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The question I see asked most often by newbies on the forums that I frequent has to do with re-steeping tea. Somehow I made it six years without actually answering it here so I thought that it was about time. First things first, what is meant by the word re-steeping? It simply means getting more than one cup out of the same batch of leaves. For a lot of us in the western hemisphere that is anNicole Martinhttps://firstname.lastname@example.org
To be honest, I was not a fan of Longjing (A.K.A. Dragonwell) for quite some time. I knew what the profile was supposed to be and it seems like none of the samples we were sent for the store hit the mark. Then one day, while seeking out great tea and vendors, someone told me about a man whose wife was raised in China and who had some of the best teas they had ever tasted.
After taking the tip and when speaking with this small vendor, he mentioned he had a great Dragonwell. I’d tried so long to find one I liked enough to bring in that I told him not to bother sending a sample of that because I just couldn’t seem to find one good enough to present to our customers. He told me I really had to try his Dragonwell, that his wife was Chinese and they knew where to find the best teas on their buying trips and that he himself drank it every single day and it was the best. Well, okay then.
Amazed may be the best word to describe the experience when I tasted the sample. It was creamy, almost sweet. It makes me smile, which is the acid test of what comes in and what doesn’t. Others had been bitter or on the verge, the leaves were often brownish and stale-looking. This tea was fresh, bright, and gave several really good infusions. The brewing process in this article was one I have not tried. We recommend low-temperature water and a 2-minutes steep, but never as low as given in this writer’s experience. If it works, I’m all for it.
Green teas are usually the new tea drinker’s hardest to ‘like’. And I truly believe that there are three reasons for that: the tea is bad, the water is too hot and the steep is too long. When these things are corrected (and when you include great filtered water), the difference between a cup of atrocious, bitter green tea and delicious green tea will be experienced.
It’s good to see people who aren’t in the tea business writing about tea. @LaJollaMom is a well-known travel and lifestyle blogger and it’s more proof to me that tea is gaining interest and attention from people in all walks of life. If you haven’t tried Longjing/Dragonwell, don’t give up if the first one–or one hundred–you try don’t meet your expectations. Keep looking until you find the one that makes you smile.
Leaf Type: White
Where to Buy: A Quarter to TeaTea Description:
Hold on to your summer year round, with this cuppa. Combines the flavors of cherry, apple and blueberries with a hint of rum and wine to make the perfect sangria year round.
Learn more about this tea here.Taster’s Review:
This is my second sample from A Quarter to Tea! I chose it for a couple reasons; the big one was that the other two samples I picked out were oolongs and I wanted to get to taste at least one of Lauren’s other tea types. However, I was also interested by the fairly unique ingredients. I’ve never seen Sangria with blueberry, for starters. Finally, I wanted to find a Sangria tea that was an improvement on the other two I’ve tried. DAVIDsTEA had a seasonal Sangria blend which I didn’t mind but didn’t love, and Red Leaf Tea has a Sangria flavour of matcha I currently own but don’t particularly like. And the idea of Sangria with a white base sounds awesome, too!
It was hard to form much of an impression of the tea dry: I could see several chunks of the dry ingredients in the blend, but there wasn’t a distinct aroma. Part of that, I feel, is that in the package Lauren mailed to me the Cherry Chocolate Latte was really a dominant flavour and I think possibly may have contaminated the other teas it was packaged with or, at least, “cancelled out” their aromas – which weren’t as potent/strong. Since Lauren suggests on her Etsy page to ice this and since Sangria really is a drink best consumed cold I decided to go with a cold method of preparation. However, instead of icing I went with cold brewing because that style of preparation is a favourite of mine.
I do find this tea to be very mildly/delicately flavoured overall, with softer and less prominent notes of apple and blueberry and a jammy stonefruit quality which I suppose is the cherry. I want to point out that mild and subtle isn’t actually a bad thing, however Sangria doesn’t have a ‘delicate’ flavour to begin with so it’s not reading as the most accurate flavour profile. Plus it’s a little odd for me to neither taste “orange”/citrus which is such a common Sangria flavour or the wine/rum. As such, while I really like the flavour that I do taste, I find it very hard to drink this and think of it as ‘Sangria’ flavoured. The name just doesn’t seem to match, you know?
I’d be interested to see this tea rebranded as another flavour, maybe even some kind of ‘punch’? This is a refreshing, light, fruity cuppa but in my ‘quest’ for the perfect Sangria tea my expectations just haven’t been met.
Leaf Type: Herbal
Where to Buy: DAVIDsTEATea Description:
Got a blizzard on the way? Score! There’s no better excuse to cozy up inside with a great cup of tea. And this all natural chocolate-mint tisane is the perfect way to warm up on a chilly winter day. With peppermint, cacao nibs and dark chocolate drops, it’s sweet, creamy and oh-so comforting. The best part? Cute little snowflake-shaped sprinkles that add a touch of sweetness. Bring it on, winter!
Learn more about this tea here.Taster’s Review:
Not sure if I’m ready for winter yet if I’m honest. I am quite excited for the limited edition and festive holiday teas, though! This one caught my eye because of its herbal base and combination of chocolate and peppermint. I also think the snowflake sprinkles make a cute addition to the blend.
The scent of this tea isn’t that different from other peppermint and chocolate blends I’ve had in the past. It’s a very earthy, minty and sweet scent.. I’m already expecting those familiar flavors to come rushing back. Sipping… wow! I didn’t think that the peppermint would be nearly that strong. It’s certainly got that sinus-clearing strength. The peppermint slides quickly into a sweetness that reminds me of licorice or perhaps stevia without a funny aftertaste. The end of the sip is where the chocolate comes out.. I do detect just a wisp of white chocolate with a thin mouthfeel.
While I do think that this blend is a great addition to a winter collection, the peppermint is too strong for me.. and the sweetness from the peppermint takes over the cup. I would have liked the chocolate to be a bit stronger and creamier as well. If you enjoy peppermint, this is definitely a blend to try this winter.
. You’ll notice the blank area above this first line. That’s a moment’s silence for the victims of the terrible attacks in Paris in the last 24 hours. It’s three hours later than I normally write my blog, and it’s a struggle to write my usual semi-pointless, mildly aggressive half rant. Seems a bit trite in the face of such appalling loss of life. Of course, it’s a...
Leaf Type: Roiboos
Where to Buy: Simple Loose LeafTea Description:
Our Mint Chamomile tea will put a smile on your face regardless of the day you are having. Brew a cup of this floral, sweet and soothing tea and enjoy a wonderfully fresh finish of this beautiful cup of tea.
Learn more about this tea here.Taster’s Review:
Mint and Chamomile seems to be an unusual combination – I think I’ve only ever tried one other similar blend. Based on that experience, I’d say that this surprises me. It sounds a little odd to begin with, for sure, but they’re ingredients that do actually work well together. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it approximately 5 minutes in boiling water. I made no additions. The dry leaf itself is very herbal-looking – there are whole yellow chamomile flowers, green shreds of peppermint, red rooibos leaves, and a smattering of creamy white chamomile petals. The scent is predominantly minty, with an underlying sweetness from the vanilla flavouring.
The main flavour to taste is, interestingly, the chamomile. It’s sweet and almost thick-tasting, with the characteristic flavour of honey and hay. It’s a flavour I find instantly calming, whatever I’m doing and wherever I am when I taste it. Underlying the chamomile is the sweet creaminess of vanilla. This pushes it almost to the point of too-sweet, and the mid-sip is slightly cloying. Thankfully, though, the mint emerges at the last moment and completely saves the day. It cuts through the sweetness instantly, adding a cooling, refreshing edge that sets this tea back to rights. The combination lingers in the aftertaste, where it unmistakably resembles the flavour of a buttermint. Delicious!
I was expecting to taste more of the rooibos base, given that the liquor is a tell-tale bright red-orange, but I actually can’t pick it out at all amongst the other flavours. I do find rooibos a little woody sometimes, so its absence is no bad thing in my book. I think it’s testament to how well blended this tea is, also, in that the flavours are allowed to shine without interference. I was also expecting the mint to be the main flavour, but I’m pleased that it didn’t take over – the three together are a good pairing, and are balanced enough that they complement rather than compete.
I thoroughly enjoyed this tea, and it’s definitely one I’d consider adding to my cupboard for late evening drinking or just times of stress. It’s a sweet, calming cup with hints of candy – a real winner in my book.
A couple years ago I wrote about how there are a few people working on a new technology here that uses multiple lasers to analyze the chemical components of pretty much anything, and one of the things they could do is to test what’s in Yixing clay. I’ve been working with these folks since then to help them come up with ways that will have practical applications for people who use Yixing pots. They have also improved the technique they’re using as well as the sensitivity of the data, and I thought I can write an update on some of the things they’ve done recently with a few pots of mine.
Basically, I gave them four pots to test, without telling them previously what they were. The idea was to see if the analysis might yield any data that is interesting, and if so, what that might be. The pots I gave them were 1) a regular yixing pot I bought many years ago from a Shanghai tea market, 2) an antique that is an export to Japan, 3) a Japanese tokoname pot, and 4) a fake yixing (it’s so obvious it’s fake it’s pretty painful) but made in the style of a yixing pot, complete with “Zhongguo yixing” seal at the bottom, but the clay is obviously off, also bought from Japan. The experimenters also added one of their own, called “cheap” in the data you see below.
The way they do this analysis is to basically place the teapots on their testing platform, and do a series of laser shots to vaporize a little tiny bit of the teapot, then the second laser does a spectrum analysis of the puff that is created. It looks like this:
So the results of the tests on the five teapots, visualized for simplicity, is as follows:
The X and Y axis are simplifications of the actual data, of which they have about 51k datapoints for total for the five teapots. You can see that the yellow (Tokoname) and orange (fake yixing) almost completely overlap – and in fact if you go find the underlying data shows that there is basically no chance this is happening by accident. In other words, the fake yixing is probably of Japanese origin using Japanese clay that is substantially similar to tokoname clay.
This sort of thing is quite interesting, because if we can build up a database of teapots, then it’s possible to actually use the database to try to authenticate teapots, perhaps even periodize them if we have enough data. That’s for the long run, but it’s quite enticing a prospect.
In the short term though, there are other things that this can do – for example, testing for heavy metals. None of the teapots sampled had any traces of heavy metals, such as lead. Since the tests are conducted on multiple locations on the teapots, it is quite reliable and not down to a single datapoint. That in and of itself could be of interesting application as well, considering how so many people are worried about what’s in their teapots.
As I mentioned last time, I’ve mostly been reduced to drinking tea grandpa style, and have no real prospects of doing a lot of gongfu in the near future. This, however, has proven to be a pretty interesting experiment, because drinking tea grandpa style not only significantly alters your preferences, it also alters your perceptions of why we drink tea and what makes a good tea.
One of the things you do when you drink tea gongfu style is you try (or at least should, anyway) to mitigate the negatives of a particular tea. Is it bitter? Is it sour? When brewing, you try to minimize those things and maximize the pleasurable parts of a tea. When you drink tea grandpa style, however, and especially when you do it like I do with quite a bit of tea leaves, what is actually being drunk is a fairly concentrated, never-ending brew of a tea. Since the water going in is usually boiling hot, it’s not really drinkable until at least a minute or two after the brew has begun. This means that the first few sips isn’t all that different from what you might get from a standardized taste test that you see in tea competitions or the quality evaluation table.
What this has done is to force me to think about what I want to drink, and why. Some teas that are acceptable in gongfu are all of a sudden undrinkable. They reveal to me a sharpness, or unpleasantness, that is otherwise not really detectable when brewed gongfu style, because I have used so many ways to soften the blow, so to speak. So in a sense, what this has done is to reveal to me what each tea is lacking, what the tea’s flaws are, and why it is not good to drink.
Funny enough, most of the teas that I love to hit up when I drink gongfu continue to be great in the grandpa style. It is usually the teas that are on the margins – teas that I felt were decent enough to drink – that have really shown their weakness through drinking them grandpa style. For example, the very cheap 2003 Menghai tuos that I bought a lot of. The tea is decent enough, and even in grandpa style is quite drinkable. However, it does have a bit of sharpness that will still take some time to fade, and makes it currently not my top choice. Another tea, a Yiwu Mahei from 2003 or thereabouts, is rather undrinkable using grandpa style – it is simply too sharp, there are some really unpleasant notes that come through. When drunk gongfu the tea is quite ok – not the greatest, but decent enough. When I grandpa it, I wonder why I bought it at all. It’s not a good thing.
This prolonged period of drinking grandpa style also reminded me of why green tea is favoured to begin with by so many – it’s really quite pleasant to drink in a cup, with just a little bit of leaves, and some water. It’s smooth, it’s fragrant, it’s refreshing. This is especially true of something like Longjing, which is, well, very refreshing. You can’t say the same for the heavy Japanese greens, which tend to overload you with umami. You also can’t say that for some of the more robust greens from other regions. Young puerh is simply too harsh in comparison, and is a much inferior drink. Green oolongs are a wholly different beast, and behave sometimes more like Japanese greens. Longjing is just right – it is what a drink needs to be, after dinner, washing out that heaviness with a little bit of crispness. It was what I started with on this tea journey, it’s what my grandpa favoured the most, and why this tea deserves so much respect.
Whew! I don’t know about you, but I love hot tea. I mean, duh, but wait for it. For me, tea is the ultimate comfort drink. There’s nothing I love more than curling up with a blanket, a book and a hot cuppa. Finally, FINALLY, it’s cool enough to do that (in Seattle – Naomi, you’re on your own in Vegas).
In Seattle, we’ve had a scorcher of a summer and while it’s been wonderful, it’s pretty uncomfortable curling up on a leather sofa in your short shorts and sipping hot tea when it’s 90 and humid. I’m just going to let you sit for a moment with that picture in your mind.
But there’s always iced tea, you say? Well sure. And I drank a considerable amount of iced tea this summer. It’s wonderful and refreshing. There are so many options for turning tea into summer treats.
However, nothing beats a lazy morning, sipping on a piping hot Earl Grey while reading about ghost stories or endless love. There is nothing cozier than curling up in blanket, staring into the fire and breathing in the smell of a jasmine green.
A photo posted by Audrea Fink (@audrea11) on Sep 30, 2015 at 2:18pm PDT
AND. IT’S. FINALLY. TIME. TEA TIME! The best kind of tea time. The fall leaves, morning fog, crisp air, boots and scarves kind of tea time. The time where your cup warms your cold fingers and the steam warms your cool nose.
The best part of it all is that now, it’s going to be the perfect tea time (in Seattle at least) for the next few months. And I’ve already started gearing up the office to be prepared. A co-worker and I built our own little tea cozy corner.
A photo posted by Audrea Fink (@audrea11) on Sep 18, 2015 at 11:32am PDT
That entire cabinet the basket is sitting on is filled with tea, so you can be sure we’re prepared for the teapocalypse here. So bust out your mugs, scarves, boots and hipster hats because it’s finally time to enjoy a proper cup of tea (without sweating and sticking to your leather seat).
It was a fall evening in 2008 that I decided to start a tea blog. In retrospect I knew very little (still do in fact.) However I did have one thing, passion, passion to learn, passion to know, and passion to try. Honestly I had no clue then what the next 7 years would entail, and what I would learn, but knowledge about tea aside, the thing I have learned is what passion can do for life, and
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Placeres una nueva propuesta de TARAGÜI para disfrutar del momento del té sabores más acentuados aromas delicados + nuevo diseño. Se incorporan a la renovada línea de té combinaciones innovadoras de aromas y sabores deliciosos Para disfrutar del té en … Continue reading →
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Hostmaster Pattern / teacup by New Martinsville Glass Company
Vintage Youngsware China Fantasy Pattern
Noritake China April Cook N Serve Teacup ¿dónde consigo la taza? My Eclectic Heart
Details from Willow / colección Teapot diseño by Richard Brendon