Tea For Me Please

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Want to learn more about tea? Come follow my journey with the leaf. Fun and informative posts, tea reviews and more.Nicole Martinhttps://plus.google.com/103097147251455801975noreply@blogger.comBlogger1674125
Updated: 37 min 26 sec ago

Teavivre Organic Hangzhou Tian Mu Qing Ding Green Tea 2017

Wed, 06/21/2017 - 16:00

Country of Origin: China
Leaf Appearance: downy buds with one or two larger leaves
Steep time: 30 seconds
Water Temperature: 185 degrees
Preparation Method: glass gaiwan
Liquor: pale, greenish gold

I thought the first day of summer was a perfect time to write about a fresh-as-can-be green tea. This one was only just picked on April 10th. It's not quite a pre-qing ming pluck but pretty darned close. The name of this tea is quite a mouthful so let's break things down a bit. Hangzhou is usually known for Dragonwell but many other teas produced there, including Qing Ding. The name means "green summit" which describes both the color of the leaf as well as the quality. Tian Mu is the mountain where it was grown. The name means "eyes on heaven" and refers to the pools on its eastern and western peaks.

The dry leaf was beautiful to look at. My entire sample consisted of needle-like downy buds with just one or two larger leaves. They positively danced in the water while brewing, making me very glad that I opted to use a glass gaiwan. Even when unfurled they were so tiny in size that I could only get a clear picture of a single bud set by placing them on my fingertip.

Although delicate in taste, this tea was aromatic and offered a lot of complexity. It was brothy yet clean with notes of chestnut and sweet vegetables. Sugar snap peas and perfectly cooked asparagus came to mind. Floral aromas also popped up in later infusions. There was no astringency or bitterness, even when the tea was brewed for a bit longer. It yielded multiple delicious infusions when I followed Teavivre's recommended guidelines of increasing the brew time by about 20 seconds for each round.

Organic certification is not really something that I specifically look for when buying tea but it's nice to know that this tea is certified by the USDA, EU, and JAS. I've got several other new spring harvested teas from this company that I'll be sharing in the coming weeks. Have you tried this green tea or any others from Teavivre? Let me know about it in the comments!

Organic Hangzhou Tian Mu Qing Ding Green Tea sample provided for review by Teavivre.

Even More Awesome Tea Creators of YouTube

Mon, 06/19/2017 - 23:17
Almost three years ago I wrote a blog post called Awesome Tea Creators of YouTube. Things have changed a bit since then. Some of the channels on the original list aren't active anymore and several new channels have come onto the scene as well. It was high time that I put together another list.

Teacups and Blossoms

Rebekah has so much energy and passion for tea that is positively infectious. We had the pleasure of meeting in NYC last year and she's exactly the same in person. It's her mission to make tea fun and approachable for everyone.

Tea End Blog

Gabby at Tea End Blog has a great channel that is an extension of her tea blog. In addition to tea and book reviews, she does a ton of contests and giveaways.

Gaiwans on Fleek

How did I not think of this awesome channel name? Gaiwans on Fleek features light-hearted but informative videos from hosts Jason and Erin. They both own tea companies and really know their stuff.

Life's a cup of tea

Stephanie's blog has been featured on my Friday roundup several times but did you know that she has a YouTube channel too? Look for unboxings, hauls, tea reviews and more.

Jenni King

Jenni is a YouTuber who combines two of my favorite things, tea, and reading books. Each season she reports her tea empties, letting us know what she enjoyed and what she didn't.

Hannah Ruth Tea

Hannah is another fellow blogger who makes some really great tea content. She does lots of tastings as well as unboxings, tea-infused cocktails, and informational videos.

Tea Leaf Project

Stephanie is easily one of the most active tea YouTubers. There are lots of tea reviews and unboxings. She also collects a ton of teaware, especially from David's Tea.

Miss Mary Lu

If you love tea, board games, and other geeky things you'll really enjoy the videos Mary puts out twice a week. Tea quite literally transforms her in every video!

While you're headed to YouTube, make sure that you subscribe to my channel too! Do you know of any fantastic tea-focused YouTube channels that I missed? I'll be doing another installment in the future that focuses on tea companies who are making great videos.

Friday Roundup: June 11th - June 17th

Fri, 06/16/2017 - 16:00
NYC tea friends Jee, Sara, and Georgia have been dropping delicious hints about a collaboration that they had been working on. This week we finally got to read all about it!

Oh, How Civilized - Tea Pairing 101: White Tea
Tea Happiness - Tea Pairing 101: White Tea and Cheese
Notes on Tea - Tea Pairing 101: White Teas and French Cheeses

Harney & Son's English Breakfast
Sometimes you just need a good ol' cup of black tea with milk and sugar. If you haven't checked out Tea-tography's beautiful pictures out yet, you're really missing out!

Understanding White2Tea - Leading the Puer Revolution
Cody at The Oolong Drunk gives us a thoughtful breakdown of the story behind eponymous puerh brand White2Tea. I particularly enjoyed the points he made about wrapper design.

Nepali Tea Traders: Nepalese Silver Tips White Tea and Himalayan Golden Black Tea
Another blog whose photography I enjoy is Tea in Spoons. There's something to be said for the beauty of simplicity. This week Connie reviews two of my favorites from Nepali Tea Traders.

Spread Joy to your Tea Stash with Konmari
Katherine at Tea Journey gave some pointers on applying the Konmari method of organization to our tea stash. It's definitely a great reminder to keep what we love and dump what we don't (or at least find a way to repurpose them).

JusTea Purple Leaf Tea

Wed, 06/14/2017 - 16:00

Country of Origin: Kenya
Leaf Appearance: dark, twisted
Steep time: 3 minutes
Water Temperature: 175 degrees
Preparation Method: stainless steel infuser basket
Liquor: pale plum

It's been several years since the last time I shared something from JusTea here on the blog. For those of you that aren't familiar, they are a Vancouver-based company that has sought to bring about much-needed change to the tea industry in Kenya. Farmers make very little per day, largely because the leaves are sold to corporate processing plants. JusTea works to build cooperative processing centers, allowing smallholders to process specialty teas themselves.

Purple tea seems to be getting more and more press these days. Although it is often touted for its antioxidant content, it's important to keep in mind that purple tea is a color variant and not actually a distinct category of tea. A genetic mutation can cause tea plants to have higher levels of anthocyanin, giving the leaves an unusual purple appearance. It is the same antioxidant that gives blueberries their deep blue hue and brings about the brilliant colors of fall foliage. Harvested leaves can be made into any type of tea depending on how they are processed.

The color of the liquor was a sort of hazy plum. Adding a bit of lemon juice to purple tea will really intensify the unique appearance. At first, the taste was fairly light with subtle floral and fruity notes. Although mellow in flavor it quickly became uncomfortably astringent. Even though it had that sharpness the overall effect was a bit flat. I'm generally pretty confident in my ability to evaluate tea but I couldn't help but wonder, is it just me? +Charissa Gascho at Oolong Owl published her review last week and seemed to have a similar experience. Pushing up the water temperature and brew time did seem to help by rounding out the flavor.

The leaves appeared to have some oxidation so they definitely weren't processed as a true green tea nor were they fully oxidized like a black tea. I think that is the bulk of the issue here. This tea doesn't know what kind it is and as a result, neither does the drinker. Writing a review for a tea that I wasn't wowed by can really difficult. At times, I've even been accused of only giving good reviews. The truth is that if I absolutely hate something I do not write about it at all. Life is too short to dwell on bad tea. However, I think there is real potential here. Making tea is not a skill that can be learned quickly. The quality will improve over time as the specialty tea industry grows in Kenya. I can't wait to see where they go in the future!

Purple Leaf Tea sample provided for review by JusTea.

Purple Tea - before lemon juice is added
Purple Tea - after lemon juice has been  added

Confessions of a Teaware Hoarder

Mon, 06/12/2017 - 16:00

When starting any hobby I find that we all tend to indiscriminately collect anything and everything related to our new passion. I've been through this phase in the past with other hobbies (such as collecting Breyer model horses when I was young) but nothing could have prepared me for the overwhelming miasma of stuff that the tea world has to offer. Teapots, teacups, gaiwans, books, and gadgets; if it was related to tea I just had to have it.

After a while, I actually ran out of room to store and display everything. A normal person might have said, "Enough is enough.". I, on the other hand, went to Target and simply bought a larger bookcase. This continued on for several years. While working in NYC I constantly perused thrift stores and local tea shops for my next prize. Combing through local Asian grocery stores was also a favorite activity.

It wasn't until it came time to move in with my boyfriend (and now fiance) that I realized just how much stuff I had accumulated. Jason knew I was into tea but I don't think he was at all prepared for it to invade his person space just yet. When it came time to set up the bookcase in our new apartment, I just couldn't bring myself to reassemble the cluttered mess that was my teaware collection. Anything that had not been used within the last six months was either given away or donated.

I do believe that part of this change had something to with my evolving preferences. When I first started drinking tea, large teapots and infuser baskets were my go-to tools. Nowadays gongfu is my method more often than not. Not only are these pieces are significantly smaller as well as harder to find. They also really need to be suited to the preferences of the individual brewer.

My passion for tea remains as fervent as ever but I'm much more selective about what I purchase these days. I find that I enjoy my collection much more because of this new policy. Everything looks a lot nicer in my apartment to boot! You know what they say, a Petr Novak in the hand is worth two cruddy teapots in the bush.

My revised collection, minus a few pieces that were in use at the time

Are you a teaware hoarder? Have you changed the way that you purchase tea things over time? Tell me all about it in the comments!

This amended article originally appeared in the July 2016 issue of Tea for Me Please Quarterly. Sign up using the form below to receive informative tea articles four times a year. 

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Friday Roundup: June 4th - June 10th

Fri, 06/09/2017 - 16:00
The Jade Leaf's Teaware
James from +Tea DB talked with tea friend +emilio delpozo about him fantastic teaware creations. Those side handled teapots are something that I've had my eye on for a while.

2016 EoT Wuliang Single Tree
I really enjoy Late Steep's style of reviewing. Not only do we get a picture of each steep but we also get a play by play of how the taste evolves. This sheng puerh sounds like it's right up my alley too.

Norwood Pratt and Bruce Richardson Revive the Romance of Tea
I was so happy when I saw an update from +Bruce Richardson this week. A group of tea biz greats are teaming up to revive William Ukers out of print classic, The Romance of Tea. It will be making its debut at World Tea Expo next week.

Tasting: Korean Mt. Jiri Joongjak Hwang Cha by Teas Unique
Korean teas are still pretty hard to find, particularly in the U.S. market. +sara shacket reviewed a delicious black tea from a company that I've seen making the rounds on a lot of blogs. Those chocolate notes are really intriguing!

Tea-infused Negroni, two ways
+Anna Mariani crafted two different versions of the Italian classic negroni that features tea-infused gin. I'm generally more of a whiskey person but these recipes look too good to not try.