Hi there!

My name is Arina, I’m Russian and French, having been living with my family in Beijing, China since late 2007. Interpreter and business analyst in my pre-Beijing life, here I’ve allowed myself to take some time to develop my sleeping homemaker instincts, to raise my three gorgeous kids, learn Chinese and to become a positively obsessed traveler, foodie and tea lover. I wanted to start this blog to stimulate my creativity and to learn, share and write more on the things I love.

So what the blog will be about?

  • To begin with, it will be about Chinese tea. Most probably, our family will stay in China for another eight to twelve months, and I would like to build up my tea knowledge by doing a project that I would baptise a “tea marathon”. My ambition is to source and taste 214 varieties of Chinese tea highlighted in the Tea Tasting Handbook (品茶图鉴) I have in my library. Initially I intended to put a deadline of 31 December 2010 to this project, but then decided to abandon the idea. With my personal and professional committments that deadline looked more and more unrealistic. And what I would like most, is to enjoy the project and have enough time to taste and explore.

  • In my loftiest dreams I think of finding a Chinese tea master or local school to expand my knowledge on tea. I have been learning Chinese for a year now, and hope it will greatly help with communication. I’m just worried I will not have enough time for that before we leave China. Yet if I do have such an opportunity, I’ll try to document this adventure on my blog.
  • Tea, of course, can be enjoyed on its own. Yet another book, this time in French, “Thé et Mets”, inspires me to explore the territory of tea and food pairings, the essential of the “tea sommelier” job. I’ve already stumbled upon some interesting resources on the subject, and would love to explore it more. Whenever I test a pairing proposed by others or try to find a perfect match myself, I’ll try to provide a recipe.
  • I’m not a tea purist. One of my favorite pastimes is to blend my own infusions, mainly inspired by Chinese local leaves, berries and roots, which do not necessarily include tea. From time to time, I’m going to post recipes of those too.
  • We love traveling through China. Yet, having recently given birth to my third son, my capacity to do that will be limited for the next few months, and I’ll mainly stay in Beijing. Therefore, in the nearest future I’ll have to source all the tools, teas and other ingredients in the capital. That’s why I was thinking of documenting my experience in a sort of tea lover’s Beijing shopping guide.
  • And last but not least, I would love to use this blog to learn and practice food photography. In the beginning, there may/will be some pictures taken by others (I will not forget to attribute them). But I’m planning to become self-sufficient quite soon.

Although English is not my mother tongue, I’ve decided to make it the language of my blog, mainly because I would like to maintain it on a decent level and because much of the community and resources are in English too. I hope not to offend anyone with possible spelling / grammar / style mistakes. You may also stumble upon Chinese terms from time to time, as I won’t be able to control my passion of learning Chinese.

So I hope you will enjoy reading my blog it as much as I am enjoying making it. You can contact me at arina.divo@gmail.com

Thanks for stopping by – I’d love to see you here again and treat you to another cup of tea.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Nora February 22, 2010 at 12:27 am

Hi Arina – best of luck with your tea tasting marathon !
I’m in cold Toronto Canada and my idea of Olympic fever is your tea tasting.
Make note of the type of water you are using too as that affect taste very much.

Michaelle October 7, 2010 at 11:13 pm

I’m so jealous that you have FRESH China tea to taste. It is my constant quest here to get teas that are only a few weeks old. The difference from the usual in taste is phenomenal!

Fabian February 11, 2011 at 6:11 pm

Hey, I just stumbled upon your blog while doing research for a translation of 品茶图鉴 into german. Good articles, looking forward to visit some of your recommended places during my stay in Beijing next month! Thanks

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