Sunday, November 28, 2010

Green Tea Lovers Shincha Kagoshima

This is a first crop, young bud sencha that was grown in Kagoshima Perfecture, Japan. According to Green Tea Lovers shincha has a higher content of amino acids (L-Theanine) and vitamin C. The dry leaves were small and very dark green in color. They had aroma that almost reminded me of mint. I steeped this tea in a kyusu using 160 degree water and three subsequent 40 second infusions. The liquor was a bright yellow green with a somewhat cloudy appearance.

This tea was mellow and refreshing but surprisingly full flavored. The predominant flavor was sweet and floral but there was also an element of nuttiness in the background, similar to genmaicha. The third infusion was just as potent as the first. It felt as though it could have withstood a few more infusions if I wasn't in danger of floating away after drinking three kyusu. I would definitely recommend this tea.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Tea Places: In Pursuit of Tea

I recently had the pleasure of attending a tea and cheese tasting at In Pursuit of Tea’s new shop on Crosby Street in Soho. I’m going a little link crazy in this one but I really want to recognize the great companies involved. It was conducted by Sebastian Beckwith from In Pursuit of Tea, Benoit Breal from Saxelby Cheese, and Melanie Franks, a chef instructor at the French Culinary Institute. We sampled six teas, ranging from white tea to puerh, that were each paired with a different cheese. Even thought I’m adventurous in my tea drinking I’m actually quite the picky eater so I was a little worried that I would not enjoy the cheese portion of the event. Luckily all of the cheeses were amazing as were the teas.

It was really interesting to see how the cheese and teas changed and complimented each other’s flavor profiles. My favorite combo was definitely a 2nd flush Darjeeling paired with Ascutney Mountain cheese. The dong ding and sencha were also fantastic. It was a very enjoyable event and it is always great to talk shop with folks who are as crazy about tea as I am. While small, the shop is cozy and the staff are so passionate about what they do. I did have to restrain myself from making a teaware purchase as I’ve simply run out of room at this point.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Boston Tea Company Ginger, Peach and Apricot Black Tea

Boston Tea Company lists the ingredients of this blend as including Chinese black tea, ginger pieces, peach pieces, apricot pieces and natural ginger-peach flavor. The dry leaves were a uniform dark brown with pale pieces of fruit mixed in. The ginger was very apparent in their aroma. I steeped this tea in my Breville One-Touch Tea Maker with 212 degree water for three minutes.

This tea tea had a pleasant natural sweetness to it. The taste almost reminded me of Smarties candies. The black tea provided a nice nutty base. I couldn’t detect much of the ginger in the flavor profile but that is ok by me since ginger can be overpowering. There was surprisingly little astringency, something I appreciate in a fruit tea. I would definitely recommend this tea.

You can find out more about this tea here.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Teapod Earl Grey

According to Teapod this tea consists of Sri Lankan black tea flavored with natural bergamot oil. Bergamot is an orange that is grown in Italy. The lemon peels and bright blue cornflowers added a nice punch of color to the dark brown leaves. They had a very strong citrus aroma. I steeped this tea in my Breville One-Touch Tea Maker with 212 degree water for four minutes.

This tea was earthy and sweet. The citrus flavor was well done, not too much and not too little. I am not a big fan of Earl Grey teas but this one was exceptionally good. Very often Earl Greys leave a thick and oily feeling in my mouth but that didn’t happen here. This is the second tea I’ve tried from Teapod and I’ve been very impressed so far. I would definitely recommend this tea.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Chicago Tea Garden Green Elephant Pu-erh Beencha

According to Chicago Tea Garden these beenchas were manufactured in 2005 and stored in a man-made puerh cave in the United States. The dry leaves had a dark and flakey appearance. The aroma was sweet and earthy, more reminiscent of good top soil than the forest floor smell you get from many puerhs. I made this tea in a porcelain gaiwan using 212 degree water and 40 second steepings. The liquor was a deep and murky chestnut in color.

The first infusion was very mild with just a hint of a smoky aftertaste. The second was woodsier tasting and had a sweet finish. The third was a just slightly toned down version of the second infusion. I had to stop there but it definitely could have continued on for several more infusions. Overall this was a nice and straightforward puerh. I would definitely recommend this tea.