Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Tea Review 139 - Naivetea Shan Lin Shi Oolong

Shan Lin Shi Oolong

Here's another light oolong from the oolong specialists at Naivetea. This one, according to their Web site, is from one of the highest altitude farms in central Taiwan. And while I don't know if anything can hold a candle to their Da Yu Ling oolong that I reviewed recently this one comes very close. It's very light and delicate but not at the expense of flavor and there's just a hint of astringency on the finish. Which is actually kind of nice.

Here's what Naivetea has to say about it:

Distinctive mountain essence, sophisticated flavor, notes of fresh flowers and leaves, lingering refined sweetness.

Mouth Feel: Soft with light and smooth body
Aroma: Delicate, fresh flowers
Ingredients: Ching Shin Oolong
Oxidation/Fermentation: Light
Origin: The highest altitude tea farm near the protected forest of Shan Lin Shi, Central Taiwan
Elevation: 1,900 meters/6,233 feet

Sample provided by Naivetea
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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Tea Review 138 - Naivetea Passion Fruit Oolong

Passion Fruit Oolong

I'm not generally a fan of flavored tea, but there are a few rare exceptions. Black tea paired with flavors such as peach, mango or passionfruit often work for me, as does this blend of passion fruit and oolong, from Naivetea. I don't have a lot to say about it other than the fact that it works. It seems that they started with a good oolong for the base and the passion fruit is flavorful without being overpowering, which is a problem I've noted with a lot of flavored teas.

Here's what Naivetea has to say about this one:

Elegant oolong taste, tropical fruit, fragrant finish, subtly sweet aftertaste.
Mouth Feel: Light and smooth body
Aroma: Exotic passion fruit
Ingredients: Oolong, passion fruit, natural passion fruit extract

Sample provided by Naivetea
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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Tea Review 137 - Naivetea Da Yu Ling

Da Yu Ling

As I've mentioned before in these pages, my primary interest and focus is on black and green teas. Which doesn't mean that I don't like some of the lighter varieties of oolong but they're not something that I normally seek out. Fortunately, a few oolong samples came my way the other day, thanks to the good people at Naivetea. They do oolong tea exclusively, as they note at their web site:

As the only company in the U.S. to focus specifically on Taiwanese oolong teas, Naivetea works exclusively with the finest small-production tea farmers in Taiwan’s renowned tea-growing regions to procure the highest quality tea possible, many of which are otherwise only available in Taiwan and China.

This is the first of the samples I've tried thus far. Obviously, I'd be jumping the gun if I said that it was the best but I'm trying to imagine how you could improve on this and I'm not coming up with any answers. It brews up to a very appealing light golden color and is one of the smoothest, most flavorful oolong teas that I can ever remember sampling.

Here's what Naivetea has to say about it:

Distinctive mountain essence, fresh flower and evergreen notes, lingering refined sweetness.
Mouth Feel: Soft with light, smooth body
Aroma: Delicate, fresh, floral
Ingredients: Ching Shin Oolong
Oxidation/Fermentation: LightOrigin: Da Yu Ling, in one of the highest elevation tea farming areas of Central Taiwan
Elevation: 2,300 meters/7,545 feet

Sample provided by Naivetea
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Thursday, February 09, 2012

Tea Review 136 - Le Palais des Thés Bao Zhong Imperial

Bao Zhong Imperial
Le Palais des Thés

Most of the tea I drink is either black or green. I tend to forget about oolong sometimes but then I run across something like Bao Zhong Imperial, by Le Palais des Thés, and I realize that I need to expand my horizons more often. While I'm not very fond of the heavier, more fermented oolongs I do quite like the lighter varieties. Le Palais des Thés claims that this one is about ten percent fermented and it's got a very delicate but pleasant aroma and a flavor to match. While it doesn’t quite match up to my favorite green and black teas I'd have no problem drinking it on a regular basis.

Here's what Le Palais des Thés has to say about this one:

This is one of the most celebrated teas from Taiwan. Its name means "wrapped in paper" in Chinese, because the tea is wrapped in white cotton paper before fermentation to preserve the delicacy of its leaves. A beautiful tea with large, twisted leaves that produces a straw-yellow liquor with a flowery, almost peppery taste, it evokes narcissus and jasmine flowers with a perfect blend of green and sweet notes. Should be enjoyed according to the rules of Gong Fu Cha. Low in caffeine.

Sample provided by Le Palais des Thés
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Saturday, February 04, 2012

TeaTotal: A Revolutionary Approach to Making Tea

A Revolutionary Approach to
the Gentle Art of Making Tea
(from a press release)

Technology design and development firm Cambridge Consultants has created a new prototype that brings a sense of theatre to the underdeveloped tea experience to rival that currently enjoyed by coffee drinkers in today’s coffee shop culture. With consumer spending now focused on ‘little luxuries’, the TeaTotal prototype brings a dynamic experience to the customer who loves tea. It allows for personalisation according to taste, and brews the ‘perfect cup’ in half the time of the standard tea process, maximising revenue for the retailer.

TeaTotal is a fully programmable tea brewing device, allowing the consumer to specify not only the leaf, but also the intensity of the tea flavour and the relative bitterness. Cambridge Consultants’ design team was able to identify the independent variables that impact flavour, and how to separately manipulate them to deliver each consumer’s ideal cup. Moreover, while a standard tea process brews tea in roughly four minutes, TeaTotal only takes around two minutes, creating faster throughput in a retail setting. The prototype has been designed to use loose leaf tea and the theatrical brewing pot fills with water, swirling the leaves around and steeping until the tea is poured into a cup and the spent leaves are ejected, all highly visible to the expectant consumer

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