Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Tea, By Any Other Name

Tea, or some variation of it, is the word used to describe a beverage made from the leaves of Camellia Sinensis in many languages. In other parts of the world cha and chai are used instead. Have you ever wondered why that is? Chá, or 茶, is the word for tea in both Mandarin and Cantonese. Where it evolved from there had a lot to do with where we got our tea from.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Friday Roundup: October 22nd - October 28th

The Solitude of Western Tea Culture

Mike at The Tea Letter penned a story that I think hits home for a lot of tea drinkers. We tend to be solitary sort, not by choice but rather because it can be hard to find others as enthusiastic as we are. That isolation is part of what inspired me to start this blog just over 9 years ago.

The Evolution of Taste

Gary Robson recently revived his blog so I was really happy to see this post in my feed. Black tea is definitely an underrated choice that many tea drinkers leave behind once they discover oolongs and puerh. The two suggested here are a great reminder that black tea still has a lot to offer.

Rishi Tea, rediscovering a brand

My friend Jo, of Scandalous Tea, and I have had the pleasure of enjoying not one but two tastings with Rishi Tea this year. They have definitely helped us to rediscover an amazing brand that was the starting point for many serious tea drinkers.

Cha Garden at Lucky Dragon Hotel & Casino

Heather at Hanamichi wrote a great overview of her visit to the much anticipated Cha Garden at Lucky Dragon Hotel & Casino. This spot was not yet open the last time I visited Las Vegas but there was already a buzz at World Tea Expo about it. I'm looking forward to visiting in the future.

My three favorite tea pairing experts are at it again. This time they explored matching up oolongs with fruit in a dreamy NYC penthouse. Pears, persimmons, and plums...oh my! You can read all about it on each of their blogs here:

Tea Pairing 101: Oolong and Fruit - Tea Happiness
Tea Pairing 101: Oolong Tea - Oh, How Civilized
Tea Pairing 101: Oolong Tea and Fruit - Notes on Tea

Is there a great post I missed this week? Let me know about it in the comments! One rule, it can't be your own. 😉

Friday, October 20, 2017

Friday Roundup: October 15th - October 21st

Green Tea Furikake

This week Anna at The Tea Squirrel brings us a recipe jam-packed with umami deliciousness. I have an aversion to most seafood but those of you that enjoy shrimp and bonito flakes definitely need to check this one out.

Ruby 8 Black - Totem Tea

Jordan at Tea-Tography got some really incredible shots of this black tea and incense combo from Totem Tea. I thought it was interesting because it was made with the #8 TTES cultivar rather than the much more typical #18.

Sugiyama Hikosaburo: The Discoverer of Yabukita

Did you know that the yabukita cultivar comprises approximately 75% of the tea grown in Japan? Ricardo at My Japanese Green Tea posted an excellent biography of the man who discovered it. I'm so grateful for the knowledge that he shares with all of us. I have yet to find a better resource about Japanese green tea than his blog.

Puerh? I Barely Know Her!

One thing that definitely made me smile this week was seeing Geoff from Steep Stories of the Lazy Literatus getting back to his usual antics. He got wonderfully tea drunk at a tasting held by Jeffrey McIntosh of Teabook. Somehow nipple-chakras came up in conversation. Don't say I didn't warn you...😝

Black Teas from Teabento

Char over at Oolong Owl reviewed a trio of black teas from a new online tea retailer called Teabento. Their adorable animals made out of tea leaves make me want to drink everything on their website. I've got some reviews of their teas in the works so keep an eye out for those!

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Mandala Tea 2013 Autumn Song Mao Cha

Country of Origin: China
Leaf Appearance: large and wiry, abundance of buds
Steep time: 30 seconds
Water Temperature: 212 degrees
Preparation Method: porcelain gaiwan
Liquor: deep gold

Mandala Tea just recently reopened their website and many tea drinkers celebrated the occasion by ordering A.S.A.P., myself included. I needed some puerh mao cha to photograph for a blog post so it was the perfect excuse to load up. Simply put, mao cha is the raw material that is compressed to make a puerh cake. Although there were a few to choose from, I had to go with Autumn Song. The compressed version is still one of my all-time favorites (and I had recently finished the last of a cake).

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

An NYC Afternoon of Tea and Friendship

I live in a quiet little corner of New Jersey. It's not always perfect but it does have the advantage of easy travel to NYC. I am also lucky enough to have a small tribe of wonderful women there who all love the leaf as much as I do. From time to time an email will go out like the Bat-Signal, gathering us all together for tea.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Friday Roundup: October 8th - October 14th

Tea Recipe: Chocolate Masala Chai with Turmeric

Sara from Tea Happiness posted a recipe this week that really grabbed my attention. I rarely drink flavored teas anymore but there's definitely still a soft spot in my heart for a well-done masala chai. She really upped the ante by adding chocolate and turmeric.

How to Season and Clean Clay Kettle Boilers

I've been wanting a clay kettle for some time now. Cwyn's Death by Tea must have read my mind. She posted a comprehensive guide to caring for and cleaning them. Who knew that a potato would come in handy?

Just a quick note: Last week's roundup and regular posting schedule didn't happen due to my little sister's wedding festivities. Now that my maid of honor duties are completed I'm hoping to get things back on track. Thanks for bearing with me folks!

Tea Review: Yunomi Teas from Yumomi Farm Direct, Tsukigase Kenkō Chaen, and Kurahira Tea

Connie at Tea in Spoons reviewed three different teas from Yunomi, one of my favorite Japanese specialist vendors. I know I've said it in past roundups but I really love her photography style! The tencha, in particular, is something that I'd like to try since I have had relatively little experience with it.

Earl Grey Milk with Cotton Candy

Jee from Oh, How Civilized always comes up with the most decadent recipes. Tea-infused milk topped with a cloud of cotton candy just might take the cake though. I have got to give this one a try!

Tea Infused Deserts: Panna Cotta & Pots de Crème

Speaking of decadent sweets, Lu Ann at The Cup of Life shared two amazing sounding recipes with the help of blogger and cookbook author Tracey Ceurvels. I love her suggestion to experiment with different types of tea.

A quick note: Last week's roundup and posting schedule couldn't happen due to my little sister's wedding festivities. Now that my maid of honor duties are completed I'm hoping to get things back on track here. Thanks for hanging in there folks!
Jason and I at the reception. We clean up well :)

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Sonwu Tea Rou Gui, Spring 2016, Tea Master Zhou, Wuyi Mountain Inner Circle

Country of Origin: China
Leaf Appearance: dark, slightly curled
Steep time: 3 seconds, increasing with each infusion
Water Temperature: 212 degrees
Preparation Method: porcelain gaiwan
Liquor: deep reddish brown

Things have changed quite a bit since I first started reviewing tea. For a long time, email was the primary method of communication between tea companies and bloggers like myself. Nowadays I am more likely to receive a direct message on Instagram. Being a pseudo-millennial, I am OK with this. When I received such an inquiry from new-to-me Sonwu Tea my interest was definitely piqued. A glance at their website showed a focus on single-origin Chinese teas.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Celebrating the Mid-Autumn Festival with Pearl River Mart and Silver Needle Tea Co.

The Mid-Autumn Festival is celebrated on the fifteenth day of the eighth month of the lunar calendar. It usually falls somewhere in late September or early October. For 2017, today is the big day! Many activities are enjoyed including sharing a family meal, gazing at the full moon, lighting lanterns, and eating a special type of pastry called mooncakes. The roots of this festival actually go back over 3,000 years. In the past, emperors worshipped the moon in order to ensure a good harvest. Although most people no longer depend on the agricultural harvest for their livelihoods, the tradition continues to this day.

When Pearl River Mart reached out to me about reviewing the Mid-Autumn Festival edition of their Friendship Box, I jumped at the chance. I was even more excited when I saw that they collaborated with my friends at Silver Needle Tea Co.  Pearl River Mart was a fixture in SoHo for many years and I was heartbroken when they closed their shop. They had a fantastic selection of teas, teaware, and other goodies. The good news is that they'll be reopening at Chelsea Market next year.