Monday, May 29, 2017

What Green Tea and MSG Have in Common

In elementary school science class we all learned about the four basic tastes that our taste buds can detect: sour, bitter, salty and sweet. There is also a fifth taste called umami. It's a word borrowed from the Japanese language that describes a savory or meaty taste. It can be a be a bit hard to describe but seaweed, mushrooms, and aged cheeses are all examples of foods with umami.

MSG, aka monosodium glutamate, is an amino acid that is naturally found in our bodies as well as in food. MSG is commonly used as an additive to enhance the savory effect of umami in food. It's hotly debated whether or not MSG is bad for us. I won't get into all of that because this is a tea blog. Feel free to Google "Chinese restaurant syndrome" if you feel like being buried in fanatical internet commentary.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Friday Round Up: May 21st - May 27th


White Tea Puer from Shang Tea
+Charissa Gascho reviewed a tea that has been on my wish list for a while. It's made from a white tea cultivar but processed like a puerh.

Favorite Tea Ware: Ricardo Caicedo of My Japanese Green Tea
+Georgia SS featured +Ricardo Caicedo in the latest installment of her Favorite Tea Ware series. I absolutely adore the gorgeous natsume that he shared.

In Pursuit of Tea Appreciation
Varat at The Guide to Puerh Tea waxed a bit philosophical about tea appreciation. It's important that we be aware of personal biases and other factors that could affect our tea tasting experience.

Sweet and Classic: Japanese Green Tea IN and Arahataen Green Tea Farms
Mel Had Tea wrote about some delicious sounding Japanese green teas from a new-to-me vendor and farm in Shizuoka. I'll definitely have to check them out soon.

Giddapahar Spring Gold 1st Flush 2017 Darjeeling Tea from Lochan Tea
+Tea Journeyman's review this week reminded me that I have yet to indulge in a 1st Flush Darjeeling from this year. Giddapahar is one of my favorite estates too!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Teaful High Mountain Black Tea


Country of Origin: Taiwan
Leaf Appearance: long, dark
Ingredients: black tea
Steep time: 30 seconds
Water Temperature: 195 degrees
Preparation Method: porcelain gaiwan
Liquor: deep reddish amber

I get A LOT of emails from companies who want me to write about their teas here on the blog. These days I say no more often than I say yes but sometimes a company stands out from the pack. That's what happened when Jason Chang, the co-founder of Teaful, wrote me about his experiences growing up in Taiwan. A hike in the Muzha region six years ago changed his world when he discovered the amazing Tie Guan Yin produced there. Jason's passion for tea was evident from the first email which made me all the more excited to share his teas with you all.

Monday, May 22, 2017

How Long Have People Been Drinking Tea?


When I got into tea one of the first stories that really grabbed my imagination was that of Shennong. Who doesn't love the idea of a mythical horned emperor accidentally discovering the beverage that changed the world? Some versions say that a Camellia Sinensis leaf fell into his mouth while others say that it fell into some boiling water. This event occurred at the oddly specific time period of 2437 B.C. It is fairly unlikely that a single raw leaf would add much taste, let alone cure the 70+ poisons that he supposedly ingested. Nevertheless, the fable does lead one to wonder, how long people have been drinking tea?

Friday, May 19, 2017

Friday Round Up: May 14th - May 20th


White2Tea & The Post Truth Era of Puerh
MattCha's Blog made some interesting observations about how the puerh landscape has changed over the last couple of years. I'm not sure I agree with the political correlations but there are a lot of good points made.

The Efficiency of Machines vs Our Preference of Taste
Tyas at The Tea Crane Blog pontificated a bit on how the use of machines has changed the way that Japanese green teas taste. Having had the privilege of trying some lightly oxidized selections, I can say that we share a similar preference.

Hello old friend...
+Courtney M. Powers wrote about a tea that I remember fondly. We enjoyed it many moons ago at World Tea East in Philadelphia. Talk about a blast from the past!

15 of the Best Tea Advice & Tips for Your Tea Journey
+Lu Ann Pannunzio collected some great advice from tea bloggers, vendors, and tea drinkers. You might even see a tip from yours truly.

Creating Your Own Tea Oasis
+Rachana Rachel Carter has put together an amazing oasis of relaxation around her tea tray. Check out this weeks post for a guide to making your own place to relax and enjoy tea.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Adagio Teas Hunan Gold


Country of Origin: China
Leaf Appearance: dark, curled with scattered golden tips
Ingredients: yellow tea
Steep time: 30 seconds
Water Temperature: 180 degrees
Preparation Method: glass gaiwan
Liquor: deep gold

+Adagio Teas recently sent me a gift certificate. After sifting through their site for a bit I was really excited to stumble upon a yellow tea. This one hails from the Hunan Province of China. Although it is categorized on their site as green tea, the processing differentiates it from being a true green tea. After the "kill green" step the leaves are wrapped in material, usually paper or cloth. This is repeated several times with the leaves being dried in between.