Mao Jian Green Tea

History of Mao Jian Green TeaMao Jian is a popular type of green tea that is from the southeast interior Anhui Province of China. It is grown near Huangshan, or Yellow Mountain, an area rich in its variety of green teas.

The best Mao Jian is harvested in early spring. Unlike some teas, when picking Mao Jian only the new tea buds and the leaf nearest to the bud are picked. After being picked, these Chinese tea leaves are gently pan-fried to stop the oxidation process from occurring.

The tea consists of beautiful, dark green, long, curled leaves with silvery tips, which have been firmly rolled and are pointed on both ends. It is well known and treasured for its distinctive, refreshing taste and pleasant aroma and when brewed, it yields a beautiful golden color with a subtle tint of green. Its fragrance is clean and vegetal and its taste is sweet and subtle.

Like other green teas, Mao Jian is caffeinated and contains the same well-known anti-oxidants. The tea’s creamy texture and delicious taste is calming and it is the…

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Introducing the Bi Luo Chun

Pi Lo Chun Green TeaBi Luo Chun is a type of green tea that comes from the mountains of Dongting in the Suzhou province of China. Bi Luo Chun, also known as Pi Lo Chun, is grown amongst apricot, pear, plum and peach trees in a seemingly utopian climate. Because of this, the tea leaves absorb the fruit blossoms’ lovely scent.

The youngest leaves and buds are harvested in the spring with the unopened bud and one leaf. Once harvested, the fine, tender buds are processed entirely by hand. The three-step process includes picking, sorting and roasting.

1)     Picking: The tea is only harvested once a year, in the spring-time, as early as March. The picking step is somewhat tedious since each picking requires both one unopened bud and one leaf.

2)     Sorting: The leaves are then sorted by hand, one by one. This step helps to remove any low-quality leaves. Bi Luo Chun should consist solely of young tea buds and leaves and nothing more.

3)     Roasting: The last stage is an approximately 15 minute roasting process,…

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A Journey into Oolong Tea

History of Oolong TeaOolong is a full-bodied tea that is derived from China and Taiwan and is well-known for its many health benefits. The tea is made from large leaves, which are picked, allowed to wither and then dried before the semi-fermentation process begins. Since oolong tea is semi-fermented, it combines the best characteristics found in both black and green teas. It has a rich flavor and is known for its floral aftertaste and soothing aroma.

The full-bodied tea is a great source of natural anti-oxidants and also contains some essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamin B2, C and E, zinc, selenium and florin. With the nutrients packed into oolong tea, it’s no surprise that it has a wide range of health benefits. From lowering cholesterol levels and the risk of heart disease to promoting weight loss, this tea encourages the healthy functioning of the digestive cycle, circulatory, and immune systems.

Oolong tea is primarily manufactured in the Fujian region of China and around Doi Tung Mountain in Taiwan.

Chinese oolong is known to have very…

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Pu-erh Tea Cake…A True Delicacy!

History of Puerh Tea CakePu-erh tea is a delicacy from the Yunnan province in China, which is said to lower cholesterol levels in the blood stream and effectively rid the body of toxins helping to aid indigestion. Another variation of Pu-erh tea is the Pu-erh Tea Cake from the same province of China. It is also known as uncooked pu-erh tea pie because of the way that it is produced and packaged. Pu-erh Tea Cake has a unique production process.

First, the tea leaves are allowed to naturally wither indoors. This process takes a day or two and allows any moisture to escape from the freshly picked tea leaves. The leaves are then put through the process of known as “Sha Qing,” which means kill the green. The purpose of Sha Qing is reduce fermentation through an air drying machine that is used to soften them. Sha Qing can also be done manually by pan frying the tea leaves over a wok.

The next step to Pu-erh Tea Cake is rolling. After the air drying process, the leaves must cool briefly…

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An Introduction to Bone China

Bone China English Tea SetFirst introduced in England in 1800 by Josiah Spode, bone china is a type of fine china made from a mix of clay and bone ash. Its original formula contained 6 parts of bone ash, 4 parts of china stone, and 3.5 parts of china clay, also known as Kaolinite.

The differential between bone china and porcelain is primarily the mix of bone ash in its formula. Because of it, bone china is stronger than regular porcelain and its beautiful ivory-white is far more translucent than basic porcelain, allowing light to pass through it. Its ivory-white appearance is actually attributed to the bone ash.

Bone china grew as a popular alternative to traditional porcelain china in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries because although it was delicate and beautiful, it was very strong. Common items made from bone china included teapots, vases and tableware.

An additional contributing factor to bone china’s growth in popularity is from its sturdy formula being less likely to be lost in fire since it does not contain any glass. Additionally, the firing temperature for bone china is much lower than porcelain so potters could…

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Time for Tea: The tradition of English tea time

History of English teaAfternoon tea is a long-time British tradition that is served with a small snack and a hot cup of the best English afternoon tea. It is known to have popularized in the 19th century by the Duchess of Bedford, Anna Maria, who complained of having a “sinking feeling” around 4PM in the afternoon. Since, at the time, it was common to only have two meals a day, the Duchess’ solution was to have an afternoon tea time accompanied by a small snack to reenergize her spirit. In time, the Duchess shared her new practice with friends by holding daily “tea time” at the Belvoir Castle and due to its great success; she continued this tradition when she returned to London. The refreshing practice soon spread across Britain and tea time became a formal occasion. Some of the most impressive tea receptions would host as many as 200 guests.

Originally during tea time, guests were served light snacks such bread and butter, but soon complimenting tea menus were developed. A traditional afternoon tea menu included a selection of small, cut up, “finger” sandwiches, freshly baked scones with…

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The Secrets of Pu-erh Tea

Aged Puerh TeaPu-erh (or Puerh), also known as Polee, is a tea from the Yunnan province in the southwest of China. It is produced from the leaves and stems of the Camellia sinensis plant, which is the same plant that produces green, oolong and black teas. The tea is dark in color and has reddish black leaves that make it a heavy, thick tea with a strong, earthy aroma.

Different from other teas, pu-erh tea is post-fermented, this means it is both fermented and then goes through an aging process under high humidity. Pu-erh tea is either raw or ripened. Raw pu-erh, also known as green, goes through sun fixation, rolling and sun drying. Ripened pu-erh, or dark, goes through sun fixation, rolling, Wo Dui (piling, dampening and mixing the tea to ensure even fermentation) and sun drying. Added processes include both types being compressed or shaped, and aged.

Pu-erh tea is compressed/shaped in a variety of ways. One of these ways is known as toucha, which is compressed Yunnan…

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The Meaning behind Black Tea Suffixes

black tea suffixPerhaps one of the lesser known stages of black tea production is the final stage, where tea leaves are sorted and categorized based upon the leaf size and the part of the branch the tea leaf was obtained.

This information is then used to assign a black tea leaf into a category: whole leaf, broken leaf, fannings and dust. In the grading of black teas from India and Sri Lanka, grading is done based on the appearance of the leaves such as Golden (G), which describes the golden or silvery tips of some leaves and buds, Flowery (F), which describes a more open leaf resembling a flower, and Tippy (T), which describes the abundance of tips.  Orange Pekoe (OP) describes the youngest tea leaves, picked very closely to the end of the branch. These are whole leaf teas with no tippiness. An additional description may be added to describe the grade of the tea such as Fine (F) and Super Fine (SF). You may also see a number 1 or 2 appear to further designate a finer grade tea.

A summary…

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The Tea Experience Begins with a Teapot

teapot experienceEnjoying that perfect sip of tea whether it is green tea, black tea, white tea or any other kind, starts with the selection of your teapot. With the vast array of available teapots and designs, we may sometimes forget the importance of having the “right” teapot. So, what is the right teapot for you?

When researching the right teapot, aside from aesthetics of beautiful design, you may want to consider the size of the pot, the material (primarily seen in glass, ceramic or porcelain) and whether or not you will be using the teapot for brewing or simply serving the tea. The options we have today are derived from the incredible popularity that tea has received over the centuries as the tea experience spread from Asia to Europe and beyond.

The Ch’a Ching (or Tea Classic) is the earliest book on the subject of tea, appearing during the Tang Dynasty (618-907). However the traditional method of making tea involved brewing tea leaves in open vessels and the first teapots, closely resembling wine-ewers, only made their appearance in the world…

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Green Tea Powder Benefits

green tea powder benefitsOver the past decade, green tea has become a prominent ingredient to a healthier, more holistic lifestyle. With its ingredients such as antioxidants and polyphenols, research on green tea has shown health benefits in many areas including: high cholesterol, heart disease, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and even diabetes. Additionally, polyphenols have been linked to playing a part in the killing and prevention of growing cancerous cells.

In recent years, many findings have linked green tea to everything from weight loss, by green tea’s ability to boost metabolism, to anti-aging skin care remedies, directly attributed to polyphenols, which repair damage and help with disease prevention. Ranging in boldness and flavor, green tea appeals to all different taste buds as well as all different body types.

Not sure where to start?  Try our Green Tea Sampler.

If you’re not a typical lover of green tea, the good news is that there are other alternatives to obtaining these same benefits.  Today you can find an assortment of green tea products on store shelves, from green tea flavored ice cream to green tea…

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