Tea DIY: Matcha Morning Wake Up

An easy to make dose of Vitamin C and antioxidants to start your morning off right

A Vintage Teacup

My latest acquisiton, a gorgeous 1930's teacup

Podcast Episode 8

My interview with Austin and David from Tearroir

Conceptteas Newborn White Tea Cake

There are some teas that you hear about and dream of someday seeing.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Meet The Tea: Dian Hong

Dian Hong has been one of my favorite types of black tea ever since I first started drinking loose leaf tea. It is produced in the Yunnan province of China. Dian is a short name for this region and Hong means Red. In China, black teas are usually called red teas so that can cause some confusion for tea drinkers. Many of us think of rooibos, an herbal tea from South Africa, as red tea. Relatively speaking it is a fairly new tea for Yunnan. This region is most commonly known for its puerh tea.

The leaves are usually dark and twisted in shape with trademark golden tips. The amount of golden tips vary widely but this doesn't have much of an affect on taste, it just makes them look pretty. I have to admit that I am a sucker for them. The taste is full bodied but sweet with fruity notes that are often compared to raisins or dates. Some Yunnan black teas also have a yammy or sweet potato-like quality. They aren't very bitter so this is a black tea that you can drink all on its own without milk and sugar. One of my favorite things about this tea is the gorgeous deep reddish brown color of the liquor.

Dian Hong is typically brewed using boiling water and steep times are anywhere from 2 to 5 minutes. For starters, follow the instructions provided by your tea vendor and then adjust to taste from there.

Photo credit: Wikipedia

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Yezi Tea Yi Fu Chun

Country of Origin: China
Leaf Appearance: small, dark with lots of golden tips
Ingredients: black tea
Steep time: 30 seconds
Water Temperature: 200 degrees
Preparation Method: porcelain gaiwan
Liquor: deep reddish brown

I've been on a big Chinese red tea kick lately so I was excited to dig into this one. The dry leaves were tiny in size but quite beautiful to look at. Golden tips don't seem to add much flavor-wise but they certainly look nice before brewing. The taste was wonderfully complex with fruity notes and a deep yet subtle earthiness. I wouldn't call it malty but there was an interesting grain-like quality that I found very comforting. It was full bodied but there was no bitterness at all. Please don't add milk or sugar to this one! They are really not needed and you would loose a lot of those great nuances. I've tried several selections from +Yezi Tea now and their black teas have definitely been standouts. It's a close tie between this one and their Qing Pin. I really can't choose a favorite between the two.

Yi Fu Chun sample provided by Yezi Tea.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Conceptteas Silver Needle

Country of Origin: China
Leaf Appearance: large, covered in downy hair
Ingredients: white tea
Steep time: 30 seconds
Water Temperature: 195 degrees
Preparation Method: porcelain gaiwan
Liquor: gold

Being a tea blogger is a lot of work but it does have its perks. One of them is having the opportunity to taste some truly amazing teas. Over the years I've reviewed hundreds of teas and Not all of them were memorable but a select few stand out from the crowd. This was one of those teas. I struggled to find the words to describe it but it was quite possibly one of the best examples of silver needle that I have ever tasted. The taste was incredibly fruity with floral notes and a lingering sweetness. The mouth-feel had an almost velvety quality to it that was really enjoyable. This tea performed well using both rapid infusions and my standard 30 seconds. Only drink this tea when you really have the time to focus on it. The infusions go on forever and it would a shame to waste all of that amazing tea! I lost count after ten but that gives you a fairly good idea of the staying power this one has.

Silver Needle sample provided by Conceptteas.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Seven Cups Dian Hong Gong Fu 2012

Country of Origin: China
Leaf Appearance: small, dark with scattered golden tips
Ingredients: black tea
Steep time: 30 seconds
Water Temperature: 212 degrees
Preparation Method: porcelain gaiwan
Liquor: deep reddish brown

I couldn't resist picking up a bag of this tea when I ordered my annual indulgence of Huang Xi Zhang from Seven Cups. Chinese red tea is an interesting category because there are so many different kinds. At +Tea Drunk we have a fairly large leafed Dian Hong. They look giant compared to these tiny "gong fu" type leaves. The taste was bold and sweet with fruity notes and an almost brown sugar-like finish. On a cold and rainy day, this exactly what I needed! It wasn't as yammy or raisiny as other Dian Hongs that I have tried but that wasn't a bad thing in the least. There was a just a touch of astringency but I did not find it bitter or unpleasant. If you really must, it was full bodied enough for milk or sweeteners but please try it on its own first. You won't be sorry!

Dian Hong Gong Fu 2012 purchased from Seven Cups.