Brian Keating
Brian Keating Brian Keating Brian Keating Brian was dubbed "The Tea King" (an ana­gram of his last name and per­fect­ly de­scrip­tive of his ca­reer) by his friend and col­lab­o­ra­tor, Chef Tim Ziegler. Brian had al­ways en­joyed tea, but he first turned his full, and at times ob­ses­sive, at­ten­tion to mas­ter­ing the cul­ture of tea when he be­came a pro­pri­etor of The TeaCup in Seat­tle. He be­lieved that tea was not mere­ly a com­mod­i­ty, but an ar­ti­san prod­uct. He tast­ed and test­ed a lot of tea, learned the distinc­tive char­ac­ter­is­tics and ori­gins of all of them, and fell for­ev­er in love with Oolong.

Brian Keating and Tim Ziegler met at the Nat­u­ral Foods Expo in Ana­heim, Cal­i­for­nia, in 1997. At that show they con­nect­ed with Ten Speed Press, a pub­lish­ing com­pa­ny who had an ex­ten­sive li­brary of cook­books and posters. By the next year, they had signed a con­tract to pro­duce a spice poster.

Tim had al­ready been in the spice busi­ness for twelve years, but Brian pre­sent­ed him with a copy of a poster called Spices of Life, which he had writ­ten with his wife Karen. The con­tent in­clud­ed an overview of seeds, herbs, cit­rus, onion and garlic, cap­sicums, black pep­per, spices, and foun­da­tion­al blends from the world's cui­sines. Chef Zieg said it taught him an amaz­ing amount about his own prod­ucts.

Pho­tog­ra­pher Lois Ellen Frank came on to do the pho­tog­ra­phy and the first edi­tion of their spice was pub­lished in the sum­mer of 2000. Brian and Tim went on to co-au­thor an ad­di­tion­al sev­en posters for Ten Speed. Brian had begun SageGroup, Inc. and in the early 1990s moved to Seat­tle. From there he sin­gle­hand­ed­ly de­vel­oped SportTea. He also did a stint as Whole Foods Tea buyer and helped them enter the tea and spice busi­ness. There was no one in the tea busi­ness that he hadn't talked to, con­sult­ed for, writ­ten copy for, de­vel­oped fla­vored for­mu­la­tions for, or bro­kered or sold prod­uct to.

In memo­ri­am: Brian passed away in 2018, but his con­tri­bu­tions to the world of tea and spice will not be for­got­ten.