Feed aggregator

What do you think of zen art?

T Ching - 2 hours 46 min ago

It was after I moved to the USA that I learned the concept of “Orientalism” and “Anti-Orientalism.”  In the case of tea art, Dr. D.T Suzuki’s classic work ofZen and The Art of Teais criticized for its “orientalism.” The first critique is that the relation of Zen and Japanese culture is, in large part, a product of the invention of tradition: it is the imposition of Western values which prompted Asian intellectuals to turn, anew, to their own cultural heritages,  and to reconstitute their indigenous spiritual traditions.

In other words, the relationship between Zen and The Art of Tea might not be as we know it.  In the modern tea books, such as Dr. D.T Suzuki’s work, it is a reconstitution based on what Westerners want.

The second critique refers to the nationalism of “Orientalism.” For example, Burnard Faure examined Suzuki’s works,  Japanese Spirituality, and Zen and Japanese Culture. He found that his Japanese spirituality was based on an ontological privilege. He contrasted the purely intuitive nature of Zen with the cumbersome rationality of the West, establishing the superiority of sophisticated Japanese culture over the philistine culture of the West. As the sinologist Paul Demieville says, “Virtually all of this country’s (Japan’s) culture is interpreted in relation to Zen which has become a master key providing access to both the aesthetic and Japanese militarism.”

The final critique is in the depiction of tea art (similar to the art of archery, flower arrangement, etc) as unabashed romanticism, replete with notions of the “mysterious East” that infect such narratives .  .  .

These theories are quite new to me. I do not know how to respond to them. What do you think of Zen art, and what’s your response to “Orientalism” and “Anti-Orientalism”?

Main:             Image 1:

The post What do you think of zen art? appeared first on T Ching.

A Day in Provence Rooibos Blend from Tay Tea

SororiTEA Sisters - Wed, 04/23/2014 - 03:59

Tisane Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Tay Tea

Tisane Description:

Soothing and relaxing with a tangy kick that screams at you to make iced tea. As a hot tea, this is still a delight. Layers of red berries, tart currants, lavender and rooibos with subtle hints of rose. The texture of this tea is amazingly soft on the tongue and the lavender persists all the way through each sip.

Learn more about this tea here.

Learn more about subscribing to Amoda’s Monthly Tea Tasting Box here.

Taster’s Review:

This is really lovely!  Despite the suggestion above to make this into iced tea, I opted for a hot tea – there’s just something about lavender that tells me to make hot tea and since it would seem that A Day in Provence Rooibos Blend from Tay Tea has a strong lavender presence I figured hot tea was the way to go this evening.  And as I said … it’s really very lovely!

The lavender is a strong, well-defined essence but it never tastes too floral, perfume-ish or soapy.  The lavender (and the rose) have been added at just the right amounts so that the flavors are present in every sip without tasting of Aunt Mildred’s favorite perfume.

And as much as I enjoy lavender, what I’m enjoying most about this particular cuppa is that I’m not tasting a strong rooibos flavor.  I taste subtle notes of a woody flavor and hints of nutty tones and that familiar honeyed note, but it isn’t a really powerful presence.

Instead, I taste notes of currant and this gives the cup an almost wine-like taste, and the rose and lavender are very complementary to the wine-ish flavors.  I taste a sweet-tart berry note.  Overall this has a very indulgent, beautiful flavor that I am finding very nice.

I’m really happy that this tea was part of this month’s Amoda Tea Box!  Usually, I approach the rooibos/herbal blends with a certain amount of skepticism, but, this is one with which I’m quite pleased.

The post A Day in Provence Rooibos Blend from Tay Tea appeared first on SororiTea Sisters.

Ayurvedic De-Stress Tea from Tea of Life

SororiTEA Sisters - Tue, 04/22/2014 - 16:00

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Learn more about Tea of Life and Amazon Teas here.

About Tea of Life Ayurvedic Collection:

The word “Ayurveda” is derived from two words – “Ayus” meaning life and “Veda” meaning ‘knowledge’ or ‘science’.  So the literal meaning of the word Ayurveda is ‘The Science of Life.’

Life or Ayus, according to Ayurveda, is a combination of senses, mind, body and soul.  So Ayurveda does not just limit itself to the body or physical symptoms, but also provides comprehensive knowledge about spiritual, mental and emotional health.  

The traditional healing system of Ayurveda is based on a theory of balance between the body (physical), the soul (spiritual) and the mind (psychological).  


Green Tea with Lemongrass, Gotukola, Ginger, Lavender Buds, Cumin Seed, Fennel.

Taster’s Review:

I don’t know that I was necessarily looking to “De-Stress” today, but I definitely wanted something that would help me unwind and relax without making me want to go and take a nap (like Chamomile would do!) so I decided I’d try this Ayurvedic De-Stress Tea from Tea of Life to help me calm down a little.

When I opened the individually wrapped package that held this tea bag, I could smell the cumin seed!  I love cumin and because it’s not really a spice that you often find in tea blends, I’m happy when I do come across a tea blend that has cumin in it.

And I can really taste the cumin in the brewed tea.  It is the strongest flavor that I notice in the cup, but, it doesn’t overwhelm the palate.  I am also tasting the gotakola here, and together these two spices give the overall cup a very ‘curry-ish’ sort of flavor.  I also taste notes of green tea and citrus, the peppery notes of ginger and a hint of licorice from the fennel.  I don’t taste a lot of Lavender.

This is a very savory tea with the spices that have been used to craft this blend.  The green tea adds a slight vegetal note and a buttery tone and texture, as well as a hint of sweetness that contrasts nicely with the overall savory flavor of this tea.

I enjoyed it, and I will say that I think it served its purpose as I feel not quite as wound up as I was before I started sipping on this tea.  It’s not something I’d drink daily, but it is something I’d turn to – happily! – on a stressful day when I need something to get my mind back on track.

The post Ayurvedic De-Stress Tea from Tea of Life appeared first on SororiTea Sisters.

Infuze Tea Pouchong Formosa

Tea For Me Please - Tue, 04/22/2014 - 16:00
Country of Origin: Taiwan
Leaf Appearance: dark, somewhat twisted
Ingredients: oolong tea
Steep time: 30 seconds
Water Temperature: 190 degrees
Preparation Method: porcelain gaiwan
Liquor: deep gold

Formosa means beautiful island and it is the name that was given to Taiwan by the Portuguese. Although this name is no longer used to describe the country it is often given to its teas, particularly pouchong. The leaves of this one were dark in appearance but became quite green after steeping.  Floral, sweet and just slightly vegetal; this tea was everything that I would expect from a pouchong. The aroma lingered in my palate long after each sip. I don't drink this type of tea often because they are usually too sweet for my taste. That being said, on a warm spring day it was very enjoyable. Be watchful while steeping as this tea can develop a sour edge if left to brew for too long. It might actually do better in a teapot because the brew will be less concentrated. At just $5.99 per ounce, this tea would make a great daily drinker for someone who really loves floral oolongs.

Pouchong Formosa sample provided by Infuze Tea.
{ "@context" : "http://schema.org", "@type" : "Review", "name" : "Infuze Tea Pouchong Formosa", "author" : { "@type" : "Person", "name" : "Nicole Martin" }, "datePublished" : "April 22nd, 2014", "image" : "http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-9589Vw9W9kQ/U01pQsAdugI/AAAAAAAAICQ/fbo7cbxg0JQ/s1600/Formosa.jpg", "itemReviewed" : "Infuze Tea Pouchong Formosa", "reviewBody" : "Formosa means beautiful island and it is the name that was given to Taiwan by the Portuguese. Although this name is no longer used to describe the country it is often given to its teas, particularly pouchong. The leaves of this one were dark in appearance but became quite green after steeping. Floral, sweet and just slightly vegetal; this tea was everything that I would expect from a pouchong. The aroma lingered in my palate long after each sip. I don't drink this type of tea often because they are usually too sweet for my taste. That being said, on a warm spring day it was very enjoyable. Be watchful while steeping as this tea can develop a sour edge if left to brew for too long. It might actually do better in a teapot because the brew will be less concentrated. At just $5.99 per ounce, this tea would make a great daily drinker for someone who really loves floral oolongs.", "url" : "http://www.teaformeplease.com/2014/04/infuze-tea-pouchong-formosa.html" : { "@type" : "Organization", "name" : "Tea for Me Please" } }

Tea Review 520: Teavivre’s Superfine Qing Xiang Dong Ding

Walker Tea Review - Tue, 04/22/2014 - 14:30
  Origin: Dong Ding Mtn (1,000 m), Lugu, Nantou, Taiwan  Harvest: 1 Aug 2013. Farmer Lui Zhiqiang Score: 90 Price (as of post): 7 g sample = $4  to Walker Tea Review. Get complete access to Member Content.   Sign Up For The Newsletter. Sample provided by Teavivre. Walker Tea Review- a tea blog with tea […]

A haven in hojo

T Ching - Tue, 04/22/2014 - 12:07

These days, whenever I travel, I scout for tea places to hang out in. One of my favorite overseas tea spots is Hojo Tea in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I’ve been there four times so far. 

Malaysia is not exactly considered a country big on tea culture – coffee is the big beverage there. Its capital city is full of huge, spanking malls, and it is in one of these gigantic shopping complexes (suitably called Mid Valley City) where my top teashop is located. 

Hojo Tea was established in 2006 by Mr. Akira Hojo, a Japanese resident, who decided to set up his own tea business after working in the food industry for many years in Malaysia. I’ve never met him in real life, but I feel that much of his meticulous personality shows in this cozy -some may say tiny – teashop. According to his staff. Mr. Hojo travels extensively and regularly to Japan, China, Taiwan, and India to source the best tea and teaware. In my opinion, some of the most delicious teas I’ve tried come from this shop. It is also in this shop that I bought my first few pieces of Chinese and Japanese teaware. Because the warm and knowledgeable staff made it a point to patiently walk me through each purchase, I was confident in my choices.

Anyone who steps into the Hojo teashop with a bit of time to spare is invariably given a precious tea lesson or two, along with a tea tasting session based on your unique taste preferences. It was in this shop where I first learned about how different teapots yield different brews with the same tea leaves.  Here I took my first sips of Phoenix Dancong (I’ll never forget how this actually tasted like cookies) and a fascinating fruity brew from Yunnan wild white tea buds. I also get my Japanese green tea fix here, because I personally find their Japanese tea selection to be the freshest I can find in Southeast Asia.  

 Some of you over here at T Ching might never make it to Malaysia in your lifetime. The good news is that Mr. Hojo has been passionate about sharing his tea knowledge, so you can easily tap into his resources online. For one, he has a Hojo Tea newsletter which you can subscribe to here.  He also has a YouTube channel where he demonstrates various tea brewing methods, along with clips of tea plantations and teaware factories that he sources from around the world. Hojo Tea also does international shipments, so you can buy the tea or teaware from wherever you are. 

I love how this teashop, which seems so unexpected and tiny in its glitzy mall, has been able to do so much for tea drinkers around the world. I hope you get to partake of the Hojo experience too, whether virtually or in real life! 

 Images courtesy of the contributor.

The post A haven in hojo appeared first on T Ching.

Tuesday tea tune: Far out, man

Tea Squared - Tue, 04/22/2014 - 11:00

This is either the kind of marathon tune you'll enjoy, chilling with a hot cup, or one that will have you shouting, "This is my happening, and it freaks me out!"

The band is Gong, Australian proggers from exactly the era it sounds like. The track is the title composition from the 1973 album "Flying Teapot," a concept narrative about "a pig-farming Egyptologist called Mista T Being sold a 'magick ear ring' by an 'antique teapot street vendor & tea label collector' called Fred the Fish. The ear ring is capable of receiving messages from the Planet Gong via a pirate radio station called Radio Gnome Invisible."

Like, heavy ...

Organic Nonpareil She Qian Dragon Well Long Jing Green Tea from Teavivre

SororiTEA Sisters - Tue, 04/22/2014 - 03:59

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Teavivre

Tea Description:

In the early Spring, when the tea buds just appeared their face on the trees, the harvest of She Qian Dragon Well is ready to begin. The tea gardens in Hangzhou are busy making the first flush teas. The fresh leaves of She Qian Dragon Well are all in one bud with one leaf shape, as straight as an upstanding flag. The beautiful shape also brings enjoyment to the brewing.

Organic She Qian Dragon Well Tea can reach your requirements for both quality and health benefits. A good starting of the year is in Spring; a taste of good spring tea is from She Qian Dragon Well.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

FRESH!  This Organic Nonpareil She Qian Dragon Well Long Jing Green Tea from Teavivre is the brand new harvest from Spring 2014 - wait a sec - this IS Spring 2014!  It doesn’t get fresher than that!

The leaves are beautifully jade green, and they produce a liquid that is very pale green.  The flavor is very fresh, pure, and clean.  There is a sweet, nutty flavor to it that reminds me of chestnuts.  The chestnuts have a slightly buttery taste to them too, and there is an invigorating “green” taste.  This is nutty, vegetal, buttery and pleasantly sweet.

I like the mild flavor of this, it doesn’t have an overpowering vegetative tone.  It has a well-balanced, nicely round flavor.  The texture is soft and brothy.

The flavor is complex with the top notes of sweet chestnuts, steamed veggies that have been lightly drizzled with melted butter and as I continue to sip, I start to pick up on a light, apple-y mid-note.  There is a hint of savory taste in there … almost salty or perhaps kelp-y might be a better way to describe it.  It’s not a strong note, it tastes like someone added about half a pinch of salt to my steamed veggies!

Teavivre has been a long-standing favorite company of mine and this tea is a perfect example of WHY I love them so much.  This is one of the finest Dragon Well teas I’ve yet to taste.  It is so fresh and I can taste that freshness in every sip.

The post Organic Nonpareil She Qian Dragon Well Long Jing Green Tea from Teavivre appeared first on SororiTea Sisters.

Zhejiang White Pearls from Steepster

SororiTEA Sisters - Mon, 04/21/2014 - 16:00

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  White

Where to Buy:  Steepster Select

Tea Description:

Hand rolled from the earliest picked buds, this spring harvest tea is light, refreshing, and incredibly floral. A beautifully soft and golden liquor that will focus your senses and revitalize your spirits. A wonderful example of quality white tea.

Taster’s Review:

I’ve had white tea pearls a couple of times in the past, but it’s been a while, so I was excited to see these Zhejiang White Pearls featured in this month’s Steepster Select Box!  And these pearls are amazing!

The size of these pearls are smaller than I remember the white tea pearls that I’ve had in the past being.  Size wise, these are similar to jasmine pearls – but they don’t smell like jasmine pearls!  They have more of a vegetal aroma.

And they certainly don’t taste like jasmine pearls, either!

The flavor is sweet and like honey!  Imagine a very thin honey!  That’s what I’m drinking right now!  It is very light and crisp.  There are very subtle notes of melon, air, earth and a light floral tone in the background.  For those of you who consider a white tea to be too delicate – you should try this one, because the flavors stand out!

Later infusions were a little earthier than the earlier infusions and a little less like thinned honey.  Still sweet and the floral notes begin to emerge.  Still a delightful tea, I think I preferred the first two infusions to the last two.  (It’s still well worth the effort to keep on infusing!)

I am thrilled with this month’s Steepster Select box!  And I want to take a moment to express how happy I am with the customer service from Steepster.  I encountered some issues with my account, and they worked very hard to get these issues resolved, and when the resolution took more time and effort than expected, they sent me this month’s box free of charge to make up for my troubles.  Thank you, Steepster!  If you’re on the fence about trying this amazing monthly subscription, rest assured knowing that you’re in good hands with Steepster!  They’ll take good care of you!

The post Zhejiang White Pearls from Steepster appeared first on SororiTea Sisters.

The Daily Tea and Me

Tea For Me Please - Mon, 04/21/2014 - 16:00
As many of you know, +Tea Magazine is now becoming the +The Daily Tea. If this is news to you there's an explanation of the changes here.
I'm excited to announced that I've been asked to be a contributor to the new site and my very first article has just gone live. This will be a great opportunity to reach a larger audience and exercise my writing chops. Creating content outside of the blog has always been a challenge for me because I tend to over-think things. I should be publishing there about once a month or so. Be sure to bookmark my author profile so that you can stay up to date.
Check out my first article:
Getting Started with Loose Leaf Tea{ "@context" : "http://schema.org", "@type" : "Review", "name" : "title", "author" : { "@type" : "Person", "name" : "Nicole Martin" }, "datePublished" : "date", "image" : "image url", "itemReviewed" : "item", "reviewBody" : "text", "url" : "http://www.teaformeplease.com" : { "@type" : "Organization", "name" : "Tea for Me Please" } }

Bust a rhyme/win some tea!

T Ching - Mon, 04/21/2014 - 12:04

It’s National Poetry Month!  And the good folks at Buddha Tea are offering you your choice of whole leaf goodness in return for penning an original poem about our favorite beverage!

Such a deal!

Here are the details:

Genre: Your choice (ballad, sonnet, haiku, limerick, free verse, lyric, cinquain, acrostic, parody, and/or etcetera . . .  )

Subject: camellia sinensis of any variety or name

Deadline:  May 16 – you may enter as many poems as you like.

Winner will be announced May 23.  All entries will be published in a blog post on May 19 for reader appreciation.

The winning entry will be published on May 26 and will win a sampler pack of high quality teas from Buddha Teas!

Eligibility: T Ching Contributors and readers are encouraged to enter!  Share this post on your social media page and send those entries in to Regena@tching.com and include your name and e-mail address!

Judging:  Three certified tea geeks will judge entries based upon originality, creativity, goodness, and leaf loyalty.  Judge decisions are final, although it is expected that several pots of tea will be consumed throughout the decision-making process.

Send original work only, please.  Poems published elsewhere (including previously published on this blog) are not eligible.  

 MAIN:             IMAGE 1:

Editor’s Note:

There once was a tea geek named Sandy/Who thought that whole leaf was just dandy/ Whether on his bike or the trail/He never once failed/To have a fresh cuppa right handy! Happy birthday!

The post Bust a rhyme/win some tea! appeared first on T Ching.

100% Pure Ceylon Tea FBOP1 from Alwazah Tea (Swan Brand)

SororiTEA Sisters - Mon, 04/21/2014 - 03:59

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Learn more about Alwazah Tea here.

Alwazah Tea is available on Amazon.

Taster’s Review:

I don’t have a lot of information about this Ceylon Tea FBOP1 from Alwazah Tea, as it wasn’t sent to me by a vendor nor did I order it.  It was sent to me by another tea drinker, and since what I do is drink tea and write about it, I decided that I wasn’t about to let my lack of information about the brand of tea or the company that sells it stop me from writing about it!

It’s been my experience that Ceylon Tea is – generally speaking – a fairly moderate, middle-of-the-road, easy-going and equally as easy to sip black tea.  It’s a medium-bodied tea with a fairly “neutral” type flavor that makes it the usual choice for a tea base when flavoring teas.

However, as I sip this Ceylon from Alwazah, I can’t honestly say that this is an easy to sip black tea.  I’m finding it quite tannic.  I brewed it in boiling water for 2 1/2 minutes, so this is not a case of bitter tea because it was over-steeped.

There are other flavors within this tea too, and they’re enjoyable:  I get some sweetness derived from fruit-like flavors in the tea.  I taste notes of stone fruit together with some citrus notes.  I’m liking those flavors, but I’m still rather overwhelmed by the bitterness of the tea that it’s difficult to get a lot of enjoyment out of the sweeter layers of this tea.

It’s also quite astringent.  I usually note an astringency as either “tangy” – which is when I feel a slight pucker on the inside of my cheeks; or “dry” which is when I feel a slightly dry sensation from the astringency.  Here, I get both the pucker on the inside of my cheeks and the dry sensation on my tongue and upper palate.  I often embrace astringency but this is too astringent for my liking.

I am just not enjoying this Ceylon.  I wish I had more positive things to say about it, but, the most positive thing I can say at this point is that it’s drinkable, but, not something I’d want to drink again.

The post 100% Pure Ceylon Tea FBOP1 from Alwazah Tea (Swan Brand) appeared first on SororiTea Sisters.

Morning With the PG Tips Chimps

Tea Guy Speaks - Sun, 04/20/2014 - 18:36
The PG Tips chimps monkey around as they begin another day. From 1992, apparently.

Adagio Teas - Best Tea Online

Hazelberry Pu’er Blend from Simple Loose Leaf

SororiTEA Sisters - Sun, 04/20/2014 - 16:00

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Pu-erh

Where to Buy:  Simple Loose Leaf

Tea Description:

The earthy smoothness of Pu’er creates a warm foundation for the rich flavor of hazelnut while playful, tangy-sweet strawberries peek through the nutty opulence. A hint of cream adds a soft, dreamy note to the blend.

Pu’er Tea, Strawberries, Cocoa Nibs, Natural Strawberry Flavor, Natural Creme Flavor, Natural Hazelnut Flavor

Learn more about this tea here.

Learn more about Simple Loose Leaf’s Selection Club subscription program here.

Taster’s Review:

When I opened the pouch of this Hazelberry Pu’er Blend from Simple Loose Leaf, I didn’t smell a strong earthy aroma.  Instead, what I smelled was hazelnuts!  Hints of fruit in the background, along with a slight earthy tone that mingled with the hazelnuts in way that was agreeable to the olfactory senses.  The brewed tea smells strongly of hazelnuts with notes of earth and a berry note.  

This is a really tasty Pu-erh blend!  The hazelnut flavor is well-defined and stands out.  The earthy notes of the Pu-erh meld with the nutty notes to create this really intense nutty flavor that is quite yummy.  It has a deep and mellow flavor, something that you just want to curl up with and enjoy.

The strawberry notes are not as strongly pronounced as the hazelnut, but, they are sweet with a tart note toward the finish.  I don’t know that I’ve ever had a hazelnut and strawberry blend before, but these two flavors work well together.  There is a creamy backdrop to the cup, and this seems to bring out the cacao flavors a little bit (as does the earthy tones of the Pu-erh and the hazelnut).  If I were to change anything at all about this blend, I’d want a little more chocolate.  But when do I ever want less chocolate?  Never.   More chocolate is always better.

This is really good.  I didn’t brew it the way I traditionally brew a Pu-erh (in my gaiwan) but I did take it for a quick rinse before the first steep, and I do recommend doing this to help wash away some of the stronger earthy qualities of the tea.

I got this tea in my April Selection Club box and I am just thrilled with it!  Wonder what it’s like to get a Selection Club sampler box?  Click here to see what teas I received this month!  Awesome, right?  Well, I’ve got even more good news:  Simple Loose Leaf has a special April promotion.  Get your first month of the Selection Club for just one dollar!  Use this code:  1DOLLARMONTH and enjoy up to five samples of different teas next month for just one dollar!  You can also opt to receive a larger quantity of one or two teas rather than the sampler box that I usually choose. Interested?  Check it out here and enjoy some great teas at a really great price next month.

The post Hazelberry Pu’er Blend from Simple Loose Leaf appeared first on SororiTea Sisters.

Pina Colada Flavored Iced Tea from Southern Boy Teas

SororiTEA Sisters - Sun, 04/20/2014 - 03:59

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  52Teas

Learn more about Southern Boy Teas here.

Taster’s Review:

After my last iced tea review (not from Southern Boy Teas), I was really looking forward to getting back to some GOOD iced tea blends from Southern Boy Teas!  This Pina Colada Flavored Iced Tea has been calling out to me for a while, so I finally decided to give in to the calls and give it a try.  Mmm!

This is pretty tasty.  The pineapple and coconut notes are pretty evenly matched here.  I taste a good amount of both pineapple and coconut, with maybe just a wee bit more pineapple than coconut.  I especially enjoy that juicy, sweet-tangy note of pineapple that comes in at the aftertaste.

I also taste notes of rum in this, but the rum is a little more subdued than the fruit notes.  It doesn’t have a really strong alcohol taste, but I can taste the subtle presence of rum.

And I can taste the black tea.  I find myself really appreciating the FLAVOR of the black tea today.  The black tea blend that 52Teas aka Southern Boy Teas uses for their iced tea is of good quality.  It tastes good.  It has a smooth yet brisk flavor.  It’s very refreshing and quenches the thirst.

I’m very happy with this Pina Colada iced tea.  It’s not my favorite of the SBT collection, but, it’s tasty and one I wouldn’t mind drinking again!

The post Pina Colada Flavored Iced Tea from Southern Boy Teas appeared first on SororiTea Sisters.

How to make rose-scented treats for tea

The Hour For Tea - Sun, 04/20/2014 - 02:59
Now that we’re into the warmer spring weather here in San Jose, local rose bushes are blooming and scenting the air with their fragrance. Roses not only smell wonderful, but are edible, when grown without chemical fertilizers and pesticides. If … Continue reading →

2014 NYC Coffee & Tea Festival on 3/22-23/2014

Pon Fon Cha - Sun, 04/20/2014 - 01:23

Josephine and I were invited by our good friend Jeni Dodd, owner of Jeni's Tea, to participate 2014 NY Coffee and Tea Festival and also to be co-presenters of two workshops in the event.  One is "Taiwan Tea 101" on 3/22 (Saturday morning) and another one is "Finding the Harmony Code" on 3/23 (Sunday afternoon).  Thanks to Sharon Lo, Josephine's classmate back in junior high, to help make samples to serve our attendees.

Slow Motion Tea Pour

Tea Guy Speaks - Sat, 04/19/2014 - 18:35
Because the best things in life are worth waiting for.

Adagio Teas - Best Tea Online

Product Review: Sen Cha Green Tea “Washi” Gift Set from Sugimoto America

SororiTEA Sisters - Sat, 04/19/2014 - 16:00

Product Information:

Where to Buy:  Sugimoto America

Product Description:

“Washi” Green Tea Gifts – Sen Cha feature high-quality Japanese green tea packaged in a beautiful Japanese “Washi” canisters. “Washi” is traditional Japanese paper printed with authentic Japanese patterns. Sen Cha is a premium tea renowned for its balance of sweetness and astringency. For over three centuries Sen Cha has been Japan’s favorite green tea.

Learn more about this product here.

Taster’s Review:

I have said before on this blog that I’m a sucker for beautiful packaging.  This Sen Cha Green Tea “Washi” Gift Set from Sugimoto America has to be the most beautiful presentation that I’ve ever seen.  The tin has been covered with beautiful blue washi paper (just as you see to the right), and yes … the paper pattern has been matched up precisely!  I was actually quite amazed by this, because you can see the true love, care and craftsmanship that was put into this gorgeous tin.

Tucked inside the tin is a 30 gram bag of Sen Cha Japanese green tea.  And this is the good stuff!  The flavor is sweet, slightly buttery and lightly grassy.  It isn’t overly vegetal, and I’m not detecting a strong bitter bite from this tea.  It’s sweet and really quite lovely to sip.

This Sen Cha has that fresh and uplifting flavor that I look for in a Japanese Sen Cha.  It’s a crisp and pure flavor that revitalizes from the inside out.  If I drink this after a long, busy day, I start to feel less weary and drained.  It’s the kind of tea that puts the spring back into your step.

It’s hard to say what excites me more about this product:  the tea or the tin?  The tin is absolutely stunning and the tea tastes wonderful and refreshing.  But what’s great about this product is that you don’t have to choose which is your favorite because you get both for a really great price.  It’s an outstanding value and would make a great gift for your favorite tea lover (even if that tea lover is you!  Hey, you deserve a gift too!)

The post Product Review: Sen Cha Green Tea “Washi” Gift Set from Sugimoto America appeared first on SororiTea Sisters.

Romanization of Tea Terms

World of Tea - Sat, 04/19/2014 - 15:35

Surprisingly little is understood within the tea industry when it comes to the romanization of tea terms. This to me is troubling because confused tea vendors result in confused tea consumers. Because the Chinese have contributed the bulk of tea knowledge to the world, much of the romanization issues surround Modern Standard Chinese, though I’ll touch on Korean and Japanese as well.

Romanization refers to the transliteration of any writing system to the Roman alphabet. It is important to understand the difference between transliteration and translation. Transliteration tells us how to say the other language’s word in our own language. Translation gives us a word in our own language that means the same thing as the other language’s word.

For our purpose here, we’ll be looking into the languages of China, Japan and South Korea. These languages are made up of characters that represent spoken syllables — we romanize these languages by expressing the spoken syllables with the Roman alphabet.

Let’s take 茶 as an example, the Chinese and Japanese character that translates to tea in English. However, the Chinese and Japanese do not pronounce this word like we do, they have a different word for tea. Their word for tea does not exist in English. The way to express their pronunciation of 茶 in the Roman alphabet is cha. So 茶 translates to tea  in English and transliterates to cha using the roman alphabet.

Most words floating around the tea industry today were romanized one of three ways:

  1. They were properly romanized via a standard romanization system (yeah! awesome! woot!)

  2. They were romanized using older, non-standard romanization systems (come on! let’s get up to date now!)

  3. They were haphazardly transliterated by traders before romanization systems were in place, often from local dialects (a major source of confusion!)

So back to our example, 茶, you may notice that a bunch of languages have words for 茶 that sound like cha and a bunch of languages have words for 茶 that sound like tea. Where did the word tea come from? There are many dialects of Chinese, te is the word for cha  in Southern Fujian’s Amoy dialect. It is believed that early Dutch and English tea traders wrote down what they heard in their own language, giving us tea, making tea itself a haphazard transliteration.

Hanyu Pinyin became the international standard for romanization of Modern Standard Chinese in 1982. Prior to 1982, Wade-Giles was the primary method of romanization. Even though Hanyu Pinyin is the de facto standard, there are still many terms that were haphazardly transliterated from local dialects or romanized via the Wade-Giles system still in use today.

Hanyu Pinyin became the national standard for romanization of Modern Standard Chinese in Taiwan in 2009. Because this was a recent decision, Wade-Giles is still very prevalent there.

Though the Kunrei-shiki romanization methods are taught to school children today, the Modified-Hepburn system is still the recognized standard. The fact that Modernized-Hepburn is used by the government for the romanization of passports and road signs is a testament to its prevalence.

South Korea
Revised Romanization of Korean or RR is currently the most popular method of romanization present for Korean.  The RR method is also sometimes called the MCT method which stands for Ministry of Culture and Tourism.

Common Tea Terms: Hanyu Pinyin vs. Wade-Giles
A lot of the variance in spelling we see in the tea world can be attributed to the mixed usage of the Hanyu Pinyin and Wade-Giles. Here are some of the common words where we still see a lot of Wade-Giles usage:

Hanyu Pinyin


dong ding


tie guan yin


long jing


gong fu




qing xin


bi luo chun


Haphazard Transliterations of Chinese Tea Terms
Even more confusion arises with the prevalence of haphazard transliterations, some as common as the word “oolong” which in Hanyu Pinyin is “wulong.” Transliterations such as this are unlikely to go away. Here are some of the common haphazardly transliterated words that are still prevalent today:

Haphazard Transliteration

Hanyu Pinyin


xiao zhong

lapsang souchong

zheng shan xiao zhong










xi chun

Getting it Straight
There are many tools online that can help you with your romanizations, here are some that have helped me in the past:

http://www.chinesetools.eu/tools/zhuyin/ (Simplified Chinese -> Hanyu Pinyin or Wade-Giles)

http://www.mandarintools.com/pyconverter.html (Hanyu Pinyin -> Wade-Giles)

http://babelcarp.org (Chinese Tea Term Lexicon)

http://www.lexilogos.com/keyboard/korean_conversion.htm (Korean -> RR)

http://nihongo.j-talk.com/ (Japanese -> Modernized Hepburn)

Syndicate content