Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Teavivre Fuding Shou Mei White Tea Cake 2012


Country of Origin: China
Leaf Appearance: varied browns and greens with scattered visible buds
Steep time: 10 seconds, increasing 5 seconds with each infusion
Water Temperature: 200 degrees
Preparation Method: glass gaiwan
Liquor: orange-tinged amber

Did you know that white can be aged? It's become quite the rage but also very expensive. Reflective of the popularity of puerh, the leaves are commonly pressed into cakes and wrapped in paper. I've written A LOT of reviews of Teavivre's teas over the years but this was my very first aged white tea from their catalog so I was really excited to dive into this one.

The dry tea looks a bit like a pile of fall leaves, ready to be jumped into. They were fairly large with varied shades of green and brown with scattered silvery buds. I was impressed by the small chunks that I received but I can imagine the full 357g cake to be even more beautiful to look at. It's still quite hot and humid here in New Jersey but it's nice to drink a tea that is evocative of cooler seasons. Not that I'm rushing things because as we know, winter is coming.

After a quick rinse, the tea brewed up a gorgeous orange-tinted shade of amber. The taste was mellow and sweet with a smooth, almost syrupy mouthfeel. Heady floral notes danced around an earthy aroma that can only be described as old books. I mean that in the best way possible. Trees can contain a compound called vanillin, which cause the pages to emit a comforting vanilla-like aroma. There was no bitterness whatsoever, even when brewed for an extended period of time.

Gongfu is definitely the way to go with this tea. Although it uses more leaf, you'll be rewarded with a seemingly infinite number of steeps. This is a stat that is often over exaggerated by tea companies and Teavivre markets it at a conservative number of nine infusions. I drank this tea from morning until night for two days straight. I accidentally left it steeping for several hours and was terrified that I had ruined it but the tea was just as smooth as ever. Although they recommend slightly below boiling water, it takes hotter water like a champ.

This is an extremely drinkable yet affordable option for those wanting to explore aged white teas. At $38 a cake, your cost per serving is really quite low (especially in comparison to puerh or other aged teas). I definitely recommend giving this one a try. It might even be worth picking up a few extra cakes to continue aging yourself.

Fuding Shou Mei White Tea Cake 2012 sample provided for review by Teavivre.






Monday, August 21, 2017

5 Things You Might Not Know About Me



If you read this blog, you more than likely already know that I love to drink tea...a lot. A friend pointed out that it might be interesting to let my readers get to know me a bit more, outside of tea. I've got to be honest, it actually took me a while to come up with enough things for this post. Tea really does dominate a large part of my life but people are like onions and ogres, we have layers. ☺

Friday, August 18, 2017

Friday Roundup: August 13th - August 19th

Favorite Teaware - Philip Aba of ZeroZen Artlab

Georgia at Notes on Tea interviewed ZeroZen Artlab for the latest installment of her Favorite Teaware. I was super excited to check out this one because I have been admiring his amazing Instagram pictures for some time.

Tennessee Oolong from Steven Smith Teamaker

I've said it before and I'll say it again, west coast tea folks get the coolest stuff! Char from Oolong Owl wrote an awesome review of a whiskey scented Jin Xuan. Although pricey, it sounds like it was definitely worth the try.

7 Best Online Puer Shops of 2017
Looking for a good place to get your puerh fix? Look no further than The Oolong Drunk's latest post. The big players are there along with a few smaller companies. Funnily enough, my list would look just about the same.

Matcha Victoria Sponge Cake

I love to combine my passion for tea with my love for baking (much to my fiance's chagrin). This matcha twist on an afternoon tea classic sounds like a definite must try. If Anna at The Tea Squirrel came up with it, it's got to be good!

Brothers in tea

One of my favorite things about tea is that it brings together people from across the globe. Stéphane from Tea Masters Blog shared a little tea event he had in Taiwan with tea lovers from Spain and Finland. There are always nuances to making tea on this blog that I don't see written about anywhere else.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Teance Burnt Sugar Red


Country of Origin: Taiwan
Leaf Appearance: long, dark, slightly twisted
Steep time: 30 seconds
Water Temperature: 212 degrees
Preparation Method: porcelain gaiwan
Liquor: dark amber

I have a funny habit of saving the tea that I think I would like the most for last. I previously reviewed and really enjoyed Teance's Tiegunyin Dark Stone Fruit but something about the name Burnt Sugar Red told me that it would be a special one. The red part of the name might seem confusing but what we call black tea in the west is usually called red tea (or hong cha) in countries like China and Taiwan. Not to mention the fact that rooibos is often labeled as red tea.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Tea Places: Floating Mountain


I don't get to NYC as much as I used to these days so I try to take full advantage of the time that I am there. After I attended the Pret-A-Matcha Kickstarter Launch Party and visited Tea Dealers, I still had one more tea place on my to-do list. Floating Mountain first hit my radar when I started seeing posts about it on Instagram. From what I could gather on their website, this was definitely my kind of place.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Friday Roundup: August 6th - August 12th

Portlandish

I've been eagerly awaiting the report of Lord Devotea's recent visit to Portland and at long last, it is here. He couldn't have had a better tea tour guide than fellow blogger Geoff Norman.

Tea Teaching: Big Red Robe - Da Hong Pao

Chelsea at Taste the Tea gives us a short and sweet introduction to one of my favorite Wuyi oolongs. I love the tasting note visual and accompanying review of Adagio Tea's Da Hong Pao.

Bad Marketing Part 2

On this new-to-me blog, Tristan examines some of the outlandish claims made by tea vendors when it comes to how many times the tea can be infused. This is a sore subject for me as well and I am glad that someone is questioning these "bad marketing" practices.

Matcha (Green Tea) Latte Ice Cubes

Jee from Oh, How Civilized must be a mind reader. I've been on a big matcha kick lately but lattes are difficult to enjoy in the heat because they quickly become watered down. I love the decadent idea of condensed milk instead of my usual 2%.

Interview: Tyas Huybrechts of The Tea Crane

Sara at Tea Happiness did a very interesting interview with Tyas Huybrechts, a Belgian ex-pat living in Japan. Not only is he a Nihoncha instructor but also sells teas in order to further his vision of spreading Japanese culture.