My Tea Break

Rediscovering Tea around the world


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The 10 Famous Chinese Teas

In China there is the legendary list of the 10 Famous Chinese Teas but this list seems to vary from source to source. The lists varies considerable depending on the area where it was compiled and the current trends of Tea consumption.

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However, there are some Teas that appear in every list and that should be a good sign. We’ve created a list of those:

  1. Dragon Well (Long Jing), Green Tea –  Hanghzou, Zhejiang Province
  2. Green Snail Spring (Bi Luo Chun), Green Tea – Suzhou, Jiangsu Province
  3. Iron Goddess (Tieguanyin), Oolong Tea – Anxi,  Fujian Province
  4. Yellow Mountain Fur Peak (Huangshan Mao Feng), Green Tea –  Huangshan, Anhui Province
  5. Jun Mountain Silver Needle (Junshan Yinzhen), A type of rare Yellow Tea – Yueyang,Hunan Province
  6. Qi Men Red (Qimen Hong), Black Tea – Qimen County, Anhui Province
  7. Big Red Robe (Da Hong Pao), Oolong Tea – Wuyi Mountain, Fujian Province
  8.  Liu An Melon Seed (Liu An Gua Pian), Green Tea – Jinzhai, Anhui Province
  9. Xin Yang Hairy Tip (Xin Yang Mao Jian), Green Tea – Xinyang, Henan Province
  10. Monkey King Tea (Tai Ping Hou Kui), Green Tea – Taipin,  Anhui Province

For more information about Chinese Provinces check our previous post – Chinese Tea Provinces.

Happy Tea Break.

Tania

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Aged Tie Guan Yin (Iron Buddha)

This week I tried an aged Tie Guan Yin as part of the Canton Tea Club. Tie Guan Yin is an Oolong Tea also known as Iron Buddha.

This aged Tea was harvested in Spring 2007 and is handmade on a traditional Anxi Farm in the Fujian Province in China.It is heavily roasted and then stored for 4 years away from heat, light and humidity to let the deep, toasty flavours develop.

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The initial rich sweet cocoa flavour develops into a long, lingering, dark fruit taste, with hints of toasted oats and cinnamon along the way.

For more information about Oolong Tea please check our previous post that explains all about this Tea: blog.myteabreak.com/2011/03/11/oolong/

Happy Tea Break.

 

 


Lapsang Souchong

Lapsang Souchong, often called Smoked Tea, never had much popularity in China. It began as an export product about one and a half century ago. This Tea is known for its distinctive smoky aroma and flavour.

Source: mayatea.com via Dave on Pinterest

To achieve this flavour, the Tea leaves are first withered over fires of pine or cypress wood. After panfrying and rolling, they are pressed into wooden barrels and covered with cloth to ferment until they give off a pleasant fragrance. The leaves are fried again and rolled into taut strips. Then they are placed in bamboo baskets and hung on wooden racks over smoking pine fires to dry and absorb the smoke flavor.

Most say it was invented when soldiers took over a tea factory in Xingun (Star Village) during the Qing dynasty in China. When they finally left, the workers had to dry their tea in record time to sell it at the market. In desperation they lit open fires of pine to speed the process, and wood-smoked Lapsang Souchong was born.

Source: squidoo.com via Pyro on Pinterest

In terms of health benefits, it is considered that Lapsang Souchong stimulates digestion, strengthens your immune system, lowers the bad cholesterol  and helps fighting fat cells.

This is definitely not everyone’s cup of Tea but we would love to hear your opinion on this Tea.

This Tea is often used in Tea cooking as well so stay tuned as we’ll be sharing some recipes soon.

Happy Tea Break.


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Huoshan Huangya – Yellow bud Tea

Yesterday I tried  Huoshan Yellow bud Tea. I only had Yellow Tea once before –  is a rare variety of Tea produced in China – mainly in the Hunan, Anhui and Sichuan provinces. Because the process of making proper Yellow Tea is very time consuming, this Tea is only produced in small volumes and considered quite exclusive and rare.

The process is similar to Green Tea but undergoes a slightly longer oxidation process, removing the grassy aftertaste which is often associated with Green Tea. You can learn more about Yellow Tea and its oxidation process in our previous post about Yellow Tea.

Huoshan Hungaya is a high grade yellow Tea from the Huo Shan county, Anhui Province.  It is made from tender slim buds and processed by a traditional stir-fire procedure hence the name Yellow Bud Tea  – Huangya.

Huoshan Huangya was created in the Tang dynasty (618-907 A.D) and Lu Yu described this special yellow Tea in his famous book “Classic of Tea”. It is said that the processing method of this Tea was lost in 1940s and only reproduced in 1972 by three distinguished Tea masters.  Some Tea experts say that even today the original processing techniques are not followed and is made as green Tea.

The colour of the Tea is bright and clear and the taste is very subtle, mellow and refreshing with a sweet aftertaste.

If you get the chance do try this wonderful Tea please do so. Highly recommended!

Happy Tea Break.

Tania


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Why blanch the Tea leaves?

Some people rinse the Tea leaves once before actually steeping it. Blanching the tealeaves is not a ritual, but rather a step to get a delicious cup of Tea.

This is important because allows the Tealeaves to open up  and removes residual microbes  that can affect the taste and also enables an effective infusion.

Blanching the Tea leaves is even more important when the Teas are mature or post-fermented. For example phuer Tea are usually blanched twice before the first infusion.

In practical terms, the first brew should be disposed. You blanch the Tea for about a minute and discard the water. You can then start brewing your real Tea.

Happy Tea Break. 🙂

Tania


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Interview with Edgar Thoemmes from Canton Tea Co.

Last week I tasted 5 wonderful Teas from the Canton Tea Co. They were all of exceptional quality and each tea had it´s own ´strong personality´. It was a very good way to relax and to experience new smells and tastes.

In this context, we interviewed Edgar Thoemmes, director of the Canton Tea Co.  In this interview, Edgar tells us a bit about himself and also about Canton Tea Co.

M&T. Can you describe how Tea makes you feel in one word? Edgar. Focused

M&T. Do you have a Favourite Tea? 

Edgar. I tend to fix on a specific tea and then move on to another – at the moment it’s the Aged Long Juan Tie Guan Yin.

M&T. What is a perfect cup of Tea? 

Edgar. The one I make

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M&T. Can you tell us about your story with Tea?

Edgar. Got into it through working with friends who had just started the company. I came from a corporate banking background with a keen interest in all things foodie – and this fine Chinese tea just captured me instantly. I was blown away by the range of flavours, the history, culture and stories surrounding each one. Also the incredible parallels with wine – another passion of mine. I love how the terroir affects the flavour of every tea – how good, raw puerh can be put down to age, how many different subtleties there are in the fragrances, flavours and after-taste of each tea from each garden – and the age-old tradition and skill that goes into producing every one.

M&T. Which has been the most wonderful Tea plantation you have been?

Edgar. Mr Xu’s farm in Wen Shan – high up in the mountains of Taiwan has breath-taking views of thickly wooded hills and a lake far below. The Pouchong he produces is one of my favourite teas – always easy to brew, bright, floral and incredibly refreshing. I drink a lot of it iced during the summer.

M&T. What can you tell us about Canton Tea Co?

Edgar. We set out to be the UK’s foremost China tea specialist. After 4 years we can unreservedly make that claim because there’s no one else around with the range and quality of teas that we have. We focus on the provenance of the tea and we spend a lot of time educating people about tea. That may sound a little obsessive – it probably is. We give talks, presentations, tastings, workshops and training sessions to our trade customers. We’ve rapidly grown from a kitchen table start-up to a fully-fledged operation in Bristol. Our buying partners live in Guangzhou and have fantastic links to the traditional tea farms where our teas come from.

M&T. Why should people buy your Teas?

Edgar. You can’t buy better in the UK. Our range is carefully chosen to include great tasting teas at reasonable prices. It’s very hard to find such good teas –  even in China.  We have a large selection so you’ll definitely find some you’ll love.  If you need further reassurance, Teaviews is a leading independent tea review website in America which consistently rates us among the top 3 best tea companies in the world – out of 231 companies.

M&T. When is your next event?

Edgar. We hold regular talks and tea tastings at Petersham Nurseries nr Richmond in Surrey. The next one is with my colleague Jennifer on Saturday 16th July. See this blog post for a list of all of our upcoming tastings

http://www.cantonteaco.com/blog/2011/06/upcoming-tea-tastings/

For more information about the Canton Tea Co, please go to their website. I highly recommend their Teas! http://www.cantonteaco.com/

Happy Tea Time!



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Whisky and Tea

The first time I went to China, I came across with the Whisky and Tea tradition. This probably seems like an odd combination but it is a very popular alcoholic drink in China.

Like in most clubs in London, when you sit in a table you order a bottle which usually comes with coke,tonic,…. Well, in China you´ll often see whisky bottles coming with a jar of cold greenTea. I am not a whisky fan but following the famous say “When in Rome do what Romans do” and being a Tea lover I  tried it straight away and really enjoyed.

It is quite refreshing and you get quite a nice balanced flavour from the two drinks. If you want to try this at home you can add two parts of cold Green Tea to one part of whisky and serve it with ice.

The main problem will be the morning after but that´s another story.

Happy Tea Break. 🙂

Tania