Open Book Interview

Linda Gaylard | Author & Tea Expert

DK recently caught up with stylish tea stylist Linda Gaylard, author of The Tea Book, to chat about everything from gaiwans to Oolong. Linda is currently celebrating a nomination for Best Tea Publication at the 2016 World Tea Expo.


If you were a cup of tea, what would you be?

I like to think I would be an Art Deco cup filled with a rich “hong cha”, a red tea from China. Warm and pleasant at first, but revealing depth and more complex layers as time passes!

What's the best part of your day?

Actually any part of my day that involves drinking tea is the best! Morning is the most hopeful part of my day. After breakfast I sip the best green tea I can find in my tea chest. I check in with social media and start interacting with the tea community around the globe.

What are the three objects you couldn’t do without?

My variable temperature kettle is a keeper, making it easy to infuse tea at the right temperature. I use my gaiwan – a small traditional Chinese tea bowl with saucer and lid – four or five times a day. It’s an indispensible piece of tea ware, as it makes the best infusion of tea. My camera is also an essential visual tool that I use to capture images of tea to use on my website.

What's the most difficult thing about your work?

Convincing people that they can part ways with tea bags and give loose-leaf tea a try.

What was the strangest experience you had on the job?

Several years ago I had an interesting gig as a tea sommelier. I presented tea at a media event, which introduced a new refrigerator for a major brand. As counter-intuitive as it might seem, the fridge dispensed hot water that was the correct temperature for green, white and Oolong teas.

Is there an achievement you’re most proud of?

I’m fortunate to have launched my tea career seven years ago, when tea’s “third wave” was just starting to advance. I’ve had a head start when it comes to education, connecting with the tea community and sharing with others. I’m very proud of The Tea Book and the response it has received from tea lovers. Readers appreciate the concise information supported by beautiful visuals.

Tell us something you never expected you would learn.

I never dreamed that I would be inventing tea cocktails. I actually became quite good at mixology and enjoyed learning how to combine bitters, spirits, tea and other ingredients to create a winning concoction.

What are you reading right now?

I read whatever I can source that is related to tea. I’ve also been reading an out of print book from the early part of the last century, titled The Days Before Yesterday by Lord Frederic Hamilton, published in 1920. It’s a memoir of his life growing up in privileged Victorian London. It’s a fascinating look at fast-changing time, written in a rather archaic style from first person perspective.

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