Below you'll find information about some of our new teas plus a tip on getting more out of your teas.
Let's start with the tea enjoyment tip
Many, though not all, unflavored teas are meant to be enjoyed over several steepings. Of course gong fu style steeping by its nature consists of several successive steeps, but even teas prepared western style (large teapot style) can be re-steeped with delicious success at least one more time.
Sometimes, however, we run out of time or stamina to see the tea through all the way to the end. In this case, you don't have to toss out your leaves unless you want to. I like to put my leaves in an uncovered mason jar or pint glass with cool water on top and then put it in the fridge until the next day. That's an easy way to kill two birds with one stone: get the most out of your leaves and have refreshing chilled tea for the next day.
Some teas do really well having their spent leaves boiled. In fact, you might be shocked to discover how much flavor those leaves still have to offer after you thought you had wrung out every last drop of tasty goodness. The best kinds of tea for boiled teas are: heicha, pu-erh, darker oolongs, aged oolongs, unflavored black teas, and aged white teas.
Boiling tea is quite easy, but does require you to tend to the stove a bit. Basically you just put your spent leaves in a non-reactive sauce pan and then cover the leaves with freshly drawn cool water to about 3 inches or so above the leaf line. Heat the leaves slowly until they come to a boil, and then reduce the heat and simmer. After about five minutes of simmering you can draw off some of the boiled tea to drink and just add more cool water to the sauce pan to replace what you took out. You can repeat the drinking and refilling of the pot several more times. Some people swear by putting in a teeny tiny amount of Himalayan pink sea salt to the water and leaves as they simmer. I have not tried this so I can't vouch for it, but the word on the tea street is that yes, it makes a difference and yes, it must be actual Himalayan pink sea salt.
For both kinds of preparation - chilled and boiled - you should only drink tea from leaves that have been steeped originally less than 18 hours previous. Some people say 24 hours, but I'd say you should err on the side of caution.
It's about to get crazy! April through July is the main time that we select and receive new harvest teas. It can take a little while for them to get us though - as many of them ship by sea and undergo a lengthy customs and FDA inspection process. Some do arrive more quickly - thank goodness - as every spring is wrought with anticipation of how the new year's teas will turn out and what kinds of treasures will come our way.
Below are some new teas that have just arrived.
What a refreshing tea! The base tea is a Jin Xuan oolong, the same tea that makes our very popular Milk Oolong
. The Jin Xuan cultivar lends the refreshing, fragrant and creamy quality to the liquor. The tea is then scented with organically grown osmanthus, a very beautiful and aromatic golden flower that has a honeyed apricot aroma. The scenting process takes several days, with new batches of fresh flowers needed each day
. Tea marries aromas really easily, but masterful tea scenting takes a lot of skill and experience - it's quite easy to ruin the tea if the batch gets too hot.
Scenting teas with flowers is a practice of making tea that has been around since the Tang Dynasty (618 to 907).
I've been looking for a Ying Hong #9 for the store for about a year now and am so happy to have found this one produced in the fall of 2018.
Ying Hong #9 is a well known black tea (or hongcha
) from Guangdong Province, China. It's been around since the late 1950's and comes from a cross between a locally growing Big Leaf Guangdong tea bush and the Assamica tree from Yunnan (as far as we know, she's the mother of all tea plants). There aren't many black teas coming from Guangdong - it's a province that's really well known for their unparalleled Phoenix Oolongs
). Ying Hong #9 is a smooth and easy to drink tea, with notes of caramel and toffee and a fruity sweetness.
Taiwanese white tea is extremely rare. Taiwan is known for their exquisite high mountain oolongs
, their sturdy and satisfying Dong Ding oolongs
, their crazy good bug-bitten teas like Eastern Beauty recently their top shelf black teas like Ruby 18 and Assam #8
. Lately though, with the incredible swell of popularity for white tea, one can find an experimental white tea or two from Taiwan.
Red Jade White is an organic white tea made from the same cultivar that is used to make Ruby 18 black tea. Some of the same flavor and aroma qualities that one finds readily in the black tea version also come through in the white tea processing - notes of camphor and eucalyptus with a silky sweetness. Red Jade White really is in a league of its own. It's quite unlike Fujian or Yunnan white teas. It speaks of Taiwan only.
They didn't get a special notice in the newsletter this time, but here are a couple of other new teas that really know how to enjoy life: Strawberry Oolong
and Pineapple Sencha
. Both of these are fun loving, easy going well-balanced flavored teas that are just right for the warmer weather.