What is a tea ceremony?
Tea ceremony — called “chanoyu” or “chado” in Japanese — is at once an art form, a spiritual discipline, a way to socialize, and a window on Japanese culture. Practiced for more than 450 years, this unique way of sharing tea has spread around the world.
There are many styles of tea ceremony, but they typically include a formal entrance, ceremonial cleansing of the utensils, serving sweets, preparing and serving bowls of tea, and the appreciation of the tools used in the performance.
Tea ceremonies and tea lessons at Shofuso are led by accredited tea teachers from the Chado Urasenke Tankokai Philadelphia Association headquartered in Kyoto, Japan.
Learning Tea Ceremony at Shofuso
Our tea ceremony classes offer the opportunity to practice in a traditional style in an authentic setting. Our teachers are licensed by the Urasenke school of tea ceremony, headquartered in Kyoto, Japan, and each has over fifteen years of experience.
We welcome students who have never practiced tea ceremony before. Beginners start by learning ryakubon, a simple tray-style tea ceremony. Lessons are hands-on and emphasize practical skills in movement and preparing tea, but there is also discussion of tea history and culture.
Tea lessons for beginners start on the first Saturday of each month and continue weekly afterward. It typically takes 8 to 12 weeks of lessons to learn how to do ryakubon from beginning to end. For students who choose to continue their studies, however, there’s always more to learn!
Physical considerations: Tea ceremony is performed in a kneeling position (seiza) on the floor. This position puts pressure on the knees and ankles. If you have a condition that would prevent you from sitting this way for even short periods of time, you may not wish to take our standard class. Please contact us for more information about alternatives.
Cancellation policy: Pre-registration is required. You may cancel for a full refund at any time before the class begins. After the first class, a partial refund may be issued. After the second class, no refunds will be issued except in case of personal emergencies.
Urasenke Philadelphia’s Teachers
Taeko Shervin has been practicing chado for more than thirty years. She began sharing her passion for tea in the form of demonstrations at venues ranging from cultural fairs to department stores, including Shofuso, the Japanese House in Fairmount Park. In 1986, she started teaching at La Salle University, where she gave lessons to students and public alike. She continued her own studies, however, and in 2010 she attained the rank of kyoju, an honor that has been granted to few teachers in the United States. Today, she continues to teach private students, and regularly does public tea ceremony demonstrations.
Morgan Beard has been studying chado since 1994. Her introduction to tea was an undergraduate course with Brother Keenan at La Salle University. She enjoyed doing tea so much that she continued to study under teachers Mariko La Fleur and Taeko Shervin, expanding her knowledge of tea and eventually becoming a licensed teacher. She teaches weekly lessons at Shofuso along with Drew Hanson, and also does demonstrations and other events throughout the Delaware Valley. In addition to her chado-related activities, she works full-time as an editor.
Drew Hanson has been studying chado since 1995 when he began practice with Brother Joseph Keenan at La Salle University’s teahouse. Subsequently, he trained under teachers Mariko La Fleur and Taeko Shervin and is a licensed teacher. Now retired, Drew continues to study, teach, and demonstrate chado. He’s an avid gardener and ceramist and operates Boukakuan, Japanese Tea House and Garden, at his home in New Jersey. Drew holds a Ph.D. in American Literature from the Pennsylvania State University.