Many are curious about the ‘Tea Ceremony’ and so to open the door to this unique and beautiful world, Camellia Teas offers five different kinds of Japanese and Taiwanese tea ceremony experiences for guests including:
1. Chanoyu (Japanese Tea Ceremony using whisked, powdered tea known as ‘matcha’, Rebecca is in kimono)
2. Sencha Do (Japanese Tea Ceremony using infused Japanese green and roasted teas, Rebecca is in kimono)
3. Tea Circle (the “Tea of No Self”, a tea-making exchange where everyone attending prepares tea for all others and Rebecca is in beautiful Western clothing as with 4. and 5. ) (Read MORE about Tea Circle HERE)
4. Taiwanese Bowls (a simple tea ritual where the focus is on infused teas prepared in bowls)
5. Infinity Exchange Tea Ritual (where guests enjoy preparing tea with a partner, for each other, to each other)
Which Tea Ceremony to choose?
For those new to Tea Ceremony experiences, we recommend you think about whether you would prefer:
A. To watch, learn and enjoy relaxing (Chanoyu, Sencha Do & Taiwanese Bowls)
B. To learn, try and participate in making tea (Tea Circle & Infinity Exchange Tea ritual)
If you would like, you are also welcome to choose two of the same ritual; many think there is ‘one kind’ of tea ceremony (but there are dozens) or ‘one form’ of tea ceremony, but even in Chanoyu, there are over 50 different schools! So each tea ceremony gathering is customized, different and unique to the seasons.
If you would like to book a private Tea Ceremony experience, feel free to contact Rebecca directly for more information. For more details information on the process, read below.
1 . Booking a Tea Ceremony Event
We have a 48-hour cancellation policy in effect once pre-payment is received and your reservation is confirmed with our address. A minimum of two guests is required for a private tea ceremony experience and we generally recommend groups smaller than 10 to truly appreciate and enjoy the tea ceremony, however, if you would like to bring a larger number of guests, this can be arranged (up to 25) and if more than 25, we can travel to your location.
2. Offering, Confirmation of your booking
The offering, called ‘o-rei‘* and not a ‘fee’ per se is a feature of tea culture and other aspects of gift-exchanging in Japan. There is generally a culturally accepted or known ‘number’ (rather than chocolates or objects etc) that can then be freely used in many ways by the host. The host’s decades of training, investment in art objects which are used in tea gatherings in no way reflects the small monetary gift that guests offer in thanks. The Host takes many hours to prepare the tea rooms, dress in kimono and prepare all the tea and sweets offered. This is one way of understanding the difference between ‘fee’ and ‘offering’.
We recommend an offering of $40 per guest and you choose 2 rituals (from the 4 listed above) during a 2-hour time period. During that time, tea and small Japanese gluten-free, vegan (but not sugar-free!) sweets are served.
**Please note that Asian tea rituals are focused on the experience of delicious tea, gorgeous utensils and beautiful atmosphere, but not a meal (like you might see at ‘high tea’). If you are interested in a ‘High Tea’ eating, chatting and a social visit, I recommend the Chateau Laurier or Nectar Fine Tea for such an experience.**
Guests who choose Camellia Teas for a special event or occasion do so for the unique, Japanese-inspired atmosphere, training and educational hospitality that Rebecca offers.
3. After Confirmation: creating a unique and customized experience, just for you!
In Asia where these tea experiences originate, hosts typically invite guests they already know and so can select objects and tea utensils that will please their guests since they know their aesthetic taste. Help me get to know what you like before you come to tea: do you prefer rustic, simple utensils? Or does your taste for the exquisite and refined mark your preferences? Are there colours you prefer more than others? These are just a few very basic, simple ways that we will also select objects in harmony with the seasons for you and your guests.
4. Seating and Being Comfortable
Be sure to let your host know in advance if you would prefer not sitting on the tatami-matted floor. Tea Ceremony is about being comfortable: so we offer stools, and have an elevated tea platform so guests can also sit on chairs in our gallery space if that is easier than sitting on the floor. The tatami culture of Japan is simply part of how that culture developed, so Rebecca was trained in that way of tea preparation. However, tea is not about pain 🙂 So please feel totally free to choose as you would like to sit.
5. Your Tea Ceremony Day arrives!
We recommend arriving no more than 10 minutes in advance of the appointed time, and ideally, not too much later. If you will be later than 20 min, please send Rebecca an email to let her know. Dress comfortably (not formally, but not casually either (not jeans or shorts or t-shirts); tea rituals are special occasions and your host will be in the finest silk, formal kimono. We recommend avoiding perfumes or wearing lots of bangles or rings that can clang or chip the tea bowls or utensils. Photos are allowed and we’re happy to have you share them with us on facebook or by email afterwards, thank you!