Know Your Tea

Gift Guide : Give the Perfect Tea

During the holiday season, there are many giftees to consider, not to mention parties to attend. Often, we grapple with what to bring the hostess, what to gift our office mates or best clients, and for that friend who is an aficionado, how can you bring something appropriately impressive without breaking the bank? The gifts you bring should be unique and carry a special message as well, if possible! For the many parties to attend, the hostess gift is usually a bottle of wine, but tea will be served at the surefire dessert time. Help the hostess impress her guests with farm direct, high elevation artisan teas that are whole, loose tea leaves, for a healthy and impressive experience that few have had. Teance features many smaller size samplers that allows the hostess to choose to serve a range of options, and a teapot like this Kinto teapot will be much…

Know Your Tea: Unearthing the Beauty and Uniqueness of White Tea

White tea is not green tea, nor can it be easily defined as just a harvest of tea leaf buds in the spring. White tea was named for the under belly of its unopened leaf buds that retain baby fuzz and make the buds look silvery white. But not all unopened buds are then automatically white teas. The criteria of single origin white tea is three fold: It has to be of the Fujian Da Bai varietals #1, or #2. These varietals produce large, full, whitish leaf buds with a lot of flavor. Indigenous to the northern Fujian area around Fuding, near Taimu mountain, Da Bai varietals are suitable for making green tea as well. It must follow the white tea processing method, which is strictly sun or hot air dried. Modern day production methods include a room where hot air is forced through a room full of bamboo racks…

Getting started with tasting teas: tips on how to become a connoisseur

How does one taste all the depth and nuances of tea like a pro without going through any extensive training? In the connoisseurship of wine, many folks become certified wine sommeliers only to learn its appreciation at a professional level. Tea is more complex on the palate than wine. Yet few of us have the luxury of training in tea tasting to fully appreciate what tea has to offer. However, you can follow these guidelines below to getting acquainted with the process of how to taste tea like a pro: Preparation is important. In the beginning of your taste journey, be sure to set aside the space and time to devote to tasting and learning, without partaking in food or other drinks that might skew your palate. Developing a palate means you have to start fresh. Avoid garlic, spices, curries, and other pungent herbs at least a few hours prior…

The Top 5 Things to Never Ever Ever do to your Tea

ADDENDUM morning of 8/20: After sharing with our lead tea curator/ buyer that we had come up with this list she said, “Well none of that matters unless you start with good tea”! We implore you to take her advice and then heed the list below. Most of us have been drinking tea for a good portion of our lives. The ubiquitous teabag, often used once and discarded or post-dip hanging out on a small plate waiting for that second cup of hot water that typically results in a pallid version of the first. Now, there’s nothing wrong per se with tea bags, as they do hold a certain cultural (and emotional) story for us within the Western world. Our aunts, uncles, grandmothers, and grandfathers typically drank tea and sitting down for a large hot pot of dark and creamy black tea with plenty of sugar does hit a certain spot. Still, just as…

Know Your Tea: Taiwan Beauty Oolong

At the turn of the last century, a tea farmer from the center of Taiwan decided to take his bug bitten tea to the market anyway, since his livelihood depended on it. Other villagers laughed at this farmer, as his tea was rather runted and undergrown and ugly, for once the bugs have bitten the leaves, they stop growing. Undaunted, the farmer went to market, and to his surprise, his tea received raved reviews, and completely sold itself out. Beside himself with joy, he runs back with this victorious announcement, only to find that the other villagers did not believe a word he said. Tall tale, they said, ‘Pong Feng’ cha was what they called it, meaning a puffed up, B.S. tea. To this day, the locals call what is now Taiwan Beauty, one of the most absolutely unique teas in the world, ‘Pong Feng Cha’.  It is now the…

Know your Tea: Green tea and its characteristics

Green tea is like a salad, a fresh fruit, a meadow of spring flowers, or a blade of grass. It is a representation of health, energy, optimism, youth, and sunshine. Green tea is so much about seasonality; remember, no one likes wilted lettuce, droopy flowers, or week-old bread. Every month past a green tea’s production date it loses more and more flavor. Vibrant green teas in the peak spring months of April and May taste like a revelation, while past due green teas are flavorless at best. Most of the asparagus-like sweetness and spring clover fragrances will have been a memory by December. A green tea’s nutrients and vitamins are also the most potent at its peak freshness. Most green teas on the market are not fresh. In fact, there is no harvest or production information, nor expiration dates for many of the name-brand green teas commonly found in supermarkets.…

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