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Tea 101 - Background and Basics

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In this episode, Kenneth switches things up to sit down with Jeff Champeau, the President of Rishi Tea and Botanicals to talk tea. This is the first of several episodes on the subject. 

Jeff explains the difference between true teas, spices, botanicals, and herbs and covers cultivars. He also provides insight into the history of tea and how it went from being a food to being enjoyed as a drink. 


  • Initially, tea was added to soups and stews.
  • Tea leaves can be fermented. In some countries, they are lacto-fermented.
  • True tea comes in several colors and is harvested from the Camellia sinensis plant.
  •  There are 3 subspecies of Camellia sinensis and 1000s of cultivars.
  • Each cultivar has been created by breeding. So, each one tastes unique and has different nutrition profiles.
  • Even how tea is picked impacts the taste.

‘Tea has been consumed for at least 2000 years. ´

‘You cannot make every style of tea from every tea plant.’

‘The styles of tea are vast.’


Award-winning single-origin specialty coffee: 

At Umble Coffee, we only roast specialty-grade Arabica coffee from around the world with cupping scores 84 and above. Don’t sabotage yourself in pursuing your goals - drink coffee that tastes better and is better for you. No crash, great taste, and better long-term health benefits. That’s Umble Coffee.


Coffee 101 is an educational show on all things coffee.  Join Kenneth and Katie as they start with the most basic questions about coffee and build your knowledge from there.  If you love coffee, are curious about coffee, or you’re a business just looking for a resource to train your team, Coffee 101 is without question the show for you!

Season 1 is all about coffee’s journey from ‘seed to shelf’.

Season 2 is all about coffee’s journey from ‘shelf to sip’.

ABOUT THE HOST: Kenneth Thomas is also an instructor with Stanford Continuing Studies for an all-in-one coffee class.  He owns and is head roaster at Umble Coffee Co.  He and Umble Coffee have been consistently ranked one of the best specialty coffee roasters in the United States.  Kenneth is very passionate about coffee and coffee education.

ABOUT THE CO-HOST: Katie Thomas is Kenneth’s oldest daughter and brings an entertaining flair to the podcast.  She’s still learning about coffee and thus makes the perfect co-host.  She, like the listeners, would claim to be a ‘101-er’ - like you - coffee curious.  She’ll be the future of the coffee industry, and the future looks very bright!

Want to reach Kenneth? Have questions, show ideas, or want to just let us know you’re enjoying the show? The best way is to leave us a great review and put your thoughts in the comment section - Kenneth reads all of them! The second-best way is through DM on social media.

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Coffee 101

Coffee 101 is an educational show on all things coffee. The host, Kenneth Thomas, starts with the mo 
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