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Cha Chat Episode 1: Origin Story

Listen to the Episode

How the Global Tea Initiative began and where it is going with CTI’s founders: Katharine Burnett, Axel Borg and Darrell Corti, including podcast host, Erik Fausak. Recorded at Hong Kong Islander. Now the Global Tea Institute, let’s here about it’s origins at the same location the idea started:

Recorded: September 27, 2018

About the Episode

The WaterBoy or dim sum?

We met at Hong Kong Islander dim sum restaurant in Sacramento, CA.  We even sat at the original table where Katharine BurnettAxel Borg, and Darrell Corti were seated when Darrell asked the key question,

“Katharine, what I don’t understand is why doesn’t UC Davis study tea?”

Darrell Corti

This discussion in 2012 launched a multidisciplinary effort to start the Global Tea Initiative.  Katharine brought in scholars in social science and art, while Axel as a post-harvest agricultural librarian brought in food scientists like Carl Keen, Ann Noble (Creator of the Wine Sensory Wheel), and Michael Lewis.

University of California, Davis is uniquely positioned to be the only multidisciplinary scholarly pursuit of tea. In the pursuit of tea, Darrell points out that California itself has a rich history in tea.

Darrell also pointed out an interesting juxtaposition where China has a burgeoning wine industry like California is beginning to develop its own tea industry. Both areas are starting to identify growth areas and terroirs, especially in a changing climate and ecology.

“If you don’t believe in weather change, all you have to do is ask a farmer.”

Darrell Corti

The Global Tea Initiative has really developed a broad scope of research and Axel recounts many diverse topics tackled by this initiative:

  • health benefits of tea
  • transmission of tea culture from China to Japan
  • The effect boiled water has on tea

Be careful what you wish for.

Darrell Corti

The global tea initiative has been so successful that they have the colloquium on Jan. 24, 2019, and helped arrange speakers for the 150th anniversary of the Wakamatsu Farm.

The vision in the next five years is the transition from Initiative to Institute. The curriculum will expand to undergraduate and graduate coursework with a brick and mortar building that would have a sensory room and exhibit space.

Darrell explained the three items that Katharine brought to their first meeting, the incense clock, oil pot/water dropper, and tea pot:

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The Trail of Time

Author: Silvio A. Bedini
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