Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Surprisingly lovely pomelo flower fragrance tea

It's a cold morning, and cold morning calls for a hot cup of tea immediately upon getting up from a warm bed.

Water is boiling in a non-whistle kettle on the stove, tumbling bamboo charcoal noise is the tell tail. Quite morning with sound of percussion, instantly warms the air.

A random pick out of a pile of teas, what a surprise to find such smooth sweet leaves. 2011 You Hua Xiang - Pomelo Flower Fragrance. What time can do to mellow down a tea, so to human~ I shall put in on the recommended list of Dan Cong oolong teas.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Jiang Mu Xiang - Ginger Flower Fragrance (mother tree)

Free Gift: 3 g Jiang Mu Xiang with purchase of $150, 20 samples available, valid while supplies last.
Thanksgiving is around the corner, I have much to thank for, so giving a bonus to share our passion with our customers , whom are a bunch of great tea lovers, selective, appreciative of the finest teas nature has to offer.

Each year I keep a few special teas in stock for friends and family to share. This year, 4 very special teas that I am particularly proud of.

Ginger flower fragrance Dan Cong Oolong tea is one of the most desirable or should I say the most desirable tea on mountain of Phoenix. After 5 years of chasing after it, this year I finally got my hands on a pound of Jiang Mu Xiang, which was auctioned for 63,000 RMB with exchange rate at $1 to barely 6 RMB, well , you do the math.
Happy Holidays everyone!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Chao Zhou stove set --- last set in stock

Found this stove set in warehouse today. It should be the last set in stock. It has minor flaws but fully functional. Shipping from China was the biggest headache. I end up with lots stoves for myself over the years, yeah large cracked ones are all mine. :D But they work just fine and last many years with out signs of break apart.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Today's Dan Cong Tea Cupping - Second Round

is the season of Dan Cong Oolong. High mountain old single tree Dan Cong completed processing between May and June, after a 3 months rest, fire flavor subsided, true flavor finally reveals. Starting mid to late September, most DC teas should taste smoother than it was a few months back. Well, I know it's November now, I know I got a little lazy...

Today, is the beginning of another round of re-cupping the inventory. 3 teas I had and still drinking are: Gu Shu Lao Cong - Ancient tree old bush (sounds redundant eh), Gong Xiang - Tribute Fragrance, Rou Gui Xiang - Cinnamon Aroma.
Gong Xiang - Tribute Fragrance is getting better and better, it was very nice when it arrived, almost flawless compare to others of the same year harvest. The fragrance is beautiful as it should be. It's my very favorite then, and still is one of my favorites.
Rou Gui Xiang - Cinnamon Aroma, don't mix up with Wuyi Rou Gui Rock tea. They are two completely different teas in terms of origin, varietal, process, style, flavor and aroma. I remember during the first round of cupping, the flavor is unique and sharp. Today's impress is much improved! It has a minty cool after taste that last, smooth like butter, try brushing your teeth left and right with tip of your tongue, I think ice skating is about as smooth as I can imagine. :P The flavor is more pronounced than most of the sweet floral Dan Cong teas, masculine may I say. The kind of cinnamon as if you break a small piece of a cinnamon bark, place it in your mouth and let the saliva slowly extract the sweetness, spiciness off, not overwhelming as apple pie.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Shen De Tang Porcelain Jars

Tea is like a can of worms, once you open it, it doesn't end. Tea ware is a big part of tea, pots, cups, jars are some of items a tea drinker accumulates over time. I went through a period of cup hording, maybe still do. :P

Following cups, jars are my favorite collectibles. I may like jars more than pots, simply because I can't use too many pots, but I can use endless number of jars, for tea, grains, spice, herbs, other cooking ingredients, etc...
Last week, I got a hold of a small lot ROC period jars through the old Jing De Zhen Factory. Shen De Tang was an imperial kiln started during Dao Guang Period (1820-1850). Before the end of Qing period, all productions were designed and made of superior quality, hence highly valued in the collectible world. After Qing dynasty ended, all imperial kilns stopped producing imperial grade items. To remain in business and feed the family, civil china wares composed a large part of the production. This trend continued until 1949. The new government took over, combined all manufacturing studios into one central company. All products were marked Zhong Guo Jing De Zhen in Chinese, MADE IN CHINA, and an assigned batch number or alphabet.

In 1985, new privatization regulation is part of the new economy evolution, Jing De Zhen factories once again are in private hands. I met an older gentleman whom took over 6 factories and the entire warehouse collection back dated not knowing when. Over 100 thousand boxes of china ware in deteriorated cardboard boxes. Mid to Late Min Guo ROC through 1985 is a safe estimation of the age (1930-1985).

It's such an education to learn from the current factory owner, he explained how to differential reproduction of old items from authentic antiques, different clays, glaze, firing techniques, color formulas, reproduce from blank old base with old color formula using old firing technique, or reproduce with new base old color formula and old firing technique, etc..

These hand made and hand painted jars are distinctively ROC style. The paint color is also of old formula. Bottom marked Shen De Tang which makes them as least 62 years old. They are so lovely, incorporating a time piece element into tea life is a story of romance in itself.

Jars, Jars, lots Jars~ #5

Jar #5
Fits 2 oz Dan Cong tea, or 1/4 lb Tie Guan Yin, etc.

Jars, Jars, lots Jars~ #4

Jar #4
Fits 2 oz Dan Cong tea, or 1/4 lb Tie Guan Yin, etc.

Jars, Jars, lots Jars~ #3

Jar #3
Fits 2 oz Dan Cong tea, or 1/4 lb Tie Guan Yin, etc.

Jars, Jars, lots Jars~ #2

Jar #2
Fits 2 oz Dan Cong tea, or 1/4 lb Tie Guan Yin, etc.

Jars, Jars, lots Jars~

Jar #1
Fits 2 oz Dan Cong tea, or 1/4 lb Tie Guan Yin, etc.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Green Elf email


Your email inquiring tea recommendation is received, however we tried writing back via the email you provided beginning with "green", somehow it's not a deliverable address.

Please email me again when you get a chance.

You may also check out this current stock recommendation list, updates are done periodically.

Thank you for your interest!

Thursday, September 01, 2011

What's good now

We often receive emails asking for recommendation. It's not easy to pick out a tea base on the name, look or tasting notes. There are many rating systems out there to help tea lovers to know more about a tea. Such as how many stars for aroma, flavor, smoothness, so on. It's much easier to use such a system when teas are quite different in style, quality or far off by region. I find it difficult to apply this rating system when teas have very similar characteristic and quality within a small niche.

Dan Cong oolong evolves as time continues on. Fresh new tea is aromatic in the nose, a year or two later, it's aromatic in the mouth, 5 years later, it's all in the texture. Something may not
be outstanding in a bunch now, it might become extremely appealing a year or two later. I often find surprises like this. Periodically re-cupping our selections to track the development is a big task from time to time. Although drinking tea is a daily activity of mine, drinking mindlessly and cupping are rather different matters.

As an attempt to make it easier for our customers to select teas, here is a list of teas I revisit in recently which I think that have reached prime. This condition can last 2 to 3 years in sealed container. Two key characteristics I look for in teas are aroma and texture, aroma must be present in flavor that is drinkable not only detectable by nose, texture is rich and smooth leaving your tongue smooth like silk afterward. A good tasting tea leaving your tongue feeling like sand paper does not quality as great tea. A great tea must satisfy these two requirements.

2009 Au Fu Hou - Gardenia Fragrance

2011 You Hua Xiang -- Pomelo Flower Fragrance ***NEW

2011 Lao Cong Shé Men - Shé Entrance

2011 Zhu Ye - Bamboo Leaf

2012 Gong Xiang - Tribute Fragrance

2012 Hong Di - Red Stem (very good with the right water, extremely sensitive to water quality)

2012 Zhi Lan Xiang - Cattleya Orchid Fragrance

2013 Song Zhong 1302

2013 Rou Gui Xiang -- Cinnamon Aroma 1302

2013 Ye Lai Xiang - Night Jasmine Fragrance 1302

Note: keeping tea air tight is very important in sealing in the flavor. I have lots open bag teas laying around, some are in zip-lock foil bags. However no matter what you use to close, tea quality do deteriorate over time. I had a bag of Ba Xian in a zip-locked bag for over a year, every time I drank it, it was not satisfying compared to others. Today I open a heat sealed bag which was sealed 2 years ago, wow, the fragrance is there, the texture is smooth, butter is the word! It performs very well as an old tree Dan Cong should be. A great buy for the value! It's a lesson to be learn and practice consistently for some one who has a lot of teas laying around. :P

Monday, August 08, 2011

Green Tea 2009

Green tea is a rare visitor in my tea life. Once in a long while I drink one voluntary. For the past week on the other hand, I have been drinking a green tea 5 days out of 7. It is more than the total number of greens I'd have in a year.

After 2 years of sleep in a plastic bag, a sunbath for a week gave it a whole different life. Reroasting is not an option since it takes 3 months to mellow out the fire. Sun radiation, especially the hot scorching sun of California does the trick. The green color may turn yellow, the fresh aroma may be disappeared, but it takes on a whole different complexity in texture, mellow, smooth, rich minus the grassy taste.