When I was 17, I got on a plane solo to spend a semester abroad in Hamburg, Germany. I haven’t stopped exploring since.
Over the years, my adventures have included going abroad as an exchange student (twice!), becoming a TAC Certified Tea Sommelier, living on a tea farm, working as a journalist in the UK, volunteering in Bosnia, being on Japanese reality TV, chanting with monks in South Korea at 3 am, navigating anxiety and mental health challenges, working in the tourism industry, getting married in a yurt, surviving the coldest overnight bus in the Philippines, getting my drone pilot's license, and more.
These days, I make my living as a photographer and am focused on developing my craft as a fiction writer.
Mel Had Tea began as a joke Twitter handle in 2009 when my real name wasn't available and I only 'liked' tea, but it did become somewhat of a self-fulfilling prophecy, and for years I blogged here exclusively as a tea and travel blogger.
While many of those old posts are now gone, this site has evolved into a repository of creative work and a place to connect. I still enjoy a well-made cup of tea and will happily chat at length on the subject to anyone who'll listen.
“9 Teas Experts Wish More People Knew About.” Food Network (2022): online.
“The 44 Best Gifts for Tea Lovers, According to Tea Sommeliers.” NY Mag, The Strategist (2021): online.
“Everything You Need to Know About Tea, Explained.” Thrillist (2020): online.
“Dartmouth tea sommelier Mel Hattie pours a cup and shares her journey.” Chronicle Herald (2019): online/print.
“Mel Hattie on the Business of Freelance Writing, Tea, and Travel.” Wordable (2019): online.
“Take these steps when you feel burned out and want to start over.” Fast Company (2018): online.
“We talk tea, travel and Tokyo with Mel Had Tea blogger, Mel Hattie.” Finder (2018): online.
"Hattie's journalism venture: tea and travel." University of King's College (2017): online.
Tokyo Broadcasting, Today I return to my homeland, Episode 1 (2018)
Ah, the infamous Japanese reality show. I’m still not quite sure how I got roped into this. One moment, I was sweating my ass off and pulling back the plastic netting on a row of tea bushes on the hillside in the hot and humid Japanese summer, the next there was a tv crew there, interviewing me with my poor Japanese for what I thought was a local tv news segment, “Charming foreign girl really likes Japanese tea!” or something similar.
The next day, the film crew came back and asked if they could have a camerawoman follow me for my last few weeks in Japan and the week after I returned to Canada.
Not really knowing what I was agreeing to and with no official contract in place, I said, “Sure, why not?”
It was an experience, to say the least.
Here's the Tokyo Broadcasting teaser for the show (in Japanese). The premise of the show is that each episode showcases a foreigner living in Japan studying a traditional Japanese art or craft, the knowledge of which they then bring back to share with people in their home country.