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Happy 4th Anniversary Harney & Sons SoHo!

Tea For Me Please - Wed, 11/19/2014 - 17:00
On Monday I was very excited to stop by +Harney and Sons Fine Teas for their 4th anniversary party. It was quite a packed house when I first arrived. It was wonderful to see many people who love tea in one room. At first, it was a bit hard to navigate the delicious spread of hors d'oeuvres, tea and cocktails. I searched the crowd for a familiar face and above everyone else I spotted my very Nicole Martinhttps://plus.google.com/103097147251455801975noreply@blogger.com0

November gongfu tea-brewing tips

T Ching - Wed, 11/19/2014 - 13:03

As your sensitivity increases, you will begin to recognize the smoothness, or lack thereof, not just in the teaware you use, but one degree further: in what your teaware rests upon. It actually matters quite a bit what kind of coaster a cup sits upon, or what kind of tea boat or tea pillow your teapot is in, etc. Ever-increasing sensitivity is the essence of gongfu tea.Developing our tea-brewing skills is more than just making better tea. Without a sharpness in our sensitivity, we can’t get to the subtler and subtler aspects of tea, which ultimately allow us to move on to the next phase of our work with tea: energy. For that reason, it is nice to try to move deeper into subtler realms of tea as you progress. As we have mentioned in earlier issues, you may have to ignore the flavor/aroma of the tea when you practice for some time. However, after you begin to feel the differences more clearly, these aspects will return naturally. You aren’t losing dimensions of your tea, but gaining new ones in addition to the grosser enjoyment of tea as a body.

Before beginning to practice working with the second degree of change, it is important to understand that tea is a liquid—mostly water—and that the water and the tea are both incredibly sensitive. As we have mentioned before, it’s a good idea for tea lovers to read about water studies like Dr. Emoto’s Hidden Messages in Water. Suggestions, words, prayers and other energy effect water tremendously. Also, tea itself is equally sensitive, as anyone who has had tea stored in different places can testify to. My master used to make me taste the same tea stored in the shop versus the home, and I was always amazed at how different they were. He said that in a shop, you can’t control the environment or the minds of all the guests and there is also a lot of business conducted, and people thinking selfish thoughts, often related to their money. Consequently, it is no wonder that what a cup comes into contact with changes the configuration of the liquid inside. We hope you all experience some of that.

The gongfu exercise for this month is to try tapping your cup on different objects and then taking a sip after each tap. The cup needn’t rest on the object long, and as you grow more sensitive it will only take the briefest tap for the difference to register. In the beginning, you may want to use objects that are extremely different, so that the effects will be more apparent. Try tapping the cup on a cell phone and taking a sip, then tap an Yixing pot and take a second sip. You may want to use a tea that you are very familiar with and brew it lighter than usual, as with all gongfu experiments. Alternatively, you may want to use hot water.

Getting to the second degree in teaware is a very important step that opens up tons of doors in your tea practice. You will make quick strides once you’ve developed an acumen in this, and mastery (gongfu) isn’t far off—maybe just a few taps away . . .

Written by Wu De, and published by Global Tea Hut, Issue 10, November 2012. Re-posted here with permission from Global Tea Hut. Images courtesy of Global Tea Hut.

Loading image from T Ching archives.

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Assam Gold Black Tea from The Persimmon Tree

SororiTEA Sisters - Wed, 11/19/2014 - 11:00

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where To Buy:  The Persimmon Tree

Tea Description:

This smooth, malty infusion is the perfect alternative to coffee. Assam Gold can be steeped multiple times while retaining its flavor. Golden in color, this import from Northern India is a thick, comfortable black tea brew that warms and energizes after a tough, bitter, cold day.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Mmm!  I love this Assam Gold!  So much malt in one little mug!

Well, OK, my mug isn’t that small, but there’s a whole lot of malt flavor going on in it right now.

I brewed this Assam in my Breville One-Touch.  I know I talk a lot about my tea maker, but seriously, if you drink even half as much tea as I do … even a fourth of the amount of tea that I do (I drink a lot of tea), you really should invest in one of these!

So, yes, I brewed this tea in my Breville, adding 2 bamboo scoops of tea to the basket and pouring 500ml of water into the jug.  I set the parameters for 205°F and 2 minutes.  I generally go just a little lower with both the temperature and the time when it comes to brewing an Assam in my Breville.  Assam teas can be temperamental, and I find that by lowering the temperature just slightly and cutting back on steep time, this reduces the chances of bitterness.

And I don’t know if it’s my brewing, or if this is just one of those Assam teas that is a little less temperamental than others can be, but I’m not even picking up on a hint of bitterness at all with this.  This is smooth from start to finish, and there’s very VERY little astringency to this cup.  That is to say that unless I’m really focusing on trying to detect astringency in this tea, I’m not noticing any.  Only when I’m really focused on it do I pick up on a slight pucker of the inside of my cheeks and a very slight dry sensation.

Mostly what I am experiencing here is MALT!  Sweet caramel-y tones.  A smooth texture – like silk.  (Perhaps spun gold would be a better descriptive for this particular tea?)  There are notes of fruit to this, reminiscent of sweet plums (no tartness to the plum notes), dates and dried raisin.  I am not really tasting so much “raisin” as I’m tasting the sugary sweetness that you might experience form biting into a piece of dried fruit, and a slight “wine-like” note from the grape-y-ness of the raisin.

There are floral notes to this too – off in the distance.  I’m envisioning the gardens where this tea has been grown to be edged by some flowery field and when the breeze comes by and picks up on some of that flowery essence, it delivers that essence to the awaiting tea leaves.  Not a strong presence of flower.  Just a whisper of it.  A breezy note of flower.

This is a really good Assam.  If you’re one who yearns for that malty flavor of an Assam, put this on your to-try list, I think you’ll be pleased with the malty character of this one.

Sweet Violet Tea from M&K’s Tea Company

SororiTEA Sisters - Wed, 11/19/2014 - 04:59

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Flower

Where to Buy:  M&K’s Tea Company on Etsy

Tea Description:

Sweet Chinese violets, creamy and sweet with just a hint of floral flavor! If you enjoy the lighter side of life (chamomile, rose buds, green tea) you will love this tea. Just throw a couple of flowers in some boiling water, and–viola! You have some sweet violet tea. Although this isn’t a rare flower, it is a difficult tea to locate, which makes us extra happy to offer it to our customers.

Learn more about this tisane here.

Taster’s Review:

Every once in a while, I’ll shop around on Etsy.  As an artist myself, I like supporting other artists.  And also, every once in a while, I’ll come across a new-to-me tea company whose offerings are too enticing to pass up.  Such is the case last week when I was looking around on Etsy and I found M&K’s Tea Company.

I was thrilled with the prices of their samplers.  The one I ultimately decided upon was just $4.99 for a custom five tea sampler, but there are several other samplers to choose from as well.   The order turnaround time is speedy:  I placed the order and the next business day, my order was already in transit!

I really like the packaging of the samples from M&K’s Tea Company.  The outer “sleeve” is a small Kraft envelope that is about the size of a coin envelope.  it has a “window” cut out of it to offer a visual of the tea which has been sealed in a small zipper pouch that’s been sealed inside the Kraft envelope.  The front outer label has the M&K’s logo and the name of the tea.  The back outer label offers brewing parameters, ingredients and harvest information.

Under the sealed flap of the Kraft envelope is “Your Lucky Tea Symbol.”  For this particular tea, my symbol is The Fox.  I’m not sure exactly what that means.  But it adds a little whimsy to the whole thing.

A lot of thought has gone into packaging and I like that.  I like that it has a certain “small company” type feel to it but some time and effort was invested in it to give it a quality appearance while also providing the customer with the information needed to properly brew a cup of tea!

So, this Sweet Violet Tea is the first of the teas that I’ll be trying from this new to me company!  Not actually a “tea” because it contains no camellia sinensis, this flower tisane is crafted from Sweet Violets.  The flowers are gorgeous, colorful, whole and beautifully fragrant.

To brew this, I emptied the sample into the basket of my Kati Tumbler.  The other samples from M&K’s hold enough for 500ml in my Breville One-Touch, but because these flowers are so large and bulky, the sample envelope looks like it’s just the right size for my tumbler.  There are four whole flowers in the sample package, which seems about right for the size of the tumbler.  Maybe one flower too many, but I’d rather go a little more on the leaf than a little less.

I filled the tumbler with water heated to 195°F and steeped the flowers for 8 minutes.  (Incidentally, I didn’t follow the parameters as suggested on the packet, which called for 2 whole flowers per cup of boiling water, steeped for 2 – 5 minutes.)

Viola odarata aka Sweet Violets. Photo from Wikipedia. Click on the pic to go there.

Wow!  I like this!  I can’t think of another time that I’ve consumed a “pure Sweet Violet” tea/tisane such as this.  I’ve had other flower teas, of course, but no Sweet Violets.  I like this a lot.

The above description compares it to “the lighter side”  and uses Chamomile, Rose Buds and Green Tea as examples.  I think I like this better than chamomile.  I like green tea better, but I think this would make a really good blend with green tea, I think.  Perhaps a Dragon Well.  As for rosebuds, this reminds me a bit of a rosebud tisane.  The floral notes of a rosebud tea are maybe a little sharper – here, they’re soft and … well, the word I want to use is “fluffy.”  There is a creaminess to this that I don’t experience with a rosebud tisane and that’s what’s giving it the fluffy taste.

So, I think I might actually like this better than a rosebud tisane.  Or at least just as much.

The flowery notes are not sharp, they’re soft and sweet.  And like the description above suggests, the floral notes are delicate.  They don’t taste perfume-y or soapy at all.  And the cup has a barely there floral aroma which kind of surprised me (I did, after all, steep flowers!)  There really isn’t much aroma to the liquid at all.  But the flavor is really enjoyable.  I don’t generally get all excited over tisanes – I prefer my camellia sinensis – but this is actually one that I could see myself wanting to keep in my pantry.  It’s really quite lovely!

And as it represent my first tea experience with M&K’s Tea Company, I’d say that we’re off to a really good start!

Bi Luo Chun Green Tea from Green Terrace Teas

SororiTEA Sisters - Tue, 11/18/2014 - 17:00

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Green Terrace Teas

Tea Description:

While most Bi Luo Chun is grown in Jiangsu Province, China, this unique cultivar grown in Taiwan has bigger leaves and is picked slightly earlier in the year.  As a non-fermented green tea, it is rich in antioxidants and other natural chemicals that promote various health benefits, including reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer.  Bi Luo Chun is sweet and fruity in flavor, with notes of peach and a mildly vegetal aftertaste.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Oh this is lovely!

When I think “Bi Luo Chun” – I think of the tiny conchin shell shaped leaves from China.  These leaves are larger, not as curly and darker in color.

It tastes different too.  This has a sweet, buttery and vegetal taste.  The buttery tones are profound and lend a soft, almost creamy texture to the cup.  The vegetal tones are slightly grassy, somewhere between grass and lima bean.  No sharpness to the grassy notes and no bitterness.  This is a sweet grassy taste.

The sweetness is somewhat fruity, although I find myself struggling with trying to pinpoint what kind of fruit notes I’m tasting … melon, perhaps?  It’s got the juicy sweetness of a melon but not the flavor of one.  Perhaps a melon that’s been pressed for the juice and then that juice was mixed with rainwater and dew drops, enough so that the flavor of the melon becomes obscured but the sweetness of it remains.

There is some astringency to this.  I feel a slightly dry sensation toward the tail.  But it is very slight.  I noticed a little more astringency in the second cup (second infusion) than I did in the first, but in both infusions, the astringency was very light.

To brew this tea, I measured a bamboo scoop of the leaf into the basket of my Kati tumbler and poured 12 ounces of water heated to 180°F.  I let it steep for 2 minutes.  The liquid is a pale golden-green and has a very faint vegetal aroma.

These leaves resteep well.  I brewed a second cup much the way I brewed the first (adding 30 seconds onto the steep time) and sipped the second cup with just as much enjoyment as I experienced with the first cup.  Still sweet and delicious.  The texture is a little lighter in the second cup.  The first cup was a little creamier than the second, although the second did have lighter creamy notes.  I found that the second one felt more refreshing because it was a little crisper and lighter.  Both infusions were delicious and it’s well worth the resteep!

Tea Places: T Shop

Tea For Me Please - Tue, 11/18/2014 - 17:00
It seems that SoHo has become tea central in New York City. This neighborhood is home to some of my favorite haunts such as Harney & Son's and Palais de Thes. When a friend told me about T Shop, a new spot that just opened on Elizabeth Street, I just had to check them out. It was a bit hard to find, but I recognized the psychic sign (a separate business) on the door from their Instagram. At Nicole Martinhttps://plus.google.com/103097147251455801975noreply@blogger.com0

Chambre de Sucre collaborative teas

Notes on Tea - Tue, 11/18/2014 - 15:00

It's always a delight to receive tea in the post. Last evening a package from Lisa of Chambre de Sucre arrived filled with No. 17 Alex the Grey, No. 31 Serenity, 9th Street Blend, and blue stars of sugar. The 9th Street Blend was made exclusively for the Eileen Fisher Boutique on 9th Street. I like that the 9th Street Blend came in a bottle! Alex the Grey and Serenity were blended for the Chambre de Sucre x Free People collaboration.


I infused the Alex the Grey this morning. I assume the essential oil is bergamot but it did not overwhelm the Sencha or the herbal additions (orange peel, cornflowers, lemon peel, and safflower). If you are shy about Earl Grey, you might like Alex the Grey. I added a blue star to my second infusion and it was the perfect amount of sweetness.

The 9th Street Blend also has a green tea base (Guo Lu) but is blended with ginger, lemon grass, and lemon myrtle. I think it will be a perfect way to warm up after my morning errands. The wind chill is in the teens today!!

The world of tea comes to Xiamen

T Ching - Tue, 11/18/2014 - 13:01

The Second Annual ITCC Cup Warming at the Xiamen International Tea Fair was held before an audience with a voracious interest in tea. With distinguished presenters from China, India, Japan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Argentina, and France, the scores of attendees learned about and tasted 10 teas amid the sea of tea on display at the Fair.

ITCC Director Dan Robertson introduced the panel in turn, with translation provided by Vice Director (China) Daniel Hong and Qizhi Zhang doing yeoman’s work considering the variety of Chinese and English accents spoken. Seven countries were introduced and 10 teas presented and consumed in just under two hours. The program began with China, the host country. Mr. Huang Shuwei of Chaouzhou Chao An Propitious Cloud Tea explained the finer points of his award winning Mi Lan Xiang Dan Cong oolong (Honey Orchid Fragrance). Mr. Ge of Hangzhou Genxiang Cha Chang, treated the attendees to a special Dragon Well (green tea) that was plucked from 100 year old bushes. Vice-Director (India) Rajiv Lochan presented two teas: an elegant Moonlight from Castleton tea estate and a robust 2nd flush Assam from the Halmari estate. Sensei Soren Biscaard enlightened the audience with details about Japanese teas and presented a flavorful Sen Cha and a splendid Gyokuro.

Chairman of the Sri Lanka Tea Board, Mr. Sadath Perera elucidated about the different growing regions for Ceylon tea and presented a flowery example from the high-grown Nuwara Eliya district. Mr. Sushil Rijal of HIMCOOP a tea growers cooperative in Nepal spoke about the attributes of teas from the top of the world and the attendees sampled a flavorful black tea. Next came the presentation by Mr. Pedro Yang Chairman of the China Yerba Mate Association who introduced the group to Yerba Mate, the native drink from Argentina. Though not actually tea, Mate is consumed from dawn to dusk and traditionally sipped from a hollowed out gourd. Concluding the program was an introduction to French tea culture presented by Mr. Pierre Vrignaud, President of the French tea lovers society Vapours de the de Chine. He brought with him Marco Polo from Mariage Freres which symbolically brought things back to China.

Plans are already underway for next year’s Cup Warming.  The International Tea Cuppers Club has also held an annual Cup Warming event at the World Tea Expo and members around the globe hold their own gatherings. ITCC also holds its unique Cupping Events , which focus on tasting and evaluating specific teas and regions. The next Cupping Event will investigate the prized spring-picked Japanese Shin Cha. Membership is open to all who have a passion for learning and appreciating tea. For more information on ITCC please visit www.teacuppers.com or call 630 961-0877.

Photo credit: Rajiv Lochan and Svitlana Moskalenko

The post The world of tea comes to Xiamen appeared first on T Ching.

Ayurvedic Slimming Tea from Tea of Life

SororiTEA Sisters - Tue, 11/18/2014 - 04:59

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).  

Ingredients:

I am always confused by teas that claim to be “slimming.”

But I’m not here to talk about my feelings on the claims of “slimming” tea, and I’m not entering into a weight loss regime with this slimming tea from Tea of Life.  I’m here to tell you what I’m tasting, not on whether or not it works.

And I’m not real crazy about the taste.  I am not sure if it’s the Garcenia, Black Seed or Fenugreek that I’m not liking (or perhaps a combination of the three), but one redeeming quality of this tea (aside from the green tea) is the cumin.  I actually like tasting the warm, toasty notes of the cumin.

Garcenia is supposed to taste acidic and sour.  Black seed has more of a savory quality, like onions or garlic with black pepper and oregano.  Fenugreek is supposed to be lightly bitter.  So I suspect that what I’m not liking about this particular tea is the presence of garcenia and fenugreek.  Because I’m getting a bitter and sour taste that I’m not crazy about.

The green tea is light and buttery and adds a hint of sweetness.

So, this isn’t the greatest tasting drink.  It isn’t a tea that I’d drink just for the taste of it.  I hope that the “slimming” aspect of this tea is successful because from this taster’s perspective, I’ll just say that I’ve tasted a lot of tasty teas from Tea of Life but this one isn’t one of them.

Mindful Morning Blend from Plum Deluxe

SororiTEA Sisters - Mon, 11/17/2014 - 17:00

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Plum Deluxe

Tea Description:

The mindful morning blend is the Plum Deluxe take on classic Earl Grey.

Everyone loves Earl Grey, but we found a way to make it even better so that we can start every day with a tea blend that is truly luxurious. We began with our absolute favorite black tea, Ceylon – it is a tea from Sri Lanka that has a gentle vanilla flavor to it. We then added a tiny pinch of sweet honey, a bit of flavor and color with the cornflowers, and topped it off with the bergamot oil that makes earl grey so famous. The orange peels give it a final flavor boost.

All Plum Deluxe teas are hand-blended and infused with love in Portland, Oregon.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I’m enjoying my second cup of this tea.  With the first cup, I neglected to “shake” the pouch and this is one tea where you want to do that.  There are honey crystals in the tea and they tend to settle to the bottom of the package so you want to mix it up a little before you scoop out the tea.

I wasn’t too sure about having honey crystals in my tea.  I have often said that I prefer it when tea companies don’t put sugar, honey crystals, stevia or other sweeteners in my tea because I like to decide if I want to have a sweeter tea.  I like to make that decision for myself and not have it made for me.  But, I like the honey in this.  I like the touch of honey flavor.

To brew this, I used my Kati Tumbler.  I decided to use the tumbler rather than the tea maker because I didn’t want to put honey in the tea maker.  I don’t know why, but, I made the catastrophic mistake of attempting to heat milk in an electric tea kettle a long time ago, (before there was a Breville One-Touch) and since that time, I have been very careful about what I’ll put in my kettles.

Learn from my mistake and don’t ever heat anything except water in tea kettles.  Just say no.

After shaking the pouch and getting some of those honey crystals to the surface, I measured 1 bamboo scoop of tea into the basket of my Kati and added 12 ounces of boiling water to the tumbler.  I steeped the tea for 3 minutes and removed the basket.  Now I have a tumbler full of Earl Grey yumminess.

This is actually a spin on an Earl Grey Creme tea.  And it’s quite lovely.

The black tea base is a smooth, medium-bodied Ceylon.  It has a pleasant flavor that’s a little earthy and a wee bit malty.  It has a slightly dry finish, indicating some astringency.  I would say it’s mildly astringent and it doesn’t detract from the enjoyment of the cup or the smoothness of the sip.

The bergamot is not exceptionally strong in this blend, but I think that’s probably because the vanilla notes have softened the bergamot, creating a lovely citrus-y, creamy flavor that hints at caramel tones.  Bring in the light honey notes from the honey crystals and that’s where this tea really “hits the sweet spot.”  The honey plus the caramel is delightfully delicious.

I do get a bright, tangy note of bergamot that’s softer than a typical Earl Grey.  Then again, this isn’t a typical Earl Grey and it’s not meant to be.  The vanilla adds a touch creamy.  The orange peel highlights the brightness of the bergamot.  And these flavors mingle in a really beautiful way with the aforementioned honeyed caramel.  Mmm!

This is the first tea that I’ve tried from Plum Deluxe, and I’m so pleased with it!  I really like what I’ve seen (and tasted!) from this company thus far.  I love that they’re a company based locally (Portland, Oregon) and I was touched by the story that inspired the company.   And I just LOVED getting a purple bubble envelope in the mail the other day!  What fun!  (Get it?  Plum Deluxe?  Purple Envelope?  Loved it!)

Color of Japan, Color Harvest

Tea For Me Please - Mon, 11/17/2014 - 17:00
Last week I had the pleasure of attending a ceramics exhibition by Tomomi Kamoshita at Globus Washitsu. Even more lucky was that I was able to enjoy it with tea friends +The Snooty Tea Person, +Jo J and +Verna L. Hamilton. I made the tragic mistake of forgetting my camera at home so please excuse the terrible pictures. The do not do Tomomi's work any justice. For those of you not familiar with Nicole Martinhttps://plus.google.com/103097147251455801975noreply@blogger.com0

tea blossom

T Ching - Mon, 11/17/2014 - 13:01

October 2014 saw me back in Xiamen for the tea expo but my mind was still wandering with tea blossoms which we were to enter into a technology sharing agreement with China in Beijing on October 20th. Here, Prof. Xu’s dream came true after 40 years of research on the tea blossom. Her research has already been patented in 27 countries, and will be put to use in skin care and food products.  The Indian Embassy was pleased with the prospect of utilizing this hitherto wasted product and attended the ceremony.

The Technology Development Board attached to Science & Technology Ministry of the Government of India encourages development of indigenous technologies for the utilization of hitherto natural waste products and tea blossoms are one example. We harvest only the green leaves from the tea trees -and/or the husbanded tea bushes – since time immemorial.  Finding a use for tea blossoms and lately, using tea seed oil as edible oil, increases the value and sustainability of the tea plants.

Tea Blossom is a newly discovered plant resource. On February 1, 2013, the Ministry of Health of the People’s Republic of China issued the administrative license for application of “Tea Blossom New Resource.” The Ministry requested that the approved organizations implement their production in accordance with the provisions of laws and regulations strictly noted on “The Seven New Resources” on January 4, 2013. According to the ingredients of the tea blossom raw material, the products can be mainly divided into three kinds: raw material for healthy food (natural food supplement), extract and terminal products; and be used for food, cosmetics, medical, and health products. India and China are in a mutually beneficial and positive relationship. The strategic agreement with Lochan Tea Limited was signed on 20 October, 2014.

The tea tree blossom (referred to as the tea blossom) is the reproductive organ of the tea tree, which grows together with buds in the leaf axils of the tea tree /bushes (Camellia sinensis). For thousands of years, people have cultivated tea trees/bushes, but picked only the buds. These were processed into the six types of tea beverages using various processing techniques.

As the blossom undertakes the responsibility of reproduction, humans have not exploited and utilized it. With the popularization and application of asexual reproduction technology, the blossom doesn’t need to carry out the genetic task of reproduction, resulting in an encumbrance of tea tree, and a burden to tea farmers. Because of the higher germination rate of blossom bud than leaf bud in some tea trees which belong to the species of asexual reproduction, blossoms and fruits will grow more if the level of production and management are too low. Such excessive growth of blossoms and fruits would consume the nutrients of tea tree, affecting the output and quality of tea. Therefore, tea farmers often adopt the method pruning branches and spraying chemical drugs to achieve the goal of increased production, ensuring a good harvest. Actually, after pruning the blossoming branches on the top of tea tree, strengthening the ratio of fertilizer is needed promptly for healing the cut. Otherwise, the plant is not only unable to achieve the goal of increased production and ensuring a good harvest, but also results in wasted labor and yield reduction. Spraying the blossom-drop drugs can indeed restrain the growth of blossoms and fruits, promoting the tea output for more than 30% at the same time, but the remaining residual of drugs may affect the quality of tea and the safety for food. Thus, tea blossom is considered a major problem plaguing tea-growing areas.

The tea tree is a woody perennial, flowering and fruit-less plant. Typically, a 100cm width of tea tree can germinate more than 2000 pieces of leaf buds each year, and 300~4000 pieces of blossom buds, up to 8000 pieces at most. Generally, the quantity of blossoms is 200~800 kg per mu, and also consumes more than 50% nutrients and the products of photosynthesis of tea tree at the same time.

Images courtesy of the contributor.

The post tea blossom appeared first on T Ching.

Birthday Cake Batter Flavored Iced Tea from Southern Boy Teas

SororiTEA Sisters - Mon, 11/17/2014 - 04:59

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Zoomdweebies

Learn more about this tea here.

Learn about SBT’s subscriptions here.

Taster’s Review:

Birthday Cake Batter flavored … iced tea?  Wow!  OK, I really wasn’t sure what to expect with this one.  The idea of cake batter flavoring and tea sounded just a little weird.  OK, it sounds a lot weird!  Am I right?

But it didn’t sound so weird that I wasn’t going to try it.  I had to try it.  I love cake batter.  (That’s the best part of making a cake!)  And I love cake batter flavored things.  Specifically, I’m a huge fan of Cold Stone’s cake batter flavored ice cream.  I don’t go to Cold Stone often, but on the occasions that I do go, I do try other flavors but none that I’ve tried have managed to lure me away from that cake batter flavored ice cream.  It’s just too good.

But iced tea?  Hmm.  I hoped for the best as I brewed it.  I went with the hot brew method, bringing 1 quart of freshly filtered water to a boil and then I dropped the tea bag into the water and let it steep for 2 minutes.  Then I poured the tea into my iced tea pitcher and started the process again, this time steeping the bag for 2 1/2 minutes.  Then I let the pitcher come to almost room temperature before I stashed it in the ice box.  Today, I have a pitcher full of cold, refreshing iced tea that tastes like … well, it tasted like cake batter!

Imagine that!  This really does taste like cake batter.  I’m amazed at how well Southern Boy Teas NAILED this flavor.  I taste the sweet, creamy, lightly buttery flavor of cake batter.  All that’s missing is the texture!

And I do still taste the tea.  And together with the cake batter flavor, it’s a really smooth and well rounded flavor that is rich and sweet and decadent.  It tastes a little bit like I’m sipping on dessert rather than iced tea!  And I’m not opposed to that at all!

This might be my favorite flavor yet.  I’m glad I have another pouch of this flavor because I want to try cold brewing it next time!

Ginger Green Tea from Teatulia

SororiTEA Sisters - Sun, 11/16/2014 - 17:00

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Teatulia

Tea Description:

Comforting and rustic with a flirt of ginger. Harmonious blend that enriches the whole.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Here in the Pacific Northwest, we’ve had a pretty unusual year weather wise.  We had a very uncomfortably hot and humid summer, and those warm days lingered well into October!  When the cold days finally arrived, they were very welcome, but now we’re having some really cold, wet weather.  I certainly prefer the cooler weather because the hot tea tastes so much better when its cold outside.

And ginger is one of my favorite ingredients to enjoy in a tea blend this time of year.  I love that extra warmth that I get from the ginger.  And I’m really enjoying the way the ginger is celebrated in this Ginger Green Tea from Teatulia – one of their newest blends!

There is a pleasant note of lemongrass that adds a bright, citrus-y note that contrasts with the peppery zing of the ginger.  The green tea is sweet, slightly vegetal and lightly buttery.  It’s a very cozy and relaxing cup of tea to enjoy on a cold autumn evening.

And this is a very forgiving tea too.  I accidentally forgot to set the timer and ended up oversteeping by a couple of minutes.  But – no bitterness!  Yay!

I prefer this blend served hot but that may just be the cold weather talking.  The hot tea together with the heat of the ginger is so warming and wonderful.  But, it’s also good iced!  (Try cold-brewing this one.  Yum!)

Teatulia is one of those companies that you can rely upon for organic teas.  This is a company that is socially responsible.  And I love their environmentally responsible packaging!  A really good company that I like doing business with!

Slow Motion Tea Time With Alan Rickman

Tea Guy Speaks - Sat, 11/15/2014 - 20:00
Our most popular video post here at Tea Guy Speaks, and one that we feature from time to time, is a clip of actor Alan Rickman taking his time over a cup of tea and then doing some actorish type grimaces and gestures and whatnot. If he seems to be moving slowly do not adjust your dials. It's part of the Portraits in Dramatic Time series, by David Michalek. More at his Web site.

Adagio Teas - Best Tea Online

How to Cold Brew Iced Tea

Tea Guy Speaks - Sat, 11/15/2014 - 17:21
Depending on where you hang your hat it might be a little late in the year to be thinking about iced tea. But here's Arbor Teas' guide to cold brewing anyway.

The Breville One-Touch Tea Maker

Azores Shade-Grown Orange Pekoe ‘Ponta Branca’ Black Tea from What-Cha Tea

SororiTEA Sisters - Sat, 11/15/2014 - 17:00

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  What-Cha Tea

Tea Description:

Azores Shade-Grown Orange Pekoe is a unique tea with an equally complex taste; a light and smooth start with a brisk full finish.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

When I first opened the pouch of this tea, I noticed the aroma.  It is a strong scent and is reminiscent of leather.  A very masculine scent.

To brew this tea, I put a scoop of the leaves into my small (warmed) teapot and added 12 ounces of boiling water to the teapot and allowed the tea to steep for 3 minutes and then strained the liquid into my favorite tea mug.  The color is dark and the fragrance is softer than that of the dry leaf, smelling vaguely of leather, perhaps, but more like sweet fruit – almost like a sweet, sugary date.

My first sip I took as I was looking at the description above that says “a light and smooth start with a brisk full finish.”  Yeah, I agree with that.  It starts out light with a delicate citrus note but smoother, not quite as astringent as citrus fruit but with the sweetness of an a sweet orange.  It is a bright yet smooth note.  As the sip progresses, I pick up on more of a sweeter, denser type of fruit.  Like a combination of a ripe plum and a ripe peach – all the sweetness of those two fruits but none of the tartness.  As I near the finish, I pick up on some of the sweet caramel-y undertones.

This has a bracing flavor that is very rich and rewarding.  It’s a bold tasting tea, maybe not quite as invigorating as I would want my first cup of tea for the day to be, but this would be an excellent choice for late morning or mid-day.  A great “tea-time” type of tea:  perhaps with some scones or shortbread?  It has that rich, freshly baked type of flavor that I like:  somewhat bready and very satisfying.   It would probably take the additions of milk and honey well, but, I rather like it straight up.  The flavor is sweet and smooth and additions may just overwhelm the tea.  Try this one before you add anything to it.

Another winning tea from What-Cha!  I think that’s all they sell there, because I’ve tried a lot of teas from them and haven’t come across anything disappointing yet!

Serenity Ayurvedic Tea from TeaVeda

SororiTEA Sisters - Sat, 11/15/2014 - 04:59

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black (Decaffeinated)

Where to Buy:  The Veda Company

Tea Description:

Delicious and intriguing blends of peach, pineapple, organic decaffeinated black tea and passion fruit make our “Serenity” tea a welcoming treat to sip slowly and enjoy.

Learn more about the teas from TeaVeda here.

Taster’s Review:

Nice!  Of the various TeaVeda Ayurvedic teas that I’ve tried thus far, I think that this Serenity Tea is my favorite.  I love the fruit flavors of this blend.  I also appreciate that I taste black tea here, but I don’t taste that “off” taste that I sort of expect (and dread) when it comes to decaffeinated teas.  This tastes like black tea.  It doesn’t taste like decaffeinated black tea even though this IS a decaffeinated black tea.  So, like I said.  NICE!

While the fruit flavors are strong, the decaffeinated black tea base is a solid flavor – it doesn’t taste or feel thin the way some decaf black teas do.  Nor does it have that chemical aftertaste that some decaf teas do.  This tastes like a rich, malty black tea.  And it’s a robust black tea, strong enough to hold its own against the plentiful flavors of peach, pineapple and passion fruit!

These tropical fruit flavors are tasty!  The peach is the strongest of the three fruit flavors and it tastes sweet and juicy.  The pineapple adds a bright flavor to the cup.  And the flavor that ties it all together is the passion fruit.  It adds a sweet, luscious flavor that makes the peach taste a little more “tropical” and the pineapple a little more like a fruit from an orchard in Georgia.  This medley of fruit is summery and refreshing and evokes thoughts of laying out on a hammock on a tropical island, watching the sun as it sets over the horizon.  A very serene scene, indeed!

This is a very aptly named tea – sure to inspire Serenity from the inside out.

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