Sunday, April 24, 2011

TongCheng Small Orchid

Another day of spring, another green consumed.
This tea is, again, from the much respected Gingko.

The vessel is a piece by Petr Novak, which I will introduce in a later post.

This tea is a great looking, family made product. The lack of uniformity makes this tea special, and gives it a personal touch.

Smelling the dry leaf brings to mind bamboo shoots, cream and cucumbers. There is no evidence of roasting, which gives this tea a very fresh, clean scent to it.

A submersion in cool water draws out the wonderful gift this tea has to offer.
The liquor is sweet and delectable.
Cucumber, grass and fresh mint come to mind when the first cup is consumed.
The light rain outside the window calms me, and the tea warms me.

This light, delicate tea is very fresh and clean, and truly tastes young. The small shoots used in production can attest to that.

A cooling menthol coats my throat.

I consume several more cups, with each infusion bringing out other subtle notes to capture and relish.

The large amount of leaf I used did not give off any astringency whatsoever.
This tea was well made, and is easy to brew.

Greens are never too much to handle, and never have one stumbling to find descriptors. Each one has its own simple medley of tastes and aromas.

The experience in tasting this fine tea was much improved when sipped out of the handmade cups from Petr. The roughness of one cup and the contrasting glossy smooth surface of the other compliment each other and give a different experience of the tea.

Happy Easter to all; He is risen.


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Orchid Fairy Twig

Now that spring weather has come upon the mid-west, it is time to break into the green teas.

This is a sample from none other than the great green tea aficionado, Gingko (read her review here as well).

Flowers, hay, sweet grass and a mixture of light fruity notes are immediately recognized as the package is opened.
The leaves look very natural and have a good color and texture. The quality is apparent. The leaves are examined, appreciated and then put in the warm gaiwan.

As the water is poured over the leaf for the first infusion, the sweet grass note is accentuated in the aroma. Mint and rosemary accompany it.
Even as this sample is a bit old, it is still quite pungent and fresh.

The liquor has a bold mouthfeel. It is heavy, cooling and smooth.
Light mango and grass flavors are tasted, pondered upon, and then dissipated, making way for chestnuts to leave their toasted flavor; a reminder of the intense care and dedication needed to produce such a tea.
The flavor is fitting for the weather, as the sunlight is illuminating the beautiful scene out my window.

Green bean flavors appear in the latter infusions. On the whole, this tea is mellow, smooth and perfectly astringent.
In some respect, this tea reminds me of a green I had last year.

Spring is fresh and clean, and this tea represents those qualities.
The spent leaves, being suspended by the water, are beautiful.

The scene in the cup matches the mood of the season.


Thursday, April 7, 2011

Promo Codes

Daily Gourmet is offering a specially priced package from Naivetea.

On top of this, I have 10 promo codes that will take $5 off your purchase.

If you have not tried Naivetea yet, definitely should give them a look!

Email me at if you would like a promo code for this great offer!

The first ten to email will receive the codes.


Friday, April 1, 2011

Tea Foam

This post is quite off topic for what I normally post, but it caught my interest recently.

Foam that collects on the surface of tea, sometimes.

The reason it interests me is because it only happens with some teas, and only some of the time; hot, iced, black, green...etc.

I was brewing a Kenyan CTC tea the other day, and when I poured it, foam collected.
When I brewed a full leaf Assam, there was no foam.
I poured a green tea into two different cups; one had foam, and one did not.

Now, the picture (disclaimer) I did not take. The picture is also of instant (powdered) iced tea. I already know the reason that instant tea foams; the amount of solubles, like sweeteners, as well as the mixing process that introduced oxygen into the mix.

But why does loose leaf tea occasionally collect foam?

Search Google and a variety of answers (sometimes incredibly comical) will appear.
Some of the reasons I found:

-Soap residue from a dishwasher that couldn't perform its function properly.

-The introduction of oxygen into the water, when poured, stirs up tannic acid and causes it to foam.

-The mixing of hot and cold water makes foam.

-The dissolved solids in the water cause the foam.

-Hot water scalds the tea and creates the foam.

-A chemical reaction between sugar and caffeine.

-Extremely fine dust and foreign particles on the leaves float to the surface and collect as foam.

-Microwaved water makes tea foam.

-The foam is denatured proteins that detach from the leaves when hot water is poured onto them.

I do not know if any of these are the correct answer, but it was entertaining reading and looking some of this information up! If anyone else digs up anything, please feel free to share!