The Tea Blog
India's tea industry is well known and it is actually helpful that many of its most popular teas are named for their growing regions.
I have committed myself to sharing what I learn about tea in a way that makes it feel approachable. Our job is to learn the basics about tea, to respect the centuries of tradition, and to find what we like!
Last time I talked about one of the more famous oolongs, Da Hong Pao or Big Red Robe. Since then I’ve been finding myself drawn to the flavors of another very famous oolong: Ti Guan Yin (or Ti Kuan Yin or Tieguanyin).
One of the more famous of the oolong teas from China's Wuyi Mountains is Da Hong Pao or Big Red Robe tea. This tea is also sometimes called Royal Red Robe and it is one of the most highly oxidized oolong teas.
The Victorian custom of afternoon tea has certainly remained a big part of established tea culture. But how did this tradition start? Are there other British tea-taking traditions?
Sun tea gained popularity in the United States in the early 1970s although some have been making tea this way for generations. It was definitely a part of my childhood days in Maine.
Iced tea has been popular here in the United States since Richard Blechynden served it at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair. He was at the fair to promote Indian tea, but the extremely hot temperatures during the fair lessened its appeal.
When one considers the world’s tea growing regions, what are the countries that come to mind? China. Taiwan. Japan. India. Sri Lanka. I suspect that not many people would even think of the United States.
One of my greatest joys is sharing tea. Sometimes it is the opportunity to recommend a great tea to friends. But more special is the physical sharing of space with someone, sipping tea, and talking.
Oolong are known as "partially oxidized" or "semi-oxidized" teas. Some oolongs are oxidized very little, so their flavor profiles are more like green teas. Others are oxidized significantly, so their appearance and flavor is nearer that of a black tea.
The word "gaiwan" is Mandarin for "covered cup." A gaiwan is a handleless bowl, taller than it is wide, with a flared top.
As with Japanese green teas, Chinese green teas are unoxidized. However, for Chinese greens, the tea leaves are plucked, then pan-fired in a round, shallow pan to destroy the enzymes that would turn the leaves brown.
A kyusu (or kyuusu) is also called a sencha teapot or, sometimes, a side-handled teapot. The handle is one of the most identifiable characteristics of this pot.
The string of letters (SFTGFOP, or some portion thereof) are used to describe the “grade” of the leaf. Grade, however, is not a designation of quality. It is simply a way to compare the size of the leaf.
There are important differences in the processing of Japanese green teas and Chinese green teas that result in very different flavor profiles.