Tea For Me Please

The Perfect Arnold Palmer

Nothing says summer like ice cold black tea and lemonade

Is It Possible to Decaffeinate Tea?

I try my best to answer an age old question.

What Countries Grow Tea?

Tea can be found in over 60 different countries.

8 Things You Should Do Before Starting a Tea Business

Important tips for getting started in the the tea biz.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Little Red Cup Tea Company Premium White Peony

Country of Origin: China
Leaf Appearance: varied greens and browns with some buds
Ingredients: white tea
Steep time: 30 seconds
Water Temperature: 180 degrees
Preparation Method: glass gaiwan
Liquor: gold

The first time that I tried this tea using a good ol' teapot and the directions provided I was a little underwhelmed. It's not that it was bad but it just didn't jump out at me. Not being one to give up after the first go, I thought that it might perform better in my glass gaiwan. I'm very happy to report that my hunch was right. The taste was light and refreshing with cooling notes of honeydew melon. A honey-like sweetness lingered in the aftertaste. There was no bitterness or astringency to speak of. I was able to get at least six infusions so these leaves definitely had some staying power. Something tells me that this would also make a great cold brew iced tea. If only there were more leaves left to play with! It can be hard to know if your tea is sourced in a way that respects the people who produce it. I was happy to see that this tea is Fair Trade Certified. The premiums are used by the growers in Hunan for equipment purchases and much needed public works and sanitation projects.

Premium White Peony sample provided by Little Red Cup Tea Company.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Nepali Tea Traders Nepalese Silver Tips

Country of Origin: Nepal
Leaf Appearance: small, mostly whole downy buds
Ingredients: white tea
Steep time: 3 minutes
Water Temperature: 180 degrees
Preparation Method: mesh infuser basket and porcelain teacup
Liquor: bright gold

I'd heard a lot of good things from fellow bloggers about Nepali Tea Traders but never had a chance to give them a try myself. I was able to briefly meet them at World Tea Expo last year and they were kind enough to leave me with several samples. I'm a lover of (almost) all silver tips tea so naturally this was the one that I gravitated to first. The leaves were like a miniature version of your typical Chinese silver needle. Smaller and a bit more delicate but still covered in downy hairs. The taste was wonderfully complex, starting out with herbaceous notes of sage and lemon grass. Honeyed peaches popped up in the midpalate while the finish brought hints of vanilla and clove. I couldn't help but be reminded of a really good white wine. The mouth-feel was smooth and buttery without any astringency. My second and third infusions were just as good as the first. Sadly there weren't enough leaves to experiment with brewing methods but I have a hunch that this would do really well in my glass gaiwan.

Nepalese Silver Tips sample provided by Nepali Tea Traders.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Friday Round Up: September 27th - October 3rd

Sunday Tea Hoots 7 - Matcha Ranting
I love a good rant, especially when it's about tea. +Charissa Gascho was right on the mark with this post, especially when it comes to transparency.

Scouring the Web for the Best Tea Reviews
Two Dog Tea Blog gives us some food for thought about how to select the tea reviewers that you use to guide your purchases. I think the most important take away is "Don't follow the crowd".

A Visit to David's Tea
Angela at Tea with Friends shared a bit about her very first experience visiting a David's Tea store. I must confess to being a sucker for Pumpkin Chai too.

Cha Doraku Yamabijin
+Ricardo Caicedo wrote a great review this week of a Japanese black tea from Cha Doraku. I first learned about this company when he interviewed the owner on his podcast and now I'm a big fan of their teas.

Matcha Review: Gracious of the Court (2011) by Kaburagien
Did you know that tencha is sometimes aged before being made into matcha? I really enjoyed reading +Oca Ocani's informative and thorough review of this tea.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Jalam Teas Bulang Mountain Sheng

Country of Origin: China
Leaf Appearance: varied shades of green, compressed
Ingredients: puerh tea
Steep time: 30 seconds
Water Temperature: 212 degrees
Preparation Method: porcelain gaiwan
Liquor: gold

It sounds a bit silly but there is something that always makes me smile when shooting pictures for a Jalam Teas review. My camera thinks that the people depicted on the postcards are not just a picture, putting the requisite little boxes around their faces. I think this speaks to the quality of the photography as well as the focus that they bring to those who work so hard to make our tea. This particular offering was sent to subscribers in July (I'm making some progress on my backlog guys!). There was a lot of vegetal astringency upfront but it was tempered by a pleasant hui gan (comeback sweetness). It never became uncomfortable or overly drying. Floral notes along with cooling camphor picked up in the finish. I tend to have a "go hard or go home" when brewing Jalam's teas since I have a fairly high tolerance for astringency. If you aren't as used to it as I am I would suggest dialing back the water temperature to around 185 degrees. Hot tea can be a tough sell in the summer so I thought it was smart of them to recommend trying this one iced.

Bulang Mountain Sheng sample provided by Jalam Teas.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Free Kindle Books for Tea Lovers

I'm a voracious reader, especially when it comes to tea, but all of those books can get expensive. Luckily there are several older books that are now public domain so they're available for free on Kindle. While some of the facts may have changed a bit since their publication, these books serve as windows to the past of our beloved beverage. Did I miss a book? Let me know about it in the comments!

The Little Book of Tea by Arthur Grey
A fun little book that was published in 1903. I found it hilariously old fashioned but was surprised to see teas like puerh mentioned.

The Book of Tea by Kakuzo Okakura
While this book is bit more about philosophy than tea itself, many consider it a classic of Japanese tea culture. I purchased a hardcover copy when I first got into tea and have reread it many times since.

Tea-Cup Reading and Fortune-Telling by Tea Leaves, by a Highland Seer
This one is a bit of light-hearted fun. I've never been one for fortune telling but it was interesting to read about anyway.

A Treatise on Foreign Teas by Hugh Smith
There's nothing quite like a quirky 1700's diatribe on the evils of "foreign teas". This reads like a book but it's actually one very long winded advertorial for Dr. Solander's Sanative English Tea.

Tea Leaves by Francis Legget
This book is for the history buffs. Although it's not exactly about tea it is a really detailed historical account of the Boston Tea Party. I found all of the first person accounts fascinating.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Tea Ave Lishan Oolong

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: bright gold

I'm a bit sad because this is the last of my samples from +Tea Ave. The Dong Ding and Oriental Beauty were definitely enjoyable but this one just might be my favorite. It started out vegetal and slightly creamy but soon my senses were overwhelmed with aromas of orchid. There were also really pleasant fruity notes in the finish that reminded me a bit of apricot. The mouth-feel was somewhat thin with a smooth texture. I was only a few infusions in when my mother called to ask if I wanted to meet her and my sister to grab the ice cream truck (she's only one block away). As I eagerly awaited the familiar chimes of Mr. Softee I couldn't help but be amazed that the fragrance of this tea was still lingering in my palate. Thankfully the leaves were still waiting for me when I got home. Eight more infusions later and I was ready to float away. After my session I couldn't resist snapping a shot of those gorgeous leaves for Instagram. They were huge and absolutely gorgeous to look at. This tea is on the pricier side but sometimes you do get what you pay for.

Lishan Oolong sample provided by Tea Ave.

A photo posted by Nicole Martin (@teaformeplease) on

Monday, September 28, 2015

Teagora Tieguanyin Oolong - Premium

Country of Origin: China
Leaf Appearance: deep green, tightly rolled
Ingredients: oolong tea
Steep time: 30 seconds
Water Temperature: 200 degrees
Preparation Method: porcelain gaiwan
Liquor: gold

Tie Guan Yin is one of those few teas that you can reliably find a drinkable version for a reasonable amount. When I need a tea  to use as an every day drinker or for making iced tea, this is something I definitely look for. This sample that I received from +Teagora Teas is a great example of that. It was smooth and buttery with a lingering orchid aroma. I really liked that this tea had some roast to it since I'm not a fan of the neon green oolongs that have become popular in the market. Later infusions brought the sourness that TGY is known for. I know that sounds like a bad thing but its not necessarily so. There was no bitterness or astringency. Teagora offers two higher grades but I have to say that this one was still pretty tasty. Brewing this tea seemed apropos given a thread I had been reading on Reddit. I added my two cents there but to make a long story short, there is no right or wrong way to make tea. We all have our own preferences and methods. Each individual tea is also slightly different. At the end of the day all that matters is that you enjoy what you drink.

Tieguanyin Oolong - Premium sample provided by Teagora.