Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Matcha: The Powdered Tea

Here's one I ran across a while ago at the Mellow Monk blog. It's part one of a five-part documentary on the Japanese green tea known as matcha. Click through to get to the other four parts.




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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Steampunk Teapots, Self Stirring Mugs & More


Steampunk Teapots? Sure, why not. Head on over to Tea Finely Brewed to get the full lowdown, as well as links to all sorts of other novelty teaware.

Looking for A Handy Gadget for the Tea Lover Who Has Everything? How's about a self-stirring mug or more specifically the Whirl Wind Self Stirring Mug, as mentioned recently at A Quiet Tea Spot. For more on self-stirring mugs, check out our 2006 post.

If you're worried about the caffeine content of your tea or other caffeinated beverages, you'll need to be stocking up on some D+Caf Caffeine Test Strips. As the manufacturer's blurb notes, "These simple to use strips will help you determine whether your coffee or tea is really decaf."


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RedUmbrella Tea, Canada’s Loose Leaf Tea Co.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Red Circle Tea Introduces Taiwanese Tribute Tea To US

San Francisco’s Red Circle Tea Introduces First Taiwanese Tribute Tea in US
(from a press release)

Red Circle Tea announces the exclusive release of one of the rarest teas in the world, Tribute Red Jade #18. This tea was hand picked and completely hand-processed in a Taiwanese monastery and took over 100 man hours to make. The monastery farms organically, and tea plants are fertilized using only soybeans and honey. The tea represents the revival of ancient hand processing methods that were replaced with the introduction of machines.

The tea plant Red Jade #18 is unique. Unlike Taiwanese teas which are generally grown and processed as oolongs, Red Jade #18 is a red tea (completely oxidized tea leaves), made from grafting Burmese Assamica to a Taiwanese native tea plant. The prefix of “Tribute” is added to the name to indicate that the tea was made in tribute to the art of hand processing. This is the only known Taiwanese Tribute tea hand processed and sold in the US.

Tribute Red Jade #18 is exclusively available at Red Circle Tea and is available for pre-sale in mid-December. Over 80 percent of the profit from Tribute Red Jade #18 will go back to the farmers, ushering in a new level of connection between consumers and tea farmers.


Canadian Tea Gifts
RedUmbrella Tea, Canada’s Loose Leaf Tea Co.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

RedUmbrella Tea Teams Up with Canadian Artists to Launch Label Program


Canada’s RedUmbrella Tea Teams Up with Canadian Artists to Launch National Arts Series Label Program
(from a press release)

In partnership with six Canadian artists, Canada’s RedUmbrella Tea has launched its Canadian National Arts Series Label program.

The RedUmbrella Tea Canadian National Arts Series mission is to enhance and enrich the lives of all those who come in contact with RedUmbrella Tea by bringing the artistic work of foremost Canadian artists to RedUmbrella Tea customers, and the wider Canadian public at large, and by using a portion of the sale of each loose leaf tea product to help fund charitable programs, like Toronto’s Yonge Street Mission.

Decorated Canadian artists Wilf McOstrich, Valerie Kent, Gill Cameron, Rina Gottesman, Marianne Broome and Valerie Russell each donated one of their artistic works for use in the program.

The art donated by the six artists will be used to label RedUmbrella Tea’s loose leaf tea products.

(Disclosure: RedUmbrella is currently an advertiser at Tea Guy Speaks)


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Monday, December 21, 2009

Tea Review 107 - Rishi Tea (x4)


Golden Yunnan
Keemun
Dragonwell
Hojicha
Rishi Tea


Golden Yunnan
I've said it before and I'll say it again - a truly great black tea is a thing of wonder. I'd rank Yunnan as my second favorite of the black teas, after Assam. But while dishwater Assams outnumber the great ones by far, I have yet to be disappointed by a Yunnan and this one beats all comers hands down. It has a rich, almost sweet flavor with just the faintest hint of spicinesss and a very smooth mouth feel with nary a trace of bitterness. Oh, be still my beating heart.

Keemun
Keemun is a Chinese black tea that seems to find its way into English Breakfast blends a lot. I don't have a lot of experience with it but of the three Keemuns I've reviewed since starting this site I'd put this one at the top of the pack by a nose. It has a nice full flavor and a hint of smokiness on the finish. The latter is something that usually puts me off, but it's subtle enough in this case that I found it appealing.

Dragonwell
A good solid Dragonwell, this one. Stellar? No, doesn't quite reach that level, but I could drink it on a regular basis. Rishi calls it "mellow and smooth with a fresh bittersweet finish and roasted chestnut aroma" and I see no reason to argue with that.

Hojicha
There are a number of teas that are clearly not for me. Hojicha is one of them. This is not a reflection on Rishi's Hojicha, of course. Anything smoky or roasted - hojicha is a Japanese green that falls into the latter category - is rarely to my liking. That doesn't mean that you won't like it, but for me to discourse on its merits is like asking a vegetarian to review a steakhouse.

Samples provided by Rishi Tea.
TGS Review Policies


RedUmbrella Tea
Canada’s Loose Leaf Tea Co.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Walmart Puerh, Bacon Tea & More


Your attention please. The mainstreaming of specialty tea is now complete. Please pack up your things and go home. We present, as Exhibit A, the Fine-T 7 oz. Young Pu-erh Loose Leaf Tea, currently available at Walmart.com.

It was obviously a matter of time until some disturbed individual came up with a true bacon tea, or in other words, a tea that actually contains real bacon. I wrote about bacon tea a while back, but the blends mentioned therein only simulate bacon flavor by the clever use of various flavored teas, most notably Lapsang Souchong. Leave it to the gang at 52teas.com to blaze the bacon tea trail with Maple Bacon Black Tea. No need to send a sample, by the way. Thanks.

The good people at Reuters recently blessed us with their thoughts on the Top 10 Places To Enjoy A Cup Of Tea. Among them, such unlikely choices as the Sahara Desert and Peru's Inca Trail. Hang on while I get my hat and coat. See you in a few months.


Canadian Tea Gifts
RedUmbrella Tea, Canada’s Loose Leaf Tea Co.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Master Tea Merchant Publishes Great Teas of China


Master Tea Merchant Roy Fong Publishes Great Teas of China, a Convenient and Authoritative Guide to China’s Finest Teas
(from a press release)

Roy Fong, a leading tea expert and proprietor of San Francisco’s renowned traditional Chinese teahouse, Imperial Tea Court, has published Great Teas of China, a compact, readable, guide to the top teas from the land where tea was first cultivated over 3,000 years ago.

Great Teas of China is a unique blend of detailed factual information about artisanal practices for growing and processing the teas it discusses, as well as personal anecdotes from Fong’s twenty-year career as a tea merchant traveling around fast-changing China. The book covers over a dozen of Fong’s favorite classic teas, ranging from hand-picked West Lake Dragon Well and expertly crafted oolong from Wu Yi Shan, to patiently aged Yunnan puerh.

Also included are Fong’s insights on choosing, brewing, and savoring each selection, plus background information on tea farming, local history and culture of tea-growing regions, and artisanal techniques for processing the leaves of Camellia sinensis, the flowering perennial at the heart of Chinese culture.

Available from the Imperial Tea web site or Amazon.


Great Teas of China

RedUmbrella Tea
Canada’s Loose Leaf Tea Co.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Tea Tunes: A Nice Cup Of Tea




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Bigelow Tea Blazes Trails Online



Bigelow Tea Blazes Trails Online
(from a press release)

As a family-owned company, Bigelow Tea® understands the value of personal connections, and has built its company on those values for 65 years. While traditional advertising has been instrumental in establishing Bigelow Tea’s brand, the company understands that a new generation of Internet users expects more from their favorite companies: namely, the ability to have a two-way conversation. So Bigelow Tea has embraced interactivity, reaching out across multiple online networks to engage directly with tea drinkers of all ages via the following channels:

The Bigelow Tea Talk Blog is brimming with frequently refreshed tea news, brewing tips, recipes, recommendations and health information. The blog also provides an opportunity for Bigelow Tea’s management team to personally “talk” about noteworthy developments such as ongoing green initiatives, product developments and more.

As a microblogging site, Twitter allows Bigelow Tea to interact with tea lovers from around the world in near-real time, providing healthy tea tips and general information in 140 character bursts.

Facebook is another population of over 1500 tea aficionados that follow the Bigelow Tea brand. If you are a “fan,” then you can watch Bigelow Tea videos, read status updates, check out the blog feed, buy tea and learn more about the Bigelow Tea company from the “boxes” page.

Video Channels are additional sites where Bigelow Tea hosts several short made-for-online “Tea-V” videos. Cindi Bigelow teaches viewers how to prepare a perfect cup of tea, she visits with tea drinkers on the streets of New York City and teaches Wally the Green Monster at Fenway Park how to drink tea which is both educational and entertaining. Especially popular is her chat about the health benefits of green tea with sports idols Joe Torre and Phil Simms. Videos are cross-posted on major web video destinations like YouTube, Blip TV and more.


RedUmbrella Tea
Canada’s Loose Leaf Tea Co.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Tea Review 106 - Adagio Jasmine Silver Needle


Tea Review 106
Jasmine Silver Needle
Adagio Teas

Adagio sez:
Young and elegant tea leaf buds with a whisper of jasmine aura. All the appeal and softly sweet nuances of a classic Silver Needle tea, enhanced with the aroma of night-blooming jasmine flowers.

I've never cared much for the practice of ruining a perfectly good tea with flavoring. But, of course, this is a subjective thing, everybody likes what they like and one tea drinker's ruination might be another one's liquid bliss. So there, I say to myself in a stern tone of voice.

Of the better-known varieties of flavored tea, I'm probably most fond of jasmine. A good jasmine, in my opinion, is very subtly flavored and not perfumey tasting. Which is a pretty accurate description of Adagio's Jasmine Silver Needle. It takes a well-known variety of white tea, doctors it up a bit and makes it pretty palatable all around.


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Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Newsweek Does Guayaki


Remember the story of The Little Yerba Mate Company That Could? Me neither. But one of the more prominent yerba mate purveyors - Guayaki - turned up not so long ago as the subject of a lengthy article in a recent issue of Newsweek. As the teaser blurb puts it, "Taking on Coke is no easy task. But the founders of a relatively small tea company think they've got a formula for success. All they need is a little help."

Yeah, whatever. Read all about it here.


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RedUmbrella Tea, Canada’s Loose Leaf Tea Co.