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.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Teavana Jeju Island Green Tea

Country of Origin: Korea
Leaf Appearance: deep green, slightly rolled
Ingredients: green tea
Steep time: 1 minute
Water Temperature: 175 degrees
Preparation Method: glass teapot
Liquor: bright green

Many tea drinkers are surprised to hear that Korea grows tea because little is exported and they are not very well known. Needless to say, I pretty much did a happy dance when +Teavana sent me a sample tin. The leaves almost resembled a Chinese green tea called Gua Pian. They had a very sweet aroma, even when dry. The taste was somewhat of a cross between the sweetness of Gua Pian and the deeply vegetal quality of sencha. I didn't quite pick up the chestnut notes that they describe on the product page though. It stood up to several infusions and only developed bitterness if left to steep for too long. I was really surprised at how much I enjoyed this one. Much like the Golden Dragon Yellow Tea that I reviewed previously, Teavana seems to have stepped up their sourcing game lately. I am really curious how this tea was processed. The vegetal notes suggest that it might have been steamed like a typical Japanese green tea.

Jeju Island Green Tea sample provided by Teavana.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Teavivre Fengqing Wild Tree Yesheng Raw Pu-erh Tea Cake 2013

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

The last year or so has been a major period of puerh discovery for me. Up until now I was rather terrified of this category because the examples that I tried years ago were really terrible. Thankfully I now have companies that I trust like +TeaVivre. I've tried a few of their puerh from Fengqing and they were all very good so I was really excited to dig into this one. It stayed sweet throughout all of my infusions but developed a strong, stimulating astringency in the middle. There was a pleasant earthiness and it never got offensive or unpleasant in any way. I always love Teavivre's upfront honesty in their tea descriptions. This line is a great example:

As the workers use iron pan for fixation, and roll the tea with their hands, the leaves do not have good looks as machine-made leaves. Yet regarding on quality, this Wild Tree Yesheng Pu-erh Cake is a green food from nature, in the mists and clouds on high mountains. It is a tea worth being in your collection list.

If I didn't have so much tea on hand already, I'd consider buying several cakes of this. For $62, it is a bit of a steal because it's drinking great young (relatively speaking) and 357 grams goes a long way.

Fengqing Wild Tree Yesheng Raw Pu-erh Tea Cake 2013 sample provided by Teavivre.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Infuze Tea Pouchong Formosa

Country of Origin: Taiwan
Leaf Appearance: dark, somewhat twisted
Ingredients: oolong tea
Steep time: 30 seconds
Water Temperature: 190 degrees
Preparation Method: porcelain gaiwan
Liquor: deep gold

Formosa means beautiful island and it is the name that was given to Taiwan by the Portuguese. Although this name is no longer used to describe the country it is often given to its teas, particularly pouchong. The leaves of this one were dark in appearance but became quite green after steeping.  Floral, sweet and just slightly vegetal; this tea was everything that I would expect from a pouchong. The aroma lingered in my palate long after each sip. I don't drink this type of tea often because they are usually too sweet for my taste. That being said, on a warm spring day it was very enjoyable. Be watchful while steeping as this tea can develop a sour edge if left to brew for too long. It might actually do better in a teapot because the brew will be less concentrated. At just $5.99 per ounce, this tea would make a great daily drinker for someone who really loves floral oolongs.

Pouchong Formosa sample provided by Infuze Tea.

Monday, April 21, 2014

The Daily Tea and Me

As many of you know, +Tea Magazine is now becoming the +The Daily Tea. If this is news to you there's an explanation of the changes here.

I'm excited to announced that I've been asked to be a contributor to the new site and my very first article has just gone live. This will be a great opportunity to reach a larger audience and exercise my writing chops. Creating content outside of the blog has always been a challenge for me because I tend to over-think things. I should be publishing there about once a month or so. Be sure to bookmark my author profile so that you can stay up to date.

Check out my first article:

Getting Started with Loose Leaf Tea