January 19, 2004 by

Helen Gustafson

1 comment

Categories: Writers/Editors

A champion of fine teas, Helen Gustafson spent 20 years developing the exquisite tea service for Chez Panisse. The trendy restaurant in Berkeley, Calif., features a selection of organically grown teas that are meticulously prepared using the guidelines she created.
Known as Lady Teas-dale, Gustafson would gasp at the mere mention of tea bags. To her, they were an abomination that prevented tea leaves from releasing their full flavor. She taught the art of the afternoon tea by giving parties that required its participants to wear gloves and hats, and served as a consultant on tea services to several hotels and restaurants.
Gustafson graduated from Syracuse University and earned a master’s degree in drama from the University of Minnesota. She first became interested in tea as a child, taking afternoon tea with her mother and grandmother in the family’s sunroom. This ritual would later inspire her to write the books, “The Agony of the Leaves: The Ecstasy of My Life With Tea” and “The Green Tea User’s Manual.”
Gustafson died on Dec. 14 from cancer. She was 74.

One Response to Helen Gustafson

  1. Amy Elizabeth Ayers

    This is sad to hear. I just finished reading “The Agony of the Leaves”. I was doing a google search to find other books by Ms. Gustafson. I was actually hoping to make it to Chez Panisse and meet with her. Condolences to all her knew and loved her.

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