Tea 201 – White Tea – Downy Buds

white tea Tea 201   White Tea   Downy Buds

White Tea Leaves

White tea is the youngest harvested buds of the Camellia sinensis plant almost exclusively in the Fujian province of China.  It gets its name from the down white hairs that are found on the leaves.  The liquor itself is the most pale of teas and it is known for its mild taste and fresh scent.

White tea is very delicate.  Because of this fact, you should use filtered water that is brought to a high temperature, but not boiling.  A good rule of thumb (if you don’t have a thermometer to test for 140 to 165ºF) is to bring it to a boil and then let it cool for at least a minute.

White tea was discovered between 960 and 1279 AD during the Song dynasty.  The Chinese discovered that the youngest buds of the tea leaves produced a mild and refreshing taste.  In the beginning, it was tea reserved for the Emperor.  In fact according to legend, the Emperor Hui Zong became so obsessed with this tea that he lost his Empire while in obsessive pursuit of the perfect cup.

White tea went relatively unknown outside of China for years.  The popularity of white tea in the west is only a recent occurrence.  The tea’s popularity grew when health conscious people were finding the health benefits of white teasWhite tea is rare because of the strict rules on harvesting and processing.

There are quite a few varieties of white tea based on several factors.  The Silver Needle is the most sought after.  This tea can only be harvested during a brief window in the early spring right before the tea buds turn into leaves.  Long Life Eyebrow is considered in the lesser member of the white tea variety.  It is harvested after the time period of Silver Needle and White Peony.  Tribute Eyebrow is similar to Long Life but is considered to have a darker appearance.  White Peony is the second highest of quality and is harvested when there is only a bud and two leaves.  Lastly, there is Snowbud which is only harvested when there are only buds and leaves in the early spring.

In the end, you’re going to have to experience them for yourselves in terms of flavor.  If you are interested in potential health benefits here’s a link:

http://www.whitetea.com/benefits-of-white-tea.php

Posted in Article, Chinese Tea, Tea, Tea 101, Tea 201, White Tea | No Comments »

2012 Tea Bloggers Choice Award Winners

tbc award 2012 2012 Tea Bloggers Choice Award Winners

Tea Blogger’s Choice Award 2012

The results are in! Tea bloggers from all around, and our readership have weighed in through blog comments, emails, Facebook and Twitter to compile the following results for this year’s Tea Blogger’s Choice Awards presented by the Association of Tea Bloggers.

 

Tea Bloggers’ Choice Awards Winners 2012

Unblended/Unflavored Black :  Teavivre Yunnan Dian Hong Golden Tip 

Blended/Flavored Black:  Harney and Sons Earl Grey Supreme 

Unblended/Unflavored Green:  Den’s Tea Gyokuro Kin

Blended/Flavored Green:  Aiya Tea Matcha Infused Sencha 

Unblended/Unflavored Oolong: Teavivre Jin Xuan Milk Oolong (One of my personal favorites)

Blended/Flavored Oolong: Naivetea Lychee Oolong (One of my personal favorites)

Unblended/Unflavored White: Rishi Silver Needle Premium

Blended/Flavored White: Art of Tea Coconut Creme White Tea

Unblended/Unflavored Puerh: Rishi Ancient Puerh Classic

Blended/Flavored Puerh: Stash Black Forest Cake Puerh (One of my personal favorites)

Herb Blend: David’s Tea Chocolate Rocket

Single Herb: David’s Tea Spearmint

 

CONGRATS TO THE WINNERS!

Posted in AIYA, Art of Tea, Article, Davids Tea, Dens Tea, Harney & Sons, Milk Tea, Naivetea, Rishi Tea, Stash, Tea Blogger's Choice Awards, Teavivre | No Comments »

Tea 201 – Pu-erh Tea – Shu Pu-erh

shu pu erh Tea 201   Pu erh Tea   Shu Pu erh

Shu Pu-erh

Pu-erh tea: the wine of teas. I know by now that some of you know what Pu-erh is based on my article on Chinese Mythology: The Legend of Pu-erh. But those of you who had not read it, here’s a quick rehash as to the 101 on Pu-erh tea:

Pu-erh is characterized by the fact that it is packed into tight, hard cakes and allowed to go through an aging process of fermentation (very similar to wine) for a determined amount of time based on the taste and texture that the tea producer wants (also similar to wine!)

There are two main types of Pu-erh tea based on their characters. Today we are going to talk about Shu Pu-erh:

Shu Pu-erh is also known as “ripened” Pu-erh, created in the 1970s to accommodate the growing need for aged Pu-erh in China and Taiwan. In order to make Shu Pu-erh, you will find that there are a lot of similarities between Sheng Pu-erh and Shu Pu-erh until the initial drying.

Once picked, the leaves are withered then heat treated with a wok to stop oxidation. Then the leaves are left to dry in the sun. If the weather is not favorable, the tea is then heated in a large oven to try and replicate the process. This is not preferred because it can change the quality (and therefore taste of the tea). Then the leaves are arranged in piles and allowed to ferment in a way that is not so dissimilar to compost. Tea producers actually need to be careful with this step because if left to run amok, then the tea can actually decompose and lose any appeal. This process can take up to 60 days depending on the tea producer. Once finished the tea is steamed in order to be pliable again and shaped into the typical cake shape.

Posted in Article, Pu'erh Tea, Puer, Pu’erh, Tea 101, Tea 201 | No Comments »

Tea 201 – Pu-erh Tea – Sheng Pu-erh

sheng pu erh Tea 201   Pu erh Tea   Sheng Pu erh

Sheng Pu-erh

Pu-erh tea: the wine of teas.  I know by now that some of you know what Pu-erh is based on my article on Chinese Mythology: The Legend of Pu-erh.  But those of you who had not read it, here’s a quick rehash as to the 101 on Pu-erh tea:

Pu-erh is characterized by the fact that it is packed into tight, hard cakes and allowed to go through an aging process of fermentation (very similar to wine) for a determined amount of time based on the taste and texture that the tea producer wants (also similar to wine!)

There are two main types of Pu-erh tea based on their characters.  Today we are going to talk about Sheng Pu-erh:

Sheng Pu-erh is also known as raw and green Pu-erh tea (Chinese茶; pinyin: shēngchá or Chinese茶;  pinyin: qīngchá)

.  There are two types of Sheng that are solely based on whether or not they are completely post-fermented or not.  For this type of tea, the longer it is aged, the more complete the polyphenols saccharomyces and non-saccharomyces oxidations are.

In fact, there are those that liken Sheng Pu-erh to simple green tea (with a few notable differences)

Sheng is normally left in the sun to dry naturally.  However if the weather is not permitting then the tea producers will continue this process but through light heating.  This is not done lightly as it can affect the quality of the tea.  Afterwards the tea is pan fried in a wok to stop any natural oxidation from occurring.  Then the leaves are rolled and rubbed to be shaped, dried again and then finally placed into stone molds to give them that characteristic Pu-erh ‘shape.’

What do you all think? I would like to try this Pu-erh.  I know that it would have the similar ‘grassy’ flavor of a green tea…but the shapes must be fun, too.  Right?

Posted in Article, Pu'erh Tea, Puer, Pu’erh, Tea, Tea 101, Tea 201 | 2 Comments »

Tea 201 – Lies of Misstatements About Tea

tea lies Tea 201   Lies of Misstatements About Tea

Tea

While Americans still drink more coffee than tea, the popularity of our Camellia sinensis is rapidly growing.  Most of its popularity is because of the supposed magic properties of tea.  I say ‘supposed’ simply because there are a lot of myths being thrown out there about tea.  This article today will hopefully dispel some of those rumors.  As much as I love tea, I know it is simply a plant with many healthy properties.  But its amazing properties are still only quite limited.

There are a few good articles out there that give you the hard honest truth about tea, but there are some main points that need to be addressed:

Myth: Tea comes in many varieties.

Truth: False.  Tea comes from one plant and one plant only: Camellia sinensis.

Myth: Herbal Tea is tea.

Truth: False.  Unless there is Camellia sinensis in the tea, it is not technically tea.

Myth: Tea helps in fighting cancer.

Truth:  Studies have shown that it has helped tremendously for rats.  In the case of humans: there is not enough research to prove it one way or another.

Myth: Black tea has more caffeine than green tea.

Truth: False.  They are both the same.  The only difference is the way they are processed.

Myth: Tea will make you skinny.

Truth: Sorry, but false.  Some scientists believe that the caffeine can jump start your metabolism and ability to burn fat.  In fact, even if it did it’s so minimal that you can knock out all that the tea did for you buy eating an Oreo cookie!

There are even some misconceptions when it comes to loose leaf vs. tea bags:

Myth: Loose leaf is expensive.

Truth: You are technically getting higher quality.  However, it is usually the upfront cost of some loose leaves that appear expensive but once calculated only amount to about $0.10 a cup!

Myth: Loose leaf tea requires a lot of equipment.

Truth: False.  There are a lot of fancy items out there but if you have a teapot/cup with an infuser then that’s all you need.  In fact, here’s a link for a low cost beginners tea pot:

http://www.adagio.com/teaware/personaliTEA_teapot.html

Otherwise, there is no difference in making with loose leaf vs. tea bags. With a simple teapot/cup and an infuser there is no longer a question of one being more convenient then the other!

All right, there are many more misconceptions out there that may have to be written in another post.  However, I challenge you all now to go forth into the world and educate!

Posted in Article, Tea, Tea 101, Tea 201 | 1 Comment »