Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Nine Teas

9 Teas

Fortune Cookie


The most important thing in communication is to hear what isn't being said.

Welcome to readers from Finland and the United Arab Emirates

I thought of the happiness drinking tea has brought me lately and it surprised me.

At the shambolic surface of my desk I decided to do an inventory on the teas I had in my tea chest and cupboard.

This is what I found.

In the garage I have a good Sencha, a Genmaicha, three flowering tea balls and another tea I can't remember what. I drank all the Rose Congou and Chun Mee while I was travelling through Indochina last year.

I am just in the process of finishing a batch of Sencha Sakura, and a tiny 50g box of Happy Valley Darjeeling.

That leaves nine teas. Five are Chinese, two Vietnamese, one Japanese and one of indeterminate origin.

Taiwanese Oolong                        Gunpowder tea (Zheijiang province)      Earl Grey Blue Royal

Fujian oolong. I must be perverse because I can never entirely get along with oolong. Woody and smokey more than a little is too much for me. Two cups works fine.

Gunpowder tea from Zheijang

Deep and rich this is smooth and strident green tea using whole leaves.

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Earl Grey Tea (black tea said to come from China with added oil from the bergamot green orange from Italy). Whether the present day leaves still come from China is moot. Think Kenya, Uganda, India.

The taste is sweet, subtle but the fragrance always fades after three or more weeks. Drink quickly.

Bac Thai (yellow tea)                              Hojicha                          Vietnamese Lotus Tea

                  Bac Thai from Thai Nguyen

It's a nice tea with a rich liquorice smell. The black leaves produce a lemon yellow tea. 

Bac Thai steeped. A rather beautiful thing. 

Hojicha (Japanese roasted tea)

A tea easy on the eye. spiky roasted tea which is rich and nutty. Wonderful on the nose but very mild on the palate. A tea to generate smiles. Made from low grade tea known as Bancha.

Lotus tea (tra sen) from Lamdong

A super tea with floral notes. A subtle tea that carries a bouquet that inspires happy feelings. The smoothest tea I have had in the last 12 months.

                 ? Mystery Tea ?           Yunnan Green Tea            Russian Caravan Tea                

Unknown Tea Leaves

Unknown tea steeped: the aroma is faintly of lemon with a malt undertone. It is a mild black tea. 

I have no idea what this tea is or even where I got it from. It may have been a gift from a year ago when someone bought me six teas.

One day I will discover what this tea is.

Yunnanese Black Tea

Mild and lightly smoky.

Russian Caravan Tea

Russian caravan tea is a blend of oolong, keemun and lapsang souchong.

This tea is not easily found. It is malty and a big favourite at the Cardews Tea Emporium in Oxford. I can see why. A comforting blend.

Happy Tea Drinking!

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Tea @ the Covent Garden Hotel

Welcome to readers from Israel and Romania

Fine tea at the Covent Garden Hotel

Christmas Lights at Seven Dials

Fortune Cookie

Rivers need springs

Satodoru 斯需 main 彈簧

The opportunity came again to drink fine tea. It got me to thinking about the origins, places, 

people and processes behind a simple order for a pot of tea.

Fine tea complete with mince pie.

A second flush muscatel Darjeeling

Darjeeling is high up in the hills of West Bengal. These are essentially the mammoth hills just below the Himalayas.

Traditionally, Darjeeling teas are classified as a type of black tea. However, the

modern Darjeeling style employs a hard wither (35-40% remaining leaf weight

after withering), which in turn causes an incomplete oxidation for many of the best

teas of this designation, which technically makes them a form of oolong. They

certainly present as an Oolong in their light, golden colour. Many Darjeeling teas

also appear to be a blend of teas oxidised to levels of green, oolong, and black.

The first flush is harvested in mid-March spring following rains, and has a gentle,

very light colour, aroma, and mild astringency.

Between tea is harvested between the two "flush" periods.

Second flush is harvested in June and produces an amber, full bodied, Muscatel-

flavoured cup.

Monsoon or Rains tea is harvested in the monsoon (or rainy season) between

second flush and autumnal, is less withered, consequently more oxidised, and

usually sold at lower prices. It is rarely exported, and often used in masala chai.

Autumnal flush is harvested in the autumn after the rainy season, and has a

somewhat less delicate flavour, less spicy tones, but fuller body and darker


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Then again I could choose a silver needle white tip from the Fujian province of China.

Baihao Yinzhen  white silver needle is also known as White Hair Silver Needle, is a white tea produced in Fujian province in China. 

Amongst  white teas , this IS the most expensive and the most Variety Prized, as only 

top buds (leaf shoots) are used to produce the tea. Genuine Silver Needles are made 

fromcultivars of the  Da Bai  (Large White) tea tree Family. This tea HAS Fine Downy 

hairs which catch the light. It is commonly included among the China classic teas.

Choosing between the two teas very difficult. 

This is a beautiful hotel that serves ten fine teas and a range of herbal teas. All loose leaf of course.

And while you are in Covent Garden you could buy some fine cheese

Or high quality coffee

Happy tea drinking wherever you are

Cheerio for now