Carlmont students get the par-tea started at Tea Master Club

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Kiana George

Before joining the club, each member receives a tea bag kit with different flavors. “We packaged up these little bags, and the loose leaf tea we got from ITO EN, and we put them into little tea bags. Then we put the other tea bags and the matcha in there,” George said.

From the comfort of their kitchen homes, Carlmont students in Tea Master Club gather together on the second Friday of each month to talk and drink tea. At the meeting, the students follow a presentation by Kiana George, a junior and the Tea Master Club’s founder. 

“I think what’s unique about this club is it is a very hands-on club, and it’s really interesting that everybody has their own supplies at home and can come together and connect through a cup of tea,” George said.

So far, the club has gained traction on their Instagram account and through their Remind. 

“We’ve actually garnered a pretty big following. We have 22 members on the Remind. It’s really cool because I never thought that this many people would join the tea club, and I did not know many people had this passion for tea,” George said.

Over the summer, George took a tea sommelier course through the International Tea Masters Association

“Every week, I would taste two different teas and go through this process of three different steepings. I think I tasted 36 teas overall,” George said. 

After her summer education, George decided to start the Carlmont Tea Master’s club to teach more students about tea. 

The teas are sponsored by Harney and Sons, ITO EN, and some of George’s family members.

Each meeting features a different type of tea. In the past, students have sampled English Breakfast, Matcha, and Genmaicha. Each tea has its own flavor profile and can be drastically different. 

At their meetings, the students talk about the tea’s legends, benefits, and the manufacturing process. George then goes through her presentation on each tea. 

Olivia Sam, a sophomore, has learned a lot about tea in the past couple of months. 

“I’ve learned about all the different ways to describe the flavor, smell, and look of tea. We also get the backstory on the tea, which is interesting as well,” Sam said. 

Genmaicha matcha by Amelia Clevenger

For example, the students learned the Legend of the Genmaicha Tea at their last meeting. This legend says that a servant in 15th century Japan accidentally placed rice into his master’s tea, creating the Genmaicha. 

After the presentation, the students prepare the tea and sample. As they drink their tea, they write down their thoughts and ratings. 

“My favorite tea is the Genmaicha because I personally like the roasted popped rice flavor. I feel like it’s something that Uncle Iroh from Avatar would drink. It’s very warming to the soul and makes me feel like I’m having a full meal,” George said. 

While people typically only think of a few different teas, in reality, there are endless amounts of teas. They can range from black teas to herbal teas. 

“Steaming, fire roasting, location, and terrain all play into how the tea is going to turn out and what flavors it will have,” George said. “If you grow the tea near the ocean, some say it has a seafood taste or an ocean breeze taste.” 

With all the different flavors of tea, people can have a wide range of preferences. 

“I like very fruity teas. But, I have not had it in the club yet, because we have not gotten into those,” Sam said.

During the club, the students also discuss the numerous health benefits of drinking tea. Many see it as a great alternative to coffee. 

“One reason I started drinking tea is I would drink coffee really late at night, and it would make me jittery and anxious. Then, I started going over to tea, and it’s really calming, and it’s something that is known in history for being spiritually awakening,” George said. 

Joice Ann Crisologo, a junior, agreed that drinking tea could be a very relaxing experience. 

“Drinking tea is time for yourself. It’s kind of healing, and it makes you feel like you have your life together,” Crisologo said.

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