At the Expo, I spent a good deal of time at this booth, Naivetea.
This man, Lawrence Lai, was very friendly and informative.
I sampled a few oolongs, and he made a fresh brew of a traditional roast Tie Guan Yin.
All of his teas are from Taiwan, most of them organic, and all of them are of excellent quality.
I also purchased a gaiwan set from him that caught my eye.
It is a porcelain set made by artist Tsun Jen Tuong.
The porcelain is nicely translucent and lightweight. The lid on the gaiwan also does not rest sealed on the cup, a good sign.
The top knob adds a touch of variety that is not overwhelming to such a simple piece of tea ware; traditional, but modern.
The cups are probably the smallest I own, but that is best when appreciating the fine oolongs that are to be prepared with this beautiful vessel.
The saucer is (I believe) lacquered glass and porcelain combination. This is another element that adds some contrast to the stark white body of the cup.
This tea is a sample that Mr. Lai was so gracious enough to give to me.
I appreciate his kindness.
This tea, Da Yu Ling, is a very lightly oxidized, high mountain oolong.
It is grown near the Li Shan region of Taiwan.
The dry leaf has a very potent aroma.
Mostly floral; lavender and rose. A buttery / cream scent is there as well.
The first infusion shows the floral aromas and tastes. The liquor is sweet and smooth, and leaves behind an herbal sage note.
In the second infusion, a mint flavor comes out. There is a very cooling sensation on the tongue and the back of the throat.
The next infusion was consistent with the first two, profile wise.
After the third infusion, I felt the cha qi. This is the first time I have ever really felt a tea affect me.
At first I started to sweat from the brow and the forearms.
There is definitely energy within this tea.
The tea was then felt affecting the lungs; Shallow breathing and a sensation that felt constricting on the inside.
A third sensation followed; shaking.
I became quite jittery and could not even hold my teacup steady.
I have never felt the effects of caffeine until this tea.
This may be because of the elevation that this tea is grown in.
Most of the chemicals in the leaf are exaggerated because of high altitude.
I sat for a very long time trying to realize what just went on in my body.
I sat and payed close attention to the tea's energy.
The tea's effects lasted for about 15 minutes and it was at that point that a marine taste, not quite unlike a Japanese tea, appeared on my palate.
This tea demanded attention and respect.
Very enjoyable experience.
Interview: Gay Hughes of Gay Grace Teas
1 day ago