Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Teaful Bi Luo Chun Green Tea

Country of Origin: Taiwan
Leaf Appearance: dark green, slightly curled, downy buds scattered throughout
Steep time: 3 minutes
Water Temperature: 175 degrees
Preparation Method: glass infuser mug
Liquor: pale greenish gold

I was definitely intrigued when I saw that Teaful included a Taiwanese Bi Luo Chun in a recent batch of samples. This is the first one I've reviewed here on the blog that wasn't from China. That being the case, I really wasn't sure what to expect. Teaful's High Mountain Black really wowed me so I had high hopes that this would be another home run.

Monday, August 28, 2017

The Real Lapsang Souchong and the Dangers of Mistranslation

Lapsang Souchong is often referred to as campfire tea. It is common to find examples so heavily smoked that they are evocative of burnt rubber tires and tar. Did you know that this tea's true origin is actually one of the highest quality teas that China has to offer? It is also widely believed to be the first black tea ever created. This is a long and confusing story but a recent Twitter exchange inspired me to try to tackle it here on the blog.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Friday Roundup: August 20th - August 26th

At the Tea Table with Nazanin Yousefnejad from Tea Thoughts

I was excited to see Lu Ann from The Cup of Life interview one of my favorite Etsy creators. Nazanin makes the most adorable pins, cards, and other gifts. Her blog is definitely one to follow as well!

Why I Almost Closed Joy's Teaspoon

My wonderful friend Naomi of Joy's Teaspoon shared about how she almost closed her tea company's doors for good. I'm so glad that she didn't and so very proud of her for the new challenges she is taking on.

150 Years of Ceylon Tea

I've been living vicariously through Tony at World of Tea's social media updates. He recently had the opportunity to travel to Sri Lanka to celebrate the 150th anniversary of tea being planted there. There's more to come so make sure that you stay tuned.

[Tea & Food Pairing] Fig Toasts with White Peony Tea

I briefly met Joo at an event held by Rishi Tea in NYC. Since then I've become a fan of her impeccable palate and sense of style. This week's tea and food pairing had me positively drooling. Brie is one of my favorite cheeses and I love the idea of pairing it with figs, honey, and white peony tea.

Westholme is Where the Heart Is

Robert of Lord Devotea's Tea Sprouts has been quite the travel bug lately, adventuring all around the Pacific Northwest and Canada. I've been wanting to visit Westholme Tea Farm for a while but his post really convinced me. I must make a trip there soon!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Teavivre Fuding Shou Mei White Tea Cake 2012

Country of Origin: China
Leaf Appearance: varied browns and greens with scattered visible buds
Steep time: 10 seconds, increasing 5 seconds with each infusion
Water Temperature: 200 degrees
Preparation Method: glass gaiwan
Liquor: orange-tinged amber

Did you know that white can be aged? It's become quite the rage but also very expensive. Reflective of the popularity of puerh, the leaves are commonly pressed into cakes and wrapped in paper. I've written A LOT of reviews of Teavivre's teas over the years but this was my very first aged white tea from their catalog so I was really excited to dive into this one.

Monday, August 21, 2017

5 Things You Might Not Know About Me

If you read this blog, you more than likely already know that I love to drink tea...a lot. A friend pointed out that it might be interesting to let my readers get to know me a bit more, outside of tea. I've got to be honest, it actually took me a while to come up with enough things for this post. Tea really does dominate a large part of my life but people are like onions and ogres, we have layers. ☺

Friday, August 18, 2017

Friday Roundup: August 13th - August 19th

Favorite Teaware - Philip Aba of ZeroZen Artlab

Georgia at Notes on Tea interviewed ZeroZen Artlab for the latest installment of her Favorite Teaware. I was super excited to check out this one because I have been admiring his amazing Instagram pictures for some time.

Tennessee Oolong from Steven Smith Teamaker

I've said it before and I'll say it again, west coast tea folks get the coolest stuff! Char from Oolong Owl wrote an awesome review of a whiskey scented Jin Xuan. Although pricey, it sounds like it was definitely worth the try.

7 Best Online Puer Shops of 2017
Looking for a good place to get your puerh fix? Look no further than The Oolong Drunk's latest post. The big players are there along with a few smaller companies. Funnily enough, my list would look just about the same.

Matcha Victoria Sponge Cake

I love to combine my passion for tea with my love for baking (much to my fiance's chagrin). This matcha twist on an afternoon tea classic sounds like a definite must try. If Anna at The Tea Squirrel came up with it, it's got to be good!

Brothers in tea

One of my favorite things about tea is that it brings together people from across the globe. Stéphane from Tea Masters Blog shared a little tea event he had in Taiwan with tea lovers from Spain and Finland. There are always nuances to making tea on this blog that I don't see written about anywhere else.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Teance Burnt Sugar Red

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

I have a funny habit of saving the tea that I think I would like the most for last. I previously reviewed and really enjoyed Teance's Tiegunyin Dark Stone Fruit but something about the name Burnt Sugar Red told me that it would be a special one. The red part of the name might seem confusing but what we call black tea in the west is usually called red tea (or hong cha) in countries like China and Taiwan. Not to mention the fact that rooibos is often labeled as red tea.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Tea Places: Floating Mountain

I don't get to NYC as much as I used to these days so I try to take full advantage of the time that I am there. After I attended the Pret-A-Matcha Kickstarter Launch Party and visited Tea Dealers, I still had one more tea place on my to-do list. Floating Mountain first hit my radar when I started seeing posts about it on Instagram. From what I could gather on their website, this was definitely my kind of place.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Friday Roundup: August 6th - August 12th


I've been eagerly awaiting the report of Lord Devotea's recent visit to Portland and at long last, it is here. He couldn't have had a better tea tour guide than fellow blogger Geoff Norman.

Tea Teaching: Big Red Robe - Da Hong Pao

Chelsea at Taste the Tea gives us a short and sweet introduction to one of my favorite Wuyi oolongs. I love the tasting note visual and accompanying review of Adagio Tea's Da Hong Pao.

Bad Marketing Part 2

On this new-to-me blog, Tristan examines some of the outlandish claims made by tea vendors when it comes to how many times the tea can be infused. This is a sore subject for me as well and I am glad that someone is questioning these "bad marketing" practices.

Matcha (Green Tea) Latte Ice Cubes

Jee from Oh, How Civilized must be a mind reader. I've been on a big matcha kick lately but lattes are difficult to enjoy in the heat because they quickly become watered down. I love the decadent idea of condensed milk instead of my usual 2%.

Interview: Tyas Huybrechts of The Tea Crane

Sara at Tea Happiness did a very interesting interview with Tyas Huybrechts, a Belgian ex-pat living in Japan. Not only is he a Nihoncha instructor but also sells teas in order to further his vision of spreading Japanese culture.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Teanami Palace Grade Pu Erh (Ripe 2005)

Country of Origin: China
Leaf Appearance: small, dark and golden with visible buds
Steep time: 30 seconds
Water Temperature: 212 degrees
Preparation Method: porcelain gaiwan
Liquor: dark, almost opaque

I had a love-hate relationship with cooked puerh for a very long time. The primary reason for that is that there's a lot of poor quality stuff out there. It took a while for me to learn that lesson but it is an important one. Since then I've gotten much pickier about what I'll subject myself to. Life is too short to drink bad tea!

Monday, August 7, 2017

3 Teas That Sound Like They Wouldn't Taste Good (But They Totally Do!)

Mandarin can be quite a bit more poetic than the English language so sometimes things get lost in translation. I thought it might be fun to explore a few teas whose names might sound a bit odd when we first hear them. Rest assured, every one of these teas is actually quite delicious.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Friday Roundup: July 30th - August 5th

Hugo: the European summer cocktail gets a tea makeover

I've been living vicariously through the European adventures of Anna at The Tea Squirrel. She discovered a summer cocktail that sounds like it's right my alley. Cold-brewed silver needle is the perfect tea twist to make it even better!

Matcha Ninja Cold Brew Matcha

One thing I really appreciate about Char at Oolong Owl is her thorough reviews that are tough but fair. Given the side by side comparison that she made with a Japanese matcha, I don't think this one is for me.

Story of My Tea: Hello! Iced Tea Pure Camellia Collection, a Tea Review

Amanda at My Thoughts Are Like Butterflies reviewed an interesting collection of pure teas that are designed for cold brewing. I've been doing a lot of that this summer, especially experimenting with different varieties.

Rediscovery of Japanese Tea

Tomo at Japanese Tea Story attended a tasting held by Oscar Brekkel. We haven't yet had the pleasure of meeting but I've heard so much about his work in promoting Japanese teas from friends around the globe. I love the idea of serving tea in wine glasses!

Tea, Coffee, and the Arakai Estate Terroir

Geoff at Steep Stories wrote about coffee (gasp!) this week but I'll give him a pass this time. It was all in the name of science. He explored the terroir of the Arakai Estate in Australia by comparing their teas alongside two different roasts of coffee.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Mellow Monk Artisan's Reserve

Country of Origin: Japan
Leaf Appearance: deep green
Steep time: 1 minute
Water Temperature: 165 degrees
Preparation Method: kyusu
Liquor: deep green, somewhat cloudy

I've been posting quite a few blasts from the past lately. Mellow Monk is definitely among those. All of my previous reviews of their teas are from 2012 and 2013. Although it has been a while since I tried any of their offerings, I've been avidly following their adventures in Japan through social media. Paul Kotta, Mellow Monk's co-founder, is a genuinely nice guy and very knowledgeable. He was kind enough to give me the pick of any of his teas. When I saw that the Artisan's Reserve was a blend of fukamushi and kabusencha, I just had to give it a try.