February 5, 2012

Guest Post & Giveaway with Katrina Avila Munichiello, author of "A Tea Reader"

Today I've got a real treat for all those tea lovers out there. This obviously includes all the brave participants in my Tea & Books Reading Challenge too!

A Tea Reader contains a selection of stories that cover the spectrum of life. This anthology shares the ways that tea has changed lives through personal, intimate stories. Read of deep family moments, conquered heartbreak, and peace found in the face of loss. A Tea Reader includes stories from all types of tea people: people brought up it the tea tradition, those newly discovering it, classic writings from long-ago tea lovers and those making tea a career. Together these tales create a new image of a tea drinker. They show that tea is not simply something you drink, but it also provides quiet moments for making important decisions, a catalyst for conversation, and the energy we sometimes need to operate in our lives.
The stories found in A Tea Reader cover the spectrum of life, such as the development of new friendships, beginning new careers, taking dream journeys, and essentially sharing the deep moments of life with friends and families. Find reflections of yourself and those you know in stories such as a tea shop owner whose heart is broken by Hurricane Katrina, and then finds the strength to start again, or a woman sharing a last moment with her father over a cup of tea.
Whether you are a tea lover or not, here you will discover stories that speak to you and inspire you. Sit down, grab a cup, and read on.

A warm welcome to Katrina Avila Munichiello who authored the book A Tea Reader, and who will share with us how she came to combine two things we both love - tea and books!

It never ceases to amaze me how the smallest moment can completely change the trajectory of your day, your week, and sometimes even your life.

I had been writing my Tea Pages blog for a couple of years when I received an email from a tea vendor. The man’s name was George Constance and he ran a company in Connecticut called Indonique Tea. This is what he wrote, “My company, Indonique Tea & Chai, evacuated from New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and is rebuilding in the New England area...Our Authentic Indian Masala Chai was called the ‘best in New Orleans.’...We’d like to send you a sample for a review. We’re assuming you’ll be kinder than the other Katrina we briefly met in New Orleans.”

I have to confess that it was the little joke at the end that most endeared George to me, but it was also how much information was packed into those few lines. I knew I had to find out more. As he told me his story I was already trying to figure out how to share it with others. Certainly I could write about it on my blog, but I wanted a bigger audience. That’s when I realized that his was just one of thousands of tea stories and memories out there. Why didn’t someone capture them? Then I decided that that “someone” would be me.

I spent the next year collecting essays through an open blog call and by reaching out to people in the industry. I researched older writings and even traveled to London to spend time in the British Library. In the end I collected dozens of stories that all tell of a special memory with tea. There are stories of reverie -- those quiet moments of reflection, career changes, trips, ceremonies and traditions, and tales of unforgettable times with friends and family.

The book “A Tea Reader: Living Life One Cup at a Time” was released in October by Tuttle Publishing and the response has been overwhelming. I even received a note from a woman in Singapore whose husband bought the book in an Indonesian airport. Surreal. I’ve done readings and book signings and met amazing people.

Tea changes people’s lives. It gives us the space, the quiet, and the opportunity to experience unforgettable moments. What are your favorite tea memories?

Thank you very much for this little journey into the world of tea, Katrina! It was a pleasure having you here and I wish you all the best with your book and for your future.

Want to find out more about Katrina? Visit her website.


Katrina has generously offered one of my wonderful readers their very own copy of A Tea Reader. All you have to do is leave a meaningful comment (don't forget to answer Katrina's question about your favorite tea memories) and leave your e-mail address with your comment so I may contact you in case you're the winner.

Following my blog is no requirement, but I obviously won't object if you do.
One entry per person.
Open worldwide.

The giveaway is open from February 5th through February 11th - one winner will be picked through random.org on February 12th and will then be contacted by e-mail as well as announced here on my blog. The winner will have 48 hours to respond and if he/she fails to do so I will draw a new winner.


  1. My favorite tea memories were from last summer. My friends and I would have "tea parties" in the park, listen to music and craft. We'd also have tea parties/clothing exchanges. We always had fun when we got together, people brought their favorite tea and there was a lot of laughter.

  2. My favorite memories are when i was studing abroad. tea was a real moment of peace and i was feeling reconforted by it... when the chineese student there saw that i was so concentrate on my cup they decided to make me discover their tea.... so many different flavour only available in their region we spend one afternoom discovering cup after cup and even if we were far from home for that moment we were like a family, in good company. It made some friendship special and i still receive some special kind when one of them come in Europe ( or they send me some)- no comparaison possible


  3. A Tea Reader sounds like a wonderful book! :D
    My favorite tea memories? During my Erasmus in Germany where I really discovered tea and met a great friend. :) Since then I drink tea every day and sometimes it makes me think of that beautiful experience.

    Thank you for posting and for the giveaway! :D

    Giada M.

    fabgiada (at) gmail (dot) com

  4. As a tea drinker myself I understand how a cup of tea can create moments. My family like nothing better than to sit around the table, have a cup of tea & chat. It's relaxing & so much fun too. I would love to read A TEA READER thank you.


  5. I love tea and I rarely drink anything else. I remember my first orange tea, that was many years ago on a trip abroad, then my first and last tea with milk back in 2006 while in England... There are very few things that beat a good cup of tea and a great book :)

  6. I think of my mom when I think of tea. It always seemed on the most hectic of days, she'd unwind with a cup of tea at night. It was also a good way to keep the winter chill at bay. Even now, if I'm visiting and we're a bit stressed from things going on, she'll say 'do you want some tea?' and we'll sit with our cups of tea just relaxing.

    Thanks for the giveaway!
    aprimeau at onebearcat dot com

  7. Thank you very much for this wonderful giveaway! A Tea Reader sounds like a fantastic read. I'm a tea and coffee drinker. My most favorite tea is matcha. :) I've many wonderful memories of drinking matcha tea in Japan.

    GFC Cayce
    cayce006 at yahoo dot com

  8. I've recently started drinking tea,so I cannot tell you my favourite tea memories. But I can tell you that now, my favourite thing to do is to drink a cup of tea while reading a good book.

    itzib2 [at] gmail [dot] com

  9. My favourite tea memory was on this year's 23rd January, when our family had a reunion dinner together.

    aikychien at yahoo dot com

  10. My favourite tea memory happens every week when me and my best friend meet up for tea. Its a great time to go for a cup of tea and catch up! I look forward to it every week!


  11. My favourite tea memories are of skipping school to visit a friend (who at that point was in her 80s). I always learned way more over a cup of tea with her than I would have in most of my classes.

    ikkinlala AT yahoo DOT ca

  12. A favorite tea memory took place early in the morning on the 29th of April 2011. My daughter home doing a rotation for medical school. She bought us crowns and I provided the teapot and English Breakfast Tea as we watched the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton. What lead me to this site? A few moments ago, I was reading the delightful book “A Tea Reader, enjoying tea from my first Yixing Teapot.
    Warm wishes to all!