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Podcast Episode 17: Interview with Rosa Li of Rosali Tea

Tea For Me Please - Mon, 11/23/2015 - 17:00
After doing a few how to videos, I thought that it was time to return to doing interviews on my podcast. On this month's episode Rosa Li, founder of +Rosali Tea, a new tea subscription service. She shared how she first became interested in tea and her experience launching her company through Kickstarter. I'll be writing about some her teas in the near future. As always, let me know if there isNicole Martinhttps://plus.google.com/103097147251455801975noreply@blogger.com0

Getting the Grade on Matcha

T Ching - Mon, 11/23/2015 - 13:00


As you may know, this luscious green powder, as fine as the smoke of a cigarette (without the cough!) comes in many different varieties and myriad grades: from the cheap and chalky granules made with boiling water and stirred with a spoon to produce a late served in popular coffee shops all the way to the finest, most mesmerizing (and oftentimes elusive) stardust used for tea ceremonies held in purpose-built tea “huts” of the most minimalist of structures, buried deep in ancient Japan.

We recently completed a Kickstarter campaign to launch our new range of Matcha and discovered that a few Matcha sippers in the West demanded to know if the Matcha was “ceremonial” grade.

Rightly so! We should have been clearer!

But the truth is, I’m not a fan of using the term “ceremonial”. It is very overused in the West these days. Everyone’s putting it on their packaging, whether it’s ceremonial grade or not. Whether it’s actually any good or not. 

Our supplier, based in Yame, Kyushu, has six different iterations of their ceremonial grade Matcha. We carry two of them as well as a culinary grade both online and in the café.

Picturesque Yame has the perfect climate and soil constitution to produce some of the finest Matcha in Japan. Our farmer is one of the last few remaining who uses an ancient technique (called “honzu”) involving handmade straw mats to cover the plants in spring.

These straw mats not only shade but also filter the rainwater, something the modern method has lost. Shading allows the nutrients to swell in the leaves, hence why Matcha is the superfood it claims to be. Our tea leaves are plucked by hand by delightful giggling ladies, then processed and milled using a granite mill. Just one gram of Matcha takes two hours to mill! This produces a powder finer than the smoke of a cigarette. Imagine that!

Here’s a bit of a secret:

Whether it’s labeled as “ceremonial” or not, most of the best Matcha never actually leaves Japan. It’s created by artisan farmers–tight-knit family businesses that have been producing Matcha for generations. But these small enterprises either don’t know how to or simply don’t want to export their amazing tea. It’s too complicated and the language barrier, as well as the cultural barrier, is daunting.

So you’ve got to go deep into the country, meet these farmers, build relationships, and then maybe, just maybe, they’ll open up to the idea of selling their tea to you.

That’s why we based ourselves in the heart of Japan, in order to be able to take our time, finding the right people, and then establishing trust with them. It can take time (it took us two years!), but boy, when you taste this stuff you know it is worth it!

So, back to “ceremonial”…

It’s all about the context – what you’re using it for.

Sometimes, using a ceremonial grade of Matcha just isn’t the right thing to do. Like when you’re putting it on chocolate chips in granola (YUM!). It isn’t just a cost issue, the flavor needs to bounce through louder. So an ultra premium (or “ceremonial”) grade is often times too smooth and subtle for such usage.

It’s why we use a different grade of Matcha for lattés than we do for straight shots in the café. They’re both ceremonial grade (promise!) but the one used for lattés just has that little bit of extra bite to it, enabling the flavors to shine through the steamed milk. It’s considered a slightly “lower” grade of Matcha but suits our purpose fine.

The Matcha used in our granola, popsicles, smoothies, and other yummies is considered a lower grade known as “culinary” or “ingredient” grade and it’s perfect! It is designed for mixing with other ingredients but is perhaps too bitter and chalky to consume just on its own. When this Matcha blends with other ingredients a balanced harmony of flavors emerges so you can actually taste the Matcha. Using too high of a grade in a recipe could result in a “non-Matcha” taste and the tendency to keep adding more and more Matcha… I’ve been there and done that and learned the hard way so you don’t have to.

So to mill this down to the fine point: the highest grades of Matcha (Ultra Premium Grade in our case) is for consuming a shot or a bowl of Matcha with nothing added to it. Then as you go down the grading scale, in our case Premium grade, you can drink it straight but it is best when combined with milk from a cow, bean, nut or grain… haven’t tried coconut but we probably should! Then the lowest grades are for mixing. Don’t go for the cheapest Matcha if you want to drink it in a shot or bowl.



The post Getting the Grade on Matcha appeared first on T Ching.

Tropical Sunshine Green from A Quarter to Tea

SororiTEA Sisters - Mon, 11/23/2015 - 11:00
Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy: A Quarter to Tea

Tea Description:

Summer winding to a close, getting you down? Don’t fret — just let yourself get whisked off to the beach. Tangerine, mango, raspberry and coconut make a fruity tropical cocktail that will have you hearing waves and feeling the sand underfoot.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

We’re a long way from summer now, so a tropical themed tea feels a little out of place but just because this might not be the ideal season to drink it doesn’t mean it’s not going to be super tasty! So, when I cold brewed this tea I did my absolute best to be open minded about it. And honestly, it wasn’t hard: the coconut in the blend smells super fresh and yummy and I could see lots of goji berries which are a fruit I’ve really tried to learn more about this year. Both are things for me to get excited about.

Like I said, this was cold brewed because Lauren from A Quarter to Tea specifically said on the tea’s page that it’s great iced. I don’t normally ice teas, but I do cold brew them! I find, if a company is going to specifically point out a way to try their tea I want to take that into consideration.

Mostly; I thought this was just a really nice smooth, vegetal and grassy cold brewed green tea that demonstrated characteristics of both the Chinese and Japanese style greens in the blend. On top of the really enjoyable base, the coconut was quite a dominant flavour. It tastes insanely fresh! It’s a nice balance between tropical “Pina Colada” type coconut and a more confectionery type coconut. It reminds me of DT’s Coconut Grove which is something I haven’t gotten to say in a LONG time since that delightful blend has been discontinued for a while now.

Sadly, none of the fruit really seems to contribute much flavour. I certainly don’t taste the goji and I just barely taste the faintest citrus flavour on the finish of the cup. I’d never be able to identify it as tangerine is I wasn’t reading an ingredients list. I don’t mind the absence of fruit because I get to enjoy the coconut, but I doubt that’s entirely what was intended and if you’re looking for fruit flavour you may be disappointed with this blend.

Regardless, it was a good experience for me.

The post Tropical Sunshine Green from A Quarter to Tea appeared first on SororiTea Sisters.


It's All About the Leaf - Mon, 11/23/2015 - 01:29



Favorite Tea Ware - Bonnie Eng of Thirsty for Tea

Notes on Tea - Mon, 11/23/2015 - 01:26
As a tea drinker, and I am sure this is true for you, I adore teaware, from bombillas to matcha whisks. Everyone has their favorites! This series showcases the favorite teaware of folks in the tea blogging community. Today's faves are from Bonnie Eng of Thirsty for Tea. Bonnie is a renaissance tea drinker; her background is in health education, Asian American Studies, and culinary arts! She posts photographs of her beautiful recipes and crafts on Instagram @thirstyfortea.

1. This English teacup is one of my prized possessions. I got it on Etsy years ago and love its shabby chic vibe, especially the poppy colors. The cup is quite sturdy, probably made of porcelain. I like to enjoy a classic English Breakfast in it, or a bright Darjeeling if I’m lucky enough to have some on hand.

2. Ok, of course the irony here is that you should never, ever use tap water to brew any tea. But I like this glass bottle for taking iced teas on the go. If I know I’m out and about the next day, I like to cold brew second steepings of a tea to compare the hot and cold versions. This bottle makes a great on-the-go drinking accessory not only because it doesn’t carry over flavors, but also because it’s a reminder to myself and others to stay green.

3. This Chinese teacup is a vintage find. I got it at Pikes Place in Seattle several years ago at a dingy little shack of a store. The cup was hidden in the back amongst a host of granny-approved treasures. I know it sounds ridiculous, but I felt like Indiana Jones finding the Holy Grail when I got my hands on it. The cup is made of very thin bone china–extremely fragile–but great for enjoying an expensive Puerh.

4. This is the most practical tea ware piece in my collection, a Japanese Hario Tea Pot. I literally use it everyday. Lately, it has become a part of my sommelier coursework protocol (here, you see it with a Young Puerh). I park this on a tray with tasting cups, a thermometer, and a timer so that I can get to work. The teapot is ideal for a singular tea drinker, and because it’s made of tempered glass you can enjoy watching your tea leaves “dance” as they brew.

5. Again, there is an element irony here because I never use this teapot to brew tea–I use this pot solely for food photography purposes. Because of its broken handle, this gem cost only 50 cents at the local Goodwill store. The check out lady was kind enough to stick on several layers of tape over the sharp edges where the handle broke off. I like that the classic blue and white teapot design looks both iconic and humble at the same time.

6. This Japanese Kami cup comes straight from Hokkaido, and is made from precisely shaped castor aralia wood. To protect the natural wood grain, the cup is sealed with a protective coating. I love to drink organic, ceremonial grade matcha in this cup–the frothy leaf green against the natural wood color brings me a sense of peace.

I am so glad Bonnie agreed to participate in this series. Her favorite tea objects are gorgeous!

Orange Grapefruit Herb Blend from Trader Leaf

SororiTEA Sisters - Sun, 11/22/2015 - 11:00
Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Herbal

Where to Buy:  Trader Leaf

Tea Description:

This mild creation is given fruity sweetness by the apple pieces and carrot flakes and a touch of freshness by eucalyptus leaves, lemon grass, tangerine bits and a nuance of hibiscus. Beetroot pieces lend their color to the cup along with a slightly earthy note. Dried orange slices are an optical reminder of the fresh citrus flavor of this absolutely perfect composition.

Ingredients: apple pieces, carrot flakes, blackberry and eucalyptus leaves, beetroot pieces, hibiscus flowers, lemon grass, flavoring, tangerine pieces, orange slices.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Being sick is just too much! Especially after having a wonderful wedding and fantastic honeymoon.  The last thing I needed was to come home and get sick. Blah! Oh well! The way she goes boys. . . .  (Any Trailer Park Boys fans out there?)

I was excited to see this blend in my newest box to review.  The only flavor that I have been wanting lately is grapefruit.  Coffee and other teas right now just don’t have that same draw only because of this wicked cough and sore throat I’ve got going on.  This tea sounded like heaven!

Brewed this up with boiling water and allowed it to brew for about 10 minutes or so.  I wanted to get as much flavor as I could out of the sample.

Poured the brew into my cup and just sat and admired the gorgeous pink appearance of the tea.  I took a sip and my heart sang.  This tea tasted so good on my poor throat.  Soothing and refreshing.  I couldn’t pick up all the flavors that are listed in the description but the two that I could really pick up where the citrus flavor and the eucalyptus.  They both had such a soothing and calming manner about them. Such a lovely fruity flavor that stays with you even after your last sip.  I was so pleased and happy!

I’m not sure how I would like this tea when I’m at 100% but this would be a great one to keep on hand for those days where you just aren’t feeling up to your old self.  My cup was gone in no time and I headed straight back into our breakroom to prep more water.  This tea is definitely a keeper! Can’t wait to try this tea when I’m feeling more like myself again.

The post Orange Grapefruit Herb Blend from Trader Leaf appeared first on SororiTea Sisters.


The Devotea - Sat, 11/21/2015 - 22:52

I’m not really one for bad tea puns, but the title of this blog wrote itself. I originally had a blog, where I ranted. And then I had a tea blog. And after about a dozen posts, I moved my blog to Tea Trade. I used to make videos regularly, and Jackie Davenport of Trade came across them, and when she invited me to move my blog to the new Tea...

The post Continuitea appeared first on Lord Devotea's Tea Spouts.

Afternoon tea at St. Regis New York: Modern luxury with gilded age past

Barb's Tea Shop - Sat, 11/21/2015 - 21:11
Rachel ready for afternoon tea at the St. Regis Hotel New YorkA trip to New York in July was filled with ties to the Gilded Age, staying at the Waldorf Astoria, visiting the Vanderbilt mansion and afternoon tea at the St. Regis Hotel.

The Astor legacy still part of ManhattanInspired by these historic places, I am now reading up on the one per centers of the 19th century. "When the Astors Owned New York" by Justin Kaplan is an interesting, easy read about this family dynasty that were instrumental in creating the luxury hotel industry. John Jacob Astor IV built the St. Regis in 1904, seven years after the opening of the Astoria Hotel (later to be combined with his cousin's Waldorf Hotel).

Gilded moldings, muraled walls and crystal chandeliers keep the ties to the pastAfternoon tea at St. Regis has been on my wish list since 2007, when I took a one-on-one tea tour of Manhattan with Elizabeth Knight, former tea sommelier of this beautiful hotel. During the tour, we made a quick stop to view the tea lobby, but we didn't have time to partake in a full-blown afternoon tea.

Contemporary and vintage mix well with tasty treats and excellent serviceIt's been remodeled to a more contemporary decor since my last visit and looking just a little different than its photos in Bruce Richardson's, "The Great Tea Rooms of America",  it still has the familiar and elegant flourishes, with ties to its rich origins, such as the muraled walls, gilded moldings, and imposing crystal chandeliers.
Now the tables are covered in grey tablecloths with sleek, suede cushioned chairs in a matching hue. The table china is contemporary in design as well, white, glossy and unadorned except for the flowery-edged plates of the three-tier serving tray.

Savories include  tea sandwiches along with a mini quiche

But, of course, what makes the afternoon tea exceptional is the food and service and, in our experience, found both scored high. Savories came in a variety of offerings, including traditional tea sandwiches along with a mini quiche. 
Yummy scones were served with cream, lemon curd and jam.Scones were delicious and served with cream, lemon curd and jam. Desserts were beautiful and tasty with an assortment of cookies, macarons, and chocolate treats.

Tealeaves was the tea that was used. We chose the St. Regis' house tea as well as the organic jasmine pearl. Both were brewed to perfection.

Tealeaves tea is servedOur waiters were most accommodating, bringing us the tea container for personal inspection when we asked about the tea, and sending us home with a St. Regis "doggie bag" of sweets and savory leftovers to be enjoyed later at our hotel.

Showcase exhibits photos from movies filmed at St.RegisAfter tea, Rachel and I did a quick tour of the St. Regis, ending up (no surprise) in the gift shop. A showcase along one hallway exhibits photos from famous movies filmed at the hotel, including "The Godfather" and "The Devil Wears Prada".  We say, afternoon tea should receive top billing!

Enjoying afternoon tea at the St. Regis Hotel

Apres tea, going home with a sac de chien,An afternoon tea at the St. Regis is a delightful blend of the past and present served up with delicious sweets and savories. Contemporary comfort with vintage flair, you'll feel among the top tier with tea at St, Regis.

2010 Spring Kunlu Mountain from Wymm Tea (Ancient Tea Pu-Erh)

SororiTEA Sisters - Sat, 11/21/2015 - 04:59
Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Pu-Erh

Where to Buy: Wymm Tea (Ancient Tree Pu-Erh)

Tea Description:

Kunlu Mountain is located within Ning’er Hani and Yi autonomous prefecture county in Pu’er city. Kun means “valley” and lu means “sparrow” in Dai minority group’s language, together Kunlu means a valley inhabited with sparrows. Kunlu Mountain sits at the end of the Wuliang mountain range, where Lancang and Honghe rivers divide. Kunlu Mountain’s altitude ranges between 1410 and 2271 meters, and is considered one of the higher mountains within Pu’er city region. A combination of early-cultivated and wild-grown trees forms the ancient tea tree forest, which covers 10,122 mu (equivalent to 6.75 sqkm) on the mountain.

Kunlu Mountain once served as imperial tea garden for the Qing emperors over 200 years. After successful bureaucratization of Cheli Xuanweisi in 1729, E’ertai (Ortai), the governor-general of Yunnan-Guizhou-Guangxi tri-province, established a tribute tea factory in Ning’er village, Pu’er Fu (known nowadays as Xishuangbanna). Every year, only the best and most delicate tea buds harvested from Kunlu Mountain in early spring were sent into this factory, in which they were carefully pressed into shapes or processed into paste. These products were presented in front of the Qing emperors after a 6-month, 4100-km route done solely on horseback. These products were carefully supervised by feudal officials and guarded by soldiers.

Taster’s Review:

This 2010 Spring Kunlu Mountain from Wymm Tea (Ancient Tea Pu-Erh) doesn’t appear to be listed on the Wymm Tea shop any longer.  There is, however, a Pu-Erh called Kunlu Sheng Pu-Erh from Ancient Tree 2010 Spring which I can only assume could be comparable.  Don’t quote me on that because I haven’t tried that offering yet.

I mainly wanted to mention this offering from Wymm Tea because it was the very first Pu-Erh experience I had from this company and it was a great one.  This Pu-Erh is right up my alley.  It’s not the muddy-thick-wormy-earthy-tar like pu-erh that I have had from other companies.  This is more of a gentler-earthy yet semi-floral Pu-Erh experience.  I think this is a great Pu-Erh to start with if you are trying them for the first time.  It will NOT scare you away from Pu-Erhs as a whole and will NOT make you pre-judge other Pu-Erh’s but at the same time it’s very pleasing and will set a standard for other Pu-Erh’s.  This is very well-done and I can’t wait to try additional offerings from Wymm Tea!


The post 2010 Spring Kunlu Mountain from Wymm Tea (Ancient Tea Pu-Erh) appeared first on SororiTea Sisters.

Friday Round Up: November 15th - November 21st

Tea For Me Please - Fri, 11/20/2015 - 17:00
Day 2 Morning - Taiwan 2015 +Jo J's post this week detailed more of her experience visiting Taiwan. The pictures alone are incredible. Talk about being a tea rock star! A guide to choosing a puerh tea that you'll love I don't often include blog posts from tea companies in the round up but this was a great one from +Crimson Lotus Tea. I love the approach of finding a puerh based on what you Nicole Martinhttps://plus.google.com/103097147251455801975noreply@blogger.com0

Giddapahar SFTGFOP 1 CH 2nd Flush 2013, Darjeeling from Lochan Tea Limited

SororiTEA Sisters - Fri, 11/20/2015 - 14:15
Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black Tea

Where to Buy: Lochan Tea Limited

Tea Description:

This tea is no longer on their website however I can tell you more about the estate. 

About the Tea Estate: Giddapahar is located on a mountain which is just a short drive from Kurseong. The garden is situated at 4864 feet above sea level. The Estate is a small family owned Darjeeling tea estate which is also known as “Eagles Cliff” lying very close to Kurseong town. From the estate, one can view the magnificent site of the mountains which also makes it the perfect site for taking photographs.

Giddapahar is almost 100% covered with pure china tea bushes and has followed the legendary classic grade production of Darjeeling Teas. The tea from Giddapahar Estate is very delicate due to the lower temperatures here and also because the area itself is covered by mist for a good part of the year. Teas are planted and picked by using traditional methods. Due to the temperature, the tea bushes from the estate produce a fine bouquet with great aromatic quality and a delicate floral smell. 

Taster’s Review:

Eventho this Giddapahar SFTGFOP 1 CH 2nd Flush 2013, Darjeeling from Lochan Tea Limited is no longer listed on their site or available for purchase I wanted to give it an honorable mention because it really was a fabulous tea!  As you can see from the description above the Giddapahar estate is a small family owned Darjeeling tea estate that is situated in a zone with lower temperatures which makes teas from this region very delicate.

This specific Darjeeling is mostly floral on the nose with hints of wet woodsy sniffs, too!  The flavor matches the aroma and is first and foremost floral with wet woods on the end sip.  I find this to be a good ‘working tea’ which means (to me) that I enjoying while working or writing trying to reach deadlines (such as this).

Have you had a tea recent that you rediscovered from your personal collection that deserves an honorable mention that may no longer be available for purchase?  If so tell us in comments!


The post Giddapahar SFTGFOP 1 CH 2nd Flush 2013, Darjeeling from Lochan Tea Limited appeared first on SororiTea Sisters.

Blast from the Past: Move Over Joe Bag, Here Comes the Full-Leaf Lady

T Ching - Fri, 11/20/2015 - 13:00

The stinging disappointment of poor tea service used to wash over me time and time again in the 90’s.  I particularly remember a time many years ago when a friend and I were dining at a swanky steak house in Edmonton.

I had suggested we cap off the exceptional meal with a nice pot of tea to settle our stomachs – we had unduly gorged ourselves and I was feeling just a tad bloated.  Ike wholeheartedly agreed and I summoned the waiter for his tea selection.  He reappeared momentarily with a little wicker basket.  It yielded the following choices (I remember this clearly): Red Rose, Twinnings Earl Grey, Stash peppermint, and some unknown chamomile.  I recall the feeling of being let down, disregarded, even placated.

I looked at Ike, while he looked at me, both of us thinking the very same thing – what a truly lame offering from such a great restaurant.  Feeling somewhat like I was backed into a corner, I selected the Earl Grey and Ike chose the Red Rose.

Less then a minute passed and the tea arrived in those drippy flip lid stainless steel pots.  The water was barely steaming and had a fizzy foam on top.  I knew exactly what I was in for – stereotypical restaurant tea service (horrid).  If you recall, these small pots would lose a third of their precious cargo on the tablecloth while you poured.  It was ultimately a dismal failure from beginning to end.

You may come back to this fine steakhouse for the Angus beef, but the whole tea experience is something best forgotten.

However, I don’t forget these things, and neither do a lot of my brethren.  Because tea is probably the last item your palate will taste before leaving any dining establishment, chances are it will leave more of an impression on you than the two sides accompanying the main course, or even the main course itself.

And sadly, this is where most chefs completely miss the boat.  This is a squandered opportunity – a brief chance to raise the bar on a component of the dining experience that can leave an indelible impression.

Fortunately, time has a way of healing all open wounds.  Today, nearly a decade since this memorable tea experience, I can see a small shimmering light at the end of that tepid tunnel.

It was, nonetheless, a recent trip to Winnipeg that surely surprised the hell out of me.  I dined at three popular eateries in Winnipeg and was served loose-leaf tea each time.  We are not talking about those pseudo tearoom/teahouse restaurants that have a full menu, but call themselves a tea spot, but rather a cross-section of the entire dining spectrum.  I went to a crowded pancake house on a Saturday morning, a modern bistro, and arguably Winnipeg’s finest restaurant – 529 Wellington.  At the end of each meal, I was offered a full (and separate) TEA MENU – a well-written, nicely organized card with upwards of 30+ loose-leaf teas.

In one case, I ordered a Darjeeling and my colleague, Bob, ordered a rooibos.  Our tea arrived in less than three minutes in the trendy new BrewT teapot.  The young lady took the time to explain the workings of the device and when to pour – I mean dispense– the tea (the device sits on top of your cup and drops the tea straight down into it).  She also said we could refill the BrewT as often as we like.  I would be lying if I told you that I kept my excitement in check with the spectacle unfolding in front of me.  I asked a couple of questions and let her run off to another table.  I looked around and saw many more tables with people sipping tea from BrewTs.

It then dawned on me; this was the image I had in that steak house of what tea service might be like in the future.  Beautifully crafted loose-leaf infusions, properly prepared and served in modern brewing devices by knowledgeable staff.

So the future was happening here, now, in a hip bistro on Academy Road, in the bustling early morning in a 300-seat pancake house in the burbs, and in a large renovated turn-of-the-century mansion whose many rooms were converted into plush dining nooks.

It is time for the leaves to unfurl again, to escape the confines of the paper sac and wow the many unsuspecting palates of today’s sophisticated beverage generation.

How can you help perpetuate this?  Ask for loose leaf every time you go out to dine – whether they have it or not.

This article was originally posted to T Ching on November 20, 2009.

The post Blast from the Past: Move Over Joe Bag, Here Comes the Full-Leaf Lady appeared first on T Ching.

“Good Morning, Gentlemen…”

T Ching - Thu, 11/19/2015 - 13:00

..and the ladies were forgotten inconveniently by me when I stood up to address the house on the morning of November 7th, the second day of the International Tea Forum 2015 in the city of Chi bi, China. In fact, I had been fuming all along the first day hearing about all the pesticide residue in teas from all the speakers from all over the world.

Barbara Dufrene pointed out my faux pas later, to which I apologised but blurted out something about residue again, and I remember I said something like that “they brought the pesticides in the first place, and now they talk about residues, and next they’ll put together a sort of certification against the residues earning them the money all over again.”

Without pests, oriental beauty is not possible to make in Taiwan, which goes on to prove pests can be good too. Thiodan is such a nice-smelling pesticide that doomed pests probably enjoyed its smell too in the tea fields of Darjeeling, as were we the young managers supervising the spraying, to keep the teas growing after the much prized second flush. Peter Goggi mentioned that only three chemicals were allowed initially, which has been raised to sixteen now, a statistic that is worrisome.

The annual 2 billion kilo crop by Chinese growers certainly has needed pesticides to reach that level, which has double in ten years despite a large tea area getting converted to the coffee crops needed to satiate the thirst of the Western culture. Sex hormonal change of pests as an answer to pesticides was submitted by a Chinese scientist, which was quickly lost in the simultaneous translation for us English-language speakers and was probably misunderstood by a few as a joke.

Louise Roberge was the saviour of the day when she changed the topic from residues to fairy tales (and this made me cool down a bit) to subtly inform the most energetic and pretty CFNA moderator that there is a large, hidden, and untapped market for Chinese jasmine green tea in India. An award was given to Louise for being one of the ten most active tea masters (or 茶人), probably because she did not mention residue at all–that made my day. Being the lone Indian there, I was a much sought after soul and was made to speak from the podium at the end of the symposium.

After all was said and done, the ultimate outcome of the Forum was simply that there should be an International Tea Day.

The post “Good Morning, Gentlemen…” appeared first on T Ching.

White2Tea 2002 CNNP (Zhong Cha) 7572 Green Label Tiepai

Tea For Me Please - Wed, 11/18/2015 - 17:00
Country of Origin: China Leaf Appearance: dark, tightly compressed Ingredients: puerh tea Steep time: 15 seconds Water Temperature: 212 degrees Preparation Method: porcelain gaiwan Liquor: very dark reddish brown There are two words that strike fear into my heart when I'm drinking puerh. Wet. Storage. I just can't bring myself to enjoy the affect that it has on tea. That being said, I owed it Nicole Martinhttps://plus.google.com/103097147251455801975noreply@blogger.com0

Review: High Mountain Green by Gold World Century LTD

T Ching - Wed, 11/18/2015 - 13:00

When I got this tea sample from Nathan Burchfield, the founder of Gold World Century LTD, I was very impressed by the simple yet elegant packaging. A beige canvas bag with colorful leaves printed on it held the brown resealable package containing the tea sample.

When I opened the tea, I could immediately tell that Mountain Top Green Tea was unlike any green tea I have ever had before. The leaves are dark, suggesting aggressive firing, and the dry leaf also has a strong sweet mineral aroma, not unlike a rock oolong. The grade of the leaf is good overall but tended to be tippy with a few twigs.

The taste of the first infusions matches the aroma of the dry leaf perfectly. Smooth, sweet mineral is the top note of the first infusions with grassy and vegetal notes barely noticeable below it. The liquor is a satisfying pale yellow.

The middle infusions show a pleasing development. Notes of apple and pear start to arise under the still prevalent mineral sweetness. The wet leaf gets greener and brighter in colour with every infusion.

The last infusions show the most vegetal notes that rise to the foreground as the mineral sweetness falls. It ends with a slightly sour bitterness.

Mountain Top Green Tea by Gold World Century LTD is a good choice for oolong lovers looking for a transition into green tea, or a green tea drinker looking for a transition into oolong teas. It is also a great choice for tea drinkers looking to mix up their tea experience with something different and unusual, but not so strange that it’s undrinkable.

As of right now, Gold World Century isn’t open for business, but hopefully soon everyone will have access to these teas.

The post Review: High Mountain Green by Gold World Century LTD appeared first on T Ching.

A Tea Mission

T Ching - Tue, 11/17/2015 - 13:00

Every tea lover to some degree has taken it upon themselves to introduce the tranquility and community of tea to others around them. It is an opportunity to inspire others to take the time to slow down and appreciate something as small as a sip of tea. There is no direct benefit of introducing the experience of tea to others, but this act is what will help society develop a value for tea. There is a mission for tea lovers to share the art of tea with the people around them. As a tea lover I am also on this mission, but as an insider to the food industry and friend of tea growers I have stepped up my mission in tea. But it is only recently that I have found a way to properly communicate my mission, goal, and value to tea.

My Mission: To build a bridge between tea farmers and tea consumers

In 2006, after graduating from college with a BS in Food Science and Technology and working in the food industry for several years, I began a journey to reconnect with my original passion for food. As a food scientist, I wasn’t providing sustenance but forging documents for organic certifications and finding loopholes in food regulations to include taste-improving ingredients and shelf-life-extending chemicals. I reacted by joining the Peace Corps where I learned about real food systems where communities only consumed what they grew. I went to Africa thinking my food science knowledge would save them, but quickly realized that the food science that I learned was responsible for the problems with our food system. Essentially, the developed world has commodified food and pulled the consumer farther and farther away from the producer. Since I have returned to the US I dedicated every bit of my energy and work towards building a bridge between producer and consumer in the food industry. All of this energy has been applied to my work with tea that started in 2008.

My Goal: To build a transparent platform for the tea industry

My work in tea started for a large producer of ready-to-drink tea as a food scientist in the quality assurance department. For the first time I felt I was working with a product that was healthy and enriching to people instead of a product filled with unhealthy ingredients. Things turned south when I began to ask for transparency regarding the sources of raw ingredients so I could build a comprehensive traceability protocol for FDA compliance. I was discouraged to ask questions and management didn’t have answers for me. I left to further my education with a Japanese MBA where I continued my work with tea, but this time with tea growers, first in Hawaii and then Japan. I was inspired to combine my mission to bridge producer and consumer and the need for transparency in the tea industry. I started to build a technology platform that has since won me a 2015 World Tea Award for Best Tea Industry Innovator.

My Value: A network for Direct Trade

Tealet started out as a retail subscription service that tea lovers could order online to receive farm-direct teas at their door. Our growth stopped at a point when we realized that high quality tea is best sold offline in an environment where the merchant can educate the consumer. In order to build a stronger bridge, we decided to open our network of tea growers to wholesale tea buyers that were interested in direct trade but didn’t have the resources or capability to travel around the world to develop relationships with tea growers. The purchasing power of Tealet’s network of wholesale buyers has already made a difference in the livelihoods of tea growers. One tea grower in Assam, India has made a 9 times increase in profit from the tea they have sold on the Tealet platform which equated to an additional $1,200 that has been reinvested in heightening the skills of their workers and improving the quality of their tea.

I have been working on my mission to tea for almost a decade and know that this is only the start. I ask you as tea lovers and stewards of tea to find your mission, goals, and value to tea. Together, we can work to build a strong future for tea, our environment, and communities. Read more about my team’s mission and see how you can get involved.

The post A Tea Mission appeared first on T Ching.

Milky Oolong from ChaTale- A Kickstarter going on now!

SororiTEA Sisters - Tue, 11/17/2015 - 11:00
Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy: ChaTale

Tea Description:

This debonair drop has all the smooth buttery goodness of an oolong base with a slick creamy aftertaste. 

Support Cha Tea’s Kickstarter campaign here.

Taster’s Review:

I have to start off this review with a comment about the logo and packaging for these teas. They are fantastic! The logo is clean and they use colors that draw you in and are so very attractive.  It is the first thing I noticed about their teas.

ChaTale currently has an active kickstarter campaign running thru December 13. They originate out of the UK and seem to know what they are doing when it comes to tea.  ChaTale will be offering a monthly tea subscription box hoping to steer consumers away from the tea bag and more into loose leaf tea.  That alone makes me happy!

I couldn’t wait to dive into the box and see what fun teas await me.  The first one that caught my eye was the Milk Oolong.  I mean the description alone makes you drool!

Brewed this up like I do my oolongs with water at about 195 deg or so for around 4 minutes. The whole time the tea was steeping, gorgeous vanilla notes were wafting thru the air.  The fragrance almost reminds me of homemade sugar cookies. . . .  and who doesn’t love that smell?

Took my first sip and I am greeted with this amazingly smooth creamy flavor with just a hint of sweetness.  This tea is charming and cozy giving you that feeling that you just want to snuggle up with a good movie or a good book.  So very good and addicting! I’m loving the smooth flavor that delivers from beginning to end of each sip.  You couldn’t ask for a better oolong on a cold rainy day like it is here today.  Rich, creamy, and smooth with a sweetness that really just reminds you of home baked cookies. Yum! Delicious!

I think I need to go back this one on Kickstarter!

The post Milky Oolong from ChaTale- A Kickstarter going on now! appeared first on SororiTea Sisters.

Giveaway: The Art and Craft of Tea by Joseph Uhl

Notes on Tea - Tue, 11/17/2015 - 02:15

You are probably familiar with Joe Uhl's teas via Joseph Wesley Tea. Joe is also an author. His new book, The Art and Craft of Tea, is beautiful. It looks and feels like a "coffee table" book. The writing is strong and the photographs are fantastic.

I have partnered with Quarto Cooks and Quarto Books to giveaway TWO copies of The Art and Craft of Tea. We are hosting the book giveaway on our Instagram page. The giveaway is open to residents around the world. Enter now. Good luck!
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