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Coincidentally, I drank two raw puerhs from Misty Peak Teas this year. Last week I reviewed a loose sheng I purchased at a paper shop in Georgetown DC. Today I am sharing my tasting notes of three mini tuocha I received in a subscription box courtesy of Tea Box Express. I don't know the year the leaves were harvested or rolled but I don't this this raw puerh was aged.
Before steeping the first of the three balls, I broke it up slightly. The remaining two balls were steeped intact (and separately). Each mini tuo weighted approximately 6.28 grams. For many of the infusions I used the recommended water temperature of 185F but increased the temperature in later steeps to extract more flavor. I also dramatically increased my steep time over the course of a session from 5s to 5m for a final infusion.
The dominant flavor during my first session was of a peach jam while the third session was all about variations camphor. During the first session I also detected durian. I am not a fan of durian but fortunately it was not an unpleasant note in the tea. While the first session yielded an oily liquor, the liquor from the third session was dry.
Other differences were related to my steeping parameters. During the first session, the final infusion was only 5 seconds long in 195F water and the liquor was smooth, dry, but mild tasting. For the second to last infusion of the third session, I used 200F water and a steep time of 5 minutes. The liquor was thick, bitter, medicinal/ herbal with camphor and freshly sawn cedar notes. I enjoyed the thicker mouthfeel, camphor and cedar notes, but the bitterness and medicinal taste were not to my liking. All these characteristics had faded by the next and final infusion using the same parameters.
Thanks to Tea Box Express for the subscription trial.
Here's a link to Misty Peak Teas.
Here's a link to Tea Box Express.
P.S. Are you wondering about my notes on the second session? I drank the second rolled puerh without recording my impressions.
I… have an addiction. Yes, I admit it freely. The second I discover a straight tea that tastes of honey, I am on that stuff like a cat to catnip, and will drink it obsessively until my stash disappears. So! When the lovely CuppaGeek offered me a sample of Bitterleaf Tea’s Firebird 2015 oolong, I was ALL over that. Instantly. According to the folks at Bitterleaf, this tea has a “honey-like sweetness and is closest Read More
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I am a grapefruit nut so whenever I see teas that I have grapefruit flavorings I have to try them out. This one had a lovely mix of oolong and green teas with a citrus twist. It was an instant, I have to try this reaction! Since this is a green/oolong/mate blend, I went ahead and used normal oolong steeping parameters and was careful to only allow the tea to steep for about 3 minutes. Read More
Several months ago while drinking tea with my friends Jason and Andrew at Smacha, I received (among other things) a little sample of Bitter Melon Tie Guanyin (苦瓜 鐵觀音) oolong tea.
These days I typically choose either an oolong or a hongcha for my daily brew, and I tend to stick with teas I know. But today I was feeling more adventurous so I decided to give this novelty a try.
I was surprised to find the tea leaves are actually packed into a dried bitter-melon rind shaped like a little bumpy cylinder! The leaves themselves look and smell pleasant. It is a roasted oolong tea.
I used freshly boiled water and gave the "unit" a three second rinse in my gaiwan. It smells quite good, roasty, sweet and mellow.
The first infusion was about 30 seconds and poured pretty light. As you might imagine it took the water a few infusions to get into the center of this "wheel of leaves" and start to push the real flavor out. I continued to do short steeps because I was afraid of the bitterness that actually never came. After the second infusion, with the leaves pushing their way out of the melon rind, the liquor turned a medium-dark amber color. I enjoyed the flavor but it does have a weird vegetable note. The sweet caramel-like oolong flavors are muddied up by a tart cucumber-skin aftertaste.
After 15 years as a heavy tea drinker I have a pretty good understanding of what my body craves. I drink tea for the satisfied feeling it gives me, the flavor, and the energy (qi) (氣). Maybe it's because I do not have any sentimental connections to bitter melon or it's potential health benefits that I found that this tea was ultimately not worth my time.
Recently I subscribed to BlendBee’s monthly tea subscription and I couldn’t be happier. Each month I receive 2 different teas that I get to enjoy throughout the month before the next tea package arrives. I love my tea subscriptions. With being a part of the SororiTea Sisters, I get the amazing privilege to try different teas and experience flavors I might not able to. That same thought can be said with my monthly tea subs. Read More
A lot of my time at World Tea Expo is spent networking and meeting new people. It's the one chance I get to talk to lots of people who are just as crazy about tea as I am. At an event held by +Teforia and +Tealet I had the pleasure of meeting Jennifer Odera. Subscription services often an induce an eye roll because they are so prolific but what she told me about her new company really caught my attention.
Rather than the usual randomly curated selection of teas, T&Co.'s aim is to create a total tea experience. Each month subscribers are sent tea paired with an activity, music, and a snack. Each month follows a particular theme. She had me at snack. I'm afraid that I'm terribly late in writing about the box was generously shared with me. This one is the Father's Day box from June. While we were in Las Vegas, Jennifer explained that the idea behind the box was for tea drinkers to spend time bonding with their fathers. Warm and fuzzy all over, right?
I was impressed from the get-go with how well packed everything was. The bright, cheery yellow ceramic cup was in no danger of being damaged during shipping. It came with a little bamboo handled infuser basket. I think that makes this service very accessible for new tea drinkers who might not yet have the tools to get really into loose leaf.
My box included a fairly large bag of Lapsang Souchong, sudoku puzzles, a snack (Chocolate, bourbon and pecan brittle) and a card with the link to a SoundCloud playlist. I could definitely feel that a lot of thought went into selecting each piece of this subscription box.
Lapsang Souchong can be very hit or miss but this one was very nice. The signature smokiness was there but not overdone and there was a surprising amount of natural sweetness. It stood up well to multiple infusions as well.
The chocolate, bourbon and pecan brittle from Morning Glory Confections definitely caught my attention. It was so tasty! I must admit that I munched this all myself rather sharing it with my father. It paired perfectly with the smokiness of the Lapsang.
I don't often listen to music while I'm drinking tea but it was nice to jam out to some oldies while enjoying the experience. There was a very good mix of genres from a few different eras, making sure that there was something for everyone. My favorite was probably the Bob Dylan track.
I've been working a lot lately and just taking an hour to really take in the experience of this box was a welcome respite. Sudoku and I don't always get a long but it was a good distraction to keep my mind from wandering to the usual worries of the day.
Overall this was a great experience and one that I would definitely recommend, especially for those who are just getting started in tea. In particular, this would be a perfect option for couples or families as these curated boxes are perfect for sharing, I really like that both a pure tea and infused tea option is available. I'm definitely much more an unflavored tea person at this point in my journey.
If you do decide to subscribe, please tell Jennifer that Nicole at Tea for Me Please sent you! I'd love to hear your thoughts about it if you do.
Subscription Box provided for review by T&Co.
Meleng FTGFOP 1 CL 2nd Flush 2016, Assam Tea from Lochan Tea Limited maybe a mouth full to SAY but it’s a wonderful cuppa to SIP on as well! I have to say I have always been partial to Lochan Teas when it comes to their wide selection of estate teas and different flushes especially when it comes to black loose leaf teas. Their catalog of them seems endless! If you are looking for a Read More
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I have written on many occasions about the hydrating effect of green tea. I had noted conclusions from Carrie Ruxton from Kings College in London who is a public health nutritionist, that tea is in fact hydrating.
“There were no statistical differences between regular tea and water when a wide range of blood and urine markers for hydration were tested among the volunteers. In addition, urine volume was similar after tea or water, confirming that we do not urinate more after drinking tea.”
There were, however, always those who swore that drinking tea caused them to urinate more frequently. A report in Daily Tea finally explains why some have that experience. “We all know people who insist that they urinate more frequently after drinking a cup of tea. This is due to their sensitivity to caffeine. On further investigation, it appears that we quickly build up a tolerance for caffeine. When we drink tea daily, our bodies will adjust to the caffeine and eventually will not excrete it more quickly than water.”
I do love the bottom line. Drinking tea helps provide the necessary hydration that our bodies need each day. Most physicians recommend 8 glasses of water daily and for me, that always felt like an uncomfortable amount to swallow. If some or most of those glasses can be your favorite green tea, that’s a great option to replace the tasteless, mundane water requirement. In addition, it provides a second bang for your buck by being loaded with antioxidants to protect your body from the scourges of modern living. Remember to go organic as there’s no need to taint the healthiest beverage on the planet with pesticides.
If you are a fan of JASMINE you shouldn’t pass up Silver Egret 2015 Spring Heng Xian Silver Tip Jasmine Green Tea because it’s some of the most INTENSE natural, straight-up Jasmine I have ever had! Having said that…Silver Egret 2015 Spring Heng Xian Silver Tip Jasmine Green Tea from Bitterleaf is top-notch in every way! They use only the tips and use only REAL Jasmine and Magnolia Flowers in this offering. The tips are Read More
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Tea tasting event with Michael Harney at The Townsend Hotel: A tea party even better the second time around!
Enjoying Harney tea at The Townsend Hotel with Michael Harney
This past Sunday, The Townsend Hotel hosted a tea tasting event featuring Harney teas with special guest, Michael Harney. Harney, a member of the family that has owned and operated Harney & Sons Tea Company for three generations. started the event with a brief introduction. After his opening remarks, he came around to each table to chat more leisurely about the Harney business as well as answer guests’ questions.
After opening remarks, Michael Harney visited with guests
Michael Harney, son of John Harney who founded the tea company thirty years ago in Connecticut, has an easy-going style which is compatible with table-side tea chat. Although clearly in possession of a strong sense of detail regarding the tea that was served - from how it was prepared, to where it’s grown and in what conditions - his relaxed manner, as he shared both family and historical anecdotes, made the event seem more like a tea party with friends than an impersonal seminar.
Amazing and plentiful afternoon tea fare included scones, sweets and savories
Along with a delicious afternoon tea menu that included scones, tea sandwiches and miniature pastries (my favorite, a sinfully scrumptious mousse in a chocolate tea cup). the hotel staff, with their always outstanding service, provided guests with three Harney teas with a fall theme: apple cinnamon, pumpkin spice and cranberry autumn.
The grand finale: miniature pastries, scrumptious and pretty
My favorite is always the mousse in the chocolate tea cup
Rachel and I attended the Harney tea tasting back in March of 2014, when Micheal Harney first presented at The Townsend. We were thrilled to see it back on the calendar for 2016.
Rachel and I with Michael Harney at The Townsend in 2014.
At the 2014 event, Michael Harney gave me "The Harney & Sons Guide to Tea", which I treasure, as well as a tin of the "Anniversary Blend - Thirty Years" tea. I absolutely loved that tea and Michael tells me they still have it available. It's a black tea blend that was created to celebrate the Harney family's 30th year in the tea business and it includes some of John Harney's favorite teas: Ceylon, India, Silver Needles and Yunnan Golden Tips. It's a smooth, accessible tea - not bitter or strong or fruity - just straight up delicious black tea.
My favorite, anniversary tea, along with two new ones from Micheal Harney
Along with the compact tin of Cranberry Autumn sachets that every guest got to take home, Michael also gave Rachel and I two tins of loose tea: Yanagi Green and Ti Quan Yin Spring Floral, with explicit instructions for brewing and steeping. (Can't wait to try these and we'll report back!)
Another wonderful afternoon tea at The Townsend. It was a treat, once again, to visit with a member of the Harney family and sip Harney tea while being served such an delicious afternoon tea in the beautiful Townsend Hotel tea lobby. We'll look forward to another one soon!
One thing tea has in common with all other agricultural products is that each season produces a crop that is subtly different from all others. In most agricultural settings, variance is to be avoided. Supermarkets demand tomatoes or apples that are a certain size and shape, unblemished, and that will sit in a cold store […]
Why has it taken me so long to review Scarlet Honey Oolong Tea from Dachi Tea? Because it’s one to ponder. Because it’s complex. Because it’s IMPRESSIVE. I could go on and on! This Scarlet Honey Oolong Tea from Dachi Tea is for the BOOKS, folks! Right away I have to share with you the AROMA experience of this Scarlet Honey Oolong Tea from Dachi Tea! It’s UNREAL! Keep in mind that this is NOT flavored. This Read More
Eventho Purple Tea is becoming more popular these days here are Sororitea Sisters we still have a short list of Purple Teas represented and we are very pleased to add Kenyan Purple Tea from Kenya Purple Tea to that list. On Kenya Purple Tea’s ABOUT US Page it states: Necessity is the mother of invention. Kenyan tea growers have been plagued by the ever-falling prices of black tea which has been traditionally grown in Kenya since Read More
I was looking for a greener tasting oolong and I think I have found just that in this Jade Oolong from Little Red Cup Tea Co. Not only does this Jade Oolong from Little Red Cup Tea Co. taste like a greener oolong it also has beautiful floral flavors on the end sip and a very pretty aroma from start to finish. It has a glowing gold color of tea liquor that sloshes in the cup. This Read More
Let’s talk about Pomegranate Wild Berry Black Tea from Teavery, shall we? WHY am I so excited about this tea? Well, first and foremost because Pomegranate Wild Berry Black Tea from Teavery does NOT contain hibiscus! Woot! This flavored black tea contains Organic Black Tea, Organic Black Raspberry Leaf, Organic Calendula, Organic Corn Flowers, Blueberry, Blackberry, and Raspberry Flavorings. NO HIBISCUS! Yippie! If you could see me right now I am doing a crazy little dance but you Read More
There are 3 things I’m liking of this Giddapahar Oolong 2nd Flush 2016 Darjeeling Exclusive from Lochan Tea Limited before I even try a sip…that it’s a 2nd Flush Darjeeling, that it’s an Oolong, and that it’s from the Giddapahar Plantation. Giddapahar Oolong 2nd Flush 2016 Darjeeling Exclusive from Lochan Tea Limited is like Autumn in a cup! It smells like sweet damp sticks that have been out on the forest floor. As I continue Read More
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I’m not a Brony (or PegaSister), but I am a fan of tea, especially sweetly flavored tea, so when I saw this on Geeky Teas’ site, I had a moment of pining. “I hope I get a chance to buy this tea someday when I fall into a pile of money,” I thought, dreamily. I imagined myself swimming through money like Scrooge McDuck. Ah, money. Because I am writing this review, you may think I Read More
I’m going to get all ‘Harry Potter on your arses” today and to do that I would like to introduce you to Hufflepuff House Blend from The Forest Witch. It’s the tea I’m featuring during #FanaticFriday here at Sororitea Sisters! In our home we currently have 4 furkids…3 dogs and a cat. Hubby and I have jokingly said in the past that Paco our full Chihuahua would probably resided in Hufflepuff while Charlie our feral Read More
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Mooncake Brownie Bites
I was just drooling with scrolling through all of the wonderful pictures of mooncakes for the mid autumn festival. As luck would have it, +Bonnie Eng posted a recipe that sounds right up my ally. Brownies with tasty apricot centers? Yes, please!
The Taste of Water
MarshalN pontificated a bit on the effect that different types of water can have on our tea. This post reminded me of back in the day when all of the NYC tea shops were super proud of their shiny new reverse osmosis water systems.
MeiMei Fine Teas: Artisan Liu An Gua Pian (Sunflower Seeds) Green Tea, A Tea Review
+Alexsia Wilson wrote about one of my favorite Chinese green teas, Liu An Gua Pian. This tea doesn't get nearly as much attention as it deserves. I'll definitely be giving this one from MeiMei Fine Teas a try soon.
Battle of the Beengs - Crimson Lotus Tea Edition
Cody at The Oolong Drunk pit two of +Crimson Lotus Tea's puerh beengs head to head. Beneath and Emerald Sea has been on my list for some time. Judging by his descriptions, I think that one would have been my pick.
What-Cha: Zheijiang Wild Dragon Well 'Long Jing' Green Tea
Ian from Tea and Zen prepared this fantastic sounding Dragonwell three different ways. I love the thoroughness! Grandpa style is definitely my go to for this type of tea but every once in a while I'll brew it in my glass gaiwan.
Tasseography or tassology is a fortune-telling method that involves interpreting tea leaves. “Tasse” is from the Arabic root word for “cup” and “graphy” means “map.” The cup serves as a map, and the tea leaves are interpreted based on where they fall on the cup map. Tea-leaf reading is often associated with gypsies, but it actually started in Asia. You need a wide porcelain cup with a handle, small tea leaves, hot water, and a list of symbols. You can read your own tea leaves or go to an expert.
First you think of a question, such as “Will you get the job?” or “Did you make a good decision?” or “Will you be happy?” Focus on this question during the fortune-telling session. The energy you use to focus on the question influences the leaves in your cup. The small leaves will form recognizable shapes. Wet leaves stick best to porcelain cups. A wide cup is great to help spread out the leaves. Using your less dominant hand, scoop a teaspoon of tea into your cup and infuse with water. Hold the cup in your hand as you focus on your question. If you have a lot of bubbles on the surface, you will have a financial windfall. A leaf floating at the top indicates money is flowing toward you. Those are a few predictions. Gently blow the hot liquid and sip your tea. Hold your cup in your less dominant hand.
Drink your tea until there are a few drops left. Keep focusing on your question. Swirl the tea three times counterclockwise with your less dominant hand. You want to make sure the leaves are coating as much of the side of the cup as possible. Give your wrist a full rotation. Gently turn the cup upside down on a saucer. Be careful not to bang the cup on the saucer. You just want the last of the liquid to drain. Wait a few minutes and start to read the map in your cup.
Try to use a cup with a handle. The handle should always be pointed towards the drinker. Think about your question as you look at the leaves. The cup handle represents “home,” or your personal life. The point opposite the handle represents “work,” or professional life. Shapes near the rim represent events in the near future – the next 3 to 6 months. The middle of the cup represents events happening within the next 6 to 12 months. The bottom represents events happening in the next year. Tea-leaf shapes to the right of the handle represent the past, and shapes to the left represent the future. You want to keep all this in mind as you interpret the shapes. Use a symbols guide. You can find many on the Internet.
What do you see in your cup? How does it relate to your question?
This article by Tiffany Williams was originally posted to T Ching in September of 2012.
The post Blast from the Past: The Art of Reading the Tea Leaf appeared first on T Ching.