'World In a Teacup' at UC Berkeley

The growing popularity of a wide variety of teas makes the Hearst Museum's "World in a Teacup: Tracing the Global Journey of Tea" symposium and tasting especially appealing.

The event is scheduled for March 1 at the Bancroft Hotel in Berkeley, CA. A companion vendor event and exhibit talk will be across the street at UC Berkeley's Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology. A map of the event is available online.

"Experts will explore tea from its ancient origins in Asia to its spread to Britain, India and the rest of the world," say the event organizers, "as well as tea's contemporary production, preparation, retailing and role in popular culture.

"Seven vendors will offer samples of their wares after the symposium, and a curator will talk about the museum's tea exhibit that features sample bricks of tea, tea sets and information about tea's cross-cultural evolution and its ceremonies."

The program is part of an ongoing series of public events at the museum that examine the culture of food. Tickets ($18-20) include admission to the symposium and the vendor event.

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Barista Championship set for Minneapolis

The title of the nation's top barista will be decided at the four-day U.S. Barista Championship scheduled for May 2-5 in Minneapolis.

The event is sponsored by the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA), the world's largest coffee trade association, and Krups, the title sponsor of the event and a leading manufacturer of premium home espresso and coffee machines.

During the competition, the nation’s best baristas come up with their own coffee concoctions. Challengers prepare and serve 12 orders -- four espressos, four cappuccinos and four original signature drinks of their own creation -- in a 15-minute timeframe. As they ready their coffee beverages, contestants engage the audience, explaining their actions and selections, while expertly working the competition’s official espresso machine, a three-group La Marzocco.

Last year, Heather Perry of the Coffee Klatch in San Dimas, CA, took the top spot and went on to represent the U.S. in the World Barista Championship in which she took second place. The world event is scheduled for Copenhagen, Denmark June 19-22.

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