Friday, May 26, 2017

Friday Round Up: May 21st - May 27th


White Tea Puer from Shang Tea
+Charissa Gascho reviewed a tea that has been on my wish list for a while. It's made from a white tea cultivar but processed like a sheng puerh.

Favorite Tea Ware: Ricardo Caicedo of My Japanese Green Tea
+Georgia SS featured +Ricardo Caicedo in the latest installment of her Favorite Tea Ware series. I absolutely adore the gorgeous natsume that he shared.

In Pursuit of Tea Appreciation
Varat at The Guide to Puerh Tea waxed a bit philosophical about tea appreciation. It's important that we be aware of personal biases and other factors that could affect our tea tasting experience.

Sweet and Classic: Japanese Green Tea IN and Arahataen Green Tea Farms
Mel Had Tea wrote about some delicious sounding Japanese green teas from a new-to-me vendor and farm in Shizuoka. I'll definitely have to check them out soon.

Giddapahar Spring Gold 1st Flush 2017 Darjeeling Tea from Lochan Tea
+Tea Journeyman's review this week reminded me that I have yet to indulge in a 1st Flush Darjeeling from this year. Giddapahar is one of my favorite estates too!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Teaful High Mountain Black Tea


Country of Origin: Taiwan
Leaf Appearance: long, dark
Ingredients: black tea
Steep time: 30 seconds
Water Temperature: 195 degrees
Preparation Method: porcelain gaiwan
Liquor: deep reddish amber

I get A LOT of emails from companies who want me to write about their teas here on the blog. These days I say no more often than I say yes but sometimes a company stands out from the pack. That's what happened when Jason Chang, the co-founder of Teaful, wrote me about his experiences growing up in Taiwan. A hike in the Muzha region six years ago changed his world when he discovered the amazing Tie Guan Yin produced there. Jason's passion for tea was evident from the first email which made me all the more excited to share his teas with you all.

Monday, May 22, 2017

How Long Have People Been Drinking Tea?


When I got into tea one of the first stories that really grabbed my imagination was that of Shennong. Who doesn't love the idea of a mythical horned emperor accidentally discovering the beverage that changed the world? Some versions say that a Camellia Sinensis leaf fell into his mouth while others say that it fell into some boiling water. This event occurred at the oddly specific time period of 2437 B.C. It is fairly unlikely that a single raw leaf would add much taste, let alone cure the 70+ poisons that he supposedly ingested. Nevertheless, the fable does lead one to wonder, how long people have been drinking tea?

Friday, May 19, 2017

Friday Round Up: May 14th - May 20th


White2Tea & The Post Truth Era of Puerh
MattCha's Blog made some interesting observations about how the puerh landscape has changed over the last couple of years. I'm not sure I agree with the political correlations but there are a lot of good points made.

The Efficiency of Machines vs Our Preference of Taste
Tyas at The Tea Crane Blog pontificated a bit on how the use of machines has changed the way that Japanese green teas taste. Having had the privilege of trying some lightly oxidized selections, I can say that we share a similar preference.

Hello old friend...
+Courtney M. Powers wrote about a tea that I remember fondly. We enjoyed it many moons ago at World Tea East in Philadelphia. Talk about a blast from the past!

15 of the Best Tea Advice & Tips for Your Tea Journey
+Lu Ann Pannunzio collected some great advice from tea bloggers, vendors, and tea drinkers. You might even see a tip from yours truly.

Creating Your Own Tea Oasis
+Rachana Rachel Carter has put together an amazing oasis of relaxation around her tea tray. Check out this weeks post for a guide to making your own place to relax and enjoy tea.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Adagio Teas Hunan Gold


Country of Origin: China
Leaf Appearance: dark, curled with scattered golden tips
Ingredients: yellow tea
Steep time: 30 seconds
Water Temperature: 180 degrees
Preparation Method: glass gaiwan
Liquor: deep gold

+Adagio Teas recently sent me a gift certificate. After sifting through their site for a bit I was really excited to stumble upon a yellow tea. This one hails from the Hunan Province of China. Although it is categorized on their site as green tea, the processing differentiates it from being a true green tea. After the "kill green" step the leaves are wrapped in material, usually paper or cloth. This is repeated several times with the leaves being dried in between.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Book Review: The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See


I had heard about this book quite a long time ago and I was so excited by very the idea of it. A fiction novel based in Yunnan is right up my alley, especially if tea is involved. The author, Lisa See, did a ton of research and incorporated many real life aspects of the tea industry into her story. She even went so far as to travel there with Linda Louie of Bana Tea Company in 2014. Her efforts paid off because everything that the main character experienced felt very authentic.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Friday Round Up: May 7th - May 13th

The Correlation Between Puer and Cat People
Cody at The Oolong Drunk conducted an informal study that confirmed my own suspicions. A lot of tea people are also cat people! That makes them doubly awesome. 😊

All About Aroma
+sara shacket tackled a bit of the science behind how we experience aromas in tea and then put to use tasting a Dan Cong oolong. I'm a bit lazy about using aroma cups but it's always worth the extra trouble for this kind of tea.

Arbor Teas' Silver Needle
Michelle at One More Steep wrote a detailed review of Silver Needle. I reviewed a lot of teas from this company when I first got started blogging. This is a great reminder to revisit their offerings.

Pursuing the Moon and Good Tea: A Conversation with Nihoncha Instructor Tyas Sōsen
Jordan Hardin is fast becoming one of my favorite contributors to World of Tea. This week he shared an in-depth interview with fellow blogger and Japanese tea seller Tyas of The Tea Crane.

Puerh Tea Headlines Spring 2017 Edition
+Cwyn N's brand of tea humor always makes my day. This post reminds me the old Headlines segment on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Jalam Teas Bang Pun Unfermented Puerh

Jalam Teas Bang Pun Unfermented Puerh

Country of Origin: China
Leaf Appearance: loosely compressed, mixed greens and browns with visible buds
Ingredients: puerh tea
Steep time: 30 seconds
Water Temperature: 212 degrees
Preparation Method: porcelain gaiwan
Liquor: deep gold


I have a treasure hoard full of mini puerh cakes from +JalamTeas that I guard as though I were Smaug on Lonely Mountain. Only less violent...maybe. There are some posts coming down the pipeline that will group several teas from similar regions in Yunnan but in the meantime, I wanted to share this gem with you all. It was sent out to subscribers just after I moved into my apartment back in 2014. Time flies when you're having fun but the wonderful thing about puerh is that it is actually better to let it sit around for a bit.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Meet the Tea: Ruby #18

Ruby 18 Black Tea

When we think of Taiwanese tea all of the wonderful oolongs that are produced there come to mind. However, one of my all time favorites will always by Ruby #18. You might also see it referred to as red jade. Many people don't realize this but black tea was once a primary export for Taiwan, particularly during Japanese occupation following the first Sino-Japanese War. Var. Assamica trees were introduced to the Sun Moon Lake region of Nantou because the climate there was ideal.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Friday Round Up: April 30th - May 6th

Brewing Tea with Yixing Teapots
Rather than a blog post, I wanted to feature a video from a new-to-me YouTube channel called Gaiwans on Fleek. Why didn't I think of that name?

The Story of Ikkyu
+Ricardo Caicedo brings us a bit of a tea history lesson this week's blog post. I've seen Ikkyu's name mentioned in books a number of times but it is nice to get more in depth information.

A Wild Mountain Tea Mystery
+Geoffrey Norman made my heart happy with a film noir style sleuth into native Taiwanese tea varieties. There was even a bit of nostalgia thrown in from way back in our Teaviews days.

What Exactly is a Tea Pet?
+Lu Ann Pannunzio penned an intro to one of my favorite unnecessary (but still totally necessary) pieces of tea gear. Her Petunia reminds me of my own porcine tea pet.

2015 That's No Moon Shou Puer from Crimson Lotus Tea
Given that yesterday was Star Wars Day, +Charissa Gascho's review of this offering from +Crimson Lotus Tea was certainly timely. The wrapper of this cake definitely makes my inner nerd smile.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Making Matcha with the Sharp Tea-Ceré

Making Matcha with the Sharp Tea-Ceré

Last year I did a podcast episode on the Sharp Tea-Ceré, a nifty machine that lets consumers grind matcha in the comfort of their own home. It serves two purposes in a relatively small footprint. The right side of the machine features ceramic disks that can turn tea leaves into either a course or fine powder. The left side has a built in frother that is fed by a four cup water reservoir on the back of the unit. I'm a traditionalist when it comes to making matcha so most often I hand whisk it with a traditional bamboo chasen. However, there are times when I crave a green tea late and the Tea-Ceré is perfect for that purpose.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Friday Round Up: April 23rd - April 29th

Microwaving Your Tea, The Controversy Explained and Refuted
I'm sure you've all seen the article being passed around that claimed microwaving your tea made it better. Jordan at World of Tea lets us all know once and for all, this story just isn't true.

Puer 101 - Getting to Know Puer Basics
Cody at The Oolong Drunk penned a fantastic introduction to puerh. He even covered some of the nitty-gritty stuff like gushu and tree age.

An Evening of Tea and Cheese at The French Cheese Board
I was lucky enough to attend a tea and cheese pairing event in the company of +sara shacket recently. You've read my report, now go check out hers.

Life and death of a tree
Tea makes people happy but sometimes it seems that people can have the opposite effect on tea trees. MarshalN shared a poignant post about a tree in Yiwu that has suffered because of tourism.

Rohini Jethi Kupi 1st Flush 2017 Darjeeling Tea from Lochan Tea
After a long break from tea reviewing, +Tea Journeyman Kevin revels in the joy that is 1st flush Darjeeling. I have to agree. There's nothing else quite like it.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Tea & Fromage with The French Cheese Board and Royal Tea NY


Tea blogging isn't the most glamorous of niches but every once in a while I get invited to something that makes all of my friends jealous. Last week I attended a fantastic tea and cheese pairing event put together by The French Cheese Board and Royal Tea NY. I have no idea how I have gone this long without knowing about this studio devoted to all things French cheese. They had me at brie! I was the first guest to arrive which gave me a chance to talk shop with Ravi from Royal Tea NY. It was also a perfect time to indulge in some deliciously cheesy appetizers (along with a glass of white wine).

Friday, April 21, 2017

Friday Round Up: April 16th - April 22nd

A Short Tea Adventure in Vancouver
+Payton Swick visited Vancouver last week and shared a bit on his blog about o5 Tea. This spot has been on my wish list for a long time.

How Much Tea is in a Teaspoon?
I've been an advocate of weighing tea leaves for a long time now. +Georgia SS did an awesome comparison that shows exactly why this is important.

2016 Cream Shou Puer from White2Tea
+Charissa Gascho reviewed a shou puerh from White2Tea that definitely piqued my interest. I love her trial by fire bombproof test.

A rare tea and artisan chocolate soiree curated by The Tea Squirrel
+Anna Mariani hosted an amazing chocolate and tea pairing event in San Francisco. The pictures are beautiful and I can't wait to try some of these combinations myself.

Remembering Mary Lou-Heiss
The tea industry lost an important pioneer recently. +Jo J's tribute to Mary Lou-Heiss of Tea Trekker was both personal and touching.

Monday, April 17, 2017

What is Puerh Tea?


We've arrived at the final installment of introductory guides to each type of tea. I was worried that these posts might be too "old hat" for seasoned tea drinkers but also felt that they were important to have here for newbies. Thanks for hanging in there folks!

Origins


Puerh is a fermented tea, part of a larger category known as Hei Cha (dark tea), that is produced only in the Yunnan Province of China. Most of the tea trees used are of the larger leafed variety, Camellia Sinensis var. Assamica. Tea production in this region dates back as early as the Han Dynasty. Puerh is unique in that the leaves are often compressed into flat cakes called bings as well as other shapes like mushrooms, bricks, and birds nests.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Friday Round Up: April 9th - April 15th

DIY Tea Dyed Easter Eggs
Easter is right around the corner and +Lu Ann Pannunzio has the perfect way for tea drinkers to celebrate. I'll definitely be trying my hand at using tea to dye eggs this year.

Tea Experience: Cha Le Te
Michelle at One More Steep wrote about her experience at a new-to-me tea shop in Vancouver. Even though I'm close to NYC, I definitely have some serious tea envy when it comes to Canada.

Tasting: Tea Dealers Thurbo 2nd Flush Darjeeling
It's been far too long since I had a really good Darjeeling. +sara shacket's post this week reminded me that I need to change that immediately.

We May Have to Slap Some People
There are few who hate teabags more than +Robert Godden.  I had a feeling this rant was coming after I saw a recent news article.

Gingham Sencha Tea Cakes
+Bonnie Eng has done it again, this time with sencha infused cakes that are almost too cute to eat. The sweet gingham pattern is super fun!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Two Teas from Down Under


My favorite thing about being involved in the world of tea is the wonderful friends that I've made from around the world. Tea people really are the best kind of people! Way back in 2013 I crossed paths with an Aussie named Effie and she's exactly as effervescent as her name implies. Last year at World Tea Expo she generously shared some Aussie grown teas and I realized that I completely forgot to share them with you all here.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Friday Round Up: April 2nd - April 8th

MattCha: Can a Modest  Ol' Tea Blog Make a Comeback?
I'm loving all of the tea blogs of the past that have made a comeback lately. This week brings us a surprise post from MattCha's Blog, the first in three years!

The Tea Horse Road
I don't know how I never heard of TeaStorys before but I'm really glad that I found them. The Tea Horse Road is definitely one of the more fascinating stories that the tea world has to offer.

Three Teas from Tea Dealers
+Georgia SS reviews some very intriguing teas from Tea Dealers, including a white lotus tisane from Korea. The charcoal roasted TGY is definitely on my wishlist now.

Old Ways Tea Company: Black and White, a Wuyi Tea Review
+Amanda Freeman compared a black tea and a white tea, both from the Wuyi region of China. I've definitely never heard of a white tea from there before.

Tea Review: Organic Sun Drop Pink Tea 2nd Flush (Kanes)
+Heather Porter had a chance to try the elusive Sun Rouge, a purple tea that is now being produced in Japan. The color of the liquor after adding lemon is really eye catching. Her tasting notes remind me quite a bit of some of the Kenyan purple teas that I've had.

Monday, April 3, 2017

What is Black Tea?


Origins


The history of black tea can be traced to the late Ming Dynasty in the Fujian Province of China. There are various legends about how it came to be but the very first black tea was Zhen Shan Xiao Zhong, otherwise known as Lapsang Souchong. Fujian is still the main production area but Anhui and Yunnan black teas are also very well known. As black tea became preferred by European tea drinkers the tea plant (and black tea production methods) were spread to India, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Malawi, and more.

It is important to note that black tea has always been referred to as hong cha, or red tea, in China because of the color of the liquor. European traders called it black tea because it was darker than the green tea they were previously exporting and the name stuck. Rooibos is often sold under the name of red tea as well, further adding to the confusion.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Friday Round Up: March 26th - April 1st

The Art of White2Tea (72 Hours) Made Me Cry
Tea can affect us both physically and psychologically. Cody at The Oolong Drunk reminds us of that as he recounts his experience with a very special puerh.

Exploring the Teas of Sichuan and Fujian with Jeff Kovac 
+Tony Gebely interviewed one of my favorite tea people, Jeff Kovac of Four Seasons Tea Co. In case you missed it, you can check out my interview with him for my YouTube channel.

Nandi Hills Black Tea from JusTea
There are few things that make me smile more than when I see the unexpected return of a fellow tea blogger. +Tea Journeyman, aka Kevin Craig, surprised me this week with an out of the blue tea review.

Women in Tea: Shiuwen Tai
I've been really enjoying the "Women in Tea" series of posts on Steph's Cup of Tea. This week focuses on +Shiuwen Tai of Floating Leaves Tea. We have met to meet in person but I already know that her shop is on my to-do list if I ever visit the pacific northwest.

Simple Home Storage Solutions
Figuring out how to store your puerh collection is a problem that many tea drinkers are faced with. +Tea DB gives some practical tips on how to keep it simple while also keeping those leaves safe and sound.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Bitterleaf Teas Hummingbird 2013 Spring Jing Mai Ancient Tree Raw Puer

Country of Origin: China
Leaf Appearance: loosely compressed
Ingredients: puerh tea
Steep time: 15 seconds
Water Temperature: 212 degrees
Preparation Method: porcelain gaiwan
Liquor: pale gold

Friday, March 24, 2017

Friday Round Up: March 19th - March 25th

Trek to Brooklyn 2017
I was a bit bummed to miss the NYC Coffee and Tea Festival for the first time in many years. Thankfully I was able to live vicariously through +Jo J's blog post.

Meet my tea pet
Regular readers will know about my obsession with tea pets. +Anna Mariani introduced us to her squirrel tea pet and the adorable story that goes along with it.

Notes from the Tea Underground
I've said it before and I'll say it again, +Geoffrey Norman gets to go to the coolest tea events! Portland definitely has one of the most unique tea communities.

What I Like About Japanese Green Tea
+Ricardo Caicedo answers a question that I've often wondered, what made a guy from Colombia become so interested in Japanese green tea?

Cupping an Assam and an Uva
I've been avidly following the adventures of +Georgia SS as she takes an ITEI tea course. Comparing black teas from different regions can be so interesting.

Monday, March 20, 2017

What is Oolong Tea?


Origins


The birthplace of oolong is the Fujian Province of China. It is difficult to pinpoint exactly when production first began but it is likely to have been after the Ming Dynasty as this area was known for its compressed teas prior to that time. Oolong is the anglicized version of the Chinese Wulong, meaning black dragon. There are many legends about the origin of that name but it seems to mostly be tied to the dark, twisted appearance of the oolongs produced in the Wuyi Mountain area. Tea plants from Fujian were first brought to Taiwan in the early 1800's.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Golden Leaf Tea Sun Moon Lake

Country of Origin: Taiwan
Leaf Appearance: long, dark, spindly
Ingredients: black tea
Steep time: 30 seconds
Water Temperature: 212 degrees
Preparation Method: porcelain gaiwan
Liquor: reddish amber

Monday, March 13, 2017

What is Green Tea?


Origins


Humans have been cultivating and drinking tea for thousands of years. Green tea was the only type that existed for the majority of that time. Sichuan Province is generally considered to be the birthplace of the smaller leaved var. Sinensis. Tea cultivation and its use as a medicine soon spread to surrounding areas.

Prior to the Ming Dynasty, it was a bit different than the form that we know today. The leaves were pressed into cakes, then ground into a powder, and whisked into a froth. This preparation method was later adapted by Japan to make matcha. The Tang Dynasty brought tea drinking to a whole new level as it became a cultural art form.

Many people don't realize that the first tea exported from China was green tea. Spring picked "Hyson" and "Singlo" were favored by the well to do of England and America. A significant amount of green tea was even dumped into the harbor during the Boston Tea Party. More oxidized tea varieties eventually became more favored by the western world because they were better able to survive the long sea voyage.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Friday Round Up: March 5th - March 11th

United States of Tea - Mauna Kea Tea, Hawaii
+Georgia SS did an awesome interview with the owners of Mauna Kea Tea, one of my favorite U.S. based tea growing operations. Their passion really comes through in their answers to her thoughtful questions.

Confessions of a Tea Cake Artist
It's official, +Geoffrey Norman has the coolest friends. This week he shared a bit about Kristin Barger. She's a talented baker who just created a line of tea-infused treats.

The Moonlit Tea Garden: A Conversation with the Founders of Jun Chiyabari
Jun Chiyabari is one of my favorite Nepalese tea gardens. +Tony Gebely interviewed the founders and the results were really fascinating. I had no idea that the majority of their tea is exported to Germany.

A Thousand Posts Later...
+Amanda Freeman hit a major milestone, writing over a thousand blog posts. Congrats! I can definitely sympathize with her feelings of burnout and needing to cut back. This is sometimes I've been through before and am struggling a bit currently.

A Taste of Taiwan with High Mountain Tea
+Lu Ann Pannunzio got a taste of taste of Taiwan from a Toronto newcomer. I've heard really great things about their offerings and this blog post confirms it. I'll definitely need to give them a try soon.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Friday Round Up: February 26th - March 4th

Want It Wednesday: Toronto Tea Festival 2017
Rachel at Tea Nerd put together a list of some of her favorite finds from the Toronto Tea Festival. I need all of the tea things! The matcha deodorant particularly caught my eye.

Hooty Tea Travels - Fridays at Phoenix Tea
It's official. I need to visit Seattle! eattle! +Charissa Gascho visited +Phoenix Tea where she got to hang out with +Crimson Lotus Tea and +Tea DB.

Tea Session - 1970's Fuzhuan Brick (People's Unification Tea)
Varat at The Guide to Puerh Tea indulged in a rare tea from China's past. I'm not sure how adventurous I would be about drinking a brick with such a high concentration of "golden flowers".

A tea speakeasy?
+Anna Mariani got to visit the private tea tasting room run by tea friend Chris Kornblatt, founder of +QuantiTea. Bai Mu Dan? Jin Jun Mei? Yes, please!

The science and nomenclature of tea processing. Part 2: Microbial ripening.
+Eric Scott of +Tea Geek addressed one of the biggest debates in the tea world this week. The microbial processes that occur in puerh are still being studied and the science behind it all is fascinating.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

A Tea Lover's Travel Diary: Phoenix Single-Tree Oolong Tea Tie Kuan Yin Oolong Tea by Jason C.S. Chen

I read A LOT of books throughout the year. I try to write about the tea related ones that really stand out here but sometimes they get lost in the shuffle, amidst tea reviews and everything else going on. This is one of those books.

It had been on my Amazon wishlist for a while but I finally bit the bullet nearly three years ago. The author is the owner of Bellevue, WA tea establishment Smacha. An introduction by tea industry favorite James Norwood Pratt was also a big selling point.

Monday, February 27, 2017

What is Yellow Tea?


I know what you're thinking. There's a yellow tea? This category is little known and often forgotten, particularly in western markets. There are several respected books on my shelves that make absolutely no mention of it for that very reason.

Origins


Yellow tea is made primarily in the Anhui, Sichuan, and Hunan provinces of China. No one is really sure exactly when it first began being produced. As the tea world changes and grows, processing techniques are also shared and copied. I've had yellow teas from several regions outside of China, including Nilgiri and Darjeeling.

Because its production is difficult and time-intensive, yellow tea has primarily been consumed by locals. As the demand for easier-to-make green tea has increased in the West, many have abandoned the production of yellow tea in favor of green, and knowledge of the yellow tea-making process is being lost in China. Today, there are few tea masters alive with the skills required to make yellow tea.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Friday Round Up: February 19th - February 25th

Oollo Tea's Oriental Beauty
Michelle from One More Steep reviewed a tea that sounds as beautiful as it looks. The shot she got that showed the fuzzy hairs on the leaves is awesome! I haven't tried anything from Oollo Tea but now I definitely want to.

Garfunkle's: Afternoon Tea at a Speakeasy
Gatsby-esque afternoon tea in NYC? Yes, please! Jennifer at Inspired by Tea gives her report of this must see experience. For anyone who remembers Janam Teas from Jersey City, that's who is supplying their tea.

Tea Sessions Episode 1: What Tea Taught Me About Empathy
Mike at The Tea Letter added a podcast to his blog post this week. I really like the extra dimension that it adds. I can definitely relate to his struggle when it comes to having patience for fellow tea drinkers.

Isshin Tea Shop in the Hague: A Japanese Tea Geek's Garden of Eden
I love learning about tea shops around the world. It's unlikely that I'm going to be visiting the Netherlands any time soon but just in case I do, I now know where to get my Japanese tea fix thanks to Tea Leafster.

Yunomi: Furyu Batabatacha, Rare Bancha Tea, A Tea Review
+Amanda Freeman reviewed a fermented Japanese tea that not many people have heard of, let alone tasted. I've always found the double whisk that is traditionally used to prepare this tea so fascinating. She did a pretty good job of whipping it with a chasen though!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Denong Tea 2015 Early Spring Harvest Elegant Tranquility Raw Pu-erh

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

I discovered Denong Tea at World Tea Expo last year where I fell completely in love with their Enchanting Beauty. So much so that I told everyone about it which led to them selling out by the time I went to grab some to take home. I got this tea instead. All I can say is, best consolation prize ever!

Monday, February 20, 2017

What is White Tea?



It dawned on me that I've never done an introduction to each of the tea categories. Information like this might be old hat for some of you but I think those that are new to tea who might find it useful. Over the next few weeks, I'll be covering a different type of tea each Monday. Please let me know in the comments if there's something you'd like to see covered for yellow tea, green tea, oolong, black tea, or puerh tea.

Origins


White tea originates from China's Fujian Province. It is heavily debated when people first began producing it. Some sources say that it is the first tea ever consumed but others say that this processing technique has only been around for a few centuries. Fuding, Zhenghe, and Jianyang are the main production areas. White is often marketed as being rare but this simply isn't the case, especially as western interest continues to increase.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Friday Round Up: February 12th and February 18th

My tasting notes: Indonesian rolled black tea
+Anna Mariani's pairing of this Indonesian black tea with homemade olive oil challah bread and olive oil passion fruit curd sounds absolutely delicious. She got to share lunch with Melanie Halim of Harnedong Organic Tea Estate too!

Going Back to Bitaco...with Video
+Geoffrey Norman is doing a sequel month on his blog, revisiting some of his favorite gardens. He had so much to say about this Colombian grown tea that there was no choice to make wonderfully rambling videos of his thoughts.

Tea & Oranges
+Linda Gaylard drew some inspiration from Leonard Cohen's Suzanne. She paired four different teas with four different kind of oranges. The photography she took of her experience is impeccable as always.

White2Tea - Long Jing (February 2017 club)
Microshrimp's blog is one that I've always enjoyed but it's fallen a bit silent lately. It's nice to see something new pop up in my feed again this week. +White2Tea is usually known for their puerh so this post really made me sit up and take notice.

2016 Midas Touch Sheng Puer from Crimson Lotus Tea
+Charissa Gascho, otherwise known as Oolong Owl, reviewed a tea that's been on my wishlist for a while now. I don't think I've ever seen puerh compared to drinking pepto bismal. But now I want to experience it for myself.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Eco-Cha Four Seasons Spring Oolong Tea

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: pale green gold

Whenever I get asked for Taiwanese oolong vendor recommendations, +Eco-Cha Artisan Teas is one of my immediate go-to. I've been writing about and enjoying their teas for close to five years now. Andy and Nick have both been contributors on the blog as well as inside the pages of Tea for Me Please Quarterly. Trust me when I say that these guys really know their stuff.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Guide to Tea Blogging: Ethics, Reviews, and Sampling


I kicked off a series called Guide to Tea Blogging back in December but haven't had a chance to revisit it. New bloggers often reach out to me asking for advice so it will helpful to have blog posts on different topics to direct them to. The ethics of sampling come up pretty often so it seemed like a logical next installment. 

Ethics and Sampling 


One of the obvious perks of writing a tea blog is indeed receiving free samples. However, getting free samples should not be the reason that your blog exists. The same rule applies for press passes to World Tea Expo and other events. Unscrupulously greedy bloggers give the good ones a bad name, making some retailers avoid us all together. The CEO of a major tea chain famously painted us all with one brush in a LinkedIn group several years ago for this reason. I have never once solicited a company for samples yet I usually have more tea than I know what to do with. If you write good quality, engaging content companies will contact you.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Friday Round Up: February 5th and February 11th

The science and nomenclature of tea processing. Part 1: Enzymatic browning.
The science behind tea processing is something that we are still learning about and there are a lot of myths still being floated around out there. Thankfully we have +Eric Scott at +Tea Geek to fill us all in on the particulars.

The Current State of Organic Orthodox Tea in Nepal
Nepal has been producing some really fantastic specialty teas in recent years. This week World of Tea brings us a status report on the progress that has been made there and the work that still needs to be done.

A Winter Nightmare with Puer
Puerh storage is a foreign concept for many tea drinkers and it can be really tricky to figure out for those of us in North America. Cody at The Oolong Drunk conducted some pumidor experiments that sadly went awry.

Toronto Tea Festival 2017 Recap and Thoughts
Ever jealous of Canada's rapidly developing tea culture, I eagerly read +Lu Ann Pannunzio's post this week about her experience at the Toronto Tea Festival. I'm still in wedding savings mode so traveling is unlikely to happen for me soon but I hope to be able to attend myself in a few years.

The Many Oolongs of Four Seasons Tea Co.
Speaking of tea loving Canadians, +Mel Had Tea wrote about one of my favorite oolong tea specialists. Her photography makes me want to try those lovely teas all over again.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Little Red Cup Tea Company Yunnan Black

Country of Origin: China
Leaf Appearance: needle-like with golden hairs
Ingredients: black tea
Steep time: 30 seconds
Water Temperature: 210 degrees
Preparation Method: porcelain gaiwan
Liquor: dark reddish amber

In a world where tea companies seem to come and go frequently, it's nice to see that a few have stuck around through the years. I reviewed my first tea from +Little Red Cup Tea Co. way back in 2012 after discovering them on the now extinct flash sale site Fab.com. They recently surprised me with a couple of samples in my mailbox and this was the first packet that I grabbed.

Monday, February 6, 2017

4 Simple Ways Restaurants Can Improve Their Tea Service


I think almost every tea drinker I know has bemoaned the sad state of tea in American restaurants at one time or another. Even high-end establishments disappoint with tepid water and poor quality tea bags, although there are some rare exceptions like NYC's Eleven Madison Park. I'm always confused by this because very often the same place will offer coffee from one of the so-called "third wave" vendors. Here's the thing, making tea isn't hard. It doesn't require a gargantuan effort. There are some really simple changes a restaurant could make to transform the customer experience.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Friday Round Up: January 29th - February 4th

Gongfu Tea Part 1: Getting into Gongfu Tea
The Tea Letter is a new to me blog that I just started subscribing to. This week's post is a perfect introduction to the world of gongfu brewing.

Loose Leaf vs Tea Bag
Hannah Ruth Tea put together a great video comparing the differences between loose leaf and tea bags. She did a great job of explaining the advantages without coming off as a tea snob.

Black Teas of the Arakai Estate
+Geoffrey Norman has a knack for finding a good tea story. This one about a tea harvester bike in Australia is a must read.

A Trip Around Sri Lanka with Teakruthi
Sri Lanka has long been synonymous with commodity tea and Sir Thomas Lipton. That being said, there's been some really unique specialty teas being produced there in recent years. Kitty Loves Tea explored some of them in this week's post.

Ladurée in Beverly Hills
+Bonnie Eng's gorgeously photographed tour of Ladurée's new Beverly Hills location reminded me that I still have yet to visit them in NYC. That must be corrected soon!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

La Colombe Ruby Oolong

Country of Origin: Thailand
Leaf Appearance: dark, tightly rolled
Ingredients: oolong tea
Steep time: 4 minutes
Water Temperature: 195 degrees
Preparation Method: glass infuser mug
Liquor: reddish amber

As I'm sure most of you know by now, coffee just isn't my thing. I actually love the smell but I'm not at all a fan of the taste. Sometimes the worlds of the bean and the leaf do meet, though. When La Colombe announced that they were debuting a new line of teas and tisanes I just had to check it out. They worked with Rishi Tea to source and develop a carefully curated collection.

Monday, January 30, 2017

The Many Faces of Oolong


Whenever I get asked what my favorite tea is, I usually cheat and say oolong. That's because oolong is one of the largest and most diverse categories of tea. Oxidation levels can range from around 8% all the way to nearly 80%. That means that the taste can also vary but from very green to so dark that you might think it was a black tea. You also might see this type of tea referred to by the traditional Chinese name, Wu Long, which translates as "black dragon".

I thought it might be fun to do a run through of the different types for those of you that are just starting to toe the waters. Oolong is often categorized by the style of the leaf so we'll so start there. Names can be a bit trickier as the vary quite a bit depending on the origin.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Friday Round Up: January 22nd - January 28th

Let Faith Arise
There are many tea people in my life who are inspirations. +Darlene Meyers Perry is definitely one of them. This post about her journey to Japan is a reminder that sometimes you just have to show up.

The Tea Squirrel reports from the Global Tea Initiative at UC Davis
It seems like the awesome tea events are always on the opposite coast from me. At least I get to live vicariously through +Anna Mariani's coverage of this very exciting event.

Silver Tea Pot Review and Testing
If my Instagram feed is any indication, silver teapots are all the rage. +Charissa Gascho gives a very thorough comparison to other popular brewing vessels like yixing and ruyao. The pros and cons she lists are a great place to start if you're considering buying one.

Mr. Chen’s Magic: Best Bug Bitten 2016
The wonderful thing about Instagram is that it can connect us with fellow tea lovers around the world. Even tea farmers are getting in on the action. Tea Leafster recently got to enjoy some of the teas produced by Mr. Chen. I've been enjoying his pictures for some time so it's good to hear that his tea is as tasty as it looks.

White2Tea 2015 Smooch - S.W.A.L.K.
I love a good puerh ball, especially when it's from White2Tea. Diary of a Northern Teaist's description made me really want to give this one a try. We're in total agreement on the resemblance to marbles and the child-like joy that brings.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

A Quadruple Shou Puerh Tasting with Jalam Teas


Having too much tea is a very nice problem to have. That being said, I do feel a bit bad when tea sits around without being enjoyed. I've started to taste them in groups for that very reason. That way I can dig through the "to drink" pile faster and no one gets left out. On a very chilly winter day, I did just that.

For this tasting, the only thing the teas have in common is that they are all shou, or cooked, puerh from the same vendor. Each of these teas was brewed in a porcelain gaiwan (luckily, I have those laying around in spades) using 8g of leaf and boiling water. I did a quick 10-second rinse before proceeding with standard 30-second infusions.

Monday, January 23, 2017

A Bowl of Peace - Lessons from the Life of SEN Genshitsu


The world seems a bit more chaotic than usual as of late. This blog is not a political platform and I would never want it to be (please note that political comments on this post will be deleted for that reason) but a story I heard some time ago came to mind and I thought this was a good time to share it.

Tea has long been celebrated as a connector of people and a facilitator of conversation. The Japanese tea ceremony,  or chado, is a particularly good example of that. I've never formally studied it but have read every book I can find on the fascinating subject. We often hear legends of samurai meeting peacefully because their swords could not fit through the low entrance designed by Sen No Rikyu. I heard a more modern story of peace through tea on Tea Life Audio (though I cannot recall the episode) and the message really hit home. I just had to find out more about it.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Friday Round Up: January 15th - January 21st

Tea and Presidency
+sara shacket published a timely post this week on intertwining histories of tea and the U.S. presidency. I don't think it's a coincidence that so many historical greats had a penchant for the leaf.

Attack of the Adorable Tea Vloggers
+Geoffrey Norman made a round up of his own this week, a list of some of his favorite tea vloggers. Yours truly is included amongst some of my favorite YouTube channels.

Silver Bud Winter Mar-tea-ni
Few things excite me more than seeing a new blog post pop up in my feed from a blog that hasn't been very active. I definitely smiled when I saw this tasty Ya Bao infused tea cocktail from Tea Foodie [by Zanitea].

4 Principles of Japanese Tea (Sado) That Will Help You Become a Better Version of Yourself
+katherine bellman's posts are always a bit soothing to the soul. Tea has been a component of spiritual contemplation for centuries. In this week's post she explores how Sen No Rikyu's guiding principles can still be used to guide us today.

Tea in an Italian stovetop espresso maker
Tea in an espresso maker, blasphemy or delicious meeting of worlds? +Anna Mariani gives us a guide to making hojicha in an unorthodox way. I am definitely giving this a try if I can get my hands on an espresso maker that hasn't been used yet.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The Jade Leaf Shan Cha Summer 2016

Country of Origin: Taiwan
Leaf Appearance: dark, long and twisted
Ingredients: black tea
Steep time: 30 seconds
Water Temperature: 212 degrees
Preparation Method: porcelain gaiwan
Liquor: dark reddish amber

Taiwanese black teas have become something of an obsession for me over the last few months. They were always something I enjoyed but for some reason, they just seem to hit that sweet spot. I really enjoyed the Red Jade #18 from this company so that set the stage for high hopes for their Shan Cha.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Video - Episode 24: Interview with Lauren Purvis of Mizuba Tea Co.

I've gotten a bit off schedule when it comes to videos over the last few months. 2017 is a new year so let's start off on the right foot! I'm going to change the format a bit going forward. For starters, I'll only be publishing episodes here (and on YouTube, of course). I discovered that the majority of viewers were watching there anyway.

This will help me to avoid having to pay podcast hosting fees and I won't have to render two different versions of every episode. For that reason, I won't be calling it a podcast anymore but the content will remain largely the same. You can still expect tea industry interviews, how to's, and more.

I first met Lauren on Mizuba Tea Co. at World Tea Expo a few years ago. It turned out that we had been following each other on Instagram for years! Her effervescent personality and passion for matcha made us fast friends. In this episode, we talk about how Lauren discovered tea and the happy accident that led her to start her own matcha company.

Read more about Lauren and Mizuba Tea Co. here:

A Mizuba Matcha Moment with Friends
Guest Post: The Chasen by Lauren Danson







Is there something (or someone) that you'd like to see in a future video? Let me know in the comments!

Friday, January 13, 2017

Friday Round Up: January 8th - January 14th

5 Things I Know About Tea, That I Didn't Know Last Week
Elizabeth is the author of a new to me blog called The Tea Journals. She's just starting to go down the rabbit hole and I've really been enjoying following her journey.

Causes for Sour Flavors in Puerh Tea
+Cwyn N's posts are always insightful and full of knowledge. This week she sheds some light on some of the reasons why sour flavors might occur in tea.

How to Make Matcha Green Tea
+Lu Ann Pannunzio wrote a fantastic post (with an even more fantastic video) on making a perfect bowl of matcha. This is definitely great post to check out if you're not sure where to start.

Spotting Old Arbor Bullshit
Cody at The Oolong Drunk pulls no punches with this week's entry. He did an awesome job of tackling some of the controversies that are popping up in the tea world when it comes to the age of the trees use to produce puerh.

Art of Tea - Silver Needle, Fukamushi Sencha, and Crimson Oolong
+Georgia SS at Notes on Tea is always very thorough in her tea reviews. I really enjoyed this week's post because she compared three very different different teas from the same vendor.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Four Seasons Tea Co. Lan Hua Xiang Oolong

Country of Origin: China
Leaf Appearance: dark green, tightly rolled
Ingredients: oolong tea
Steep time: 10 seconds
Water Temperature: 212 degrees
Preparation Method: porcelain gaiwan
Liquor: deep gold

I hate to break it to you, tea friends, but I have another really awesome Four Seasons Tea Co. tea to tell you about. I will not be held responsible for any damage that might now be done to your wallet or yearly tea budget. At $1 per gram, this tea is not an inexpensive one. I do have to say that it is definitely worth it for a special treat. Proceed at your own risk. 😜

Those of you familiar with Phoenix mountain oolongs might know that the Chinese word Xiang roughly translates as fragrance. Lan Hua, or 兰花, means orchid. Add the two together and we know right off the bat that this tea is "orchid scented". It can be a bit hard to explain how a tea can taste like another plant. The closest I can come is to say that it sort of tastes the way that orchids smell. Does that make sense?

The holiday season had me super busy with work, leaving little time for gongfu'ing. I knew exactly what tea I was going to have when I finally had a moment to relax and this one is it. In my Instagram caption, I called it liquid gold. That was not only because of the lovely color of the liquor but also because it was one of those rare teas that really captured my attention.

The taste was incredibly creamy and floral with sweet notes of honey. Each sip was wonderfully aromatic and complex. Later infusions brought an interesting fruity quality that reminded me of honeydew melon. Overall it was very smooth without any astringency.  There was also a really nice hui gan, or lingering sweetness, that I was still experiencing long after my last sip.

I went a little heavy on leaf volume while preparing this tea. Sometimes that can backfire but in this case, it only made the mouthfeel that much more viscous. The infusion times that they provide might seem a bit short but I highly recommend following them. These leaves really took their time opening up. I was able to get ten consecutive infusions using this method.

Lan Hua Xiang Oolong sample provided by Four Seasons Tea Co.

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