Classes teach culture, history and appreciation of brewed beverage

For those interested in learning about the history, basics in brewing and characteristics of a centuries-old beverage, a new group of classes might just be their cup of tea.

The Las Vegas Tea Series, set to run through Dec. 5 at the Trifecta Gallery inside The Arts Factory, 107 E. Charleston Blvd., includes classes for participants ranging from beginner tea drinkers to longtime enthusiasts. Each class is $10 per person, with the exception of the Oct. 25 Oolong tea-tasting session, which costs $15 per person.

Ashanti McGee, series cofounder and owner of Iron Kettle Teas, said she hopes the classes dispel myths people may have about tea.

"Either people feel like tea is just leaves and berries or they’re intimidated by it," McGee said. "With these classes, I want people to be less intimidated about tea and actually have fun."

Class topics include the basics of tea, brewing methods, tea mythology and more. Naomi Rosen, series cofounder and owner of Joy’s Teaspoon, said at least 30 classes are planned through spring 2013, and she anticipates establishing various tracks so those who attend classes later in the series will have an opportunity to stay updated with participants who began in earlier sessions.

"We want classes to be set up to where you walk in and enjoy it and not feel like you’ve missed something," Rosen said. "We do want to make sure people who want to start from the beginning have that opportunity."

Rosen said the series begins downtown but may move to other areas of the valley in the future, depending on interest. She and McGee chose downtown because of the community aspect.

"I’m a huge fan of what’s going on down here with the resurgence," Rosen said. "We want to do as many events as we can and bring people (downtown). We have plenty of tea drinkers (in the valley). They’re just not organized."

Rosen said the tea community throughout the valley is growing, as Las Vegas often plays host to the World Tea Expo and may be home to a tea lounge downtown in the near future. The two women hope the series stimulates interest in the community, especially through the platform Skill Share, on which they’re hosting classes. Skill Share is a website where people can sign up for classes on various topics taught by people in the community.

"On Skill Share, anybody can (teach) a class," McGee said. "People on there have a love to teach somebody about a topic. I think us teaching people about tea gives them an understanding of different kinds and help them figure out what they like."

Rosen has similar aims with the class series. "My primary goal is to make people find out what teas they like to drink," Rosen said. "With these classes, I think people will be amazed at how interesting (tea) actually is."

The next tea class is set for 6 to 7:30 p.m. Sept. 27 at the Trifecta Gallery. The topic is tea brewing methods, and the cost is $10 per person. For more information, call 877-795-1411 or visit teaserieslv.com.

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