by the World Tea Awards.


How to Appraise Chinese Tea?
Presented by: Zhen Lu, Owner of ZhenTea

A fine cup of tea is not only a gift from the nature, but a masterpiece from its producer. As simple as a tea leaf may seem, it is actually bursting with information, eager to tell a story about its journey from bud to tea leaf. So the question becomes, how do we engage the leaf in conversation. This skill-building seminar will focus on the elements of Chinese tea appraisal, helping people further enjoy and appreciate their teas from a deeper understanding of the major aspects of appraising tea.

• for tea enthusiasts of all levels, especially those interest in Chinese tea specifically

About Zhen Lu:

Chinese tea taster Zhen Lu is from a tea family with more than 20 years of experience in high-end Chinese tea; and Zhen has almost 10 years of experience in the field herself. Working with producers, farmers and the most prominent tea masters in China has given her a deep knowledge of how terroir, varietals, plantations, processing steps, brewing, and more, effects the flavour of the tea.

Moving to North America to pursue her studies, Zhen quickly noticed a high degree of confusion around Chinese tea which led her to become a tea educator and merchant, dedicated to introducing the West to a level of fine Chinese tea never before seen outside China.


Nitro Cold Brew
Presented by: Jarrett McGovern, Co-Founder of RISE Brewing Co.

Cold brew has become more and more popular and recently coffee companies have taken a page from the craft beer industry learning how to utilize nitro in their coffee offerings. In this seminar, attendees will learn the history of cold brew and the amazing benefits of infusing cold brew with nitrogen. Also learn about the sales of nitro cold brew and how the formats to purchase it are changing the way cold brew coffee is being sold and consumed in the market and your local community.

• for coffee enthusiasts of all levels

About Jarrett McGovern:
Jarrett McGovern graduated from Cornell University in 2004. Before co-founding RISE Brewing Co, McGovern worked with SoBe Beverages and The Water Initiative. Inspired to start his own company McGovern started cold brewing nitro coffee in his apartment in 2014 and officially launched RISE on tap in Brooklyn in 2015. Currently RISE is sold in kegs and nitro cans in New York, Connecticut, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Boston.


Tea Course Fast Track
Presented By: Gail Gastelu, Producer of TeaCourse.com
Sponsored By: TeaCourse.com
Participation Fee: $199 per person, early-bird pricing until 2/17/17; $245 per person thereafter (Pre-register early to save money! Tea Course Fast Track ticketholders also receive VIP access to the Coffee & Tea Festival NYC either day and one guaranteed VIP gift bag.)

A half-day (four hour) seminar and tasting/cupping session introducing you to TEA (Camellia sinensis), what it is, where it’s grown, how it’s harvested, uses, product applications, and health benefits too. Explore the business side of tea including purchasing guidelines, trends, insight, marketing ideas, and news. Experience tea cupping and learn how to distinguish quality. Taste and compare white, green, oolong, and black teas to understand differences. Learn proper techniques and how to serve. Learn about tea industry resources, how to find suppliers, additional education, associations, and more.
All attendees receive a flash drive with additional reading, eBooks, resources, and special offers worth more than the class fee! Additionally, attendees will receive a cupping set (to keep), tea sampling and bonus program materials.

• for any type of business interested in adding tea as an additional profit center or any person thinking about starting a tea-related business

About TeaCourse.com:
Tea Course is online, continuing education produced by The Tea House Times (a bi-monthly publication connecting businesses and consumers since 2003) with the purpose of helping tea businesses stay in business.  Includes more than 400 topics and weekly updates/additions and regular tea market reports since 2008. All participants of Tea Course Fast Track receive a free introductory trial to TeaCourse.com

About Gail Gastelu:

Gail Gastelu is owner/publisher of The Tea House Times, producer of Tea Course and Tea Course Fast Track, co-owner of Tea Etiquette Certified and frequent presenter at tea and/or coffee shows nationwide. Connecting businesses and consumers since 2003, her passion and drive is to help tea businesses grow by providing many services beneficial to the tea industry. The publication, news, education, hosted blogs, special features, and resources may be found by visiting TheTeaHouseTimes.com website. Gail recently created the nationwide #DrinkTea Campaign with the Tea Council of the USA. Gail currently serves on the Tea Association of the USA's Specialty Tea Institute Advisory Board and over the years has been an officer or advisory board member to several associations, trade shows, and organizations.


Chemex Brew Method Master Class
Presented by: Thea Heilbron, Events Director at Café Grumpy
Participation fee: $30 (includes Chemex brewer)

Join Café Grumpy for a Chemex brewing class to hone your at-home coffee making skills, specifically on the Chemex.  The class will cover the history of the Chemex, step-by-step procedure with each piece of equipment, proper brewing techniques and how to distinguish taste in order to achieve proper extraction in every cup.  By the end of this hands-on seminar, you’ll be able to expertly prepare your coffee for friends and family alike. All attendees will receive a three cup Chemex to use during the class and take home.

• for coffee enthusiasts of all levels, specifically those interested in manual brewing methods at home

About Thea Heilbron:
Thea Heilbron is the Events Director for Café Grumpy. In 2006, she started working in coffee in New Mexico, beginning as a barista with Cafe Grumpy in 2014 and went on to manage two of the cafes until she started the events department.  She is one of the organizers for the free lecture series, “This Coffee Thing,” and loves spreading the ever expanding field of coffee information. She spends her free time caffeinated, making art and playing music. 


Why Matcha?
Presented by: Agnieszka Rapacz. President of TeaGschwendner

Matcha has become a trend in the United States for the last two years but not everyone understands the tea fully.  During this seminar you will learn about the history, cultivation, and grades of matcha. You will also understand matcha’s ever trending growth in the market and its ceremonial preparation.

• for tea enthusiasts of all levels

About Agnieszka (Agnes) Rapacz:

Agnes was originally from Poland and was introduced to tea while she was only six months old.  Since then her tea journey has begun.  She received her Bachelors in Commerce from DePaul University and gained finance experience with international companies for over ten years.  It wasn’t until 2009 she became involved with TeaGschwendner USA.  In May of 2012 she became an owner of a TeaGschwendner store and started a real professional tea experience.  Agnes has traveled to South Africa to visit Western Capes Rooibush production, Japan to meet tea lovers who were cultivating teas for centuries and visit Austria to experience herbal tea production in the very well known “Bio Certified” region.  The trip to Japan in 2014 introduced her to matcha and since then matcha has been her favorite tea! Through her business, Agnes has studied and sold matcha throughout the United States.


Coffee Decaffeination: How It’s Done!
Presented by: Mike Strumpf, Director of Coffee at Swiss Water Decaf

In this seminar, learn about caffeine and the history of coffee decaffeination. There are several ways to decaffeinate coffee – some more popularized than others.  Review the various methods of coffee decaffeination and learn specifically the decaf roasting methodology. Attendees will have the opportunity to taste decaf coffees processed differently.

• for coffee enthusiasts of all levels

About Mike Strumpf:

Mike Strumpf is a Licensed Q Grader, SCA Specialized Instructor, SCA Competitions Committee Member, Coffee Tasters Pathway Committee Member, WCE Representative, and Head Judge for the World Barista Championship. He has spoken at Sensory Summit and Tamper Tantrum and has taught SCA classes on numerous occasions. A right handed native of California, Mike immerses himself in Canadian pop music and squash when not chasing after his three dogs. 


Wuyi Rock Oolongs: A Comparative Tasting
Presented by: Rie Tulali, General Manager and Tea Taster of Tealet
Participation fee: $10 per person

The Wuyi Mountains in China produce some of the most complex teas in the world: rock oolongs. Each rock oolong, or "yancha", offers a fascinatingly distinct character, thanks to the surrounding environment and to the unique type of each plant. Learn to decode these complex and rewarding teas, and find your favorite rock oolong among the classic styles.

• for tea enthusiasts of all levels, especially those interest in oolongs

About Rie Tulali:
Rie Tulali is the General Manager and Tea Taster at Tealet, a wholesale company that helps small growers to share quality, Direct Trade teas. Rie works closely with tea farmers to develop and curate the teas, then shares these teas and authentic links to origin with buyers around the world.


Tea for Cocktails: The Art of Blending Tea & Spirits
Presented by: Jennie Ripps, Founder & CEO, and Maria Littlefield, Partner & President, of Owl’s Brew

Take tea to a whole new level by understanding how to identify tea flavor profiles and how to pair specific flavors with one another for cocktails! In this demonstration, Jennie Ripps & Maria Littlefield will share the story of how they have blended tea specifically for use in cocktails to complement liquor, beer and even wine. Leave this seminar with not only information but recipes!

• for tea enthusiasts of all levels

About Jennie Ripps & Maria Littlefield:
Jennie Ripps and Maria Littlefield are the youthful, savvy entrepreneurs behind Owl’s Brew, a tea crafted for cocktails. Founded in 2013, the duo came together to create a product that would merge their love for drinking tea with their fondness for enjoying a good cocktail.

A graduate of University of Pennsylvania, Ripps previously worked in marketing. In 2009, she hired Littlefield to join her as an intern – seven years later, they are still working side by side.

Ripps’ fascination with tea led to experimentation and was thrilled by the possibilities of pairing tea with spirits, beers and wines. In 2011, Ripps launched Brew Lab Tea, a tea company with a focus on custom blending for restaurants and cafes.  By early 2013, Littlefield had also quit her day job to follow Ripps and focus on launching Owl’s Brew, a tea crafted for cocktails with a message to “drink wise.” 

Ripps, a certified tea sommelier, and Littlefield spend their days mixing and blending different tea leaves, fruits, herbs and spices to create specialty tea mixers for Owl’s Brew. They currently offer five different mixers within their portfolio, with some seasonal blends available for the holidays.

In 2014, Jennie was selected by the Specialty Food Association as “35 under 35”, among food and beverage entrepreneurs. Jennie is a graduate of Cohort Seven of Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 Small Businesses program, and is a blogger for the Huffington Post’s “Healthy Living” and “Taste” sections. She has also co-authored Wise Cocktails: A DIY Guide to Crafting Tea-Based Cocktails (Rodale Press), which ranked in the top ten in its category on Amazon after publication.

The entrepreneurs are taking on the beer aisles next with the release of a breakthrough product, Owl’s Brew Radler, canned beer and tea that blends premium beer with fresh-brewed organic tea.



Click here for a list of 2016 seminars