Cha Xi Collective

Some Teas to TestA little preview of a new project of mine. I have a big cabinet of tea, much of it left over from…View Post

Some Teas to Test

A little preview of a new project of mine. I have a big cabinet of tea, much of it left over from…

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Why my teapots are generally small:View Post

Why my teapots are generally small:

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Brazier Experiments Three: the epiphany.View Post

Brazier Experiments Three: the epiphany.

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Puer is always appropriate

Puer is always appropriate.

There’s very rarely a time when I’m not interested in drinking some puer. This is not true for other styles of tea. There are definitely days when a green tea seems out of place or a black tea too bold. Puer (good puer, anyway) seems to meet every…

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More adventures with the Brazier: a short session of Gyokuro.View Post

More adventures with the Brazier: a short session of Gyokuro.

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Meng Ding Huang Ya  蒙頂黄芽

Yellow tea is one of the 6 types of tea. It is probably the least known of all types, no matter where you live. It is partially oxidized like a white tea or an oolong but there is a special process that separates it from the others.

In the spring, only the buds of the leaves are picked to ensure a uniform quality of the tea. During processing, the leaves are heated over a slow fire in a bamboo basket like many green teas. Before the leaves are fixed to prevent oxidation, the leaves are wrapped in bamboo paper (seen in the terrible cellphone pic above) they may keep the leaves wrapped for days or sometimes do successive wrapping between heating. The paper absorbs some of the fresh bite that a green can have and leaves the tea with a smoother, sweeter flavor. 

While we visited this garden in Mingshan, the owner was happy to show us the plants and drink tea with us, he was not as inclined to show us the factory and the process in which the tea was made. Our friend kindly translated as much as he could and we did get to see the bamboo paper. Many times when a westerner approaches a carefully guarded tradition in the tea world, the tea producers are reluctant to open the doors with no questions asked. This is quite true with Puer and still true with Yellow tea. 

The only other major piece of information we could attain is that Mengding Huang Ya is only produced before Qing Ming festival. Those aware of culture and tea will know that pre-qing ming teas are rare and much more expensive. The farmers are lucky to have a crop ready by then as the leaves are the most tender, therefore ideal for tea connoisseurs.  

 

Even though we had some barriers in mingshan, the garden was gorgeous! The yellow signs you see in the fields are actually fly paper, a great “pesticide” that doesn’t harm the tea plant! 

Another interesting thing we saw was the dedication to tea in the city. The bridge has all the old characters for tea and there are countless statues and monuments to commemorate the tea culture over the past 2000+ years.

Mengding is a treat, definitely not an everyday tea. If you find some, share it with close friends who will appreciate its history. 

Engagement cha xi, or, Some Tea Before the Wedding:View Post

Engagement cha xi, or, Some Tea Before the Wedding:

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Li Shan


Among the higher grown Taiwanese oolongs in the “Gao Shan Cha” umbrella at 1500-2000m, Li Shan is by far the most buttery and smooth teas you will find. 

When drinking fresh spring oolongs you sometimes get that familiar bite of freshness in the jaw. In Li Shan, most of that sharpness is masked by the sweet butter flavors. This of course makes for a pleasurable drinking experience.

I used my light/unroasted oolong pot which, after a few years of use, has really started to smooth out some rough edges a tea might have. I brewed 9 infusions gongfu, all but the last two being under 20 seconds. I’m sure I could’ve brewed a few more times but I was feeling like this was the perfect amount of tea for me to continue the rest of my day.

  

Some different ways to pour a Gaiwan (and a little about what a gaiwan is):View Post

Some different ways to pour a Gaiwan (and a little about what a gaiwan is):

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Keemun from the UK

Familiar with Keemun #tea? I also wrote a little about infusers.

Keemun Mao Feng

Darkly sweet, like a deeply ripe blood orange. An aroma of very dark chocolate with a touch of cinnamon. There’s a subtle dryness and roughness at the end that is typical of some Qi Men teas.

Qi Men (aka: “Keemun”) tea (祁門红茶) is a black…

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