tea time!

green tea tasting session

Recently I have been very focused on the art (doodles) side of the blog and I haven’t had much to say about tea – for the same reason as I mentioned some time ago. That is, there are some serious tea connoisseurs out there writing very interesting and informative posts about tea with much more knowledge on the subject than I have. So once again for those interested, here are a few new (to me) tea blogs.
Sir William of the Leaf has a quietly serious approach and thoroughly describes the ins and outs of all kinds of tea.
Life in Teacup is more light-hearted but no less useful for the serious tea appreciator.
the_skua steeps is interesting since the author is a potter as well as tea lover. If you like to look at beautiful hand made tea things, you’ll see some here.

The photo above was a tea tasting session from a while ago. Lately I have gotten out of  the habit of photographing the process. I am still drinking tea though and learning more about it all the time.

Happy sipping!

tea blogs…

basket fried green tea
basket fried green tea

You may have noticed that it has been quite a while since I posted any tea tasting or other tea comments. This has been in part because I am having so much fun with the drawing and in part because I have discovered quite a few excellent tea blogs which for quality of content and images are so outstanding as to put my slight offerings to shame…

Sooooo, if you, like me are really interested in tea, here are a few of these remarkable blogs which you might like to check out.

The Mandarin’s Tea is a beautiful and knowledgeable blog. Being focused on both the tea itself and the accoutrements makes for an attractive blend! (He also posts about cigars… not one of my interests! lol but the tea posts are great.)

A recent favourite of mine is a blog called Tea Obsession. It is written by a woman in L.A. who has a shop specializing in one particular kind of single-tree produced Oolong (Wulong). That’s quite a specialty!! She is passionately devoted to her tea and it shows in the writing.

Another beauty is The Half-Dipper. As I have been doing more reading on Puerh tea I now understand more of the references to various types of tea cakes and the factories where they are produced. Ah, yet another field on which one could spend a lifetime of study… which is why I’m recommending you to this great blog if you really want to learn some interesting things about tea and have your eyes pleased by wonderful images at the same time.

There’s even a live journal Puerh Tea Community for those very serious about Puerh tea. Following some of the comment strings is very enlightening – and makes it clear both how much there is to learn as well as how difficult it can be to get straight answers about Puerh!

And there are more! …but I think that will do for now. By-the-way, the above is a basket fried green tea ready for the water to be added. Don’t forget to let your water cool down after boiling to about 90 C in order to enjoy the best flavour for most green teas. These leaves have a particularly interesting flat appearance due to the special basket frying method of processing. The flavour was fresh but subtly smoky. I’m not sure that it will be one of my favourites despite the pleasant visual effect.

image and content (cc) 2009 Hilary Farmer

tea workshop…

a pleasant atmosphere
a pleasant atmosphere
a delicate green tea
a delicate green tea
Taiwan Wulong
Taiwan Wulong
Puerh Tea
Puerh Tea
all ten brews for comparison
all ten brews for comparison
all ten teas - brew and leaves
all ten teas - brew and leaves

Last weekend, I visited a local teashop to participate in their inaugural tea workshop. The atmosphere was relaxed and intimate with just 5 of us plus the proprietor/tea expert. We sipped our way through 10 teas starting with the most delicate white tea, Bai Hao Yin Zhen which had a subtly sweet overtone and turned out to be an all round favourite with most, on to 4 very different greens teas, to the Wulongs which I love, then to red teas and finishing with a warmly earthy and strong Puerh, Ker Yi Xing Shou Bing Cha. It was interesting that in the end I liked the most extreme ends of the scale best this time even though for day to day, I mostly drink green and wulong teas. Perhaps it’s time to make a change!

Definitely a very pleasant as well as informative way to spend a couple of hours on a Sunday morning – highly recommended! In case you think this would be just for people very familiar with Chinese tea, we took a friend with us who is a tea neophyte and she enjoyed herself thoroughly as well.

Dongshan green tea…

Dongshan green tea - first brewing
Dongshan green tea - first brewing

It’s about time for another cup of tea!

I recently bought this lovely green tea, fresh from this year’s spring crop in mainland China. They were brewing it in the shop I was in last weekend and after a taste, I had to bring some home. It is not as light as some green teas, by that I mean that there is a feeling of some thickness on the tongue which makes it seem subtly richer, almost nutty. You can see above, the lovely, transparent colour of the brewed tea.

I like to make my green tea in that pot. It is an Yixing pot from China. The clay from that area is famous and reputedly makes the best teapots.  They come in all shapes and sizes. More on that one day perhaps! (For more information right now, click here!)

You can see in the photo below how beautiful the leaves are… very fine and green.

Dongshan green tea after first brewing
Dongshan green tea after first brewing