Month: January 2018

TEA101 – Types of Green Tea

TEA101 – Types of Green Tea

Green teas can be so different in terms of shapes, sizes and flavours. They all need to be exposed to heat to kills the enzymes responsible for oxidation. Heat can come via steaming, roasting and baking. Let’s learn how different methods affect the look and feel of a tea

TEA101 – Tea & Texture. Part 3

TEA101 – Tea & Texture. Part 3

Words we use to describe various degrees of astringency in tea and wine

LiuAn GuaPian

LiuAn GuaPian

Another green tea from China. I call it Mr Freshness

TEA TASTING NOTES

DRY LEAVES look a bit messy, but they smell insanely good: as if you were lying on the grass in a flower and fruit garden. Fruit and Honey veil above all. No buds, just leaves, each rolled individually.

INFUSED LEAVES reveal jagged edges, they look great. Herbal scent is discreet, the whole is dominated by fruit (fresh green and baked apples and pears) and honey.

LIQUOR: unless you overexpose tea leaves to water, this tea gives a very supple and refreshing liquor, with great balance of fruit and herbal flavours.

This tea is LiuAn GuaPian, or LiuAn Melon Seeds, from Anhui Province of China.

TEA & WINE PAIRING

This tea’s alter ego in wine would be Roussanne grape which also vividly express notes of garden fruits. Roussanne is cultivated and vinified on its own in Savoie in France, look for AOC vin-de-savoie-chignin-bergeron.

TEA & FOOD PAIRING

let’s stay with apples – a wonderful recipe of baked apples in cider with cranberries and pistachios found at Cannelle & Vanille blog http://www.cannellevanille.com/gluten-free/cider-baked-apples-cranberries-pistachios/

TEA & MUSIC PAIRING
Just because it caught my ear this morning and it’s nice and delicate – Mystery of Love by Sufjan Stevens

Wishing you a beautiful day where apples and kisses are always fresh
xoxo

TEA101 – Tea & Texture. Part 2

TEA101 – Tea & Texture. Part 2

The magic behind tea and wine texture is the work of tannins. Let’s learn some tannic secrets.

TEA101 – Tea & Texture. Part 1

TEA101 – Tea & Texture. Part 1

Before talking about different elements that make us distinguish and appreciate texture, or mouthfeel, of different teas, I find it interesting to talk about the importance of texture in food – especially in Chinese food

Xinyang Maojian

Xinyang Maojian

This is one of very famous Chinese green teas – it used to be a tribute tea – less known in the West.

TEA TASTING NOTES

If you look at DRY LEAVES only, it’s actually easy to mistake it for a black tea. You have to move closer to these spiky fine leaves to see that actually they are very dark emerald colour.

All doubts are dispelled as soon as you steep it. The first scent of INFUSED LEAVES is a powerful scent of freshly cut grass, followed by warm notes of chestnut and sweet potato, which almost replaces the primary herbal note. Along come whispers of woody and marine aromas .

LIQUOR is yellow with green undertones. All aromas you scented in the wet leaves express themselves in the liquor flavours: herbal with nice bitterness at the forefront again, followed by sweet and delicate fruity, woody and marine notes. It’s truly interesting to observe this change from bitter to sweet…

This tea is Xinyang Maojian, produced in Henan province of China. Xinyang is a place and maojian can be roughly translated as “green tips” because of the leaves’ shape. Best qualities – spring and autumn harvests.

TEA & FOOD PAIRING

The dish that came immediately came to my mind was a simple recipe from Jamie Oliver’s book “Meals in Minutes”: fried fish fillets skin on, smoked pancetta, mashed sweet potatoes with a dash of mango chutney and Asian greens. Yuuuum…

TEA & MUSIC PAIRING

I cannot think of anything better than “Green & Gold” by Lianne La Havas – her wonderful voice also moves from sweet deep lows to beautiful highs. Green and Gold

Have a wonderful day with sweetness balancing the bitterness. As always
xoxo
❤️

TEA101 – Tea & Heat

TEA101 – Tea & Heat

Temperature is key for wine. And twice as much for tea. Key facts you need to know in one post.

TEA101 – How Acid Is Your Tea?

TEA101 – How Acid Is Your Tea?

We rarely talk about acidity of tea. But it’s actually interesting. Learn the difference between fermentation and oxidation and how the latter affects the real and perceived acidity of tea.

WHY TEA ? My Declaration of 💚

WHY TEA ? My Declaration of 💚

 

Hooked to tea once, while on a trip to WuYi mountains about ten years ago, I never got back. By now, I know the teas I appreciate the most: simple, natural, beautifully crafted, with distinct character, and without any artifice. Teas that tell stories, both to my mind and my palate. Teas that make my heart beat faster with pleasure. But it’s not the whole answer why I love it. To me, tea represents something greater than just leaves brewed in water. Tea transcends a narrow notion of a beverage and speaks straight to the values I stand for:

– Tea reflects my pursuit of SIMPLICITY, of finding and focusing on what is truly important, of being AUTHENTIC, even though it may mean being VULNERABLE. Simplicity to me also means respect of NATURE and KINDNESS.

– Tea involves MAKING. This means CRAFTSMANSHIP of a tea farmer, of a ceramic artist and all of us – the persons who brew it. Making means CREATIVITY and CURIOSITY, LEARNING, exploring, experimenting, failing and gradually finding what works – a never-ending pursuit of BEAUTY, ART and MASTERY.

– Tea means SHARING. Our best tea is often the one we share with others, hands down. That is why there are so many tea lovers on the social media. We just cannot hold it to ourselves.

– Tea is REAL. It is among the things that ground us in the PRESENT moment, bring us JOY, JOIE DE VIVRE, feeling ALIVE, savoring life with all our senses, even when everything goes wrong.

Tea is great. Greater than just a beverage.

Oh, I almost forgot the most important: kisses after tea taste so much better than after coffee. 😘

And for you, WHY TEA?

TEA101 – Tea & Salt

TEA101 – Tea & Salt

Salt has a greater impact on flavour than any other ingredient. How does it interact with tea?

TEA101 – Are You a Supertaster?

TEA101 – Are You a Supertaster?

Taste preferences are genetic. To find out if you are a non-sensitive, average or supertaster,  look at the number of taste buds within the area of a hole punch on your tongue…

Bai Mu Dan – Spring 2017

Bai Mu Dan – Spring 2017

This tea is so easy to recognize – the looks reveal everything.

DRY LEAVES: Downy buds and second leaves. Beautiful delicate scent of stony fruits and flowers, accompanied by discrete herbal notes.


INFUSED  LEAVES are deep emerald green, and their scent combines poached fruit, pungent herbal, light spiciness, and even a bit of cocoa.

LIQUOR is extremely limpid and translucent, with an aroma of freshly cut juicy peach, aromatic herbs, wild flowers.


Even when you drink this tea hot, it feels cool and refreshing.
It’s slightly astringent – I recommend steeping in gaiwan in really short bursts; there is a very light acidity to this tea…

This is a wonderful white tea, Bai Mu Dan.

TEA & WINE PAIRING
Without a doubt, Condrieu from Rhône region, for example, wines by Ferraton…

TEA & FOOD PAIRING
Wonderful fresh stone fruits  – recipe and photo from Cannelle & Vanille

TEA & MUSIC PAIRING

“Smallest Light” by Ingrid Michaelson @ingridmichaelson from “Space Between Us” movie, because it’s so delicate and special for me today

Have a day full of kindness
xoxo
❤️

TEA101 – Are We Tasting Or Smelling?

TEA101 – Are We Tasting Or Smelling?

Are we tasting or smelling? Both. And the smell turns out to be much more important… A few useful Infographics.

Shui Xian

Shui Xian

Yesterday, a smoky ZhengShan XiaoZhong did not manage to impress me much. Today’s tea is smoky, but it’s so much more sophisticated!!! When the smoke dissipates, a thousand wild flowers bloom.

ZhengShan Xiao Zhong – Lapsang Souchong

ZhengShan Xiao Zhong – Lapsang Souchong

This tea enjoys much more hype overseas than in China. Overseas, even people with very little knowledge about Chinese tea, would usually quote this one. I have mixed feelings about it: like it, but find it a bit unsophisticated… let’s see why.

DRY LEAVES have a very dark brown, almost black, charcoal colour. Its scent is smoky with a hint of dry prunes and wood.


INFUSED LEAVES – smoky again, but the aromatic palette becomes richer with scents of cigar, wood, grilled very dark rye bread, as well as a discrete fruity note – in addition to prunes, I scent dry cranberries.

It’s about the LIQUOR that I am partial. The colour is flawless: very beautiful aged whisky hue, very limpid. Aroma wise, we continue on a smoky note, supported by fruity and woody hues. But texture cannot really be called smooth, although it’s not rough either.

The warm smoky aroma is comforting and reassuring, yet underneath this initial strong flavour I find this tea a bit hollow. It’s a sprinter who would barely do 3 steeps, before losing its mojo. Interestingly, its acidity increases with each new steep. Sprinter in a glass, it has not said it’s last word yet: it will leave a very long aftertaste in your mouth…

It’s a black tea Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong (正山小种), often referred to in the West as Lapsang Souchong.

TEA & FOOD: let’s go for a full blown smoke and cook a smoked duck


TEA & WINE: without a doubt, powerful and tannique Madiran. This wine is from the duckest region of France, and shares with this tea the hints of wood and prunes.

TEA & MUSIC
Two songs, both gentle and Creeping like smoke
Mad about you by @hooverphonicoff
And World Looking In by @morcheeba.band

Till then, make the most of your day, whatever the mood you are in
xoxo
❤️