• Learn About Tea

    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. Tannins Tannins are polyphenols found in plant matter. They have a bitter taste and are responsible for brown coloring, like what we see in black tea. Tannins are also a natural foaming agent. I have kept betta fish as pets on and off for most of my life. It is a…

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    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…

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    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. First, we should keep in mind that the metric system is a fairly recent invention (in relation to how long people have been drinking tea). Production of puerh cakes dates back to the Qing Dynasty. For most of the world’s history, units of measure rarely crossed…

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    Legends of the Leaf: 3 Chinese Green Teas

    One of my favorite things about Chinese tea is the rich cultural history that can be traced back thousands of years. Many teas have legends associated with them that have been passed down through the centuries. These are a few of my favorites. Bi Luo Chun Bi Luo Chun’s original name XiaSha RenXiang translates to scary fragrance. Legend has it that tea pickers ran out of room in their baskets so they placed tea leaves between their breasts. Body heat caused a surprising aroma to be released from the leaves. I don’t really find this tea scary at all but it is definitely delicious. It was later renamed green snail spring by the…

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    Meet the Tea: Da Hong Pao

    Da Hong Pao, aka Big Red Robe, is a type of oolong produced only in the Wuyi Mountains. Teas from this region are often called yancha, or rock tea, due to the rocky soil on the cliffs where the tea is grown. According to legend, the mother of a Ming Dynasty emperor was cured of an illness after drinking this tea. To show how special these tea trees were, he had the bushes that this incredible tea was made from draped with red cloth. Yet another version tells of a scholar who passed his exams thanks to this tea. He draped the bushes with the scarlet robes that he was awarded. Even more…