• Teaware and Gadgets

    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…

  • Reviews

    Four Seasons Tea Co. Mu Ben Da Hong Pao

    Country of Origin: China Leaf Appearance: large, dark and somewhat curled Ingredients: oolong tea Steep time: ranging from 6-60 seconds Water Temperature: 212 degrees Preparation Method: porcelain gaiwan Liquor: dark amber This tea came to me in a round about way as they often do. +Geoffrey Norman wrote about it first and I was green with oolong envy. That was when +Tony Gebely let me know that he had actually already sent an email introduction between Jeff from Four Seasons Tea and myself. Somehow it went to old address but we were able to get that all sorted out. At first glance it looks like this tea is exorbitantly pricey but it’s probably about as close as any…

  • Reviews

    Mandala Tea Heart of the Old Tree 2012

    Country of Origin: China Leaf Appearance: varied greens, compressed Ingredients: puerh tea Steep time: 30 seconds Water Temperature: 212 degrees Preparation Method: porcelain gaiwan Liquor: light gold +Mandala Tea is one of my go to’s for puerh because they consistently source high quality private label teas. Their smaller cakes provide a chance to explore without breaking the piggy bank, especially for someone who is just getting started. Heart of the Old Tree is one that I had heard a lot about so I was excited to give it a try. The leaves were large and mostly whole with a nice shine to them. It had been far too long since I’ve been able to have…

  • Reviews

    Dachi Tea Co. Oriental Beauty Oolong

    Country of Origin: Taiwan Leaf Appearance: varied green and brown with silver tips Ingredients: oolong tea Steep time: 40 seconds Water Temperature: 185 degrees Preparation Method: porcelain gaiwan Liquor: amber Oriental Beauty, aka Bai Hao oolong, is one of my favorite types of Taiwanese teas. It’s one of the few teas that is organic by necessity (at least in the summer) because it requires that the leaves be bitten by leaf hopper insects. I know that might sound a bit gross but bugs chewing on your tea is a very good thing! It starts a slow oxidation process before the leaves are even picked, creating unique flavors and aromas. The leaves of this…

  • Reviews

    Ippodo Tea Co. Hosen Sencha

    Country of Origin: Japan Leaf Appearance: small, deep green Ingredients: green tea Steep time: 1 minute Water Temperature: 175 degrees Preparation Method: kyusu Liquor: bright green Back in October I reviewed Ippodo Tea Co.’s Unro Sencha (for the second time). I was eager to compare it to this one. It always amazes me just how different two teas of the same type can be. The taste was surprisingly mellow. There was a ton of natural sweetness and very little astringency. It still had the distinctive vegetal taste of a sencha but in a very gentle way. A wonderfully savory umami element snuck up on me in the aftertaste. I’ve just started reading Game of…