Taste and Flavor

Make your best pot of tea. Start with the right teapot.

The “teapot” as a concept is seemingly a simple device, but each individual teapot has a unique functionality directly related to its material composition and vessel form. When choosing a teapot for use or purchase there are a few factors to consider. Tune in to Facebook live for Teance Tea Lab  with Trevor on Wednesday 9/12 at 10am for more information. MATERIAL COMPOSITION GLAZED CERAMIC Does not add, take away, or adjust the flavors of the tea. Has a high retention for the water temperature. This means the hot water put in the glazed ceramic vessel will not lose its heat very fast. Ideal for most teas and herbal teas. The most neutral material of the three. UNGLAZED CERAMIC OR STONEWARE Yixing ware is a typical example. Water temperature retention is similar to glazed wares This material is porous. These porous wares will season with usage. This means the tea…

How to Steep Tea without Instructions

You just found an old bag of tea, or your friend gifted you some special tea, but there are no steeping instructions. Do not fret, steeping without instructions is easy if you know what to look for. IDENTIFY THE CATEGORY OF TEA: What kind of tea do you have? Green, oolong, red, etc. Different categories of tea require different water temperatures. If the leaves are green and small, you are looking at green tea. If the leaves are covered in small white hairs, then it is a white tea. If the leaves are green and big or rolled, you have a light oolong. Dark, big and/or rolled leaves are likely charcoal roasted oolongs. Small, dark leaves are red/black tea leaves. (Pu-erh tea and herbal teas will be addressed in another post.) Try your best to categorize in order to find a water temperature to start with: Green- 160^F White- 180^F…

The perfect pair: matching exquisite teas with equally exquisite foods

We all enjoy a good meal prepared with love, intention, and skill. And now, farm to table — that which was once obscure — is considered a given. It is not even an added value, but rather something that we, as folks that like to dine out or purchase food from farmer’s markets, have come to expect. Choosing just the right eggplant for that rice dish we are excited to try, or noticing the fresh texture and flavor of the autumn harvested, delicata squash in that risotto from our favorite restaurant down the street. We eat food to relax, to be with friends, to have a treat, maybe to explore something new. The full experience of a lovely glass of wine with just the perfect pasta.  A cup of nutty coffee that really wraps up a meal. Artisanal tea that has been grown at peak elevations and crafted by a…

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…

Luckily for me, I am not easily moved, having clocked in probably…

Luckily for me, I am not easily moved, having clocked in probably an actual million cups of tea and tasted through hundreds, perhaps thousands, of different teas. As far as tea curatorship goes, discerning what is special about a tea when it is a wildly special tea (and then figuring out whether I could actually sell this tea, much later), vs whether the price to value parity is acceptable based on… taste, not appearance, nor name brand, seems to be my forte. So folks, you are drinking my value system.
Though I am not easily moved, today’s highlight of Bailin Gongfu almost made me shed tears. You have to taste it, words, or pictures, or any descriptions from me, will never do it justice. Black teas of the world, get off the stage!

Into the mountain at Bailin village to pay respect to the wild…

Into the mountain at Bailin village to pay respect to the wild white tea bushes. These guanmu bushes branch from the bottom and spread like long gollum fingers, reaching to the sky at around 8-10 feet tall, making it relatively difficult to harvest. The groves are so dense it’s hard to get in to harvest. These white teas were remnants of pre-Communist China, from the grandparents’ generation, and have been left to overgrow for the last 60 years. How does it taste? The topnotch connoisseur grade Bailin gongfu can be made with these wild plants, or the small Fujian varietal. Or we can commission some White Peony King from these instead. So much tea, so few American aficionados….

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