Saturday, July 25, 2009

Emerald Green Tea – a new star from GuiZhou

Although little known outside China, GuiZhou has long been the home of many famous Chinese teas such as DuYun Mao Jiao, GuiDing Yun Wu (Mist and Cloud). GuiZhou is the only low altitude, high elevation, low sunshine tea region in China. These unique geographic and weather conditions make it one of the best tea grown regions in China.

Emerald Green Tea was first introduced in 2001. Although it only has less than 10 year’s history, it has received many national awards. Mr. ZongMao Chen, the editor-in-chief of the famous Tea Bible, said that in 2001 “The Emerald Green Tea that I had in the past few days tasted strong after 7 infusions. Based on mine many years’ experience tasting teas, quality of GuiZhou tea has far passed that of many other teas, including famous teas such as West Lake Long Jing”.

Emerald Green Tea was made of one bud and two to three leaves from high zinc and selenium tea gardens in GuiZhou. This rare zinc and selenium gives additional medical benefits to this tea. Emerald Green Tea is high in tea polyphenols and amino acid and low in caffeine. Therefore, it has rich mellow taste without unpleasant bitterness.

We will be visiting the producer this summer. More to come!

Tea Lovers at TeaHub

Friday, July 10, 2009

Zi Sha Tea Pet

If you do a tea tasting at your local tea shop, you may notice your host pouring teas over little Zi Sha displays while he/she serving you teas. Those little Zi Sha displays are called Tea Pet. Funny, right? Like the name suggests, tea pets are for you to take care of by pouring teas over them. Tea pets can be of many different shapes, some are like animals, some are like fruits, even Buddha.

Because tea pets are made from Zi Sha, they will change colors and absorb tea aromas and oils over time after being raised by teas. People collect aged tea pets. A good Zi Sha tea pet’s price can be more than doubled after being raised for two years. Not a bad investment if you enjoying sharing your teas with your tea pet!

Check out our tea pet selections at our online store!


Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Taiwan Oolong – the Names and Types

I was at a Taiwan Oolong tasting last week. The host was very kind and showed us quite a few Oolong from Taiwan. “Four Season”, “Jin Xuan”, “Alishan”, she called out the tea names while pour the teas. Not before long, I could tell people started to get confused. “What was the one we just tasted again?” So how many names/types Taiwan Oolong has?

People familiar with Taiwan Oolong are familiar with names such as Bao Zhong (Pou Chong) and Dong Ding/High Mountain. Those are names based on different levels of fermentation. Bao Zhong is 7.5% to 19% fermented, the lightest among all Taiwan Oolong. Dong Ding/High Mountain is 20% to 30% fermented. Oriental Beauty is 50% to 60% fermented, the heaviest among all Taiwan Oolong.

Names such as Four Season and Jin Xuan, on the other hand, are based on different varietals. Qing Xin Oolong was originally imported from mainland China. It is a good raw material for making Bao Zhong and Dong Ding. Jin Xuan (also known as Tai Cha #12) and Cui Yu (also known as Tai Cha #13) are new varietals developed in Taiwan in the 80s. Four Season got its name because it can be harvested in all seasons.

DaYuLing, Li Shan, Shan Lin Xi, and Alishan are four high mountain tea production regions in Taiwan. DaYuLing, located 2,300 to 2,600 meter above sea level, it is the highest among the four. Followed by Li Shan, which is 2,200 to 2,400 meter above sea level. Shan Lin Xi is at 1,100 to 1,800 meter above sea level, and Alishan is at over 1,000 meter above sea level. High mountain Oolong from DaYuLing is considered the best.

What are you drinking now?


Saturday, June 13, 2009

Oriental Beuaty Production May Be Impacted By Weather

Recent news from XinZhu, the production region of Oriental Beauty, a highly fermented Oolong from Taiwan, suggested possible decrease in this year’s production. High temperature and lack of rain are all contributing factors to this year’s low production.

Oriental Beauty, also called Bai Hao Oolong or Champagne Oolong, is made of young leaves and buds that just been bitten by tea insects. Oriental Beauty is much more close to black tea than other Oolong teas.

Tea Lovers at TeaHub

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Making Tie Guan Yin Cold Brewed Iced Tea

Another hot day today! I decided to make some iced tea for the hot day. I was in a mood for Tie Guan Yin and wanted something very simple. 5 minutes + 3 hr wait later, I am drinking my cold brewed Tie Guan Yin iced tea.

Here is how I did it:
Step 1: I measured 4g Moderately Roasted Tie Guan Yin and added it to an empty water bottle.
Step 2: I poured in 1L bottled water, and let the water bottle cooled off in refrigerator for 3 hours
Step 3: Time to enjoy! If you are like me, you can drink with the tea leaves in. Otherwise, drain the leaves before drinking it.


Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Reading Long Jing Tea Leaves

A friend of mine showed me a photo of Long Jing he found on the internet the other day. After carefully examining the photo, we both agreed that it was a faked Long Jing. The so called Long Jing was actually made from Zhu Ye Qing of Si Chuan. We posted a blog back in 2004 warning people about faked Long Jing from Si Chuan. Below are photos of the most common faked Long Jing on the market. The one on the left is Wu Niu Zao from Wen Zhou, Zhe Jiang, and the one on the right is Zhu Ye Qing from Si Chuan.

Both Wu Niu Zao and Zhu Ye Qing are early harvest teas. Because that early harvest Long Jing demand much higher prices and only have limited productions, some illegal business people chose to fake Long Jing with Wu Niu Zao and Zhu Ye Qing in pursue of maximum profits. Real Long Jing teas have beautiful straight, flat leaves with none or very few hairs. Faked Long Jing, on the other hand, have fluffier leaves, some even covered with hairs. Leaves of faked Long Jing from Zhu Ye Qing are smaller than real ones. Leaves of faked Long Jing from Wu Niu Zao are bigger than real ones. We have more info regarding authentic West Lake Long Jing on our site.

What's in your cup?


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Purple Lady Green Tea

We first introduced Purple Lady green tea to oversea tea drinkers in 2004, and it was very well received among our customers. This purple color green tea not only has unique color and taste, but also has many medical benefits.

First Purple Lady tea tree was found in 1985. After several years’ R&D, researchers are now able to grow Purple Lady tea trees in selected regions. Purple Lady green tea was made from leaves of Purple Lady tea trees. Its dry leaves are in dark purple color. It has mellow taste and unique aroma. Water of different PH level brews it into different liquor color.

Some medical researches show that Purple Lady green tea can lower blood pressure. Researchers are now studying its effect on weight loss and lower blood sugar.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Tradition vs. Profit

I came across a news recently that a Wu Niu Zao grower in ZheJiang produced lightly roasted Oolong from Wu Niu Zao tea tree leaves. This definitely comes with tremendous financial benefits. Traditionally, Wu Niu Zao is only harvested in early spring to make Yong Jia Wu Niu Zao green tea. With the new development, Wu Niu Zao can be harvested again in late spring to make Oolong, a tea that is gaining popularity now.

While we support the effort of new tea R&D, I am concerned about the trend of chasing popular teas for profits. Wu Niu Zao is both a tea tree name and a tea name. Although Wu Niu Zao is a wonderful green tea, its name is quite often associated with faked West Lake Long Jing made from Wu Niu Zao leaves. During the Pu-erh heydays, almost every tea producer in Yunnan was making Pu-erh. Green and black tea raw materials were all put into making Pu-erh. People later realized that not all of them were suitable for making Pu-erh, and not all the producers were skillful at making Pu-erh.

I will be thrilled to celebrate and promote the birth of a new tea if the grower gives his new tea a new name, instead of calling his tea Oolong. Otherwise, I’ll remain skeptical when I see a green tea producer making Oolong or an Oolong tea producer making Pu-erh.

What’s your view on this? I would like to hear from you.


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Sipping White Peony on a sunny spring day

Linda has been bugging me about writing a review for our Spring Organic White Peony for days. Finally, on this sunny spring day, I sit down and begin blogging….

Well, where share I begin? This is a lovely tea. Upon opening the foil bag, I found myself happily surrounded by this intense, albeit pleasantly refreshing aroma. “This must be a good one” I said to myself. I brewed a cup in a white Gai Wan. A complex and refreshing aroma rose from the cup. Sipping it is another joy. It left a clean, crispy feeling in my mouth and I could not help noticing the sweet after taste dancing on my tongue.

At $0.40 per brewing, this is one of my favorite daily drinks now. Did I mention that White Peony also has medical benefits?

Happily drinking White Peony in GuiYang

Friday, April 24, 2009

How Long Jing Is Made

High grade Long Jing are still being processed by hand. This short video shows how Long Jing is hand made by workers. The first step is called Qing Guo. Workers process fresh tea leaves by hand in 80 to 100 celsius degree woks for 12 to 15 minutes. This step turns tea leaves into initial straight, flat shapes. The second step is to classify leaves into different categories. The third, and final step is called Hui Guo. Categoried leaves go through further process by hand in 60 to 70 celsius degree wok for 20 to 25 minutes. Workers apply different techniques to remove the tiny hairs and compress the leaves into final smooth, flat shape.

After watching this video, will you have more appreciation for the cup of Long Jing in your hand?

Thursday, April 02, 2009

China National White Tea Production Standard

The Chinese National White Tea Production Standard (GB/T 22291-2008) is effective starting March 1, 2009. This is the first national standard regulating white tea production. According to the standard, white tea can be classified into three categories: Silver Needle (白毫银针), White Peony (白牡丹), and Gong Mei (贡眉). Silver Needle can be further divided into two grades: Te Ji (特级), and Grade 1. White Peony and Gong Mei have four grades: Te Ji and Grade 1 to 3.

The standard outlines quality requirements of each grade ranging from criteria such as dry leaf appearance, aroma, liquor, taste, to leaf water content, dusty percentage, etc.

This standard is limited to traditional white tea. The production technique of new white tea, which was introduced in l968, is quite different from traditional white tea, and is not covered in this standard.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

2009 Spring Tea Updates

It is this time of year again – Spring! And yes, new teas are coming! Here are quick updates on some of our popular teas:

West Lake Long Jing – Harvest time expected to be delayed till after March 20 due to recent cold weather. Tea drinkers will have to wait till April for large productions to hit market.

Yunnan Black – The extreme dry weather since late last year has severely delayed this year's black tea harvest. Our producer is expecting harvest to be delayed till May.