Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Teance Tieguanyin Dark Stone Fruit

Country of Origin: China
Leaf Appearance: deep green, tightly rolled
Ingredients: oolong tea
Steep time: 30 seconds
Water Temperature: 205 degrees
Preparation Method: porcelain gaiwan
Liquor: deep gold

Teance is a tea shop in Berkeley, CA. Although I've never been there I have been a fan of what they do for a long time. Their co-owner, Winnie Wu, writes a Tumblr blog called Tea Adventures that I highly recommend checking out during tea sourcing season. Her honesty and insights into the tea world are truly valuable for an avid tea-head like me.

Monday, May 29, 2017

What Green Tea and MSG Have in Common

In elementary school science class we all learned about the four basic tastes that our taste buds can detect: sour, bitter, salty and sweet. There is also a fifth taste called umami. It's a word borrowed from the Japanese language that describes a savory or meaty taste. It can be a be a bit hard to describe but seaweed, mushrooms, and aged cheeses are all examples of foods with umami.

MSG, aka monosodium glutamate, is an amino acid that is naturally found in our bodies as well as in food. MSG is commonly used as an additive to enhance the savory effect of umami in food. It's hotly debated whether or not MSG is bad for us. I won't get into all of that because this is a tea blog. Feel free to Google "Chinese restaurant syndrome" if you feel like being buried in fanatical internet commentary.

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 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.