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Friday Round Up: World Tea Expo 2015 Edition

Tea For Me Please - Fri, 05/22/2015 - 16:00
This World Tea Expo edition of the Friday round up is a bit of an extended version. I want to share with you guys all of the great perspectives out there. These talented and passionate folks aren't just fellow bloggers, they're my friends. If I missed anyone, let me know! +Geoffrey Norman  A Business Trip with Benefits Bitter Gourds and No-Pants Awards +Ricardo Caicedo  World Tea Expo 2015 Nicole Martinhttps://plus.google.com/103097147251455801975noreply@blogger.com0

Going to tea

T Ching - Fri, 05/22/2015 - 12:07

You’re going out to tea today,
Be careful what you do;
Let all accounts that I shall hear,
Be pleasant ones, of you.

Don’t spill your tea, or gnaw your bread,
And don’t tease one another;
And Fanny mustn’t talk too much,
Or quarrel with her brother.

Say”if you Please,” and “Thank you,”
Come home at eight O’clock;
And Ethel, pray be careful, dear,
And do not tear your frock.

Now mind your manners, children five,
Attend to what I say;
and then perhaps, I’ll let you go,
Again, another day.
~Kate Greenaway

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The post Going to tea appeared first on T Ching.

Golden Monkey Black Tea by Teavivre

SororiTEA Sisters - Fri, 05/22/2015 - 10:00
Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Teavivre

Tea Description:

Coming from Fujian, the Golden Monkey is made of the fresh buds and leaves of Fuding Pekoe, by lightly sun withering, rolling, fermentation and drying. Golden Monkey has the particular aroma of black tea. You could scent the fruity flavor through every sip of the tea.

The golden hairy tips truly make this tea more attractive. This is one reason why it is called Golden Monkey. Another reason is its monkey-claw-liked shape of the dry tea, which is in golden and black color. When brewed, the Golden Monkey Tea tastes brisk and smooth for the first sip, presenting a distinctive flavor. If you like stronger flavor, you could brew for a longer time. The sweet aftertaste could act faster for thicker liquid. You could only feel it when trying by yourself.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

In my opinion, Golden Monkey is a Teavivre classic – one that all tea lovers (and particularly black tea lovers) should try at some point. It’s a cupboard staple for me, perfect in any season, and at any time of the day or night. It’s a real comfort tea, for me. Reliable, versatile, and tasty to boot! I used 1 tsp of leaf for my current cup, and gave it approximately 2.5 minutes in boiling water. The resulting liquor is lightly golden, the scent sweet and malty with an underlying hint of grain. I’m drinking it without additions today, hence the reasonably low steep time on this occasion, but it also works well with a 4 minute brew and a splash of milk.

One of the reasons I like this one so much is its almost intensely chocolatey initial flavour. It’s like a square of high quality dark chocolate; bittersweet, with an edge of dark, dry cacao. The malty notes emerge in the mid-sip, and make this a much sweeter prospect, which becomes a little reminiscent of molasses. It’s by no means overpowering, though – there’s just a hint of something treacley lurking in the background. Notes of baked bread, grain and a light nuttiness develop towards the end of the sip, along with a smooth caramel richness.

I like that this  can be a layered, nuanced cup without milk – there’s a lot to taste, but it all somehow works together to create a flavourful, full-bodied cup that’s immensely satisfying. It’s a little more generic with milk, which seems to flatten some of the flavours and drown others, but I can enjoy it either way. A cup with milk typically features, for me, a stronger note of baked bread, a little chocolate, and a similar level of malt and grain. It’s a slightly altered, less intense flavour profile, but sometimes that’s exactly what I want.  Golden Monkey is tea that suits any mood. Once you’ve tried it, you’ll never look back.

The post Golden Monkey Black Tea by Teavivre appeared first on SororiTea Sisters.

Menghai Wangshuji Shou Pu-erh in Seventh Grade 2008 from Wymm Tea

SororiTEA Sisters - Fri, 05/22/2015 - 03:59
Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Pu-erh

Where to Buy:  Wymm Tea

Tea Description:

This shou pu-erh brews with a rich and honey flavor and long-lasting jasmine rice aroma. Full tea leaves from high mountains in Menghai County, located in west of Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture in Yunnan Province, are picked to make the tea in 2008. Pu-erh tea has the potential to ferment over time, and this tea has been post-fermented for 6 years since production. Post-fermentation gives the tea vibrant flavours and richer aroma as well as deep wine colour.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

This Menghai Wangshuji Shou Pu-erh in Seventh Grade 2008 is the fourth of the teas that I was sent by Wymm Tea in their lovely sampler presentation package.  These samplers come beautifully wrapped in a milk-carton shaped box.  (You can see the box in this review.)

As I’ve mentioned many times:  pu-erh just isn’t my favorite type of tea.  But, after trial and error, I learned the ways to best brew pu-erh to my liking and I’ve come to appreciate it.  It still isn’t my favorite, but I can say that I enjoy pu-erh tea.

This little pillow of pu-erh is one of four that came in my little ‘milk carton’ box from Wymm Tea.

When it comes to pu-erh, though, I find that I tend to prefer sheng to shou.  What’s the difference?  Well, I’m no expert on the subject of pu-erh, but what I’ve come to understand is that sheng tea is raw tea material that has been aged while shou tea is cooked tea material which seems to accelerate the aging process a bit.  Why do I prefer sheng?  Because while my experience with pu-erh is rather limited (again, I’m no expert!), my limited experience has taught me that shou pu-erh tends to be the pu-erh that sometimes has a briny or fishy flavor and the shou pu-erh tends to be the earthiest tasting (as in, it sometimes tastes of dirt).

But NOT this shou!  This is LOVELY!  This is so lovely that it has me rethinking my stance on pu-erh!

Sweet!  Mellow!  Smooth!  All those words come to mind as I sip this.  I taste no brine, no fish, no strong earthy dirty flavors.  Just wonderfully mellow flavors.  A sweet honeyed undertone with hints of burnt sugar caramel.  I taste notes of earth but not dirt.  This is more like damp, woodsy notes, evoking thoughts of a walk through the old-growth forests here in the Pacific Northwest after it rained.  (We get some rain up here.)

I also taste very subtle hints of rice.  The description of the tea suggests a jasmine rice note, I don’t know if it’s jasmine rice that I taste (I’m very familiar with jasmine rice as it’s my go-to rice in my pantry), but then again, this is only my first cup – perhaps those flavors will reveal themselves in later infusions.  For now, I find myself in awe of the beautiful honey notes.  So sweet.  So delightful.

With my second cup, those aforementioned jasmine rice notes begin to emerge.  I taste less of that honey flavor, but more of the sweet rice flavor and that’s quite pleasant.  The flavor is still very mellow and smooth but it’s deeper and stronger than the first cup.  I taste notes of burnt sugar and rice, hints of flower and a soft woodsy note. I love that there’s not even a hint of astringency or bitterness here.  Just lovely!

I enjoyed this tea immensely!  The later infusions (I got eight infusions out of this tea!) were just as mellow and smooth – but with each infusion, I found a deeper flavor.  I never really experienced any strong earthy notes – bonus! – and I enjoyed a lovely sweetness from the notes of rice and hints of molasses and honey.  A truly remarkable shou!  This is the shou I’d recommend to someone who has had some unfavorable experiences in the past with shou pu-erh, this tea will change your mind about shou!

The post Menghai Wangshuji Shou Pu-erh in Seventh Grade 2008 from Wymm Tea appeared first on SororiTea Sisters.

K-cups

A Tea Addict's Journal - Thu, 05/21/2015 - 22:33

Many of you have probably seen these machines, some of you probably use it on a regular basis at work or at home, and others have most likely at least heard about it. Keurig is one of these companies that make single-use pods for caffeinated (mostly) drinks. You stick the cup in the machine, you press a button, and out comes a cup of whatever it is that you were promised. Sounds good enough? I remember we had one of these almost 15 years ago at my workplace then, when these were still pretty novel. I never used it, of course, because back then the selection was almost entirely coffee. Nowadays they have everything you can name, and are much more common than before. The other big player in this market is Nespresso, of course, which is more common in Hong Kong but based on more or less the same idea.

This machine you see here was in our hotel room on a recent trip we made back to North America. Among the cups we got in the room were the above two – a Tazo Awake tea (basically an English breakfast blend) and a Celestial Seasonings Antioxidant Green Tea. In the name of science, I had to try them.

Brewing the tea was of course pretty simple – you stick the cups in, you put water in, you press the button. Then out comes the tea. The first thing you might notice from this picture is that the green tea is really, really cloudy, while the black tea was ok, for the most part. If you were there, you’ll also note that the green tea is almost entirely devoid of any aroma – you can barely smell anything putting your nose up against the cup. The black tea was a little better, with a smell that is recognizable as an English breakfast blend of sorts.

The taste pretty much confirms what you can already guess – the green tea, if we can even call it that, was awful. The closest thing I’ve tasted that is like this is a really stale, really old green tea. It’s bitter, it’s devoid of any meaningful flavour, and it’s just…. plain nasty. I don’t discount the possibility that, in this small town hotel, the green tea has indeed been sitting around for a while. However, since they dropped off this pod at our request, that this could’ve been recycled multiple times also seems somewhat unlikely.

The black tea was drinkable – it’s not great by any stretch of imagination, but it’s drinkable. If in a pinch, I’d be ok with drinking this. If your alternative is a teabag from pretty much anywhere else, the teabag will win. The body of this cup is also quite thin, with a weak aroma and a weird aftertaste. It’s not spit-it-out bad (the way the green tea is) but it’s not exactly a winner.

I of course had no expectation of great tea coming in. You can pretty much guess this is tea of the nasty-grade variety. I was a bit surprised that the green tea is this bad – I expected something remotely drinkable, but instead got a flavourless bitter pill, basically. The leaves they use are of course teabag grade – you can see it’s the usual materials you find in teabags. I think the infusion method, which uses a drip-coffee style mini-filter, just doesn’t work for tea.

On the Keurig website, buyers have rated the Tazo k-cup a 5 star. The Celestial Seasonings green tea, on the other hand, is 3.5 star. As you know, a 3.5 star rating is pretty much crap in the online world. Glad to know the buyers are somewhat discerning. It’s no wonder that they need to add the word “antioxidant” in there – the tea is not going to sell itself.

The thing that gets me about these things is cost. One k-cup will set you back about 90 cents USD per cup. In contrast, a teabag will be about 30 cents per cup if you buy one box, dropping to 20 cents if you are willing to buy in bulk (prices from Amazon). The green tea is a bit cheaper, but that thing shouldn’t be drunk even if it’s free. That means the k-cups are easily 3-4 times more expensive than the traditional teabag, yet it delivers a far inferior product. I would argue it’s really not much more convenient than a teabag either – unlike coffee, which is a bit of a pain to make on a per-cup basis, tea is actually quite easy to handle. In other words, get some teabags and stop paying extra for a terrible cup of tea.

Caramel au beurre Oolong Tea from Dammann Freres

SororiTEA Sisters - Thu, 05/21/2015 - 22:00
Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy: Dammann Freres

Tea Description:

Natural velvety notes of an oolong tea here combined with those sweet and savory of a caramel aroma. A subtle balance between vegetal notes and the greedy notes of toffee that many will taste with treat in a delicious and gourmet cup.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Caramel au beurre sale from Dammann Freres is quite a fragrant tea. It smells like a caramel lovers heaven. I count myself as a fanatic of the caramelized sugar crowd, so consider me on cloud nine. The tightly rolled dark green nuggets of oolong goodness looked almost like a dark roast in the package, which got me worried. I am not a huge fan of dark roasted oolongs. But brewing this up in my gaiwan, the hot water turned these nuggets of pure magic into bright green leaves, almost exploding out of the cup.

This tea is, in short, like drinking liquid gold. I am, of course, assuming that gold tastes like the best, creamiest, richest, homemade caramel you have ever tasted. The tea soup is thick and smooth. The oolong base is well-paired with the flavors of the rich caramel. The smooth floral notes of rose and lilac sing out with the sweetness of the caramel. And don’t even get me started about the aroma. It’s so good it would knock the whole town of Werther, Germany off it’s feet. (In case you did not know, Werther is the name of the town in Germany where the Werther’s caramel hard candies were named after.)

The French do a great job with flavored teas. They are gaining quite a following throughout the world. Even countries that have been producing their own classical teas have been exploding with growth in these areas. These tea boutiques provide the aesthetic that looks like wealth. Drinking French tea in an English style teapot is a fashion accessory the same way a Burberry coat and a Coach handbag displays wealth. While I do not own either, I am happy to sip my fancy French tea from my chipped gaiwan. Whenever I feel the need to be fancy, I will put on my pop-bead pearls and sips this tea daintily!

The post Caramel au beurre Oolong Tea from Dammann Freres appeared first on SororiTea Sisters.

World Tea Expo 2015 - Day 3

Tea For Me Please - Thu, 05/21/2015 - 21:00
The guys at +The Finest Brew promised to share some 28 year old "pocket oolong" if I won an award so their booth was one of my first stops. +Geoffrey Norman and +Chris Giddings had already been there for some time (not that I'm surprised!) but we were soon joined by +Rachana Rachel Carter, +Nicole Schwartz, +Ricardo Caicedo, +Charissa Gascho, Phil from +World Tea House and TJ from World Tea Nicole Martinhttps://plus.google.com/103097147251455801975noreply@blogger.com0

Canton Assam Black Tea from Canton Tea Co.

SororiTEA Sisters - Thu, 05/21/2015 - 16:00
Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Canton Tea Co.

Tea Description:

We have waited a long time to bring in our own house Assam. Now we have one to shout about and have made it a Canton signature tea. It is a blend of two, high grade, Khongea Estate teas – one of which has just won the North American Tea Championships in the Assam category. That’s how good it is. The family-owned estate is known to us and we are delighted to be working closely with them. Do what Assam is made to do and steep the leaves for several minutes to get a really good, strong, dark liquor that is smooth and rich with notes of fruit. Not heavily malty, but brisk and full-bodied making it a classic breakfast tea which works well with milk. As with all of our teas, it can also be brewed light and quick and enjoyed it without milk. The golden tips you can see in the dry leaf is the higher grade CL.GFBOP: Clonal Golden Flowery Broken Orange Pekoe.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I don’t think that Assam teas are actually my favorite type of black tea but I can’t deny that when I find an Assam tea in my stash of teas to try, I’m a happy sipper.  Assam teas may not be my favorite, but a good Assam tea is certainly always welcome in my teacup – I love that rich, robust, malty flavor that it provides.

And this Canton Assam Black Tea from Canton Tea Co. has what I typically look for in an Assam tea, although it is a little different than what I would normally expect.

This Assam is a bit smoother than I’m typically used to in an Assam – it isn’t quite as astringent.  But the trade-in for that is that it does lack a little bit of the strong, hefty body that I usually expect from an Assam.  It’s not quite as strong or sturdy as a typical Assam – although this would still make a great breakfast tea.  It’s still a robust, bold tea – but it’s a little lighter and smoother than what you might be expecting from an Assam.

It’s also not quite as malty as I usually expect.  There is still malty notes here and hints of caramel.  It’s still pleasantly sweet.  But, I’m getting more sweetness from a stone fruit (plum) note than I am from caramel or malt.  I also taste hints of raisin that are quite nice.

It’s still a full-bodied tea – it’s just not quite as rugged as I usually experience with an Assam.  But that’s OK – it’s still really good and it reaffirms for me just why I get excited when I am offered a new-to-me Assam to try.

I like that I can try a tea and have an idea of what to expect and get something a little different than I expected.  That’s one of the great things about tea and why I encourage people to try different teas!  Even if you’ve tried Assam teas in the past (and this applies to any other type of tea as well) – and even if that experience wasn’t all of what you wanted, you shouldn’t give up on Assam.  Try new teas and you might just find one that you not only like, but LOVE!  It’s a journey well worth taking when you find that tea that becomes your new favorite.

So if you’re looking for a new Assam to try – you should consider this one!  It’s lovely!

The post Canton Assam Black Tea from Canton Tea Co. appeared first on SororiTea Sisters.

World Tea Expo 2015: World Tea Awards Dinner

Tea For Me Please - Thu, 05/21/2015 - 16:00
I really don't know if there's anything better than getting dressed up to attend an evening gala with your closest tea friends. +Rachana Rachel Carter had the brilliant idea of reserving a table for all of us. Everyone looked fabulous, particularly +Geoffrey Norman who had borrowed a festive hat from +Michael Petersen. I had a bit of nervous excitement because I was nominated for two awards, Nicole Martinhttps://plus.google.com/103097147251455801975noreply@blogger.com0

Afternoon Tea: Two E Bar at The Pierre

Notes on Tea - Thu, 05/21/2015 - 15:00

Social media has made it possible to make virtual friends and I've been lucky that it's even better to meet them in person. This was definitely the case when I met Lisa Kunizaki of Chambre de Sucre last fall at an afternoon tea at The Pierre's Two E Bar and Lounge. Alexis arranged the tea and Jee was a guest too. The Pierre gave each of us a lovely notebook. It makes a great prop! I am looking forward to using mine when one of my current notebooks is completed.  Now, on to the tea service.


I enjoyed most of the sandwiches -- I can't speak to the meat ones. The scones were good too and served with cream, lemon curd, jam. Butter cookies were served alongside the scones. The pastries were very good -- financiers, tartlets, meringues, madeleines, macarons. Thankfully each item was a small portion so one could eat one of everything.


This is my favorite photograph from the afternoon tea. If memory serves correct, it was the Assam.

Mastery: why tea tastes different when they make it

T Ching - Thu, 05/21/2015 - 12:05

As a boy, I spent a great amount of time in my grandmother’s kitchen. We would talk about life and she would do her best to teach me how to prepare meals. “As a host, you only need to know one or two recipes really well and learn how to make them delicious.” Grandma would show me the difference between olive oil and butter and what basil did to a dish when added before cooking or after cooking.

At twelve years old, I took home a recipe card for grandmother’s famous Million Dollar Chocolate Cake. This was a cake that was served only for special occasions, and just another birthday was not quite special enough. This cake is phenomenal, unlike any I have ever had, and now it was my turn to make what grandmother could make.

A recipe that should only, “take you an hour at the most,” kept me in the kitchen that night for six hours, often calling grandma for help or to ask for more details which were left out. I followed that recipe to the exact teaspoon and minute, but guess what? The cake came out of the oven looking completely different and, sadly, tasting nothing like what grandma was known for. It ended up more like a 200 dollar cake than a million.

Fast forward a dozen years, and it was getting closer and closer to what I was used to. I had the benefit of trying Grandma’s cake many more times to know what mine should taste like. We are all masters of something. There is at least one thing that we do better than anyone else.

That mastery, or Gung Fu, in Chinese, came from much practice and thoughtfulness. Time, that precious medicine to fix so much, helps us to perfect what we dedicate our lives to. A 91 year old mother-of-five will most likely bake a cake better than a 12 year-old keeper of toy soldiers. This mastery is important; this mastery is why we can so easily spoil or be spoiled.

We have all experienced this before. We have a wonderful tea at a friend’s home, take it to our home, and it tastes different. Sure there are variables, but we are the biggest variable. If a butcher were to hand me the finest cut filet from the highest quality source, I would completely ruin that steak. This is the same for tea.

With time, I can make that filet delicious, and with time, your teas will become more than you had imagined. The dedication to finding a tea’s FULL potential, and life’s full potential, will allow something so beautiful to come forth, you will swear that grandma switched the cakes when you walked into the other room.

Mastery is present in every step along the way of tea. It is there when they plant the tea tree, as positioning is so important and often the farmer will bring in experts to help them with location. It is there when picking; when firing; when rolling. One can follow grandma’s recipe perfectly with all the same ingredients, but it will not taste the same until we understand what we are doing with each step.

The farmer must know what and why they are doing what they are doing. A few seconds too long in the wok, it is gone. If they try to cut corners, it will be present in the leaf. If a farmer does not fully grasp one step of the process, they will bring in a master – a late night call to grandma – to teach them or to perform it for them.

We must remain humble and unsure until we reach perfection.

We must not blame it on the water or on the utensils, let us instead sit longer and perfect. Pouring the water from this height tastes like this and adds these bubbles; using clay instead of porcelain does this to the aroma; using a small cup versus a mug changes how I swallow.

Each step matters. Each day matters.

Just as we were all born with all that we need to excel, these leaves are given to us with all they need to become a beverage, and eventually, a way of life. The farmer’s dedication and mastery will go unnoticed if the tea drinker doesn’t take the time to first practice Gong Fu for his or her part.

During tastings or events, I will often ask someone to come up from the crowd to prepare tea for us for a pot or two. Grandmother learned her recipe from somewhere, and we are all constantly learning and perfecting aspects of our lives. Once you have had a wonderful day, you will know how to have another; and once you have tried delicious tea, you will know what your tea is capable of and work towards having another.

In so many crafts around the world, skill-sets are passed down by the generations. This is why a new farmer probably won’t produce his best crop his first year and this is why a new tea drinker probably won’t make her finest cup of tea her first few years. However, with time, dozens of athletes each year go from being small names in their community to winning gold medals in the World Olympics.

Gong Fu Cha, the art of making tea, takes tea from a beverage to an art form, and from an art form to a way of life. Be patient and watch what is happening and you will create something beautiful. With time, your grandchildren will begin to call you asking you to teach them all you know.

Images courtesy of Nicholas Lozito of Misty Peak Teas.

The post Mastery: why tea tastes different when they make it appeared first on T Ching.

Topsy Turvy Black Tea from Disney Wonderland Tea

SororiTEA Sisters - Thu, 05/21/2015 - 10:00
Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy: Disney World! (You can also find it on Ebay/Amazon)

Tea Description:

You’ll fall head over heels for this premium blend of black tea with a delicious citrus and fruity flavor. Hurry up before it disappears from your cup!

Learn more about this tea on Steepster.

Taster’s Review:

For someone who isn’t all that crazy about Earl Grey I’ve certainly been drinking a lot of it this week…

It’s about time I tried this one; my Mom was nice enough to hunt for it for me when she went to Disney last year and it took months to make it from her house back to me; and then months again for me to actually try it.

At least it not only was in a sealed tin (an absolutely gorgeous one by the way) but in a vacuum sealed foil back as well. Also, I don’t know why I thought this was Earl Grey and rose, because it’s not – maybe since the tin is covered in pink script with tons of decals of roses on it? But it doesn’t actually say rose anywhere so I should’ve known better than to assume.

Dry this smells very, very citrus heavy with more of a fresh peeled orange scent than a distinctly bergamot one. And, it actually does come off a tiny bit floral too. I prepped this as a cold brew because I thought since the orange seemed to be quite strong that it would brew up fairly sweet.

It actually does taste a little more like plain orange than bergamot, though the bergamot is significantly stronger in taste than it was in the smell. It’s kind of weird though; it doesn’t taste like the bergamot oil has turned or spoiled but it is clashing a little bit with the orange, which is more of a candy orange than a natural one and with the faint taste of floral notes, which are natural tasting, things aren’t fitting together seamlessly here.

What it ends up equating to is a fairly average Earl Grey that I think you’d find yourself drinking more for the Disney/Alice in Wonderland aspect than for the taste of the tea itself. And that’s perfectly ok because if we’re being honest here I think that’s who it’s ultimately marketed for anyway.

I’m quite happy I finally tried it though!

 

The post Topsy Turvy Black Tea from Disney Wonderland Tea appeared first on SororiTea Sisters.

Pandan Chiffon Green Tea from Ette Tea

SororiTEA Sisters - Wed, 05/20/2015 - 22:00
Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Ette Tea

Tea Description:

Inspired and named after a local favourite dessert cake, Pandan Chiffon is a blend of roasted green tea, pandan leaves, osmanthus blossoms and cinnamon. 

It is reduced in caffeine and we recommend to drink Pandan Chiffon on its own and without sugar.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Recently I had the opportunity to take part in a group order from Ette Tea, a relatively new company based in Singapore. They only have six blends currently, but they all appear to be very well thought out and the range of diverse flavours is impressive. Being able to take advantage of buying smaller sample sizes was the nail in the coffin on what probably would’ve been an inevitable order anyway.

This isn’t one of the blends I was initially more excited about; but it smells very good! Quite sweet with cake like elements and a playful touch of spice. I’m definitely getting notes from the dry smell that remind me of caramel or lightly burnt sugar. Mmm! And, because this is one of the lighter blends I ended up with a lot more of it than any of the other samples so I’m taking advantage of trying this one in a different way than a lot of the people from our group order appear to have done; cold brewing! That is my go to, after all.

I’m surprised by how sweet this is; though I don’t necessarily know why. Every other run in I’ve had with ‘chiffon’, be it tea or in real life, is sweet so I should have expected as much from this even though it doesn’t have ingredients that necessarily go hand in hand with more dessert-like teas.

There’s a lot going on but it’s harmonious; I’m picking up sweeter top notes like caramel and vanilla and a pastry-like cinnamon (like cinnamon sugar, sort of) which together are reminding me of Stroopwafel! That’s definitely not what I was expecting to get from this blend but it’s wonderful. I’m also getting some light roasty notes from the hojicha, though not as dominant as I anticipated. They’re great support though and keep this tea from tasting too sweet. There’s also a sweet, starchy taste present: in part I think that’s what making me think of the “waffle” part of the stroopwafel flavour going on, but it also reminds me loosely of sweet potato.

The osmanthus is somewhere in the middle; not as strong as the sweeter notes but not as light as the roasty/potato notes either. It doesn’t tie in the the Stroopwafel thing I’ve got going on, but what it DOES do is really, really round this tea out and give it a lot of depth. My only complaint is that this left quite a bit of sediment/fannings in the bottom of my brewing vessel. But even then it’s not a huge deal with cold brews anyway.

For my first tea from Ette Tea I’m very impressed! If all the others are half as good and interesting as this one it’ll be one of the most successful tea orders I’ve ever made. Yeah, this definitely set the bar high for the others. I don’t know if that’s for better or worse. I really want to try actual Pandan Chiffon now! I don’t know if there’s anywhere in town to get it…

I need a hookup ASAP!

The post Pandan Chiffon Green Tea from Ette Tea appeared first on SororiTea Sisters.

World Tea Expo 2015 - Day 2

Tea For Me Please - Wed, 05/20/2015 - 21:00
I fully intended to get to the expo center early so that I could attend Selena Ahmed's talk, Promoting Sustainability and Climate Mitigation in the Global Tea System. First I missed my bus by mere seconds. I got on the next bus some 20 minutes later and about halfway to the convention center I realized that I had left my press pass at the house. I'm the kind of person that this sort of thing Nicole Martinhttps://plus.google.com/103097147251455801975noreply@blogger.com0

Himalayan Golden Black Tea from Nepali Tea Traders

SororiTEA Sisters - Wed, 05/20/2015 - 16:00
Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

This tea is available from Amoda Tea.

Tea Description:

This award-winning tea is incredible and unique! Its distinct flavour begins with the soil this tea bush is grown in. In Sandakphu, the soil is golden red and absorbs up the monsoon rains. A mild and silky smooth black tea with flavours of stone fruits and honey.There’s an interesting balance here that is reminiscent of both a Chinese Yunnan and a fine Indian Darjeeling. A Must Try!

Learn more about subscribing to Amoda Tea here.

25% of profits from our Nepal teas will be donated to the ‘Nepali Tea’ Restoration Fund for earthquake relief.  Learn more here.

Taster’s Review:

I was really excited when I learned that Amoda Tea would be profiling Nepali Tea Traders with their May subscription box.  And I’m thrilled to be trying this Himalayan Gold Tea!

As I’m sure that most of you are aware, in April of this year, Nepal was devastated by a major earthquake and a second major earthquake hit them again this month.  Nepali Tea has created a ‘restoration fund’ to aid in the earthquake relief efforts and so I’m very pleased at the timeliness of this box!  This is a tremendous opportunity for you to get some fantastic teas and also help out with the restoration efforts!

And I’ve always been pretty impressed with the teas that I’ve tried that were produced in Nepal.  I can’t think of any teas from Nepal that I’ve not enjoyed, and Nepali Tea Traders are some of the best of the best that Nepal has to offer!

And of the teas that I’ve tried from Nepali Tea Traders, I think that this Himalayan Gold stands out.  The above description suggests that it’s a mild tea, but I don’t know if I agree with that assessment.  I do agree that it’s similar to a Yunnan.  I get those spice notes that I might experience in a Yunnan, although I think that the spice notes here are even more profound than in the average Yunnan black tea.

This isn’t very similar to a Darjeeling in my opinion though, mostly because when I think of “Darjeeling” I think of a lighter, crisper type of black tea that is sometimes more similar to a green tea than a black tea.  I think of the muscatel notes of a second flush when I think Darjeeling.  This might be similar to a first flush Darjeeling, perhaps from the estate of Arya.  It has a more pronounced flavor, with notes of raisin and stone fruit.  I am even picking up on some faint notes of smoke in the distance.

This is more robust than mild, in my opinion.  It’s not as robust as say, a sturdy Assam tea, although I am noticing some similarities to an Assam and this Himalayan Gold.  For example, I taste hints of malty undertones and a slight caramel-y note that I’d enjoy with a good Assam.

Overall, I taste a lot of similar notes to many different teas from different regions – all in this one very delightful tea from Nepal.  I like that I’m getting so many things to enjoy with one tea.  This one deserves high praise – it’s a really, really good tea.

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World Tea Expo - Being Rescued by The Lazy Literatus

Tea For Me Please - Wed, 05/20/2015 - 16:00
After grabbing dinner with +Jo J and +Darlene Meyers-Perry on the last day of the expo, I waited for the 121 to take me back to the beach house where the party was already in full swing. Not being super familiar with the area, I learned that I had been waiting on the wrong side of the street. Thankfully the bus hadn't arrived yet so I was able to run across. Unfortunately, that also seemed to Nicole Martinhttps://plus.google.com/103097147251455801975noreply@blogger.com0

Nina’s Japon Tea from Nina’s Paris

SororiTEA Sisters - Wed, 05/20/2015 - 15:59
Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black &  Green Tea Blend

Where to Buy: Nina’s Tea Store

Tea Description:

Black tea, sencha, genmaicha, caramel, vanilla
A marvelous blend of black tea and roasted green tea from Japan. An irresistible dreamy concoction made with crispy rice, vanilla and caramel.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Nina’s Japon from Nina’s Paris can be found on Nina’s Tea Store online or at the international shop, too!  What I love about this offering is that it’s a black and green tea blend.  Having said that, tho, you can taste the green tea much more than the black tea.  The black tea ‘flavor’ is barely there.  The green tea, however, is pretty, well, ‘green tasting’.  It’s more of a flowery-flavored green tea taste than a juicer green.  The vanilla and caramel notes are lovely.  I almost mistakenly took the vanilla/caramel combo for an almond-type flavor.  But it contributed to the overall creaminess of the blend and it was delightful.

I enjoyed the 2nd infusion a bit more than the first because the green tea was a bit more subtle but the other flavors stepped up to the plate a little more than in the first infusion.  This was very nice hot, at room temperature, and cold, too!  I was able to get at least 6 infusions out of it.  The more I drank it the more I enjoyed it and appreciated the blend masters blending talents.  This is a nifty offering and a mighty fine blend!

 

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Bowl 8: Grace and beauty; gong fu tea

T Ching - Wed, 05/20/2015 - 12:03

Our tea life isn’t just about a greater connection to Nature through the Leaf, but an attunement with our self as well. We must therefore cultivate both inner and outer harmony, a flow from the absolute into the relative. We learn this flow through the practice of gong fu tea, refining our sensitivity and grace as we prepare finer and finer tea over time. We must spend adequate time doing exercises to refine our palates, our sensitivity to tea and its Qi as well as some academic study of tea and spiritual matters both, in order to re- fine our intellects as well. We should be able to articulate tea and spiritual matters, and feel comfortable doing so. A mastery of tea includes a grace with all kinds of teaware, preparation, discussion and presentation. We should know dry leaves by appearance and smell and be able to prepare them with a grace and beauty that transcends the ordinary. We should strive to brew the tea the way it wants to be brewed, recognizing its inner nature and becoming a graceful part of that flow. We should also develop our aesthetic sensibilities, in recognition that beauty comes from the Divine; and that it significantly affects our ability to transform others through tea as well. A beautiful tea arrangement aids in one’s transformation. All of this refinement should temper our spirits and teach us how to live in grace.

This is the final post in the series “Eight Bowls of Life.”

Click to read Bowl OneBowl Two, Bowl Three, Bowl FourBowl Five, Bowl Six, and Bowl Seven.

“Eight Bowls of Life” was written by Wu De and first published by Global Tea Hut in February, 2013. Post image courtesy of Global Tea Hut. Loading image from T Ching archives.

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Vicky’s Sponge Cake from Bluebird Tea

SororiTEA Sisters - Wed, 05/20/2015 - 10:00
Tea Information:

Leaf Type: Black

Where to Buy:  Bluebird Tea 

Tea Description:

Think vanilla sponge cake with a dollop of raspberry jam!

There is nothing better than a cuppa and cake (except perhaps a cake flavored cuppa!) and did you know it was our good old queenie Victoria who invented the Vicky Sponge? Guess the name gives it away a bit! She loved taking afternoon tea with her home girls but decided they needed some extra nourishment to last until dinner. Cake it is then! We like your thinking QV!

Ingredients: Ceylon black tea, Coconut, Strawberry granules, Freeze dried raspberries, Raspberry leaves.

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Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I have been eyeing this tea for a while now.  So when a few people expressed interest in a shared order, I didn’t hesitate.  I used to belong to Bluebird Tea’s monthly plan, but with the shipping fees to the States being a bit high and my strong dislike of red rooibos, I thought it would be better to cancel. That was a couple years ago.  Fast forward to a couple days ago when this box of Bluebird Tea arrived at the house.  I squealed I was so excited.

I thought I would wait and share this one with my dad.  He loves tea and mostly drinks bagged tea just for the sheer convenience of it.  He also doesn’t take care of himself so I was hoping this might help him avoid the dessert table during our Mother’s Day festivities.  It didn’t detour him from the table, but I did!

When I opened the tea packet and peeked inside, I couldn’t believe the huge freeze dried raspberries that were in this tea! They looked delicious just on their own.  The mix is very attractive looking.  I scooped a few tablespoons into a tea bag and poured fresh water into the tea kettle.  Brought the water to a boil and threw in the tea.  Steeped for 4 minutes and poured into two mugs.

This smelled just like raspberry jam.  Tasted like it too.  Every once in a while you would pick up the cake like flavor. But I was ok with that.  I wished the cake flavor came out more, but this raspberry jam like taste was simply fantastic. I could barely pick up the black tea base.  The Ceylon tea base was so very smooth.

My dad really enjoyed it and said that out of all the tea we had drank that day, this one he could drink every day -all day.  So very good.  I was able to get another infusion out of it, but the infusion was quite a bit weaker.

After doing a bit of research on Steepster, it looks like cold brewing is the way to go with this tea to get the cake like flavors to really pop. Tonight before I go to bed I am going to have to try this.  It also looks like if you steep this longer, the cake flavors come out more.

Regardless, this tea is outstanding if you enjoy raspberry teas.  And if those cake flavors do pop with cold brewing or maybe shaking up the bag more- then that is just an added bonus!

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Strawberry Lemonade Iced Honeybush Tea from Southern Boy Teas

SororiTEA Sisters - Wed, 05/20/2015 - 03:59
Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Honeybush/Herbal

Where to Buy: Southern Boy Teas

Tea Description:

Premium organic caffeine-free honeybush with organic flavors. Each 14g teabag will make one 2-quart pitcher of DELICIOUS iced tea. Steep teabag in enough boiling water to cover the teabag (and to allow it a little room to expand) for 4 minutes or longer (honeybush cannot be oversteeped). Then combine with ice and water to make a 2-quart pitcher. It couldn’t be simpler–OR more delicious!

Learn more about this tea here.

Learn more about SBT’s subscription here.

Taster’s Review:

Strawberry Lemonade. . yes please! Any tea that has that combination that doesn’t have red rooibos in it, I’m all about.  And oh mama. . .this one did not disappoint!

I have been cold brewing like mad lately! I love it.  I throw a pitcher in at night with either loose leaf or one of these SBT pouches (which are just too handy!) and in the morning before I head out to take the kiddos where they need to go, I have my tea all set.  It is fantastic! For some reason, I always shied away from these in the past, not sure why.  Maybe I was just not sure about the whole cold brew thing. But not anymore!

I am a huge fan of lemonade.  So I thought this one I would enjoy.  I think I cried when I finished this one up and wasn’t able to steep it anymore ( I think I got about 3 infusions out of it).  This is probably my favorite of all of the SBT offerings.  The strawberry flavor is spot on. Sweet but not overly so.  The lemonade has that fresh squeezed lemon taste to it. No chemical taste or artificial tastes to this delightful treat.  Only berry lemon goodness.    Neither flavor dominates the other either.  The honeybush provides the a touch of sweetness and a hint of creaminess to the iced tea.  As I am typing this up I am wondering if I can justify to myself ordering about 10 pouches of this stuff right now. . . just so I have my own little stockpile.

I am really happy with it.  And highly recommend it.  This tea is going to be perfect for the awesome weather coming our way in a few weeks.

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