Good Mold Bad Mold
Tea Closet is a blog that is technically older than +Tea for Me Please. I've only recently discovered them but have really enjoyed their posts. This week they shared an interesting study about the molds found in puerh.
Tea Waste Bowl
Travelling Teapot posted a great explanation of what a tea waste bowl is and shows pictures of some of his collection. I know it took me a while to understand their purpose. I must confess that I own one but hardly ever use it.
Dark Roast TieGuanYin Oolong from Mountain Tea
Oolongchaser is a new blog on the scene but a very passionate dude. Cody's description definitely makes me want to give this one a try. I haven't yet tried anything from Mountain Tea but I've heard very good things.
What-Cha: Nepal Monsoon Flush 2014 Pearl Oolong Tea, A Tea Review
My Thoughts Are Like Butterflies is another one of my favorite blogs. Amanda mostly blogs about tea but I enjoy the random geek culture ramblings as well. This tea was like a tri-fecta of unusual. It's from Nepal oolong, it's monsoon flush and it's a pearl tea.
Tea of the Pacific Northwest
Everyone's favorite tea fairy, +Elyse Petersen wrote a post on T Ching about her recent tea travels in the Pacific Northwest. She visited two tea farms, twenty retailers and several festivals along the way.
Thursday, September 11, 2014
Leaf Appearance: small, dark and twisted
Ingredients: oolong tea
Steep time: 30 seconds
Water Temperature: 200 degrees
Preparation Method: porcelain gaiwan
Liquor: very dark amber
Cassisa bark oolong, also known as Rou Gui has become one of my favorite types of tea lately. Wu Yi oolongs have become more and more expensive every year so I really appreciate that +Tribute Tea Company's is priced so well. The taste of this one was smokey and earthy with a ton of natural sweetness. I was almost reminded of the delicious burnt sugar used to top crème brûlée. The spicy undertone was subtle in the flavor profile but very present in the aroma. I found myself sticking my nose into the gaiwan on more than one occasion. There was very little astringency and the mouth-feel was fairly thick. So far all of these that I've had from this company have been excellent. The founder, Brett Holmes, is truly passionate about tea. He's just getting started but I think he will do great things in the future.
Cassia Bark Oolong sample provided by Tribute Tea Company.
Wednesday, September 10, 2014
Leaf Appearance: small, dark with lots of spices
Ingredients: black tea, ginger root, cardamom, cinnamon, allspice, peppercorns, cloves, natural chai flavoring
Steep time: 5 minutes
Water Temperature: 212 degrees
Preparation Method: ceramic teacup and mesh infuser
Liquor: dark brown
Somehow the word chai became synonymous with spiced tea here in the U.S. even though the word is actually Hindi for tea. Therefore when you are in line at Starbucks and order a chai tea, you're really asking for tea tea. The correct term would really be masala chai, which indicates the typical spices used in this type of blend. This rendition from The Tea Spot was a fairly typical, plenty of kick and a bold black tea base. This style of tea is the one case where I think CTC style leaves taste better, especially if it's an Assam. That is exactly what they used here. Ginger and cinnamon were the dominant spices but I was able to taste the other ingredients as well. I drank it straight but it would work well with milk and sugar if desired. I can't quite pin it down but there just seemed to be something missing. Perhaps it was the chai flavoring that threw me off? The full impact that I expect from this type of tea just wasn't there. This is something that really comes to down to a matter of personal preference. For some chai drinkers, this blend is exactly what they are looking for.
Mile High Chai sample provided by The Tea Spot.
Tuesday, September 9, 2014
Leaf Appearance: deep green with bright petals
Ingredients: organic green tea, organic safflower, organic coconut, organic banana pieces, organic flavor
Steep time: 3 minutes
Water Temperature: 175 degrees
Preparation Method: porcelain teacup and mesh infuser
Liquor: yellowish green
Sencha and banana sounds like a really odd flavor combo. That of course made this blend instantly appeal to me. The only teas that I could ever recall having banana in them were rooibos based. The taste was vegetal, fruity and sweet. The unusual pairing worked well and I was so glad that it didn't taste artificial at all. They have an excellent line of teas but Chambre de Sucre is probably best known for their artisan sugars. I added one of their adorable mini hearts to my cup and the touch of sweetness really made the flavors pop. This tea was even better as an iced tea. The umami of the sencha became much more prominent. Each of Chambre De Sucre's teas are named and numbered after Lisa's family members. This one is named after the place in Japan where her father is from and it is numbered 6 for his birthday. It adds a uniquely personal touch that I really enjoy.
Kyushu sample provided by Chambre De Sucre.