“Water is the mother of tea, a teapot its father, and fire the teacher.” — Chinese Proverb
Joe Uhl is devoted to his family, his friends and…his tea. And rightly so as the proprietor and creator of Joseph Wesley Black Tea, a business that celebrates tea, its origins and its consumption.
To highlight the history of tea and foster further understanding of this beautiful beverage, Uhl and friend Marvin Marvin Shaouni of Marvin Shaouni Photography have created a visually stunning book about the subject, “The Art and Craft of Tea.” Once you get over Shaouni’s glorious pictures, you will appreciate Uhl’s knowledge, vivid writing and tasteful recipes found in this newly published text.
As one of the most consumed beverages in the world, a cup of tea is a common shared experience across cultures and traditions. Companies and consumers alike are reawakening to the benefits of high-quality, unprocessed, natural beverages, and tea is a perfect obsession for anyone interested in artisan food and healthy eating.
In “The Art and Craft of Tea,” Uhl brings to the story of tea its due reverence, making its history, traditions, and possibilities accessible to all. If you want to go beyond reading and enter your kitchen, Joseph offers recipes for creating your own tea blends using natural ingredients.
Attorney, entrepreneur and tea aficionado Uhl is the founder of a line of carefully crafted, single-origin, estate-grown teas, Joseph Wesley Black Tea. Featuring seven uniquely handcrafted teas, Joseph Wesley Black Tea teas are grown by some of the world’s most noted growers in the most renowned tea-producing regions in the world.
For over 25 years, Uhl has searched to find the world’s greatest tea growers and producers. Through this search he connected with luminaries who provided him with a deep knowledge and understandings about tea. In returning to Detroit in 2001 he found it difficult to readjust. So, he became an attorney at a large law firm.
It was not long, however, that he found himself feeling like another ‘grey suit.’ He did not relate to the work; its purpose was not his. Noticing the person he became through the eyes of his first daughter he realized a change was needed and resigned from the league of gray suits, packed his bags and returned to Asia.
He reached out to his former mentors and began deconstructing the myths the western world carries about tea; about its flatness in culture, the tendency towards garish blends, and about how the discourse of craft and terroir is lost. In so doing, he realized there was an opportunity to tell a different story and to tell that story from the most unlikely places, his hometown Detroit. In moving back to Detroit, he started Joseph Wesley Black Tea and began sharing his love and passion for the world’s best tea.
His line of teas, Joseph Wesley Black Tea, is served and sold at a variety of places including Selden Standard, Sister Pie, Pure Detroit, Germack, Astro Coffee, Fresh Farms Market, Cliff Bells, Trinosophes and Avalon Bakery.
“The Art and Craft of Tea” is published by Quarry Books. The 160-page book ($24.99) is vailable online and where books are sold, including Amazon, Barnes & Noble as well as Pages bookstore in Detroit. Uhl will talk about his book and tea at Pages Saturday, Dec. 12, for those interested in learning more and buying a signed copy.