Monday, November 30, 2009

California Tea House Organic Darjeeling


Photo: California Tea House
Darjeeling teas have always fascinated me. While grown in India, the variety of tea is actually a China or China-hybrid rather than the native Assam. This was the first offering I have tried from California Tea House. It is a second flush tea, which means it was harvested in June. The leaves were partially broken and had an sweet, earthy aroma. I followed the manufacturer’s directions; using boiling water and steeped it for three minutes. The resulting brew had a bright amber color.

This tea had the typical fruity “muscatel” flavor profile of a Darjeeling but with an additional peppery element more common in Yunnan teas. A second infusion yielded a cup that was just as enjoyable as the first. I think steeping any longer than three minutes would make it too bitter. This tea truly hit the spot on a cold and rainy day like this. I would definitely recommend it. As always, I love an organic tea. I think behooves us as tea drinkers to consider the consequences that our purchases have for tea growing regions. Why drink pesticides when you can go without?

You can find out more about this tea here.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Lu Yu


Photo: Tea for Me Please
For some time I’ve been searching for a figurine of Lu Yu to join me during my tea sessions. He is the author of “The Classic of Tea” and greatly revered in China for his contributions to tea culture. The only one I have been able to find locally is a gigantic and expensive bronze version that Teavana had. I found this neat little gem on ebay today. It’s made out of yixing clay too. Wouldn’t it make a great tea pot holder during gong fu sessions?  I cannot wait to take it for a test drive. Pictures will follow shortly.  Now to find the room to store it…

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Norbu Tea Diamond Grade Tie Guan Yin Oolong Spring Harvest 2009


As my love affair with tea has evolved I’ve found myself favoring oolongs more and more. However, for a while I was convinced that I just did not like Tie Guan Yin. I always found them “fake” tasting but I figured I should give it another shot. My sample arrived in a vacuum sealed pack which was nice because I could immediately tell that the leaves were very fresh. They were mostly whole and bright green in color. They had an intensely floral fragrance that was apparent as soon as I opened the package. I made this tea in a gaiwan using boiling water.

Brewing it in this way this selection was a marathon tea. I actually lost count of how many infusions I made. In fact, there was only a difference in taste between infusions. The taste was multi-layered, floral as expected but also a refreshing aftertaste. The closest I can come to describing it is to say that it tasted like buttery orchids. I now think the selections that I’ve tried before must have been relatively low quality. I might just add it to my regular rotation.

Tieguanyin Oolong Tea on Foodista