Friday, September 30, 2016

Friday Round Up: September 25th - October 1st

Is Japanese Tea Safe to Drink?
Jordan Hardin contributed a fact filled post to World of Tea about the safety of drinking Japanese teas. There is a lot of fear-mongering out there and I'm glad that he cleared up some of the misconceptions that I've heard recently. Maybe I'll live dangerously and have bananas with my matcha!

Butternut Squash Soup with Keemun Black Tea
+Lu Ann Pannunzio created a recipe that really caught my attention. With fall weather coming I've been craving seasonal favorites like butternut squash soup. It's the best of both worlds if I can put tea in it too.

Lattes at Home (Without the Fancy Equipment)
Michelle from One More Steep wrote a great post about how she makes lattes at home without a milk frother. This is something that I always struggled with before my fiance bought me a frother for Christmas a few years ago.

Taking a moment for tea...
Izaak of Tea Lessons waxes philosophical about our coffee culture and how tea can help us to take a step back from the rat race. It's easy to take those moments for granted, even if you're a devoted tea drinker like myself.

La Colombe Tea & Tisane - Ancient Puerh
I was so sad to have missed a recent tasting held by +Alexis Siemons for La Colombe's new line of teas. Since I'm not working in Manhattan anymore, I also haven't had a chance to stop into one of their cafes. In the meantime, I'll be living vicariously through +Georgia SS's post.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Lupicia Sencha Matsuri

Country of Origin: Japan
Leaf Appearance: deep green, needle-like
Ingredients: green tea
Steep time: 1 minute
Water Temperature: 175 degrees
Preparation Method: kyusu
Liquor: deep yellow green

I've heard quite a bit about Lupicia from tea friends over the years but never had the opportunity to try their offerings until now. Right off the bat, I was very impressed with the quality of their packaging and labeling. The tea was packed in a vacuum sealed bag within the tin. Tea in clear plastic bags drives me crazy so it was nice to see that they did not opt for the cheaper option.

The deep green leaves had a beautiful sheen to them. They also smelled liked a sweet, clean ocean breeze. My fiance walked into our apartment to find me with my nose stuck in the bag, inhaling happily. Please tell me I'm not the only one who does that! He's used to that happening by now but I think he still considers it a source of great entertainment.

The taste was refreshing and sweet with a balanced flavor profile. Crisp spring veggies like baby spinach and sugar snap peas came to mind. There was also a savoriness that I found really appealing. Lupicia's description of this tea was simply "Distinctively mellow and full-bodied green tea". While I don't disagree, this tea definitely deserves more flowery language. There was some astringency but overall it was a very smooth cup of tea.

The tristate area was hit by a heat wave when I tried this tea so I couldn't resist giving ice brewing it a try. The result was a syrupy thick liquor with emphasized umami. I usually ice brew right in a kyusu but you can use a western style teapot or any other container that you might have. Glass mason jars are perfect for this purpose.

Sencha Matsuri sample provided for review by Lupicia.

A photo posted by Nicole - Tea for Me Please (@teaformeplease) on

Monday, September 26, 2016

How to Train Your Palate for Tea

Detecting complex aromas can be difficult when we first get into tea. I know this issue was something I struggled with and it is probably one of the things that I get asked about the most. So first things first, you are not alone! Although some people might be naturally better at tasting food and drinks the truth is that you absolutely can get better at it by training your palate.

I don't mean the board artists put their paint on or the wooden flats used for shipping. Your palate is located on the roof of your mouth where it separates the oral cavity from the nasal cavity. In most cases when we say palate we really mean sense of taste. For the record, that is what I'm referring to here. Although I am not a professional tea taster, I have written over nine hundred tea reviews over the last eight years of blogging. These are some pointers that I feel have helped me along the way.

Drink as Much Tea as Possible 

The only way to get better at something is to practice, practice, practice. I learned this early on during very screechy childhood violin lessons but the same mentality applies to tea. If you want to get better at tasting tea you have to do it a lot. Drink every tea that you can get your hands on, even if they aren't the highest quality. Even a bad tea can teach you something (as well as make you appreciate the ones that are sublimely good).

When I first got started I was writing for so I had the good fortune of being exposed to a lot of tea in a short frame. For those that don't have that option, I highly recommend ordering samples sizes from a variety of vendors. Not every company offers this option but it can be a great way to try a variety of teas without going broke.

Try New Things

Humans are creatures of habit and we have a tendency to want to stay in our lane. Having a favorite tea is perfectly OK. There's a comfort in the familiar that keeps us coming back. That being said, there are thousands of varieties of tea out there to explore. Don't be afraid to drink a tea that might not be the kind of tastes you normally drink. You just might be surprised by how much you enjoy something like a cooked puerh or matcha.

I also strongly recommend that you keep on trying even if your first few experiences with a particular type of tea were less than stellar. Your taste buds just might not have been ready for it yet. It's also possible that the one you tried was a spectacularly bad example. When I first tried puerh I absolutely hated it. In fact, I refused to drink it for years. +JalamTeas changed my mind much farther down the road and I now drink more puerh than any other kind of tea.

Comparative Tasting

One of the most efficient ways to train your palate is to comparatively taste two or more teas at once. Comparing and contrasting teas that have something in common. The fun of it is that you can really let your imagination run wild. For just about every question you might have about tea, there's a tasting that can help you to discover the answer. I find that this is always better than simply reading about something in a book.

Not sure what a 1st Flush Darjeeling should taste like? Compare several from different estates. Curious about the differences between the different types of Wuyi oolongs? Line up some gaiwans full of Rou Gui, Da Hong Pao and Qi Lan. Tasting different vintages of puerh can also be extremely educational.

If you really want to test your abilities, trying doing the same tasting blind. You'll be amazed at what your senses can pick up when you remove certain biases from the equation!

Taste (and Smell) Everything

It's hard to describe what you experience in tea without reference points. Consciously tasting and smelling as many things as possible really helps to broaden your mental Rolodex of sensory experiences. Flowers, fruits, and veggies are the ones you'll see used most often but try to go deeper than that. Old books, damp earth, and wet river rocks are all tastes you'll find in tea if you look deeply enough.

I was a picky eater for most of my life and because of that, my exposure to certain smells and tastes was very limited. Exploring tea has really changed my approach to food and drinks. I've definitely noticed myself becoming a more adventurous eater since starting this journey. The girl who never ate vegetables now lives for spinach.

Take Notes

Taking notes on your tea experiences is incredibly important, especially when you are first getting started. This blog was actually started for exactly this reason. No two tea drinkers will experience a tea in the same exact way and everyone has their own methods. I tend to jot down whatever comes to mind in a sort of stream of consciousness. Afterward, I'll refer to those notes while writing about the tea. Some tea lovers I know keep stacks of notebooks with handwritten jabberings. Others use spreadsheets or note keeping apps to organize their thoughts. Do whatever works best for you and your tea journey.

I asked the tea community on Twitter for tips on this topic. The responses ranged from helpful to humorous and everything in between. These are some of my favorites:

The next podcast episode will be on my tasting process so make sure to keep an eye out for that. What have you done to help train your palate for tea? I'd love to hear about it the comments!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Friday Round Up: September 18th - September 24th

What am I Doing Wrong with my Tea?
Paul of +White2Tea shared a post on this blog that really hit home. Much ado is made of the process of making tea and it's easy to feel that we're doing it wrong, even if we enjoy the end result. His honest answer to this question is one that I think I'll be sending to a lot of folks in the future.

Tea Bowl Series: 油滴茶碗 - “Oil Spot” Glazed Tea Bowl
+Oca Ocani of A Matcha Enthusiasts Diary continues her awesome tea bowl series with this installment on oil spot glazes. Tenmoku has become super trendy lately but I have to say that I'm really falling for this gorgeous style of teaware.

How to Brew Shincha
Shincha is one of my favorite kinds of Japanese tea but I definitely struggled with brewing it correctly when I first got started. Luckily for you guys, +Ricardo Caicedo wrote this handy dandy guide. I love that he advises following your own personal taste!

8 Things I like to do When I drink Tea
Nazanin at Tea Thoughts posted a totally relatable list of the things she does while drinking tea. Doing nothing and dreaming about whatever seasons it's not are definitely some of my favorite past times. That sweater weather mug is too cute!

Getting Started with Loose Leaf Tea
Hoálatha at Cat Lait Tea put together a fantastic post on getting started with tea. It's easy to get overwhelmed but sound advice like this will get anyone started off on the right foot. I really appreciate the realistic approach without being snobby or condescending.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Young Mountain Tea Kumaon White

Country of Origin: India
Leaf Appearance: large, somewhat broken with visible buds
Ingredients: white tea
Steep time: 5 minutes
Water Temperature: 170 degrees
Preparation Method: glass teapot
Liquor: gold

When I heard the news that Tea Journey Magazine's Kickstart campaign was fully funded I was very excited. Partly for the magazine and partly because that meant there would be some Kumaon White on its way to me soon. I had long heard tales of this tea from +Geoffrey Norman and loved it when I tried some at World Tea Expo.

When I opened the bag I was struck by the intense sweet meadow aroma. It may sound strange but it reminded me of my days working in a barn (not in a yucky horse poop way). IThe dry leaves very much resembled what you might expect from a Chinese Shou Mei. They were quite pretty to look at with varied shades of greens and browns. There was a significant amount of stems but I also spotted buds scattered throughout. This is a tea that begs to be photographed!

I initially tried this tea using their western brewing directions in my glass teapot. The taste was wonderfully fresh with a lot of natural sweetness. Honeydew melon came to mind but there was also delicate floral quality. There was no astringency to speak of, even when brewed for longer times or with hotter water. It really hit the spot on a hot summer day. I still need my tea fix even when temperatures climb but there was a lightness to this tea that really helped me to beat the heat.

A few weeks later, I tried gongfu'ing this tea in a glass gaiwan and that just might be my preferred brewing method. I stuck with 170 degrees as per their recommendation but went with 30-second infusions. Concentrating the flavors really accentuated the complexity of the flavor profile. The leaves also don't quit. I was drinking late one night and was able to continue brewing (after a quick rinse) when I woke up in the morning.

Kumaon White received from Young Mountain Tea as a reward for contributing to Kickstarter campaign for Tea Journey Magazine.

Monday, September 19, 2016

T&Co. Subscription Box - June Collection

A lot of my time at World Tea Expo is spent networking and meeting new people. It's the one chance I get to talk to lots of people who are just as crazy about tea as I am. At an event held by +Teforia and +Tealet I had the pleasure of meeting Jennifer Odera. Subscription services often an induce an eye roll because they are so prolific but what she told me about her new company really caught my attention.

Rather than the usual randomly curated selection of teas, T&Co.'s aim is to create a total tea experience. Each month subscribers are sent tea paired with an activity, music, and a snack. Each month follows a particular theme. She had me at snack. I'm afraid that I'm terribly late in writing about the box was generously shared with me. This one is the Father's Day box from June. While we were in Las Vegas, Jennifer explained that the idea behind the box was for tea drinkers to spend time bonding with their fathers. Warm and fuzzy all over, right?

I was impressed from the get-go with how well packed everything was. The bright, cheery yellow ceramic cup was in no danger of being damaged during shipping. It came with a little bamboo handled infuser basket. I think that makes this service very accessible for new tea drinkers who might not yet have the tools to get really into loose leaf.

My box included a fairly large bag of Lapsang Souchong, sudoku puzzles, a snack (Chocolate, bourbon and pecan brittle) and a card with the link to a SoundCloud playlist. I could definitely feel that a lot of thought went into selecting each piece of this subscription box.

Lapsang Souchong can be very hit or miss but this one was very nice. The signature smokiness was there but not overdone and there was a surprising amount of natural sweetness. It stood up well to multiple infusions as well.

The chocolate, bourbon and pecan brittle from Morning Glory Confections definitely caught my attention. It was so tasty! I must admit that I munched this all myself rather sharing it with my father. It paired perfectly with the smokiness of the Lapsang.

I don't often listen to music while I'm drinking tea but it was nice to jam out to some oldies while enjoying the experience. There was a very good mix of genres from a few different eras, making sure that there was something for everyone. My favorite was probably the Bob Dylan track.

I've been working a lot lately and just taking an hour to really take in the experience of this box was a welcome respite. Sudoku and I don't always get a long but it was a good distraction to keep my mind from wandering to the usual worries of the day.

Overall this was a great experience and one that I would definitely recommend, especially for those who are just getting started in tea. In particular, this would be a perfect option for couples or families as these curated boxes are perfect for sharing, I really like that both a pure tea and infused tea option is available. I'm definitely much more an unflavored tea person at this point in my journey.

If you do decide to subscribe, please tell Jennifer that Nicole at Tea for Me Please sent you! I'd love to hear your thoughts about it if you do.

Subscription Box provided for review by T&Co.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Friday Round Up: September 11th - September 17th

Mooncake Brownie Bites
I was just drooling with scrolling through all of the wonderful pictures of mooncakes for the mid autumn festival. As luck would have it, +Bonnie Eng posted a recipe that sounds right up my ally. Brownies with tasty apricot centers? Yes, please!

The Taste of Water
MarshalN pontificated a bit on the effect that different types of water can have on our tea. This post reminded me of back in the day when all of the NYC tea shops were super proud of their shiny new reverse osmosis water systems.

MeiMei Fine Teas: Artisan Liu An Gua Pian (Sunflower Seeds) Green Tea, A Tea Review
+Alexsia Wilson wrote about one of my favorite Chinese green teas, Liu An Gua Pian. This tea doesn't get nearly as much attention as it deserves. I'll definitely be giving this one from MeiMei Fine Teas a try soon.

Battle of the Beengs - Crimson Lotus Tea Edition
Cody at The Oolong Drunk pit two of +Crimson Lotus Tea's puerh beengs head to head. Beneath and Emerald Sea has been on my list for some time. Judging by his descriptions, I think that one would have been my pick.

What-Cha: Zheijiang Wild Dragon Well 'Long Jing' Green Tea
Ian from Tea and Zen prepared this fantastic sounding Dragonwell three different ways. I love the thoroughness! Grandpa style is definitely my go to for this type of tea but every once in a while I'll brew it in my glass gaiwan.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Golden Leaf Tea Ali Mountain Oolong

Country of Origin: Taiwan
Leaf Appearance: deep green, tightly rolled
Ingredients: oolong tea
Steep time: 30 seconds
Water Temperature: 212 degrees
Preparation Method: porcelain gaiwan
Liquor: deep gold

For some reason, 2015 and 2016 seem to have been an odyssey of Taiwanese tea. I think I've written about them more than any other type. Most of that is happenstance through samples I've received but it's been nice to focus a bit on a particular region. Perhaps my tastes will bend more towards darker teas like Wuyi oolongs as the weather cools.

Having really enjoyed their Honey Red Jade, I was really excited to dig into Golden Leaf Tea's Ali Mountain Oolong. The mouthfeel was thick with an almost creamy texture. Notes of orchid were accompanied by a pleasant vegetal quality that reminded me of lightly steamed baby spinach. The sweet lingering aftertaste lingered on my palate long after each sip. The roast was very subtle but present. It wasn't overdone but I was grateful that it also wasn't neon green as I really dislike that style of oolong. There was next to zero astringency, making this a very smooth and refreshing tea.

Overall this Ali Shan was a very well-balanced sip. It won first place at the 2015 North American Tea Championship. I can't say that I'm surprised. I was able to get at least eight infusions in one sitting. The flavors evolved a bit over time but it never really lost it's strength until the very end. High mountain oolong is definitely a sweet spot for me and this one hit the mark.

Ali Mountain Oolong sample provided for review by Golden Leaf Tea.

Monday, September 12, 2016

The Truth about Instagram Diet Teas

The one thing I get asked about the most, particularly from my non-tea-ish friends, is weight loss. People want to know if tea can really help them magically lose weight. I've written about my feelings on this subject a bit before (see The Trouble with Dr. Oz and Why He is Bad for Tea and Health Benefits...Smealth Benefits) but this time I thought it might be helpful to focus on a very specific source.

Instagram has become inundated with a deluge of scammy diet teas that promise to turn all of us into runway supermodels. As a woman, I find the way that these teas are marketed extremely offensive. Being healthy is one thing but drinking laxative teas in order to conform to social constructs in a whole other story. As a tea lover, it saddens me to see so many people misled in the name of my beloved leaf.

I will not name any brand names here because I don't want to give them any more publicity than they already get. Racked published a very thorough article that is worth checking out if you'd like to read more on the subject.

There are some truths that I feel must be made clear:

1. Celebrity endorsements are paid marketing campaigns! 

Influencers get paid to do what they do best, influence their followers to buy whatever product it is they are endorsing. Whether the person you are following is a Kardashian or the hot foodie blogger of the moment, if they share these types of products it is because they are compensated for doing so. I distinctly remember laughing a bit too hard when Scott Disick accidentally copy and pasted the instructions from a "tea" company's marketing department. Anyone can take their picture with a product and post about how much they love it. Is that really proof that they use it in their everyday life? I could do that on this blog if I wanted to but then I wouldn't be able to sleep at night.

2. True teas, those made from Camellia Sinensis, are not a magic cure for anything.

As I've mentioned in other posts, many people don't realize that tea is a very specific type of plant. Any infusion that is made from something other than Camellia Sinensis is not actually tea. And since all tea comes from the same plant they all contain some levels of caffeine, antioxidants, and other substances. Oolong and puerh are often heavily marketed as magical weight loss cures. Anecdotal evidence from studies (often using animals, not people, as subjects) is extrapolated in order to make boost sales.

3. Diet teas can be downright dangerous.

As mentioned about, Camellia Sinensis alone is not the equivalent of waving magic wand. What they means is that these companies must add additional ingredients in order to achieve the desired effect. In most cases that something special is senna, a laxative made from seeds of the cassia tree. That's right. The only reason why these "teas" work is because they make you poop your brains out. Laxatives dehydrate the body, making it appear that weight has been lost but in reality, all you're really shedding is the water that your body needs to survive.

4. Dietary supplements and teas are a largely unregulated industry.

Contrary to popular belief, companies are not required to obtain FDA approval before selling a supplement. The herbal ingredients in diet teas are largely unregulated because of this loophole. While we might hear of occasional lawsuits, these things usually don't happen until it is proven that real harm has been caused by the product. All natural does not mean the same thing as safe.

5. Detoxing is not a thing.

If I hear the phrase teatox one more time...Detoxification is a natural bodily function performed by organs like your kidneys and liver. No amount of juice cleanses, activated charcoal, antioxidants or diet teas is ever going to remove toxins from your body.

People have been consuming tea for thousands of years. If the leaves held some secret property, wouldn't we have discovered it by now? Drink tea because you like the way it tastes. Drink tea because of how it makes you feel. Drink tea because it connects us in so many ways to other human beings. Drink tea because the culture and history that surround it is fascinating. Just don't bring diet into this.

A post like this one usually results in my inbox being flooded with emails from companies who don't realize I'm trying to rally the troops against them. It was worth the risk, though. I'd love to hear your thoughts about this in the comments!

Friday, September 9, 2016

Friday Round Up: September 4th - September 10th

The Great Tea Bag Debate
The Damn Good Tea Blog posted a great comparison of the pros and cons of tea bags. There's a tea for every place and sometimes bags are a necessity. Once I made the switch to loose leaf I definitely found myself using them less, though.

Puer is the New Black
+Payton Swick wrote about the latest offering from +Misty Peak Teas. This new cooked puerh definitely sounds like it's worth checking out. I think his observations on the encyclopedic names of puerh teas was right on point.

Teaaholic Talk
Nazanin of Tea Thoughts interviewed +Lu Ann Pannunzio. It's always fun to learn more about fellow tea lovers. I love that no two people would answer these questions the same way. CommuniTEA is definitely one of the main reasons why I do what I do.

Huo Shan Huang Ya
Diary of a Northern Teaist wrote a wonderfully vivid review of one of my favorite kinds of yellow tea. The picture of the completely unfurled buds at the end is beautiful.

The Great Guan Yin Duel
+Geoffrey Norman compared two teas from one of my favorite Canadian outfits, +ZhenTea. Their Tie Guan Yin Classic is a tea that definitely stood out for me and it was great to get his perspective on it.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Teanami Bulang Raw 2011

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

Sometimes I find patterns developing in my tea drinking without even meaning for it to happen. For some time I've primarily been drinking younger sheng when it comes to puerh. That wasn't a conscious move on my part, it just happened to be what has come my way. I hadn't thought about it until I realized that this sample is probably the oldest tea that I've drunk in a while.

As soon as I opened the can I was struck by that unmistakable puerh smell. It's not quite eau de fermentation but more like the comforting mustiness of old books. That's not a smell that everyone loves but it's one that really hits the mark for me. I won't admit to how many times I've gone to the top floor of the Strand Bookstore in NYC, just inhaling as I pretend to browse the volumes I can't afford in their rare books room.

Once I finally got my nose out of the gaiwan, it was time to brew. There were heady notes of camphor with a lingering sweetness that kept me drinking long after the leaves were spent. Huge citrus notes turned into a very nice floral quality as the tea cooled. Later infusions brought a pungent honey taste along with plenty of astringency.

I really push my teas hard but if you want this to be less punchy I'd definitely recommend lowering your water temperature a few notches as well as cutting back on leaf volume. Experimentation is the best way to learn about each tea as well your own tastes.

For some reason whenever I tried to photograph the opened leaves they turned out a bit purple. The color was not quite the same in person and I used the same lighting that I always do. Oh well, the wonders of tea. :)

Bulang Raw 2011 sample provided by Teanami.

Monday, September 5, 2016

5 Things About Tea Everyone Thinks are True

I've heard the same old misconceptions about tea repeated over and over again. Most often it's the news media that gets these things wrong but I've even seen books that perpetuate myths about tea. Some of the points on this list really grind my gears! So many tea drinking newbies are misled and misinformed until someone shows them the light.

1. Any dried plant material brewed in hot water is tea.

A lot of people don't realize that tea is an actual plant, called the Camellia Sinensis to be exact. It doesn't help that our grocery store shelves are full of things labeled "tea" that contain no actual tea leaves. Rooibos, mint, chamomile and other herbal infusions are all wonderful things but they are not tea since they are completely different species. You might also see these sorts of brews referred to as tisanes. This misconception is a constant struggle for me because my blog focuses exclusively on true teas (those made from Camellia Sinesis). I receive several inquiries every week from companies who don't understand why their herbal blends don't fit that criterion.

➣ For more on this check out my blog post: Does All Tea Really Come From the Same Plant?

2. Green tea doesn't have caffeine and black tea has the most.

One line I hear from others on an almost daily basis is that belief that green tea does not contain any caffeine. This could not be farther from the truth. All tea, regardless of the type, contains caffeine. The amount can also vary quite a bit within each category. For example, a Chinese Dragonwell and a Japanese Gyokuro will have very different concentrations. I think this is a particularly important misconception to address because it can cause real issues for someone with medical issues concerning caffeine. It's also a bit of a half-truth that black tea has the most caffeine. The amount of caffeine depends on a large number of factors including weather, growing conditions and the plucking standard.

➣ While we're on the subject of caffeine, you might want to check out: Is It Possible to Decaffeinate Tea?

3. Green tea is the healthiest.

One misconception that I see often in the media is that green tea is the healthiest. While green tea does generally contain a higher concentration of antioxidants it is possible for other types of tea to be just as high, if not higher, in antioxidants. It is important to look at where our information comes from. Tea is generally not considered a topic of great importance (outside of our own little tea world) so most of the scientific studies being done in the United States are privately funded. For this reason, the types of studies that are done are generally very skewed. If Unilever wants to make a green tea face wash, they would find it very advantageous to find that their product has potential health claims.

➣ For more on how I feel about health benefits and tea, check out this oldie but goodie: Health Benefits, Smealth Benefits

4. Tea makes you lose weight.

Tea is a very wholesome beverage in and of itself, especially when compared to soda and energy drinks. It contains zero calories or sugar unless you add something to it. As such, tea is complementary to a healthy diet and lifestyle. That being said, tea is not a magic cure that will suddenly make someone lose a ton of weight without other life changes also taking place. There are many teas sold as "diet" teas such as puerh and oolong but this is grounded more in marketing hype than actual facts. I always joke that if tea really helped us to lose weight that effectively, I would completely disappear since I drink so much.

5. Loose leaf tea is too hard to make.

It's definitely a common misconception that loose leaf tea is extraordinarily harder to make than tea bags. The truth is that tea can be as complex or as simple as you want it to be. The mechanics are not a whole lot different from tea bags. You just need a way to remove the leaves from the water. When I first got into tea the only brewing method I had was a simple mesh infuser basket. This trusty tool served me well all through my college years until I had the time and space to dedicate to accumulating more advanced gear.

➣ If you're new to making tea, you might want to check out my primer: How to Brew Loose Leaf Tea

Are there other misconceptions that you've heard of? Let me know about them in the comments! I'd love to tackle them in future blog posts.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Friday Round Up: August 28th - September 3rd

Tea Bowl Series: 刷毛目唐津 - Hakeme Karatsu-Yaki
I have four different bowls that I used for matcha but +Oca Ocani's post makes me want to add one more to the collection. Karatsu ware is really striking!

A Tale of Two Books
New to me blog Drink More Tea, did a great comparison of two of my favorite tea books. I'm looking forward to reading more of Collin's posts in the future.

Tea Ceremony for Mom
So many of my tea friends have bonded with their mothers over tea. I know that it was the same for me. Steph of Steph's Cup of Tea held a beautiful Japanese tea ceremony for her mom. For another perspective of the special event, check out Marilyn's post at Delights of the Heart.

Deciphering a mystery tea: a beginner's guide to reading tea leaves
Scottea gives us another insightful post, this time about deciphering mystery teas. If only they all could be Duck Shit!

Teamail Day: A Beginner's Guide to Yunnan Sourcing
Cat Lait Tea wrote an awesome guide to one of my favorite tea vendors, Yunnan Sourcing. I love their offerings but it can be overwhelming when you're first starting out. There's some really great tips here.