Tea For Me Please

What is Terroir?

The factors that make up where your cup of tea comes from

Teacrafting with Boston Teawrights

A look at how I made my own tea

Classic Chinese Black No.3

This unusual tea is made from the same cultivars that are used to produce Long Jing

A New Way of Displaying Teacups

A nifty tool that made it easier to display my teacups

Friday, December 19, 2014

Friday Round Up: December 14th to December 20th

Magnetic Tea Chalkboard
+Bonnie Eng's creativity strikes again! I LOVE her latest DIY project. It would make a great gift for your favorite tea lover (or even for yourself) If only my tea collection was that small... :)

Obscurantism: What Tea are you Really Buying?
+Tea Guardian posed a very interesting question that has been a subject of debate for some time. Can any partially oxidized tea really be called oolong? The answer is not really but there's still a lot of companies that do so.

How oolong got its name
+Global Tea Hut shared on T Ching the story of how oolong got its name. I just love these myths and legends that accompany Chinese tea culture.

Not Your Typical Smoothie
+Darlene Meyers-Perry's Green Sand Egg Nog Smoothie sounds absolutely delicious. I love egg nog, especially this time of year.

Really Need a Chasen Bamboo Whisk?
Kohei at Tales of Japanese Green Tea did a fun experiment comparing the different methods of making matcha. What do you think? Is a chasen really necessary?

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Aiya Tea Matcha to Go Stick-Packs

Country of Origin: Japan
Leaf Appearance: deep green, powdered
Ingredients: matcha green tea, soluble corn fiber
Steep time: n/a
Water Temperature: cold
Preparation Method: waterbottle
Liquor: deep green

I really love matcha but it can be hard to make on the go. When I'm at work, my prep area is virtually non-existent so ease of use is a must. That's why I was so happy when +Aiya America Organic Matcha green tea came out with these stick-packs. Each packet is individually wrapped and not very large so they are perfect for tossing in my purse on my way out of the door. I've tried products like this before but no matter what they all became clumpy and did not mix all of the way. Aiya's solution was to add dietary fiber. This doesn't interfere with the flavor at all but it helps the matcha to become suspended in the water. The taste was everything it should be; crisp, vegetal and sweet. My box is already almost empty so I'll need to pick a few soon. I recently developed a taste for mixing matcha with orange juice (it sounds weird, I know), like with my Matcha Morning Wake Up. This would be a great way to be able to do that even while traveling. All I'd need to do is pick up a bottle of juice from a convenience store and shake.

Matcha to Go Stick-Packs sample provided by Aiya Tea.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Sense Asia All of Vietnam in One Box

It's usually my policy to never write about something here without trying it myself first. In this case I'm making an exception because this is a truly extraordinary collection of teas. Sense Asia has put together 32 different teas, all from Vietnam. I was immediately struck by their unique approach. Included with the collection is a book containing profiles of Vietnamese people from all walks of life. From poor farmers to wealthy business people, you really get a sense for the country and its citizens. The packing was incredibly beautiful and well thought out. Each tea had its own little cube that lists steeping information and features the face of Vietnamese people that were interviewed. When you flip the cubes over, they make a picture map of Vietnam. How cool is that?

For an adventurous tea drinker this is a great way to get to know the terroir of this region. Needless to say, it's going to take me quite some time to review all 32 teas. There's everything from greens and oolongs to puerh. I'm really excited to dive in as I have not had many opportunities to try Vietnamese teas. I'll be adding the link to each individual review to this post as I publish them.

On a side note, rumors are often heard in the tea world about Vietnam teas being contaminated with dioxins. Blogger friend +Linda Gaylard recently shared an article that strongly disputes that claim:

http://www.talkvietnam.com/2014/11/insiders-give-evidence-to-prove-vietnam-tea-is-dioxin-free/

All Vietnam in One Box sample provided by Sense Asia.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Hankook Tea Teuksun Green Tea

Country of Origin: South Korea
Leaf Appearance: small, deep green
Ingredients: green tea
Steep time: 3 minutes
Water Temperature: 180 degrees
Preparation Method: kyusu
Liquor: pale green

Korean teas are fairly new to me but I've been enjoying them very much lately thanks to +HANKOOK TEA. This one hails from the Honam Tea Estate in South Korea. I thought it was interesting because it is a blend of 1st and 2nd flush teas (before and after the first day of summer in the lunar calendar). The taste was vegetal and sweet with just a hint of salinity. The marine element wasn't anywhere near what you'd experience in a Japanese green but that makes sense as these leaves do not appear to have been steamed. There was a sort of squash-like note that reminded me of Hou Kui. This tea was strong enough to stand on its own but mellow enough to pair with food as well. It's been months since I had sushi and I found myself craving a really nice salmon roll. My second and third brews did not loose any of their strength. At just under $20 for 100g, this is a fairly cost effective option.

Teuksun Green Tea sample provided by Hankook Tea.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Cameron Tea Taiwan Beipu Black Tea - Oriental Beauty

Country of Origin: Taiwan
Leaf Appearance: small, curly and dark with scattered white tips
Ingredients: black tea
Steep time: 30 seconds
Water Temperature: 212 degrees
Preparation Method: porcelain gaiwan
Liquor: dark reddish amber

Oriental Beauty is one of my favorite oolongs. This one was interesting because it is actually a black tea, meaning that the leaves have been 100% oxidized. Just as with the traditional oolong version, the leaves were bitten by leafhopper insects. This causes the oxidation process to begin while the leaves are still on the tea plant. The dry leaves looked fairly typical, dark with scattered white tips. At first it tasted like a typical Taiwanese black tea. With each sip a really nice honeyed fruit quality became more and more prevalent. If I stopped drinking for a bit, a really nice floral after affect popped into my palate too. It took about ten consecutive infusions for the flavor to start subsiding. I'm a sucker for pretty leaves and these were gorgeous once they had a chance to fully unfurl. Gongfu'ing this tea is definitely the way to go. Gaiwans concentrate the flavor in a way that you would never be able to create with western style brewing. Taking small, slurpy sips will also help you to taste all of the complexity it has to offer.

Taiwan Beipu Black Tea - Oriental Beauty sample provided by Cameron Tea.

A photo posted by Nicole Martin (@teaformeplease) on

A photo posted by Nicole Martin (@teaformeplease) on

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