Welcome to Mel Had Tea! I’m Mel Hattie and I started blogging in 2012 when I went on exchange to Japan—boy, does that feel like yesterday and forever ago all at once! I’m a tea sommelier, writer, and photographer. Mel Had Tea is a travel blog for tea lovers. On this blog I share writing about tea, travel, photography, and bits of my life and adventures.
I’m inspired to write and share things I love, and want to encourage you to have great adventures and enjoy what you love. When I was a kid I was a highly anxious, asthmatic little nerd who loved cutting pictures out of my Dad’s National Geographic and pasting them in a scrapbook, imaging growing up and visiting these dream-like places around the world.
Now I’m a grown up nerd, making stories, taking pictures, traveling as much as possible, and working on the internet. If I can help you make better tea and remind you to renew your passport, I’ve done by job. Hopefully this makes your day a little brighter.
Are you still reading?
Nice. So, when I got back home from my student exchange in Japan I realized I was addicted to blogging (whoops) and missed it dearly.
As I mentioned, growing up I spent a lot of time in my Dad’s study, flipping through National Geographics—cutting out the pictures when he wasn’t looking. I was raised on a diet of steady stories about serving with the overseas military band from my Opa (by way of Holland) and learning the WAYS OF THE WORLD via my Nana’s various editions of World Book (she was a door-to-door World Book saleswoman — how cool is that?).
In high school I went on exchange to Hamburg, Germany where I made lots of awesome teenage friends who I could drink beer with (yay, Germany!) and played in a youth orchestra that toured Bavaria, which was an awesome experience until I got pneumonia and spent a few feverish nights in a youth hostel looking towards the Austrian border and hallucinating Mt. Crumpet (ugh).
I’ve been lucky enough to have also spent time as an intern for a national Canadian broadcaster in England, spent a month volunteering for an NGO in Bosnia and Herzegovina, taken a month to drive across North America with my best friend, found a café shaped like a giant camera in a field in the middle of nowhere, woken up at 3 A.M. to chant with Buddhist monks in South Korea, amongst other adventures and met so many amazing friends through the blogging community.
But what about this tea thing?
Right. The tea thing. This is my binder from Grade 11:
I feel like this establishes some baseline weirdness for how long I’ve loved tea.
But Mel, why do you love tea? It’s not even coffee.
I could say it’s the elegance of one plant being simultaneously interpreted thousands of different ways by people around the world. I could say it’s the ritual and history surrounding it (tea caused the Opium Wars, guys). I could say it’s because the act of making tea is a beautiful act of self-care and reflection (and caffeination).
As a cold-blooded writer with poor circulation, tea and me are a match made in heaven. I don’t know why we’re together, we just are.
I started studying tea seriously a few years ago, and I’ve been lucky enough to be to some amazing tea gardens and tea houses. But as Ariel the Little Mermaid sings, “I want mooooore.” I’ve also passed all 8 of the Tea Association of Canada’s tea sommelier training courses.
What else can I tell you? I’m in the middle of a Master’s of Journalism — I finish in April 2017. I’m the year of the Metal Horse. My blood type is B+. Is this enough?
I live with an AMAZING fiancé who makes breakfast and our two fat cats, Taters and Trout. I read a lot. I like musicals, and samurai movies. Planet Earth is a fucking treasure. I also like learning languages. Hit me up on Duolingo!
I also work as a freelance journalist. Here’s some of that work.