Monday, February 28, 2011

Arbor Teas Dragonwell Lung Jing

Like most of Arbor Teas’ selections, this tea is USDA organic and fair trade certified. The dry leaves had the emerald green, flattened appearance that dragonwell is known for. I made this tea in my Breville One-Touch Tea Maker with 180 degree water for three minutes. The liquor was pale amber in color and had a slightly floral aroma.

I love dragonwell because of its smooth and mellow taste. It is not too vegetal and not too sweet. This tea had the classic toasted chestnut taste but there were some subtle grassy and fruity notes as well. My second infusion was just as delicious. I paired it with some matcha infused dark chocolate. What a match made in heaven! I would definitely recommend this tea.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Tiesta Tea Blueberry Wild Child

According to Tiesta Tea the ingredients of this blend include apple pieces, hibiscus, elderberries, apple bits, pomegranate arils, blueberries. The aroma of this tea was absolutely intoxicating and so strong that I could smell it through the package and the mailing envelope it came in. It smelled exactly like the Heart to Heart cereal Kashi makes with the blueberries in it. I made this tea in my Breville One-Touch Tea Maker with 205 degree water for five minutes. The liquor was a bright pink tinged red color.

I am very happy to say that this tea delivered on flavor big time. It tastes precisely like blueberries, just the right amount of tartness to balance the sweetness. I tried cold brewing this as an iced tea and it was delicious and refreshing that way as well. What a perfect summer tea this would make! Fruit teas can be tricky business but this one is done the right way. I would definitely recommend this tea.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

New York Coffee and Tea Festival 2011

The New York Coffee and Tea Festival is one of my most favorite events in the tri-state area. The growth of tea in the United States is really evident in the growth of this event. Every year there have been more vendors as well as a noticeable increase in attendees. This year was very crowded, almost a little too much so. The organizers should definitely think about finding a larger space for next year. There were a lot of newer companies focusing primarily on matcha. I gathered plenty of samples as I made my rounds and picked up a few really interesting things like jelly made from jasmine tea.

One of the highlights for me is always the Korean Tea Ceremony performed by Teamaster Yoon Hee Kim. It was super crowded, the audio system was having technical difficulties and someone brought some rather obnoxiously stinky food into the room so I didn’t stay long but it was an enjoyable presentation nonetheless.

Rumor has it that there may soon be a festival in Philadelphia. I’ll definitely be hopping the megabus to attend that event as well.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Stash Tea Shincha Brazil Green Tea

I thought that this tea was really interesting because it was grown in the Yamamotoyama Brazilian tea gardens. I’ve only rarely heard of tea being grown in Brazil, let alone something as distinctly Japanese as sencha. The dry leaves were deep green and had a fresh, clean aroma. I made this tea in a kyusu using 160 degree water and three subsequent 40 second infusions. The liquor was a vibrant, almost neon yellow-green color.

This tea was just slightly vegetal with notes of melon and there was very little astringency. It was what I like to call a chocolate covered pretzel tea, sweet but with a striking saltiness that lingered long after I finished my last sip. Salty and sweet is one of my favorite flavor combos so this tea was right up my ally. I did three steepings but I felt like I could have squeezed out a few more if I was actually capable of consuming that much tea in one sitting. I would definitely recommend this tea.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Puritea White Peony

According to The Puritea this tea was grown in the Fujian, China. The dry leaves were a mix of fuzzy silver needles, brown and green leaves. I made this tea in my Breville One-Touch Tea Maker with 180 degree water for three minutes. The liquor was a pale gold color with a honey-like aroma.

The flavor of this tea was incredibly complex. It was vegetal and woodsy with notes of fruit and cocoa that became more apparent with each sip. White peony is one of my favorite teas because it is light and refreshing while still having a lot to off in the taste department. My second steeping was just a delicious as the first. I would definitely recommend this tea.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Tea Places: Franchia

I have been meaning to check out Franchia for quite some time and never managed to get around to it until now. The instant I walked through the door I felt as though I had left the buzz of the city behind me. It may be different during busier times of the day but the space was so quiet and peaceful. While it is a vegan cafĂ©, they also have a selection of high quality loose leaf teas. I’m not vegan or even vegetarian so I struggled with the menu a bit. I settled on a couple of rolls of their meatless sushi. It was…interesting. The “chicken” teriyaki roll wasn’t too bad though. For dessert I had a piece of to die for blueberry coconut cake.

For my tea I ordered the Korean wild green tea 1st picked. I was pleasantly surprised when the waiter brought out a tray with a tiny kyusu and the all of the necessary accoutrements. He gave step by step directions on how to make this tea. It was delightfully delicate and I got at least five good steepings out of the leaves. The food was a little pricey but if you are going for tea is definitely worth giving this place a visit.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Rishi Tea Bergamot Sage

Bergamot Sage, Organic Botanical Blend
Sage is one of my favorite herbs to cook with so I was very excited to try this selection. Rishi lists the ingredients of this botanical blend as including lemon thyme, organic sage leaf, organic peppermint, organic lemon verbena and natural essential oil of bergamot. The dry leaves were many shades of green and had a very pungent bergamot aroma. I made this tea in my Breville One-Touch Tea Maker with 212 degree water for five minutes. The liquor was a deep gold color.

The smell of the steeped tea was quite strong. I was a little concerned when my mother insisted that I must have put on Bengay while I was drinking it. Familial protests aside, I found this tea to be quite tasty and much less medicinal than expected. It was earthy and piney with hints of citrus. The mint brought a refreshing aftertaste and kept the bergamot from becoming too overwhelming. I'm battling a head cold at the moment and it helped my sinuses clear up for a bit. I would definitely recommend this tea.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Arbor Teas Rembeng Estate Assam

According to Arbor Teas, this tea was grown at the Rembeng estate in India’s state of Assam in northeastern India, near the banks of the Brahmaputra River. The leaves of this tea were small and twisted, mostly dark in color with the occasional golden tip mixed in. I made this tea in my Breville One-Touch Tea Maker with 212 degree water for three minutes. The liquor was a coppery red.

This tea had the classic Assam taste but I would say that it was a milder, more toned down version. It was rich and malty as expected but smoother than a lot of Assams that I have tried in the past. There was a bit of dryness at the end of each sip. Ever conscious of my pesticide intake and the way my purchases affect others, I love that this tea is organic and fair trade certified. I would definitely recommend this tea.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Adagio Teas Jasmine Silver Needle

Jasmine Silver Needle from Adagio Teas
Photo: Adagio Teas
The dry leaves had the appearance of a typical silver needle but the jasmine aroma was very apparent. I made this tea in a porcelain gaiwan using 180 degree water and one minute infusions. I also made it in my Breville One-Touch Tea Maker with 185 degree water for four minutes. The liquor was a very pale yellow. I find the smell of jasmine intoxicating so I spent several minutes just taking in the aroma of this tea.

I was pleasantly surprised at how delicate this blend was. The subtle flavor of the silver needle was there as was the jasmine. Jasmine is a tricky thing because it is very easy to overpower your base tea. It was naturally sweet with no astringency. My second infusion was a bit more vegetal but just as delicious. There wasn’t very much difference when I tried this tea in the Breville Tea Maker instead. This versatility is one of the things I love about silver needle. I would definitely recommend this tea.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Chef Express Green Tea with Brown Rice

My local Shoprite supermarket recently renovated and added a sushi station. I love it not just because they have halfway decent sushi and Japanese goodies like Pocky but also because they regularly stock cans of inexpensive matcha. This comes in handy since I love to cook with it so much. On a recent visit I very surprised to see plastic deli containers of super green genmaicha sitting on the shelf.

Loose leaf tea is completely unheard of in my neck of the woods so this was a rare treat. There was definitely a lot of rice in proportion to the green tea but at $3.50 for 8oz of tea, you just can’t beat it. Was it the best that I’ve ever had? Definitely not but it was not the worst either. I’m not “reviewing” this tea since I have no idea where it actually came from but if your Shoprite has a sushi station keep an eye out for it.

Friday, February 4, 2011

TeaMuse Article About the History of Tea Blogging

I was recently interviewed by Amy of A Girl with Tea for an article she wrote for the February edition of TeaMuse on the history of tea blogging. It's a really informative article with lots of links to check out and a great reminder of what exciting (tea) times we live in. She was even kind enough to quote me in the last paragraph :)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Tea Places: Harney and Sons SoHo

This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending a screening of The Meaning of Tea (a documentary I somehow neglected to review) at Harney and Sons’s tasting room in SoHo. I had been meaning to check it out and this event was a perfect excuse. I had a blast and got to meet several new and old tea friends including James Norwood Pratt, Michael Harney, Jason of Walker Tea Review, Alexis of Teaspoons & Petals and Caleb Brown of

The first thing that I noticed was how large the space is. I love a tea shop that isn’t crowded and cluttered. The second was the massive wall of tea tins. It’s so large that the staff need a tall rolling ladder just to reach them all! They had a small selection of teaware, including an adorable lizard topped yixing that took all of my willpower not to buy. I also loved that the staff was not pushy at all. I am a chronic circler and browser and they gave me all the space and time that I needed. After working up an appetite I took a seat at the bar in their tea lounge. Separated from the rest of the shop by bookcases it is a wonderful place to take a load off. I had a cup of sencha (which was delicious) and some pumpkin bread that was out of this world. If you ever in SoHo this place is definitely a must visit for any tea lover.