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“Tea Master” No Longer an Accredited Job in China

World of Tea - Mon, 04/24/2017 - 02:21

As reported on their official website last December, the Chinese government has voted to abolish 114 state-certified professions from its registry of nearly 1,800. These newly un-permitted jobs include vocations...

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Exploring the Teas of Sichuan and Fujian with Jeff Kovac

World of Tea - Mon, 04/24/2017 - 02:19

Jeff Kovac is an instructor and lecturer for the Tea Association of Canada and owner of Four Seasons Tea Co. His tea life began while he was working in Sichuan...

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Tea at 10 of the World’s Best Restaurants

World of Tea - Mon, 04/24/2017 - 02:15

On April 5, the annual and much lauded World’s 50 Best Restaurants list was released. Decided by an Academy of around 1,500 members, made up of chefs, food critics, restaurateurs, and more,...

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The Oolong Compendium

World of Tea - Mon, 04/24/2017 - 01:04

The word Wulong translates to black dragon. The proper pinyin is wūlóng (乌龙), but oolong (a haphazard transliteration) has become the most popular spelling in the West. Wulong leaves are...

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Coconut Green Tea Anyone? #PacificTea

SororiTEA Sisters - Sun, 04/23/2017 - 23:00
Whenever Pacific Tea Company is located, I can with pretty good authority say it’s probably not close to me, you guys. This blend (dubbed “Local Hideaway”), had it been a hideaway local to ME– would probably taste like a snow-covered forest floor. Or a tundra-infused Great Lake. Needless to say, all of the hideaways local to my current home are not exactly flavors you’d want steeping in your cup. But luckily, wherever is local to Pacific Tea tastes far, far better than here. This green blend is strong on the vegetal green notes at the front of the sip, with Read More

Boxty With Honey Soom Darjeeling from A Quarter To Tea. . . .

SororiTEA Sisters - Sun, 04/23/2017 - 19:00
Dag nabbit! I tried this Irish-themed tea too late for Saint Patrick’s day! That is so disappointing! I love a theme! Unlike my timing, this tea is NOT a disappointment. It’s a potato pancake flavored Darjeeling with vanilla and honey. Sounds cool, right? In my home, we call potato pancakes “latkes,” but I doubt that’s what the Irish call it. My brother dumps cheese and salt into his latkes — but it appears that the Irish take a sweeter route. This flavor tends more toward butter and cream. It’s very sweet, smooth on the tongue. It also has a robust Read More

Chocolate Banana Flavored Tea? We’re Listening. . . . #52Teas

SororiTEA Sisters - Sun, 04/23/2017 - 15:00
There is definitely no mistaking that I don’t love banana- banana bread, banana tea, banana pancakes, banana smoothies. I just love bananas! I actually made chocolate covered bananas the other day. I dipped them in milk chocolate and covered them with crumbled graham crackers, crushed peanuts, sprinkles, chocolate chips, and shredded coconut. They were really really good. Sometimes I don’t always have the time to freeze, coat, and roll out chocolate covered bananas. Naturally, tea would be the next best option! You can always rely on 52 Teas for creativity and I know Anne (the mad tea artist at 52 Read More

VariaTea Enjoys a Caramel Oolong. . . . .

SororiTEA Sisters - Sun, 04/23/2017 - 11:00
Nine times out of ten I will pass on an oolong. I just don’t love it as a tea base. However, that one out of ten is usually awesome. Some of my personal favorites are A Quarter to Tea’s On Wisconsin, DAVIDsTEA’s Vanilla Orchid, Lupicia’s Melon Oolong, and this one. When oolong teas are done right, they are just so very right and this is no exception. The base is floral but velvety which blends nicely with the silky caramel flavor that dominates this tea. The saltiness works as a flavor booster, highlighting the creamy sweetness of the caramel. Moreover, Read More

A Cuppa That is Akin to Wilde’s Garden – NovelTea’s Wilde’s Rosy Tea Blend

SororiTEA Sisters - Sat, 04/22/2017 - 23:00
“If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.”  ~Oscar Wilde And that is exactly how I felt about this tea. I wanted to enjoy over and over and I couldn’t get enough! And as the title suggests, I feel that when I drink this tea I am enjoying this beverage in a garden full of freshly bloomed roses while the door that leads into the garden has some jasmine incense wafting out of it. But before I get into my full review here are the specifics. This tea Read More

Orange Cardamom Black Tea from Aftelier Perfumes

SororiTEA Sisters - Sat, 04/22/2017 - 19:00
I didn’t have much information on this tea going into my first cup, so I was surprised to see these black tea leaves unfurl into a deep, dark, red brew.  This tea almost seems like a pu erh rather than an astringent black tea.  The base is earthy, almost smoky, and much richer and more savory that I expected. Aftelier Perfumes describes the tea as “red tea rolled into pearls and roasted,” which makes sense with the musky, toasted notes I tasted. The orange and cardamom are minimal, the most noticeable on the back of each sip.  There’s something sweet Read More

A Black Tea Featuring Tulsi. . . . #ChaiSafari

SororiTEA Sisters - Sat, 04/22/2017 - 15:00
Spiced Tulsi Black from Chai Safari features a wonderous herb called Tulsi/Holy Basil and it’s been a part of the Indian household and culture for ages. This Tea combines the spicy flavour of ginger with the freshness of Tulsi leaves and it has properties to cleanse your mood and deliver a fresh punch that shall sooth your mind and body. I really liked the deep, dark, strong black tea base that was used in this flavored tea. The ginger gave it a spicy pep and the tulsi added the herbal factor into the mix and it was just the right Read More

A Black Tea Inspired by Ireland. . . . #SimpsonandVail

SororiTEA Sisters - Sat, 04/22/2017 - 11:00
Dunmore East Black Tea from Simpson & Vail was inspired by a small fishing village in Ireland called Dunmore East. It’s on the southeastern coast in County Waterford and is a beautiful village and very popular as a vacation destination known for its fishing and water activities, beaches, fabulous restaurants and cafes, music, and breathtaking scenery. Simpson & Vail created Dunmore East Black Tea to honor Cyndi’s wonderful memories of holidays in the village visiting her friends. Cyndi is part of the Harron Family – the Family that is running Simpson & Vail. Simpson & Vail has been a well-known Read More

Enjoying my weekend with Gokuzyo from Japanese Green Tea In

SororiTEA Sisters - Fri, 04/21/2017 - 23:00
  This weekend has been a bit hectic with the new addition of our newest furbaby.  Now-mind you we have 4 kids between my husband and myself ranging in ages from our twin 15 year olds to our 7 year old.  Needless to say, we have a busy house.  So when it was time for me to have a quiet cuppa before anybody else had risen for the day’s festivities, I grabbed this delight. Gokuzyo from Japanese Green Tea In. I will be 100% honest here and say that I haven’t had a straight green tea in some time.  It Read More

The Perfect Black Tea To Sip While Enjoying a Good Book! #PinkyOut

SororiTEA Sisters - Fri, 04/21/2017 - 19:00
My “Grandma T” – the grandmother who was responsible for introducing me to tea at the tender age of 3 – drank tea with her Pinky Out. When I saw this tea come across my desk I knew I had to try it. Even if it was just for the memories of my grandmother. What started off as a tea association for me turned into instant love for the tea itself. The specific tea I’m referring to today is Organic Black Tea from Pinky Out. This is a fantastic, sturdy black tea. There isn’t a lot of description needed as Read More

Friday Round Up: April 16th - April 22nd

Tea For Me Please - Fri, 04/21/2017 - 16:00
A Short Tea Adventure in Vancouver
+Payton Swick visited Vancouver last week and shared a bit on his blog about o5 Tea. This spot has been on my wish list for a long time.

How Much Tea is in a Teaspoon?
I've been an advocate of weighing tea leaves for a long time now. +Georgia SS did an awesome comparison that shows exactly why this is important.

2016 Cream Shou Puer from White2Tea
+Charissa Gascho reviewed a shou puerh from White2Tea that definitely piqued my interest. I love her trial by fire bombproof test.

A rare tea and artisan chocolate soiree curated by The Tea Squirrel
+Anna Mariani hosted an amazing chocolate and tea pairing event in San Francisco. The pictures are beautiful and I can't wait to try some of these combinations myself.

Remembering Mary Lou-Heiss
The tea industry lost an important pioneer recently. +Jo J's tribute to Mary Lou-Heiss of Tea Trekker was both personal and touching.

Teaful - Taste of Taiwan Chapter 2

Notes on Tea - Fri, 04/21/2017 - 15:01
Image: First infusion of Teaful's Ruby #18
Attention tea drinkers, 2017 is the year of Taiwanese black teas! At least in my book, and thankfully the second chapter of Teaful's Taste of Taiwan includes two black teas. One was a Ruby 18 and the other was an Assam, originally from India by way of Japan, grown in the Sun Moon Lake region. The other two teas are a milk oolong and a baozhong. I like the oolongs, who doesn't like Taiwanese oolongs?! But I really enjoyed the black teas. My local source for Taiwanese black tea is Te Company where I usually order the Petite Noir. Chapter 1 of Teaful's Taste of Taiwan had a high mountain black tea, a green tea, and two oolongs.

During the first session with each tea, I adhered to the instructions provided on each tea packet which is a vacuumed sealed foil bag. In terms of the amount of tea used, the information presented is use "a teaspoon or 5 grams" for 8 ounces of water. A teaspoon of tea often does not weigh 5 grams as I wrote about in my earlier post this week titled, How Much Tea is in a Teaspoon?. For example, a teaspoon of baozhong is 1 gram and of milk oolong is 2 grams. I used 5 grams of tea in all four cases. For the first infusion I used the lower end of the steep time given and increased subsequent steeps by 30 seconds to reach the maximum steep time given.

Baozhong

This fall 2016 green oolong was grown in Pinglin in Taipei County. The twisted leaves released a sweet and salty tasting liquor with sweet and very floral flavors. A second infusion revealed green and juicy flavors with a slight acidity. The final infusion was more vegetal than floral. The infused leaves had a mineral fragrance.


Milk oolong
Another fall 2016 tea this time from Minjian in Nantou County. The small tightly balled leaves unfurled to reveal shockingly large leaves. The dry leaves smelled like a milk oolong - creamy, grainy, and sweet. The first infusion's liquor was consistent with the smell of the dry leaves. The second infusion was less intense but the buttery mouthfeel lingered on my palate. I could still detect the sweet grain flavor. The tail note was all vegetal.


Ruby #18
Harvested in summer 2016 from Sun Moon Lake, this black tea has dusky black leaves with golden and red tips. The dry leaves smelled warm, sweet, and hoppy. The rinsed leves smelled of roasted yam and camphor. The amber verging on copper liquor of the first infusion had a big taste that was both sweet and bitter and reflected the smell of the roasted yam and camphor of the dry leaves. There was a bananas foster tail note (did I imagine this?) as well as spicy (read: cinnamon) top notes. The liquor was medium bodied. The second infusion was similar enough to the first one that I did not take notes while the third infusion became more camphorous with increased astringency and bitterness. In a subsequent session with this tea I did not experience any bitterness.


Assam
Like the Ruby #18, this black tea is a summer 2016 harvest from Sun Moon Lake. Wiry twisted dark colored leaves with reddish highlights smelled sweet, grainy, and spicy. The copper colored first infusion was rich tasting and medium bodied. The liquor was malty, brisk, smooth, sweet, and fruity - a lot of flavor in one tea. I could have added milk but did not. Oh, for this tea, I used 6 ounces of water and not 8 ounces as I did for the previous teas. You could used 8 ounces if you like but I appreciate the rich profile. The second infusion was still malty but brisker and thinner bodied. The third infusion was a well balanced cup of sweetness, malty, brisk bordering on bitter, and savory spices. Surprisingly it had more body than the second infusion and this cup's flavors lingered in my throat, a burned flavor of unknown origin.

Image: Second infusion of Teaful's Assam
The four teas in the this chapter of Teaful's Taste of Taiwan were very good in a second session where I used 2.5 grams of tea to 6 ounces of water (195F for the oolongs and 200F for the blacks). The black teas shone!

Taste of Taiwan Chapter 2 was provided by Teaful.

Skysamurai checks out Lu Shan Yun Wu from Teavivre. . . .

SororiTEA Sisters - Fri, 04/21/2017 - 15:00
After reading my review go to the webpage listed before for this tea. It is packed full of great information regarding where the tea came from, how it was processed, and even how the climate affects the leaves. One who loves tea should also love to learn. . . . . Let’s start off with the dry leaves. They have a truly unique aroma. Mainly chocolate and malt. If you were to pass this sample around I can guarantee you that only a few people would guess that it is not flavored. Knowing that these tea leaves are hand rolled Read More

Blast from the past: we all love tea, we may just see it differently

T Ching - Fri, 04/21/2017 - 12:55

This article was originally posted to TChing in June of 2015.

If we’re here as contributors, readers or both, it’s most likely because we are fans of tea.   Chef Wemischner loves to be creative with tea in recipes. Ifang Hsieh enjoys traveling and finding new tea experiences.  Michelle Rabin appreciates the health and relaxation benefits of tea.  Rajiv Lochan loves to promote great tea from India and to support small family estates and tea workers.  And so on and so on.  But we all are passionate about tea in one way or another.

Tea is the neutral in all of this.  It allows each of us to build on it whatever we choose to build.  We can steep it, brew it in a machine, infuse it into candy or cookies, and nowadays into cocktails or beer, blend it, grind it to a fine powder, oxidize it (or not), put it in soap to bathe with, lotions to soothe our skin, extracts, vitamins, and so much, much more.  Tea is a leaf and will never be more or less.  It’s what we choose to do with the leaf that has brought about such a huge, multi-faceted group of businesses and people for whom it is the focus.

Tea is white, or green, or yellow, or oolong or black . . . or pu-erh.  Or matcha.  It is delicious to some, a turn-off to others.  It makes some extremely happy, others it just leaves cold.  It has become equal to coffee in foodservice sales, mainly iced and black.  It is an ancient plant with a current surge of trendiness.  As Mintel Global Market Research says:  Tea is hot.

Our grandmothers made us drink it when we were sick, usually with honey.  Now many drink it to stay well and feel good, with great enjoyment.  It has lived in bags for too many years when it would rather be swimming free.  It has been studied by great scientists who have proven what those grandmothers already knew.  Tea is not only good — it’s good for you.

What do you love about tea?  There’s no right or only answer.  A relationship with tea is what you make it.

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The post Blast from the past: we all love tea, we may just see it differently appeared first on T Ching.

Raspberry Flavored Tea Anyone? #Tealightful

SororiTEA Sisters - Fri, 04/21/2017 - 11:00
Raspberry flavors have always been my favorite, from the elementary school era blue manufactured kind of Jolly Ranchers to picking them straight from the vine in a rural southern town. Needless to say, my expectations for this tea were pretty high. And what can I say? They were MET! This tea seems unassuming in that it’s just a plain black base and the raspberry flavoring (and a few freeze-dried raspberries thrown in more for aesthetics) but wow, this is a solid blend. The assam is middle-of-the-road in terms of astringency and the raspberry is sweet, sour, and perfectly flavorful all Read More

Teaful - Taste of Taiwan Chapter 1

Notes on Tea - Thu, 04/20/2017 - 23:30

Bookish tea drinkers will appreciate that Teaful has branded its tea releases as chapters. Each chapter will contain 4 teas from Taiwan totaling 75 grams. Chapter 1, which I review here, is a selection of four Taiwanese teas: Biluo Chun, a green tea from Sanxia; Jade Oolong from Mingjian in Nantou; Alishan Oolong from Chia Yi; and High Mountain Black Tea also from Nantou County. Dong Dong mountain and Shan Lin Xi are both in Nantou County. Dong Ding is also known as Tung Ting. The Teaful Jade Oolong is a dong ding/tung ting. Ali Shan originates in the Chia Yi district. The first of the teas I drank was the High Mountain Black Tea. I had drunk around the same time a Taiwanese black tea at Te Company (either the Jade Rouge or the Petite Noir or maybe both) and a different Taiwanese black, and Alishan Back, from Unytea. A bit of a tangent here: the Teaful black, I think, is processed from the Alishan cultivar Qing Xin. This same cultivar is the base tea for Te Company's Petite Noir and Unytea's Alishan Black. The Jae Rouge from Te Company is made from the Hongyu/TRES # 18 aka T-18 cultivar. I didn't know any of this by rote. I referred to the company's websites and my tea school textbook, TEA by Gascoyne et al.


High Mountain Black Tea

How did I prepare my first session with the High Mountain Black and what did I think of it? I infused 5 grams in 8 ounces of 195F water for 4 minutes per the label. Oh, the dry leaves were long, dark, and twisted. They smelled sweet and of dark dried fruit, maybe cherries. There was definitely a note of very good unsweetened cocoa powder or maybe cacao nibs. (Did you know that raw cacao powder is derived from cold-pressed unroasted cacao beans while cocoa powder is roasted raw cacao powder?) There was also a note of citrus akin to bergamot but not at all similar to Earl Grey. The dry leaves were very fragrant. The steam off the first infusion smelled so good. The taste was sweet like maple syrup on waffles or like melted cotton candy. There were also floral notes. As I finished the first infusion I also detected dates. Have you ever had Deglet date? Try one. The liquor was all caps fragrant and aromatic. The infused leaves were various shades of brown and quite long. They smelled woodsy and of sweet, dark fruit. I resteeped the leaves for 5 minutes at 200F. The flavor profile was similar though less juicy. Also, there was a drying effect. I infused the leaves for a third time using the same parameters. The steam was still fragrant but the liquor was milder tasting, mostly of honey. The mid-note was of cocoa and wood while the endnote was sweet.


After this experience I was excited to drink the other three teas in Chapter 1. I also had my second session with the black tea. For this session, for each tea, I used 2 grams of tea, 6 ounces of water, and 3.5 minute infusion. I used the water temperature recommended on the labels. I took a closer look at the dry leaves of the black tea. They were dark with copper highlights. Some were twisted but some were flat. The dry leaves smelled of honey and fruit. The infused leaves also smelled this way with the addition of malt and cocoa. The taste of the liquor was sweet like maple syrup, malt, lots of chocolate, and fruit as in fruit liqueurs. It was incredibly aromatic. There were also spice notes, vanilla and possibly cinnamon but cinnamon grown in Vietnam. (I was gifted some 10 years ago.)


Biluo Chun
I learned this type of green tea as being from Jiangsu, China. Biluochun is also known as green snail spring. Teaful's offering is from Sanxia, New Teipei City in northwestern Taiwan. The dry leaves colored silver, sage, moss, and forest green are long and slightly twisted. A deep inhale releases notes of hay and cream. The infused leaves smell consistently with the dry ones with the addition of deeply vegetal notes. The liquor was a pale sage color, bright and transparent. It tasted sweet and creamy with a creamy mouthfeel, too. There was a quality that I wrote as "meaty" but this taste could have been green bean or even sunflower seed and walnut ascribed to Dong Shan, a green tea processed from the Qun Ti Xiao Ye Zhong cultivar from which Chinese Bilochun is made. The nose was of the flowers or the actual flesh of summer fruit.


Jade Oolong

This oolong consisted of small, tightly rolled beads of dark green leaves with flecks of sage green which smelled like a creamy malt cereal. The clear yellow green liquor also tasted like a creamy malt cereal. The creaminess was in the mouthfeel, too. There was a striking vegetal note.


Alishan Oolong

Larger beads with more visible stems, this oolong also exuded a creamy fragrance. The pale green liquor distinctly floral and fruity. The lingering end note was sweet.


The High Mountain Black Tea was my favorite of these four Taiwanese teas from Teaful. It harmoniously encompasses many of the notes on the flavor wheel. The Bilochun is flavorful and would appeal to a palate that embraces umami forward teas. The two oolongs were delightful. I think they would shine brighter prepared in a gaiwan with less water and maybe more leaf. My next step is to prepare these oolongs gaiwan-style. Teaful just released Chapter 2 with Baozhong, Milk Oolong, Assam, and Ruby 18. Did you raise your eyebrows at Assam? Given that Teaful offered a Taiwanese Bilochun, a Taiwanese Assam should not be surprising. These types of double take moments are what makes this company's tea box stand out from others. They are offering delicious Taiwanese grown teas associated with other regions and countries. Read the Assam story here.

Taste of Taiwan Chapter 1 teas provided by Teaful.
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