Tea Knowledge

Tea and Travel, Tea Cuisine, Tea Knowledge, World Tea Expo

World Tea Expo: The Matcha Effect

Matcha seems to fit the mood of the moment. It’s electric greenness reflecting the colour that we associate with health and nature. It was seen everywhere at World Tea Expo, 2015 or was it just that I was experiencing The Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon! Matcha’s Origins Matcha’s use has strayed somewhat from its original ceremonial origins. Ceremonial matcha grades of Usucha (thin) and Koicha (thick) have been available in select tea shops for many years. Matcha was originally a throw back to […]

Tea and Travel, Tea Culture, Tea Knowledge, World Tea Expo

World Tea Expo 2015: Random reports, Pt. 1

Like a dream it arrived and then was over and now I’m home. I wish I could reconstruct the experience of World Tea Expo in order to give you a picture of what actually happened and when. At moments it was elating, challenging, fascinating, funny and puzzling. Every time I try to reassemble the days chronologically, however, my brain resists. This year, my reports will be based on random observations, capricious interludes and impressions. Quite unlike me really not to […]

Tea Knowledge, The Tea Book

Announcing: The Tea Book

The Tea Book, DK Publishers This year has been devoted to research and inspiration for The Tea Book, a collaboration with DK publishing (a division of Penguin Random House). Famous for their Eye Witness Travel books and many and varied guides to culinary pursuits, DK chose to publish a book on tea at a time when the world’s favourite hot beverage is poised to gain even more ground in markets around the world. This comprehensive primer for tea lovers will […]

Tea Culture, Tea Knowledge

White Tea: Defined and Simplified

Myths and Vagaries A few months ago I watched uncomfortably as a fellow tea sommelier asserted that the reason they had presented White Tea first was that “it was unoxidized”. I know this to be untrue, but I could understand how they might believe it. There is wide spread misunderstanding of White Tea with inaccurate information lounging everywhere on tea retail websites eg. “white tea contains almost no caffeine”. Another eg. “try our Anji Bai Cha White Tea”. Nope. It’s […]

Tea Culture, Tea Knowledge

Teomancing the Future: Reading the tea leaves for 2013

Several times a year my husband agrees to read my tea leaves. He learned the art as a young boy from his lovely eccentric aunt. I don’t know how much credence anyone gave this rather pagan pastime when he was a boy in England, but it provided hours of entertainment and a slight shiver of excitement if only a few statements came to reality. The key was to keep the predictions vague, general and open to interpretation. Teomancy, Tasseomancy, or […]

Tea Culture, Tea Knowledge

Traditionals: Fragrance Enhanced Tea OSMANTHUS

Tea or Dessert? Most of my tea friends know that I’m not a fan of flavoured teas, particularly teas with dessert names, such as “New York Cheesecake” or “Apple Crumble”, etc. These sweet themed teas are usually enhanced with artificial flavours or if the flavours are natural, the black or green tea base is inferior and anyway, most retailers don’t want to waste a premium tea by adding unnecessary enhancements. There are however traditional fragrances that have been infused into […]

Tea Culture, Tea Knowledge

The Top Ten: #8 Junshan Yin Zhen, Silver Needle Yellow

Junshan Yin Zhen (君山銀針) or Silver Needle Yellow tea, holds a place of honour in the realm of the Chinese tea world. The most famous Yellow tea in China, it grows exclusively on Junshan island, located in Dongting Lake, northern Hunan province. It is very rare, which reinforces the notion that the list was compiled for the most famous teas, not necessarily the most popular teas. I have listed it as #8 according to my distilled version of many lists, […]

Tea Culture, Tea Knowledge

The Top Ten: #9 Wuyi Rock Oolong

Another Oolong makes the list!   At number 9, Wuyi Rock Oolong originates in Fujian province as does Tie Guan Yin, but from the other side of the river, – that is, the Min River. It is known as a Min Bei tea or North of the Min River. Wuyi Shan: Unesco World Heritage Site There’s no point in discussing this tea without first considering the region where it is grown. Here is one of the best examples of how tangled […]

Tea Culture, Tea Knowledge

The Top Ten: #10 Tie Guan Yin Oolong “Iron Goddess of Mercy”

As one of the most popular teas in China, Tie Guan Yin Oolong qualifies for ‘top ten’ of Famous Teas of China. This list varies, depending on what you read, but generally it’s based on the number of published mentions the teas receive and their popularity at the time the list was compiled. Originally the list comprised of Tribute Teas which often have a famous sacred location, water source and/or legend attached to them. Tribute teas would have been presented […]