Friday, July 22, 2016

Friday Round Up: July 17th - July 23rd

My tasting notes: Gyokuro
I recently discovered a new blog called The Tea Squirrel, written by +Anna Mariani, and I've really enjoyed her posts so far. The photography in this post is so beautiful. It makes me want to run out and get some irises of my own.

Cha Do: The Way of Tea
Warren over at SimpleSubtleTea attended an event in California where he got to see Wu De of Global Tea Hut speak. Talk about jealous! Hopefully there will be a similar event on the east coast soon.

Tea Flavour Ice Lollies
It's been incredibly hot and humid here in NJ the last few weeks. Jaye at +Cardiff in a Tea Cup shared some recipes for tea ice pops that will definitely come in handy. Coconut milk and matcha sounds like a match made in heaven.

Spring Long Jing (Dragon Well) Green Tea
Microshrimp's Book of Tea put together an interesting comparison of Dragonwell teas from two different vendors. I really enjoyed the fair, balanced approach. It's easy to want to declare a winner but this post was a great reminder that every tea has its place.

DIY Green Tea After Sun Spray
This post is timely as I recently found myself with a bit of sunburn after a long day playing Pokemon Go. Yep, I said it! +Lu Ann Pannunzio hosted this fantastic guest post written by Jen Fitch of A Sip of Bliss.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Xin Mu Cha Vivid Retention 2015

Country of Origin: Taiwan
Leaf Appearance: deep green, tightly rolled
Ingredients: oolong tea
Steep time: 30 seconds
Water Temperature: 212 degrees
Preparation Method: porcelain gaiwan
Liquor: deep gold

Some of you might remember my review of Xi Mu Cha's Nonpareil Lalashan Oolong. Both teas are from the same region and were made with the same cultivar. I think I might have to declare Vivid Retention my favorite. First of all, isn't that a completely epic name for a tea? You won't just remember it, you'll retain the memory vividly!

The dry leaves had an intriguingly strong smell that I couldn't quite put my finger on. I immediately thought to myself, "This is going to be good!. Even before drinking my senses were flooded with heady floral notes. Green oolongs similar to this one are usually likened to orchid but I felt like lavender was a more apt description in this case. I used a tapered teacup (basically a giant aroma cup) and it did a fantastic job of trapping all of those aromas for my nose to linger upon. If you don't have a similarly shaped cup you'll definitely want to take advantage of sniffing your gaiwan lid to get the full effect.

That intense floral character carried through in the taste as well. Vegetal and creamy notes danced around a lingering sweetness. Visions of lavender and honeysuckle danced in my head. There was no bitterness or astringency, even with stretched out steep times. This is an oolong that should definitely be gongfu'd in order to extract every bit of deliciousness. Although it would definitely hold up to western or grandpa style brews, I think you would loose some of that incredible intensity. As they unfurled the leaves were large and leathery with lots of visible bud sets. I could even spot oxidation spots and naturally serrated edges.

Have you ever tried a tea from Xin Mu Cha or Lala Shan? Let me know about it in the comments!

Vivid Retention 2015 sample provided for review by Xin Mu Cha.

A photo posted by Nicole Martin (@teaformeplease) on

Monday, July 18, 2016

Tea Places: Nohohon Tea Room

Nohohon Tea Room
When I heard that Toronto based Nohohon Tea Room had opened a location in NYC I just had to check it out. Oddly enough, I found out about them through a YouTube video from +Off the Great Wall that popped up on my feed. It took me a few weeks to get over to that part of town but it was definitely worth the extra trip. Unlike a lot of the chain stores that are common around the city each cup of matcha bubble tea is whisked by hand. My fellow matcha heads will all agree, there's nothing like having someone whip up a bowl of matcha for you.

 St. Mark's Place is always a busy place and I had trouble spotting them at first. Eventually I realized that they were right next door to Sing Sing, an iconic dive of a karaoke bar. It's just a short walk from Astor Place and several subway stations so the location is pretty easy to get to. I definitely forsee dragging my my non-tea friends here when we are nearby

The space was tiny but felt cozy and inviting. Although there's a small bench I'd consider them to be more of a "to go" place. One of the first things that I caught my eye right away was the kama and bamboo ladle that were set up on their tea prep counter. How cool is that? The girl who was working was friendly and ready to answer any questions that I might have had.

I am not a fan of boba so I was a bit unsure about ordering at first. To my relief each drink is handmade and a wide range of customizations are available. Tapioca and red bean topping is available as well as both soy and almond milk. It was a relatively warm day so I opted for a "Matcha on the Rock". A shot of matcha on ice topped with organic coconut water sounded like just the thing. I'm happy to report that it was delicious and refreshing. My subway ride home was much better for having it.

I must confess that part of my motivation for stopping by was to see if it was possible to grab an adorable Tenugui tea towel that I had seen on their Instagram. Cats making matcha trumps all! I really have no idea what I'm going to use it for but I couldn't resist. Apparently the designs change monthly so I felt lucky for there to still be some available. There was also a shelf of teaware, including several beautiful chawans, but I decided to not even inquire about the prices for the sake of my tea budget.

Tea Towel - Cats Making Matcha

You can find out more about Nohohon Tea Room here.

Nohohon Tea Room is located at:

9 St. Marks Place
New York, NY 10003
(212) 387 0276
Mon - Sun from 1:00pm - 10:00pm