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 LadurĂ©e'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.