Coverage: Tea on the Terrace event hosts guests for afternoon tea and educational discussion
The Betty Ford Alpine Gardens hosted a Tea on the Terrace event. Guests nibbled on TASTE5 Catering’s finger sandwiches, scones, tea cakes and macarons, and valley resident Kathy Doyle volunteered to make chocolates. Longtime valley local Chris Chantler, co-founder of Vail Mountain Coffee and Tea in Minturn, gave a talk and answered questions about sourcing, processing and brewing tea.
Number of people: The terrace was comfortably full of patrons, members and staff.
History in Vail: Chantler has brewed coffee and tea in the valley since 1989, when he and business partner, friend and Vail Mountain Coffee and Tea co-founder Craig Arseneau opened the since-shuttered Daily Grind on Bridge Street in Vail. They had just shipped up from Boston to move to Vail after visiting Arseneau’s parents in Denver for a ski trip. Their Minturn shop has been open for 16 years, and now that the two roast their own beans on-site, their business supplies more than 350 retailers throughout Colorado and neighboring states with 46 different coffees, 60 different teas, and a large selection of espresso equipment, accessory goods and syrups.
Audience participation: After a brief lecture, Chantler opened up the floor to audience questions, which included topics such as brewing the perfect cup at altitude (which isn’t difficult because it’s hard to over-boil and burn a tea with too-hot water), flavored teas (which has a rich history dating back to the Ming Dynasty) and organic farming practices in India (which are now revisiting ancient Vedic practices based on the natural world).
Biggest laugh: Chantler, who is from the United Kingdom, discussed the plentiful antioxidants in black tea, but that those chemical properties are erased when things like milk and lemon are added for additional flavor. Britons drink tons of black tea, but usually add milk, to which Chantler said, “just think of what Britain could be.”
Lecture highlights: Chantler discussed each kind of tea – black, green, white and oolong – and explained how each was processed, and how those processes have changed over centuries. He told stories from his travels in Taiwan, Japan and China, when he watched tea gardens and masters brew perfect cups. While abroad, he tried on oolong that had been aged for 45 years.
Most memorable quote: After plenty of tea chatter and inquisitive discussion, gardens Director Nicola Ripley ended the program by thanking Chantler, who replied, “I always need to be shut up at some point.”