<![CDATA[Your Guide To Chinese Tea - Post Feed]]> https://www.teasenz.com/chinese-tea.html Fri, 20 Oct 2017 13:21:11 +0000 Zend_Feed http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/tech/rss <![CDATA[Pu Erh Tea Taste Explained!]]> https://www.teasenz.com/chinese-tea/pu-erh-tea-taste.html Pu erh tea tastes like dirt! That's what you'll here some people say when they first try pu erh taste. Those who had a bad experience trying this post-fermented tea the first time, might believe you need an acquired taste for it. As a matter of fact, Pu erh has a wide spectrum of flavours, and you sometimes just need to find out what matches your taste.

Pu erh is unique in the world of tea. There is no other tea like it in terms of processing, storage, and taste. Different factors such as origins of the raw materials, soil, altitude, time, storage conditions affect the taste of pu erh and make it such a fascinating type of tea.

What are the main flavours of pu erh? What are the factors that affect the taste of pu erh? Being aware of all this will make you a enjoy pu erh at a deeper level and make you a more knowledgable pu erh buyer. Let’s go through some of the main aspects and find out!

Main Flavours of Pu erh

Generally speaking, Pu erh can be sweet, bitter, floral, mellow, woody, astringent, sour, earthy, watery, or even tasteless. A combination of tastes appear in one single steeping. Bear in mind that the taste also changes as the tea ages. So, don’t throw away your pu erh if you didn’t like it the first time.

Raw and Ripe

Raw Pu erh (sheng cha) and ripe Pu erh (shu cha) are the two main categories of pu erh. Sheng cha is generally bitterer, with a strong green vegetal flavour. But after some years of natural aging, the bitterness would disappear and the charming aged aroma would arise. Because of that, sheng cha is popular among pu erh collectors.

Shu cha appeared after the pile (wo dui) fermentation process was developed in 1973. This process accelerates the fermentation process and also gives newly-produced shu cha a special ripe flavour called “wo dui wei” (pile fermentation taste). During storage, the smell and taste of the aging shu cha changes all the time. With time, shu cha will gradually get rid of the “wo dui wei” and become mellow and smooth.

If the wo dui wei stays, you can consider airing and awakening your pu erh in a yixing jar.

Tea Mountains

Pu erh of different tea mountains has different taste. Banzhang, Yiwu, Jingmai, Bingdao, Bulang, Bangdong… Famous tea mountains like these all produce Pu erh with their own distinct characteristics in taste. Banzhang tea has the most aggressive flavour; Yiwu tea is peaceful with high aroma; Jingmai tea is moderate and soft; Bingdao tea tastes crisp and sweet; Bulang tea tastes heavy; Bangdong tea has a sweet aftertaste that last very long.

Besides these 6 famous tea mountains, new have appeared contenders appeared in the recent period. See below a map with all mountains shown:

Wild Arbor Tea and Garden Tea

Wild arbor tea are grown in the nature and tastes calm, sweet and soft. Although the aroma isn’t as strong as the garden tea, but it’s broader and deeper. The taste of wild tea is more comprehensive and smooth.

Garden tea tastes thinner and more stimulating compare to wild tea. It has a strong sweet aftertaste and a high aroma, but don't last as long as the wild arbor tea. Garden tea is classified in different grades.

The distinction between garden tea, arbor tea, and arbor tea from famous tea mounts can greatly affect the price of pu erh.

Aged Taste

Aged pu erh has a distinct taste (chen wei), also called aged aroma (chen xiang). No matter the tea is raw or ripe, after 3-5 years of appropriate storage, chen wei would be there. That’s the result of the activities of micro-organisms in the tea leaves. The older the tea gets, the stronger the chen wei is - because the gradual process of micro-organic growth. The aged taste is considered a part of the charm of pu erh as the tea will become more mellow and smooth.

It's however a common misperception that must older is better. Individual pu erh drinkers might have preferences for young, mildly aged or aged pu erh. Those who drink young pu erhs prefer the strong characteristics of fresh bitterness and astringency.

Taste Affected by Storage Conditions

In order to let the pu erh age well, in other words, to let the micro-mechanisms in tea leaves to work well, there are 3 aspects of concern: air circulation, temperature, and humidity. If any of the aspects went wrong, the tea will age badly. For example, if the storage environment was too humid, the tea would taste musty; if the air circulation was bad and if there were other smells in the room, the tea would absorb those smells too. These types of tastes/smells of the tea are called the storage taste – cang wei. Under different storage conditions, same tea can taste very different.

Sometimes pu erh tea can taste like fish which could mean that it was stored in unsanitary conditions.

Mellow and Smooth

After appropriate storage and aging of the tea, the taste of pu erh should be mellow and smooth. The liquor feels soft and silky in the mouth and the throat. Young pu erh might be smooth, but it’s rarely mellow. Experienced pu erh drinker would describe this taste of aged pu erh as “rice soup sensation”.

The Sweet Aftertaste "Hui Gan"

In Chinese, there is a term for the sweet aftertaste of tea "hui gan". If you are a tea drinker, it should be a familiar experience. Pu erh is made of the large-leaf variety from Yunnan Province which has a strong bitterness, but once the bitter sensation is gone, the sweet aftertaste appears in the mouth. Unlike other types of tea, the hui gan of pu erh is generally quite long-lasting. You can feel it down the throat rather than just on the tongue, people called it “hou yun”, means the “throat charm” of pu erh.

Hui yun and hui gan are considered important factors for good aging ability of tea cakes.

Bitterness

Normally, tea leaves from Lincang tea region have a heavy bitterness and those from Yiwu and Menghai are lighter (except for Banzhang and Bulang area). There are also variations in the bitterness. For example, Pu erh from Yiwu, Banzhang and Mengku is bitter but not sharp, and there is a balance between bitterness and astringency. Note that the bitterness is also related to the amount of tea, water temperature and the steeping time of the infusion.

Many pu erh collectors prefer to collect cakes that have a strong bitter taste, believing those cakes will age better over time. We don't really agree with this. Don't be fooled. Really bitter tea will stay really bitter no matter how long you age it. Based on our experience, cakes with good aftertaste (hui gan) and a thickness of flavour generally do better over time.

Smoky Taste

Fresh leaves were supposed to be dried in the sun, but during the cloudy days, they had to be dried with firewood, which caused the smoky taste. Another reason is that firewood was used during the process of stir fixation.

Whether the smoky taste is good or not is totally subjective. Some people think the smoky taste is unpleasant; others think it actually smells good and call it the “old tobacco flavour”. Their were times that such tea were really popular. Nowadays they're more a taste of the past.

Pu Erh Tea Preparation

Now that we've discussed the different aspects of how pu erh tea can taste, it's important to also prepare it carefully to draw out all these flavours. Watch the video below to see how pu erh is made gongfu style:



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Thu, 21 Sep 2017 09:54:51 +0000
<![CDATA[Ashimei: The Female Tea Caravan Horse Rider]]> https://www.teasenz.com/chinese-tea/ashimei-the-female-tea-caravan-horse-rider.html From about a 1000 years ago horse and mule caravans carried tea along the Ancient Tea Horse Road. People and horses travelled on foot from Southern Yunnan all the way to Tibet and beyond China's borders. These journeys that could take up to 180 days and were mainly a task for men. The caravan leader had to deal with the risk of mudslides, the health of the horses, extreme weather situations, and negotiate with bandits.

Yet, one female horse rider rose up to the challenge when she was just 16 and dedicated 50 years of her life on the caravan road. This legendary female rider's name is Ashimei. The story goes that she cut her hair and dressed up like a man to embark on her first journey. Eventually she became a caravan chief when she was 50. She owned 300 horses and had 100 drivers working for her.

Her achievements should be remembered not just because it was unusual for a female to be a horse rider at that time, let alone a caravan leader. She also managed to run the largest and most profitable caravan.

Nobody knows for sure why she was so successful. But one thing is for sure, she must have taken good care of her horses and planned her trips with more attention to detail than any other.

Some believe the Ancient tea horse road wasn't the most difficult challenge of her life, but to give up on love and family. As a saying goes:

For women, this road is a path of internal suffering and love hanging in their lives.
For men, this road was a path of life and death hanging on the cliffs.

Original text:

对于女人,这条路是挂在生命里的爱情之路。
对于男人,这条路是挂在悬崖上的生死之路。

Note: In some folk tales the story goes that Ashimei eventually found her love and moved to Myanmar. This however, isn't confirmed by historians.

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Sun, 20 Aug 2017 10:06:09 +0000
<![CDATA[Detailed 21 Step Gongfu Tea Ceremony]]> https://www.teasenz.com/chinese-tea/21-step-gongfu-tea-ceremony.html In Chinese, the word “gongfu” has multiple meanings - skills, art, dedication and effort. Just as the name implies, it takes time and skills to make Gongfu tea. The Gongfu tea ceremony actually makes the preparation and presentation of tea an art form.

Previously we've introduced a full guide on the traditional Gongfu tea ceremony discussing the meaning and brewing tools required. In this post, we introduce a detailed 21 step gongfu tea ceremony.

Usually people use oolong, pu erh and black tea to make Gongfu tea. For example, a tea we love to brew gongfu style is a Da Hong Pao from Wuyi Mountain. With its special “rock charm” and long lasting aroma, this famous oolong tea is more than suitable for a Gongfu tea ceremony.

Step 1 - Burn the incense

Incense is often first burned before the ceremony to increase the spirituality of the tea session. While the incense is slowly burning, you'll start to feel more relaxed and calm. It's a good moment to realise how grateful we are that our ancestors passed down the cultural tea heritage.

Step 2 - Present the tea leaves

Teas are often stored in a jar that suits the ceremony scene. To start the ceremony, the tea artist uses a special spoon to take tea leaves out of the jar. The leaves are put on a plate and shown to every guest. Observing the dry leaves and enjoying the scent is part of tea appreciation.

Step 3 - Warm the teapot

Often ties nice little Yixing purple clay teapot is used, invented by Shi Da Bin, a famous 17th century potter. Pour hot water over and into the teapot to warm it up first. Warming the teapot first will make sure it maintains the inside temperature better when you brew your tea.

Step 4 - Add tea leaves into teapot

A good amount of the tea leaves is needed. Fill the small teapot 4/5 full when steeping Da Hong Pao or Dancong. This sounds like a lot. However, unlike Tieguanyin oolong, Da Hong Pao tea leaves are less tightly rolled and therefore can take up a lot of space when they're dry. For other teas, you can generally add 8 grams of leaves.

Step 5 - Add water into teapot

During tea ceremonies, hot water is often boiled in a iron tea kettle. When the water is ready, lift up the kettle to a certain height, aim towards the rim of the teapot, and pour boiling water into the teapot till the water spills out slightly.

While pouring, you can enjoy the sound of it that resembles the mountain stream. This step is to moisten and wash the tea leaves.

Step 6 - Scrape away the bubbles

Use the teapot lid to scrape away the bubbles on the water surface, then put the lid on the teapot. The movement should be gentle like a spring breeze stroking the face. There's nothing wrong with the tea if you see such foam on the surface. It's due to the a chemical reactions when the tea leaves come in contact with hot water.

Step 7 - Rinse the teacups

We use the first steep to rinse the teacups and optionally wash your tea pets. Then drain the infusion into the tea tray.

Step 8 - Add water into teapot again

Pour boiling water into the teapot again till the water spills out slightly. Put the lid on, and then pour boiling water on the outside of the teapot as well. This again makes sure the isolation of heat inside the pot is better.

Step 9 - Pour the infusion into the fairness pitcher

The steeping time is different for every tea. Because gongfu sessions have a high leaf-to-water ratio, the steeping time is usually just a few seconds. You can gradually increase the time with a few seconds for every subsequent brew.

When the tea is ready, drain it into the fairness pitcher. Such pitchers are useful to make sure every cup you serve will taste the same.

Step 10 - Pour the infusion into the fragrance-smelling cups

Besides drinking cups there are "fragrance-smelling cups", which are used for enjoying the lingering aroma of the tea. Pour the tea from the fairness pitcher to the fragrance-smelling cups quickly and evenly.

Step 11 - Drop by drop pouring

When there is only a small amount of tea left in the pitcher, pour it drop by drop into each fragrance-smelling cups.

Step 12 - Cover every fragrance-smelling cup

Cover every fragrance-smelling cup with an empty teacup.

Step 13 - Transfer the tea into teacups

Lift the fragrance-smelling cup and the teacup up together with the index finger and the middle finger press on both sides of the fragrance-smelling cup, while the thumb press on the bottom of the teacup.

Then quickly flip both cups over to transfer the tea into the teacup.

Step 14 - Serve the tea

Serve each guest a teacup filled with tea and with an upside-down fragrance-smelling cup inside of it.

Step 15 - Enjoy the aroma from the fragrance-smelling cup

Lift the fragrance-smelling cup up and roll its rim gently against the teacup rim to get rid of the drips. Hold it with two hands and raise it towards the nose. Now enjoy the intensified aroma of the tea.

Step 16 - Teacup holding gesture

Show and explain to your guests how to hold a teacup steadily and elegantly. Use the thumb and the index finger to lift the cup up while the middles finger hold the bottom of the teacup, which is called “Three Dragons Guarding the Ding (an ancient cooking vessel)”.

Step 17 - Observe the liquor colour

The liquor colour of Da Hong Pao is dark orange. However, depending on the types of the teacups, the liquor colour is sometimes different around the rim and at the bottom of the teacups.

Step 18 - Taste the liquor

Take three sips to of the tea. Let the liquor flow around inside the mouth and savour the flavour. Pour the remaining tea into the tea tray.

Step 19 - Enjoy the aftertaste and the aroma

Enjoy the delightful aftertaste of the tea. Smell the aroma that’s left in the teacup.

Step 20 - Taste the tea for the second round

Repeat step 8 to step 19. Taste the infusion and note the difference compared to the previous rounds.

Step 21 - Thank the guests

Thank the guests for attending the ceremony.

A Chinese gongfu tea ceremony should not be confused with a Chinese wedding tea ceremony.

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Tue, 15 Aug 2017 08:33:23 +0000
<![CDATA[When To Drink Green Tea?]]> https://www.teasenz.com/chinese-tea/when-to-drink-green-tea.html When to drink green tea? If you're a fan of this beverage, you probably drink it whenever you simply feel like. Yet, there are a few tips on when to drink green tea to make you not only enjoy the taste but also it's health benefits!

Before or After Meals?

What's particularly important is whether you drink green tea before or after meals. Green tea is a super healthy beverage. It's great for the skin, the antioxidants in it fights aging and it shreds fat. But wait, there's a downside, which is that it can be harsh on your stomach! So green tea in the morning on an empty stomach is definitely not a good idea.

To avoid such side effects, it's therefore important to drink it after your meals! Preferably wait for the food to digest slightly for 30 minutes. Then go for it and enjoy a green tea session.

Before or After Exercise?

A frequently asked question related to the weight loss benefits of green tea. Given that you properly ate 2 hours before your exercise it's completely fine to drink small sips of green tea before your exercise. Green tea contains caffeine and may increase your fat burning results during your exercise.

Don't go overboard, it's not good to drink too much of any beverage during intense exercises. Just go for small sips to stay hydrated. Another tip is to steep your green tea somewhat lighter to avoid too much caffeine, which can sometimes stimulate dehydration.

In the Morning or Night?

Mornings and afternoons are great moments for green tea. As said above, the ideal drinking schedule would be 30 minutes after your breakfast and lunch. This is definitely also the best time to drink green tea for weight loss and skin improvement purposes. Moreover, it helps you boost your metabolism when you need it the most!

Because green tea contains caffeine, though less than coffee, we don't recommend it for the evening. In such case, go for a cup of caffeine-free herbal tea!

If you're interested in this topic, feel free to read our full guide on when to drink tea (not just green tea).

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Mon, 07 Aug 2017 02:25:27 +0000
<![CDATA[What Is Grandpa Style Tea? Meaning & Brewing Method Explained]]> https://www.teasenz.com/chinese-tea/grandpa-style-tea-brewing-meaning.html You might think that Chinese people all brew tea the ceremonial way. In such a setting, careful steps are performed to make the perfect cup of tea. That’s far from the truth. In fact, most people brew in a very casual manner, which is known in the West as ‘grandpa style tea’. This especially the case in Anhui and Zhejiang where people mainly drink green tea.

grandpa style tea brewing

Grandpa Style versus Kungfu Brewing

Here’s how grandpa style is different from a traditional tea ceremony (or ‘kungfu style tea brewing’):

  • Instead of brewing tea in a small teapot or gaiwan, you brew loose leaves directly in a large mug.
  • When you brew grandpa tea, the leaf-to-water ratio is lower. Basically you brew more tea at a time, but enjoy less sessions compared to a traditional ceremony.
  • There’s not much regard for temperature or steeping time. You simply keep sipping the tea until you feel the taste is good enough to enjoy.
  • No infuser ball, filters or bags are used. Leaves aren’t strained, but left into the mug while drinking. When it gets bitter, you simply adds more water. If you do want to strain the leaves, you could get a tea infuser mug.
  • When it gets light, add a few more leaves without removing the old leaves.

When To Do It Grandpa Style?

There are certain situations in which you might want to do it grandpa style! For example, when:

  • you drink tea alone. With kungfu brewing, one session usually can serve 4-6 small cups of tea. When you drink alone, it can be a bit too much, especially as some teas can last for up to 12 sessions.
  • you’re a social tea drinker. Some people particularly enjoy tea ceremonies as a social experience. They feel the enjoyment to share a cup of tea with others. If the social aspect isn’t there, they might prefer the grandpa style of brewing.
  • you’re at work: Obviously, your colleagues and manager might find it strange if you start performing a ceremony at work. Though, this depends on the company culture. If you like tea really really much, then try to change the culture ;). If you can't then, teapots with infusers are also a great option!
  • you lack time: Performing a ceremony is by definition slow. You’ve to enjoy it that way. If you feel a small sense of being in a hurry, then skip it, and go for grandpa style.
  • you drink certain types of teas: Some pu erh and oolongs aren’t really suitable brew it grandpa style. It requires good isolation and high leaf-to-water ratios to get the best taste out of them. With white, black and green teas, grandpa style often times can work very well.
  • you want a new experience: if you always brew tea the ceremonial way, grandpa style brewing can be a different experience. Not just in the way you brew tea. You might draw out different flavours of the same tea, when you switch to grandpa style. In addition, if some teas don’t taste well when you prepare it the traditional way. Try them again by brewing them casually. Perhaps that might work better!

Tips for Effective Grandpa Style Brewing

Though grandpa style brewing is way less sophisticated, it can still work well. Compared this to taking pictures with an iPhone versus shooting with a DSLR camera. The iPhone can still take very decent pics. If you know some basic principles or best practices you can in fact take very good pics with a smartphone. The same holds for grandpa style brewing. Here are some basic tips & best practices:

  • Don’t have more than 2/3 of your cup filled. When tea gets bitter, there’s still space to add water.
  • Don’t finish the last 1/3 of your tea or the flavour might become too light when you refill.
  • Use more hot water and isolate the heat with a lid, when the taste of the tea becomes too light.
  • Pour water with a fast speed, so the old tea and the new tea will mixed better together.
  • Don’t use too much leaves. The taste could become too strong too fast.
  • Depending on the delicacy of the tea you can decide when to add the leaves. This idea is explained in the video below:


We hope you find this article useful! Have you tried grandpa style brewing yourself? Then share your experience in the comment section below. To stay up and receive new tea guides, make sure to apply to our newsletter!

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Fri, 21 Jul 2017 20:42:24 +0000
<![CDATA[Don't Drink Real Tea, Or You May Never Want Anything Else]]> https://www.teasenz.com/chinese-tea/dont-drink-real-tea-or-you-may-never-want-anything-else.html So true!

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Wed, 19 Jul 2017 19:26:26 +0000
<![CDATA[Tie Guan Yin vs Green Tea: What's The Difference]]> https://www.teasenz.com/chinese-tea/tie-guan-yin-vs-green-tea.html The title of this post might sound confusing to some. After all 'Tie Guan Yin' is a type of oolong tea, so why should we compare this to a whole category of green tea? Well, there are good reasons for it. For beginning tea explorers, the distinction between lightly oxidised oolongs and green tea can sometimes be confusing.

Tie Guan Yin vs Green Tea: The Level of Oxidation

All leaf teas are made from different cultivars of the Camellia Sinenses tea plant. The categorisation of individual teas in different types is based on the processing method applied. Due to this, the resulting teas have undergone different levels of oxidation.

The processing of green tea is relatively simple compared to that of a Tie Guan Yin (or Ti Kuan Yin). Green tea is plucked, dried in open air, and then roasted in a pan to directly stop the oxidation of the leaves. Due to this, green teas are minimally processed.

Tie Guan Yin, however, has more steps when it comes to the production. The leaves are allowed more time to wither and undergo more intensive steps such as tossing and rolling.

Tie Guan Yin vs Green Tea: Appearance

A fresh green teas generally look greener compared to the dark green looks of Tie Guan Yin. You'll also easily notice that the latter is tightly rolled, while green teas are generally loose. This becomes especially clear when you try to store these teas in a jar. The same jar might store 500g of Tie Guan Yin, while it perhaps only fits 150g of Huang Shan Mao Feng green tea.

When you steep a tie guan yin, you can see that the edges of the leaves have a yellow/orange colour. That's due to the rolling of the leaves. See the image below:

tie guan yin appearance vs green tea

It's however less oxidised compared to other oolongs such as 'Da Hong Pao', which has much darker leaves. Thus, it makes sense for us to compare Tie Guan Yin in isolation to green tea. Note that darker Tie Guan Yin teas also exist, though they are less common.

Taste Differences

When you steep both teas, you'll see that a good green tea will generally consists younger leaves and/or buds. On the other hand, a Tie Guan Yin often consists of larger leaves. This doesn't mean that it's bad quality. Green tea is generally produced from smaller bushes. Leaves from these bushes are especially suitable for the very light processing method of green tea. It results in subtle flavours of soy beens, veggies, or roasted nuts that green tea lovers appreciate.

Tie Guan Yin on the other hand requires somewhat larger leaves that can handle the more intensive production method. Processing such leaves the 'green tea way' will result in a more bitter brew, but by letting them wither and oxidise more, the final taste is very soft, mellow, smooth and slightly more savoury. The liquor texture is also somewhat more thick. At last, tea masters apply slight differences in processing to produce unique flowery aroma's.

Brewing

When it comes to preparing the teas, a temperature of 75 to 85 C needs to be applied to green teas, depending on how delicate they are. It could be made in a gaiwan or brewed in a casual way in a glass.


Tie Guan Yin however definitely should be made with as hot as possible water. It should be prepared the kungfu way in a gaiwan or even better small teapot that isolates heat well. Otherwise, the tightly rolled leaves won't unfurl easily, and you won't be able to draw out the more layered flavours. See the video below for a complete tutorial on brewing Tie Guan Yin:


Watch how with how many tea you put in the gaiwan, as they can unfurl and completely fill the gaiwan:


Health Benefits

Don't worry to much in the difference in health benefits. Yes, green tea is less processed so it holds more anti-oxidants. Yet, the differences aren't that big. They're still teas made from closely related cultivars of the Camellia Sinenses tea plants. And the processing of Tie Guan Yin is still relatively light compared to darker oolongs.

What's important is that you enjoy the teas, so that you can make them part of your daily rituals. The calming effects and mental effects can only be enjoyed when you truly love the teas you drink.

At last, you don't need to choose and stick to one time of tea, you should instead, enjoy the diversity that the world of tea has to offer. And if you do so, you might as well find out what teas are better to drink during different parts of the day or across different seasons. Go for example for green teas during hot summers, while you keep your Tie Guan Yin for mild Spring and Autumn weathers. Find out more in this post: Best time to drink tea during day & season




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Sat, 08 Jul 2017 10:26:37 +0000
<![CDATA[Mei Zhan Oolong Tea Review: A Wuyi Rock Tea]]> https://www.teasenz.com/chinese-tea/mei-zhan-wuyi-oolong-rock-tea.html Mei Zhan is a tea cultivar from Wuyishan that produces a bold and rich oolong tea. Recently we've received a request from a tea lover to source this tea for him. And as curious as we're we made sure to get some more to try it out ourselves.

Most medium and dark roast rock teas are usually in pure black colour. The dry leaves of this Mei Zhan oolong is dark green, indicating that we're dealing with a light roast oolong. The smell is orchid like, but at the same time savoury and sugary.

We decided to brew this oolong in a glass gaiwan at full temperature. As you might know oolongs tend to require high temperatures to draw out it's flavours (no matter light or dark roast). Our glass gaiwan is pretty thick, so we don't need to worry about the isolation as well. As you can see in the picture below, the leaves turn vibrant green. It's even greener than our Tieguanyin, which usually shows brown-yellowish colours on the edges of the leaves.

It has this characteristic mineral rock flavour that's directly proofs that we're talking about a rock tea from Wuyishan. The first impression is that it's a floral kind of oolong, but just 1-2 seconds later there's this sugary caramel like taste that develops under the tongue.

This sensation in the mouth, kind of blew us away. We taste 2-3 types of new teas every day, to improve our online selection of teas, but rarely we're so entertained by something so unique. It's often rock teas that have such a potential though. Given the colour of the leaves, we expected something more fresh, green tea like flavours.


One weakness if this tea is that 5 grams lasts for 5-6 sessions. That's not bad of course, and it can be partly explained by the fact that it's a light roast mei zhan. Darkers roast oolongs tend to have more layered flavours slowly released up to 9-12 brews. This Mei Zhan, however, is explosive in the first 2 rounds and while becoming lighter, but still very pleasant to drink in the 3rd to 6th brew.

Try it Yourself!

Mei Zhan tea isn't available in our online store, but for a limited time we're offering this tea in a tin (see below) at pre-order price of 8.95 USD. Orders will be shipped in the first half of July 2017. Interested? Contact us at info@teasenz.com and let us know you're interested in purchasing mei zhan tea.

Oops, you're late and you've missed the above deadline? No worries, feel free to contact us, and we'll try our best to still get it for you.

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Tue, 20 Jun 2017 08:20:33 +0000
<![CDATA[A Tea Poem by Su Shi (Su Dongpo): Simmering Tea with Fresh River Water]]> https://www.teasenz.com/chinese-tea/su-shi-su-dong-po-simmering-tea-dipping-river-water.html There were plenty of tea poems that appeared during the Tang and the Song Dynasty in China. As those dynasties are considered relatively peaceful, tea culture flourished and brewing tea became more and more a leisure activity.

Su Shi (1037-1101), also know as Su Tungpo, was a Chinese writer, poet, painter, calligrapher and statesman of the Song. As a tea enthusiast, he isn't as visible as other tea poets, as he's been more famous for his poems on the Battle of Red Cliff during the Three Kingdoms. Never, the less he showed his love for tea in many of his works. In this post, we introduce you one of his tea poems today. We hope you enjoy it!

Simmering Tea with Fresh River Water

(Alternative title: Dipping water from the river and simmering tea)

Fresh river water should be boiled over open flames;

I lean over the fishing rock, dip the deep clear river current;

Store the reflection of the large Spring moon, return it to the jar;

Divide the night stream with a little dipper, drained into the kettle.

White frothy water, simmering, whirls bits of tea;

Pour and hear the sound like wind through the pines.

Three bowls will not necessarily penetrate my withered entrails;

I sit and hear, from the remote town, the striking of the hour.

Notes:

  • The second last sentence has resulted in quite some controversy. This sentence challenges another poem known as 7 cups of tea by Lu Tung. In Lu Tung's poem there's this sentence: "The third bowl penetrates my withered entrails". Yet as you can read in the above poem Su Shi believes that 3 bowls aren't enough. Historians have lots of theories on the meaning of Su Shi's '3 bowls' sentence. It could be that he just wanted to emphasise the need to bowl tea (instead of steeping) to get a cup that can effectively clear the mind.

Here's the original in Chinese:


汲江煎茶--苏轼

活水还须活火烹,自临钓石取深清。

大瓢贮月归春瓮,小杓分江入夜瓶。

雪乳已翻煎处脚,松风忽作泻时声。

枯肠未易禁三碗,坐听荒城长短更。


For Mandarin-Chinese learners we also include the pin yin pronunciation of the above Chinese characters.


Jí jiāng jiānchá--sūshì

huóshuǐ hái xū huó huǒ pēng, zì lín diào shí qǔ shēn qīng.

Dà piáo zhù yuè guī chūn wèng, xiǎo biāo fēn jiāng rùyè píng.

Xuě rǔ yǐ fān jiān chù jiǎo, sōng fēng hū zuò xiè shí shēng.

Kū cháng wèi yì jìn sān wǎn, zuò tīng huāngchéng chángduǎn gèng.


Did you like the poem? Or do you have any questions about it? Feel free to leave a comment below. Translating this poem was quite difficult, so if you know a better translation for certain sentences, please let us know!

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Wed, 14 Jun 2017 04:44:50 +0000
<![CDATA[These 4 Main Tea Growing Regions In China Are Ideal For Producing Chinese Tea]]> https://www.teasenz.com/chinese-tea/4-main-tea-growing-regions-in-china.html There is a long history of tea making in China that started thousands of years ago. In terms of land surface, China is the third biggest country in the world, with largely different climates in different parts of the country. Therefore, it isn’t strange that not all areas are suitable for tea production.

The Northern part of China is too cold for tea plantations. Yet, the Southern part of China belongs to one of the most dense tea growing regions in the world.

Tea farming in China happens in four essential tea production areas, which we’ll discuss below:

1. Tea Growing Regions in South West of China

This region is the oldest tea region in China includes Yunnan, Sichuan, Guizhou and the southeastern parts of Tibet. Although with a big span of altitude, the climate of most parts of this region is relatively moderate and stable, especially in Yunnan.

If you've read our history of tea post, you might already know that tea originated from this area.

This region produces black tea, green tea, Pu’er tea and yellow tea, and flower tea. In the past this region attracted lots of demand from neighbouring regions and countries. Which is why there's this term: 'border sales tea'.

You must have heard some of the famous teas from this region: Dianhong black tea, aged Shai Hong black tea, ripe and raw pu’er tea, Mengding yellow tea, and Duyun Maojian green tea.

2. Tea Growing Regions in South of China

This region is the comfort zone for all kinds of tea trees, as the condition of the climate and the soil here is most suitable for them to grow. It is also the region that produces the most of tea in China. The region includes Guangdong, Guangxi, Fujian, Hainan and Taiwan. It mainly produces medium to highly oxidised teas like Liu Bao dark tea, black tea, and oolong tea.

The most representative tea type here is oolong, with lots of varieties and excellent quality. Tie Guan Yin and Da Hong Pao belong to the most popular types. The latter is part of the Wuyi Cliff tea family based in Wuyishan.

3. Tea Growing Regions South of Yangtze River

This region has the most centered tea production in China. It is consisted of Zhejiang, Jiangxi, Hunan and southern parts of Jiangsu, Hubei and Anhui. There are four distinctive seasons in this region with abundant precipitation.

Although this region is well-know for its green tea like Dragon Well, Black tea and Oolong tea is also produced here, for example the famous Keemun tea and Phoenix Dancong.

4. Tea Growing Regions North of Yangtze River

This region includes Shandong, Gansu, Shaanxi, Henan and the northern parts of Jiangsu, Anhui and Hubei. Compare to other tea regions, this one has lower temperature and less precipitation, which is only suitable for small-leaf kind of tea trees to grow. That makes green tea the main product in this region, such as Liu An Melon Seed tea from Anhui and Xinyang Maojian from Henan.

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Fri, 11 Aug 2017 07:28:36 +0000