Sunday, 28 December 2014

Hook Tea





Welcome to readers from Kenya and Mexico




Vietnamese Hook Tea




Fortune Cookie

A day without laughing is a day wasted.



Một ngày mà không cười là một ngày lãng phí.



I was given by a friend in Vietnam a small carton of hook tea. It was a left-over present used to distribute to wedding guests. Wrapped in gold paper inside were deep-smelling hooks of green tea or cha goi meaning 'tea hook.' The shape comes from the way the tea is rolled. The tea has a lot of presence and a strong character. The aroma is not strong but the flavour is distinctive. There is some astringency which ends in a long sweet finish.

Hook tea is grown in the Thai Nguyen region of north Vietnam.

And now a gift of Hook tea. Two boxes in fact.






It doesn't need long to steep and can be brewed gong-fu style and used multiple times, although after the fourth time maybe you want to give up on getting your value for money.





For more on Vietnam Tea see:

Tea in Vietnam




Tasting Notes
Moderate to strong astringency
Strong grassy taste

Origin: 
Thai Nguyen Province Vietnam
Altitude: 250 metre

Brewing
Heat water to 85 C
Use 2 teaspoons
Brew for 1 minute
Drain tea into jug to avoid bitterness from over-brewing
Re-use leaves a second and third time
Experiment with tea quantity and brewing times to suite your taste


These images were taken in Saigon. Read about Saigon here:

Sai Gon Fishing












Happy Tea Drinking in 2015!






Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Tokyo Story



Welcome to readers from Nepal



Fortune Cookie

あ な た の 舌 は あ な た の 大使 で あ る

Your tongue is your ambassador


Tokyo tea




Matcha in Shinjuku-Gyoen.


A ceremonial tea house in Shinjuku park. 







Tea Lady



Enjoying a tea sweet with Kazuyo



Shinjuku hoji-cha

for more on Hojicha.


Imperial Summer House



Oranges in Hatagaya district

Just by the park, north of Shinjuku is this tiny Generally east gate to the shop and the street runs parallel to the park. It is an upscale neighborhood maybe three hundred meters away from the congestion of Shinjuku Station. 

They have a nice line of teapots here and it was tough not to buy one. But I refrained deciding to wait for another opportunity.

It was a funny shop. It only took cash. The woman who managed the shop spoke good English and was happy to offer tastings. Politeness overflowed but underlying this deep expectation of the sale. Easily made. I was delighted to be there. I bought a traditional Japanese tea canister in lilac with a design on the side.

The Nihon-cha (tea master) carefully prepared the teas for the tasting.

I tried three teas here. All had distinct merits. Each released a scintilla of happiness. Each for different Reasons. 




Here I found a Karigane from Shizuoka, a sencha from Kyoto and a Kabusecha from Fukuoka and a gyokuro also from Kyoto.


More tea stores in Tokyo

Tai Hua Cha ,  Shibuya, Dogenzaka, 1-18-6, Tokyo

MariageFreres 
List of MariageFreres stores:

1.      Suzuran-Dori, 5-6-6 Ginza, Chuo-Ku, Tokyo
2.      1-28-1 Minami-Ikebukuro, Toshima-ku, Tokyo
3.      Meiji-Dori, 3-14-25 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
4.      1-1-3 Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
5.      21-1 Udagawa-cho, Shibuya-Ku, Tokyo
6.      4-6-16 Ginza, Chuo-Ku, Tokyo



Happy Tea Drinking!

                                                                     

Monday, 7 July 2014

Kasuga Ryokan, Hiroshima




Fortune Cookie



今までに試してみました。今までに失敗しました。どんなに。再試行してください。再び失敗。よりよい失敗。


Ever tried? Ever failed? No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better. 
(Samuel Beckett)




Hiroshima

The thing about Hiroshima is that it is simply a very easy-going place. It's a city that is soft around the edges compared to say Tokyo or Kyoto.


A wedding photo-shoot in the Edo period Shukkei-en garden



Most of Japan is genteel and very friendly ...

until you keep your shoes on indoors that is. Emaciated old women on crutches will suddenly run a hundred metres shouting No! No! No! - if you-have forgotten to remove your bipedal covers. So one minute you are relaxed and then in full receipt of an impassioned scalding the next.

The Japanese-have extra-sensory perception when house slippers are involved. Both men and women know if you have left your shoes on or not. They are able to see you through brick, concrete with a special kind of vision. Do not attempt to flout the house slipper tradition.

You will be apprehended.

Gosh after that it was time for a cup of tea.

And so to Kasuga Ryokan.

Kasuga Ryokan is in the Ote-machi district of Hiroshima. Ote-machi is a working district that is in the centre of the city a pleasant fifteen minute tram ride away from Japan Railways Hiroshima.

I stayed in ryokan while I travelled around Japan because they provide Sencha or Gen mai cha green tea in the rooms as part of a beautiful polished wood tea set. Other teas often feature as part of any meals you take in the ryokan. To have tea machines, cups, trays and green tea provided was just ideal. 








If you like this blog see its twin  GuerillaZ  the travel blog  at the end of this link:







Gen Mai Cha taken at the low table in my six tatami mat room at Kasuga Ryokan.



Genmaicha



After all meals in a ryokan, the name for a traditional Japanese inn, Hoji-cha is served. The smoky, roasted tea is lower in caffeine and a tasty way to finish off a Japanese meal.


See the post below for more on Hoji-cha




See also Ricardo Caicedo's blog My Japanese Green Tea for more on Japanese tea culture.






Happy Tea drinking!



Sunday, 27 April 2014

Bibibidang, Busan, Korea




Singing Bird comes to you today from South Korea


A warm welcome to new readers from Japan, South Korea and Hungary.




Haeundae Beach, Busan






Fortune Cookie


KISS; keep it simple stupid






Bibibidang




Its location overlooking the Sea of ​​Japan.



An interior that leaves the tea to do the talking.






If you like this blog see its twin  GuerillaZ  the travel blog  at the end of this link:



Polite, diligent and accommodating female staff. I think it was difficult for them with an English speaker there. But they were attentive and kind.




I tried two teas: one green, one yellow.

These teas were grown in Hadong County, south-western South Korea. The area is well known in Korea for its production of high quality green tea.

The yellow tea was called Hwangcha. I asked for the "new tips" from the first ten days of April. More expensive of course. The first taste was wheat-like somehow. The taste trailed off to something more mellow and quite satisfying. The liquid had a deep colour not unlike oolong.


The yellow tea on the left.

The green tea Nokcha was of a different order altogether The leaves were sencha-like needles but finer and shorter The taste was extraordinary It is, to date, the best tea I have tasted; Grassy, ​​perfumed, and made the birdsong sound sweeter. Steeping time, a gongfu brewing of 10 seconds. After 90 seconds it became so astringent it was close to undrinkable. Of course you can use the leaves several times.


The yellow tea made in the chocolate-coloured pot.



Only one sweet remaining.



e green tea


In the Lift down to the Street. I Sighed a Contented Sigh. The two Ladies in the Lift with me said, Bibibidang.

Worth the hour long bus ride and 30 minute walk through Korea's second city.


If you have any problems finding it ask in the Chinatown Tourist Information Office mentioning the tea room name and location on Dalmiji hill.




Singing Bird comes to you soon from Hiroshima, Japan.




Happy Tea Drinking!





Monday, 24 March 2014

Bubble Tea




Bubble






Bubble Tea





Fortune Cookie

你 main 减仓

Thou shalt lighten up



Bubble tea hits London.





I saw two boba or bubble tea shops in Chinatown. One, not this one, had a long queue outside.

Traditionally bubble tea is a beverage made from a mixture of Taiwanese black tea, milk, condensed milk or honey and tapioca pearls. It was brought together as a commercial drink in the 1980s but original concoction was a cold tea and tapioca pudding blended by a woman who specialised in dessert making in Taiwan. It was know then as fen yuan 芬元.

The pearls can be a trouble to cook before they are added to the syrup mixture. They stick together in a glutinous mass so be prepared to stir and supervise. The rest of the drink is relatively straightforward. See below. This is a tea you can chew, have hot, cold or chilled.



Feel free to adjust this basic bubble tea recipe according to your own tea and flavoring preferences adding: mint, fruit syrup, green tea, rainbow pearls, evaporated milk.







If you Like this blog its Twin Visit  GuerillaZ the travel blog  at the end of this Link:





Ingredients:
,          3 Ounces Tapioca pearls
,          Sugar Syrup
,          1 CUP brewed Tea (Chinese Tea or Lychee Black Tea IS good) 
,          1 CUP Milk (or to Taste)
,          Ice Cubes
,          Tapioca Pearls
,          Tapioca pearls Part 1
,          4 Parts (or More) Water
,          Sugar Syrup
,          2 Parts white Sugar
,          Brown Sugar Part 1
,          3 Parts Water




Preparation:
Prepare the sugar syrup for the tapioca pearls (see below).




Prepare the tapioca pearls (see below)





Allow the tea to cool to room temperature. Add the milk.



To make the Tapioca pearls: .. - Making - - When the Tapioca pearls, Which Are the Chief Ingredient in Asian Bubble teas, Please Note That the pearls - - When cooked Expand Considerably Please Ensure That you use a large Pot As a Rule, the more pearls cooked, the more water should be used: that is, the water to pearl ratio must be higher. 










Boil the Water. Add the pearls to the boiling Water and Boil for 30 Minutes. Stir to make sure the pearls Occasionally Are not sticking to Each Other or to the Pot. Turn off Heat and let the pearls in the Steep Water for Another 30 Minutes with the lid of the cooking pot on.



. Drain the tapioca pearls and rinse with cold water to cool them down Place them in sugar syrup ... (Sugar and water solution - see below) Make sure that the pearls are covered Stir the pearls well They are now ready to enjoy.







To make the Sugar Syrup : .... in a Saucepan, Bring the Water to Boil Add the Sugars Reduce Heat and Heat until the Sugar Crystals Are Dissolved Remove from Heat. 


Add the sugar syrup, milk and tea mix, and the ice cubes to a cocktail shaker and shake well. 

Pour the shaken mixture into the glass with the tapioca pearls. Serve with a thick straw.









Boba tea is fun and really quite nice on the palate. 


Happy tea drinking!