Monday, July 31, 2017

Tea Places: Tea Dealers

There are so many tea places in NYC now that I sometimes have a hard time just choosing where to go. While this is an excellent problem to have, it sometimes means that I don't get to visit a shop for quite a bit longer than intended. Tea Dealers is a perfect example of this. They opened up in Brooklyn several years ago and although I was aware of their existence, I just never got around to visiting. When I noticed an address change to Canal Street, I made immediate plans to visit after the Pret-A-Matcha Launch Party. Jo from A Gift of Tea and Darlene from The Tea Lovers Archives came along for the fun. Lucky for me it was a good pick, especially considering how hot it was outside that day.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Friday Roundup: July 23rd - July 29th

Matcha Avacado Toast

It made my heart happy to see a post pop up in my feed from Alexis at Teaspoons & Petals. She's one of the hardest working and busiest gals in the biz but this week she gifted us with a delicious recipe. Impeccable, as always.

Pine Oolong - Golden Tea Leaf

Tea-Tography's posts always make me wish that I had a better setup for taking pictures. This week's entry proves that even tea bag tea can be beautiful. Her honeysuckle tasting notes definitely make me want to give this one a try.

Historical Thieves of the Tea World

The history of tea is filled with some pretty interesting stories. Tea Stacks penned a very interesting post about a trio of thieves, two of which I had only read about in passing. Robert Fortune usually gets all of the limelight but I'm looking forward to learning more about Jacobus Jacobson and Mohammad Mirza.

Pussy...By White2Tea

I've been waiting for the reviews to start rolling in for White2Tea's 2017 lineup. Despite the name, the tea definitely sounds like it would be up my alley. Cody's descriptive tasting notes (and excellent pictures) only added to the fun.

Tea Fest PDX

The western half of the country has way cooler tea festivals than we get here on the eastern seaboard. I'll be adding any posts I find about Tea Fest PDX here:

Hooty Tea Travels - Tea Fest PDX 2017 in Portland Oregon

Tea Fest PDX, a longer post!

Tea Fest PDX: A Great Celebration for Us All

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Adagio Teas Snowbud

Country of Origin: China
Leaf Appearance: jade green, downy buds with some larger leaves
Steep time: 30 seconds
Water Temperature: 180 degrees
Preparation Method: glass gaiwan
Liquor: very pale, greenish

When I had the opportunity to review some samples from Adagio Teas, I really dug through their website to find some cool stuff. It had been a few years since I wrote about anything of theirs and the direction of the blog has changed quite a bit. I was curious to see if I could find teas that fit into my unflavored specialty tea focus. That led to discovering some hidden gems like their Hunan Gold. The description of this one being their lightest white tea automatically made me add it to my cart.

Monday, July 24, 2017

How Does Tea Affect the Brain?

As many of you know I'm pretty strict about not covering health benefits here on the blog. They aren't why I drink tea and in most cases, I think they are overemphasized for marketing purposes. That being said it is undeniable that tea does affect our bodies in many ways. I thought it might be interesting to dive a little deeper into what substances in tea have an effect on the human brain.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Friday Roundup: July 16th - July 22nd

THE TEA EXPLORER, Interviews with Jeff Fuchs & Andrew Gregg

Rita at Adventures in Tea Land recently had the opportunity to interview Jeff Fuchs (of Jalam Tea fame) and Andrew Gregg. I am so looking forward to watching their feature length documentary. Canadian tea friends can catch it on the CBC Documentary Channel, Sunday July 23, 2017 at 9 PM. EST.

Western Tea Culture & Tea Hermits

James at TeaDB raises some excellent points about the habits of western tea drinkers and the effects of isolation. It can be hard to find others who are passionate about tea as we are but things are changing. Living near NYC, I have the advantage of being close to a quickly developing gongfu culture.

Mao Feng vs Mao Feng: A Lesson in Pick Dates

Tea friend Dylan has been sharing his tea adventures in China on his blog and I've been reading avidly. This week he shares how a tasting in a tea house led to an important realization about the importance of when a tea is harvested.

Gongfu is not always better
MarshalN focused on the not often discussed downsides of gongfu brewing this week. Some teas really do better when brewed in other ways so it's worth experimenting. In this post, he advocates drinking aged oolongs and even puerh teas grandpa style.

A Flight Through China with Teavivre

Mel Had Tea has really been stepping up her tea review (and photography) game lately and I'm loving it! This week she takes us on a tea tour of China through three awesome selections from Teavivre. I've got a few of these in my "to be reviewed" pile and I can't wait to try them.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Pre-A-Matcha Kickstarter Launch Party

It's not often that a Kickstarter impresses me but as soon as I saw Pret-A-Matcha, I knew that I needed this bottle in my life. Matcha is a constant in my routine and I rely on it a lot to get me through a hectic work schedule. Not long after I discovered Pret-A-Matcha on Instagram, tea friend Alexis of Teaspoons and Petals reached out with an invite to their Kickstarter launch party.

Monday, July 17, 2017

What Do the Bubbles in Tea Mean?

Every once in a while I see the same question pop up on message boards like TeaChat and Reddit, what do the bubbles in tea mean? We're not talking about bubble tea (aka bobba) here! There are a number of substances that can cause bubbles, foam, or even the mythical "tea pearl" to form when the leaves come into contact with hot water.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Friday Roundup: July 9th - July 15th

Sencha Lemonade
Bonnie at Thirst for Tea really has a knack for combining tea with amazing flavors. As always, her photography is so beautiful that I can almost taste this refreshing twist on an Arnold Palmer.

The Cocomatchasaurus (AKA Raw Coconut and Matcha Brownie)
I discovered a new blog called Biodiversitea (you've got to love those puns!) just in time to find this delicious recipe for no-bake matcha brownies.

Tea and murals. Anniversary Edition.
I must send congratulations to Anna at The Tea Squirrel for reaching her 1 years blog-iversary! I couldn't think of a better way to celebrate than with some Tung Ting Mi Xian oolong.

At the Tea Table with James Allen of Far West Tea Traders
Lu Ann from The Cup of Life continued her fantastic interview series this week with a feature on James from Far West Tea Traders. It was great to get to know a bit more about him and his company.

Matcha - An Initial Encounter
Tyas Sōsen of The Tea Crane contributed the first of a six-part series on the origin of matcha. This post was full of tidbits I don't see much elsewhere. I can't wait to see what else is in store.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Bitterleaf Teas Old Stalk 2002 Lincang Bamboo Stuffed Raw Puer

Country of Origin: Yunnan, China
Leaf Appearance: compressed, varied greens with some downy buds
Steep time: 5 seconds (increased by 5 seconds each brew)
Water Temperature: 200 degrees
Preparation Method: porcelain gaiwan
Liquor: deep gold

Out of all of the samples that I received from Bitterleaf Teas, this tea was probably the one that I looked forward to the most. Dry aged sheng? ✔ Tea that's been stuffed into something? ✔ Intriguing and catchy name? ✔ While drinking this tea I couldn't help but think about the fact that it was harvested just after I graduated from high school. I'm still a pseudo-millennial so I won't complain about being old. I just wish I had been totally into tea back then!

Monday, July 10, 2017

How to Taste Tea Like a Pro

I often get emails from people who tell me that they enjoy reading my tea reviews but they could never truly appreciate tea themselves. That simply isn't true. Being able to evaluate what you are tasting is a learned skill. While some people might be born "super tasters", the vast majority of us need to put in the work to train our palates.

This is a lesson that I learned many moons ago while working in customer service for a wine retailer. I love white wine but really struggled when it came to tasting reds. I was a total newbie and because of that, my palate had not been trained in the same way as my professional colleagues who had studied for years.

Even if you've never had a particular type of tea before, a lot can be determined just by relying on your senses. Take detailed notes and trust your instincts. This is the method that I usually use when reviewing a tea.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Friday Roundup: July 2nd - July 8th

Umami Cafe (Portland Japanese Garden)
Heather at Hanamichi gives us a tour on the excellent cafe located at the Japanese garden in Portland. I'd love to have a place like to grab tea, especially with such beautiful surroundings.

2016 Nightlife from White2Tea
Char at Oolong Owl reviewed a tea that has been on my wishlist since last year. Moonlight whites are some of my favorite teas, especially when they are compressed like this one. The 2016 is long gone but thankfully there is a 2017 version up for grabs.

Fresh Matcha at O'Sulloc Tea Museum on Jeju Island, South Korea
Mel Had Tea told us all about the tea museum that she visited on a trip to South Korea. There are so many tea places that I want to travel to. Jeju Island is most definitely on the list!

A review of Camellia Sinensis, Montreal and Quebec City
Speaking of tea places I'd like to visit, Daisy at A Tea Girl's Journal reviewed two of Camellia Sinensis' locations in Canada. I loved that she was able to compare the two experiences (and the idea of a technology free tea shop).

Crimson Lotus Gongfu2go and 2013 Xiaguan Shou Puerh
Tea-Tography posted a dual review featuring both a Xiaguan shou and a brewing device from puerh community favorite Crimson Lotus Tea. There's great photography as always plus I've always wanted to see the Gongfu2go in action. Unfortunately, they've now been discontinued.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Why Do Puerh Cakes Weigh 357 grams?

Puerh cakes can be found in many sizes and shapes, especially now that a lot of U.S. based vendors are doing custom pressings. Tuocha, puerh balls, and smaller 100g cakes are a great option for tea drinkers that just getting started. Traditionally though, bings weigh an oddly precise 357 grams. I've often wondered what the reasons are for that and this post sets out to find the answer.