Teacher Spotlight: Marcus Murphy

Our growing class list would be quite difficult to pull off without the awesome instructors - and businesses - we've been so honored to meet.  We'd like to give you the same opportunity to get to know The Chattery teachers a bit better. 

Learn more about Marcus Murphy below! He'll be teaching our sold out Chinese Tea class.


Starting his Chinese language studies as a freshman at Sewanee, Marcus Murphy quickly caught the “China Bug” after traveling to Shanghai in the summer of 2005. His first cup of tea in China was a scalding jasmine tea as he was welcomed into the home of an octogenarian Shanghainese that he was interviewing for his research project. The tea was a small example of the incredible hospitality he was greeted with daily while living in China for over four years. His second cup of tea in China cost him almost $50 after being invited to what was seemingly a nice tea house with a friendly young girl and her talkative uncle (only later did he realize this is a well known scam in China known as “being teahoused”). Looking back, this drastic juxtaposition is quite telling of the tea industry in China. A chance to meet wonderful people over a cup of steeped leaves saturated with history and culture. But at the same time, there is also a chance for deception and for one to come away with little more than a bad taste in one’s mouth. 

Now, as a Chinese language teacher, he hopes to inspire students daily to more deeply explore the world around them and beyond. Hopefully through tea, he can help others do the same. He also reassures students that he is a student alongside them, and looks forward to learning more about not only the subject at hand, but also to learn more about them as a person.

How did you get started in your profession?

After living in China for four years and finishing my Masters in Chinese Language Education, I was very lucky to find an opportunity to teach Mandarin here in Chattanooga.

Why do you love Chattanooga?

All the great outdoor escapes right out the back door. Friends and family to join along on said escapes.

What's one topic you'd like to learn through The Chattery?

I would like to learn more about the "financial independence" movement and hope to make it to one of the fermentation classes that have been offered in the past.

What's something someone would be surprised to learn about you?

I didn't actually drink much tea while living in China, but actually drank tons of great coffee. I had on average a few Americanos a day while living there, and probably drank more coffee than at any other point in my life. It was my comfort food, and I felt much better about it than frequenting the ubiquitous KFC's in China for a "taste of home".

Jennifer HolderComment