TEA REVIEW – AV2 Black by Darjeeling Tea Leaves

Infused tea/ Unique characteristics : The leaves infuse a delicate golden honey-amber color liquor. Aroma is floral bouquet, with rich vegetal, slightly spicy muskiness. On the palate, the infusion has walk-into-an-orchard kind of a contemporary feeling. It starts with a sweet gentle floral take off, very smooth texture, subtle earthy and mineral undertones on the mid-tongue, buttery mouthfeel, mild dry-aftertaste and zero astringency. The body of the tea has an engaging thickness, that pairs very well with its soft tannins. 

Infusion : 1 level tsp of leaves were infused in 200 ml pre-boiled water at 90C, for 3 minutes. Being inquisitive about the hidden tasting notes, I chose to make my infusion gutty, something suggested for soft clonals. For the second infusion, I brewed 2 tsp of leaves for 4 mins at the same water temperature, and it was exciting. The tea got a facelift. Mild oaky-woodiness and malty spike, with jasmine-lily like floral overtones, together with a bit of mouth-puckering astringency and an inherent underlying strength of flavor, complemented the earthy flavors and berry-like sweet undertone – is the zing that the first infusion was missing.

Sampling this tea was an adventure and this is the kind of tea that I would generally pack if I am travelling up-hills, just to show my respect for Newton’s first law and challenge this tea further – see how it’s flavor-profile would change when it’s brewed in high-mountain mineral water. Overall, this AV2 (Ambari Vegetative) is fine, it combines simple, subtle and mellow flavors. Although it is not one of the best pitch-pipe for clonals, I believe it will be instantly liked by tea lovers who have a special interest for instrumental music for sleep, focus, work and relaxation.

Tea details: Singell Spring Blossom, AV2 Black tea, first flush 2019. Website: darjeelingtealeaves.com The tea was provided by the company for review and sampling.

MingCha Tea House – Fun with Kids, Tea & Family

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Most of us can relate to the statement “there is not much to do outdoors” or “why can’t I stay in and play my Xbox or PS3?” Sounds like a familiar statement kids use so profusely. It is true, while technology has provided some thing for every consumer of all age groups in terms of entertainment, it has led to a sense of detachment in terms of experiencing the natural environment and human interaction. One may be in a room of friends but would prefer the company of an ipad , laptop or a phone. With this in mind, parents and teachers have been taking initiatives in focusing on activities which help children interact.

So wanting to carry forward this initiative we thought, what would be a commendable and fun filled activity for children and adults to do together? Being avid tea lovers the idea flowed easily and quickly – of course a tea tasting! Kids are early adapters and this would certainly provide as an interactive activity to indulge them into exploring not only their senses, but giving families a much deserved fulfilled time together, from learning to interaction.

While exploring the idea of tea tasting for kids, MingCha Tea House in Hong Kong came to our minds. In an exclusive conversation with Love for Tea, Vivian Mak, founder of MingCha, shares her mission and vision, which is to allow people from every walks of life to be able to enjoy the true taste of tea – including kids. Based on the concept of togetherness, family interactivity, helping even the young ones explore their sensory palate while learning the art of tea, Vivian has successfully introduced workshops for kids in tea. These are free for children up to 11 years of age and are taught by the tea masters of the MingCha Tea House. And yes, adults are also welcome to attend or chaperone at the workshops, turning this into fun interactive experience for an entire family.

It is said as we grow older we cultivate our likes and dislikes based on external influences. Vivian believes, children being expressive and untarnished in their thoughts on what they like and dislike are more perceptive and true to their senses. However, given an opportunity to taste, smell, bite, sniff and experience tea from a creative and educational approach at a tea tasting, children surely provide a genuine feedback for our comprehension but may also create a platform for future careers for themselves too. Tea tastings are certainly proving to be a good blend of fun, interaction with nature and education which are growing to spark the interest of many little kids who are enthusiastically trying to put their sensory skills to test.

With a fine success and outreach to the world of tea lovers, Vivian of the MingCha Tea House continues to strive to inculcate this deep appreciation for tea in every age group. We at Love for Tea surely commend the initiative as we do believe tea can not only heal your body (internally and externally) but your environment, and it tastes heavenly too.

Next time you plan a family activity, incorporate your little ones in a session of tea tasting and wait to be pleasantly surprised. Don’t take our word on it, give it a try . Who knows you may discover a hidden appreciation or skills of a Tea Sommelier within your own family.

A cup of tea brings the world together and bridges the age gap between kids and adults through a mutual love for tea. A family that tastes tea together, most certainly has fun together. And that’s a promise!

TEA TALES – Silver Yin Hu Tea Wares by Master Zhao

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In olden times, Chinese royalties used to collect tea wares which commemorated important occasions. These exquisite pieces were cherished family possessions and were passed down through generations. The traditional techniques and methods used in those days in creating these silver tea wares have left a legacy and the value of this art form has remained unchanged.

Master Zhao is a rare window to the past, culture and heritage of China, which he displays intricately with versatility in the 999 silver Yin Hu teapots and tea wares he crafts. The use of metals such as silver, gold etc as principal components to craft tea wares reflect the aristocratic lifestyle, and the cultural and philosophical ideas of the times. Master Zhao’s masterpieces range between $500 – $4000 and are recommended for serious art lovers and collectors. I would compare these pieces of art to the rare diamonds we can find, for if they weren’t unique they would be free as pebbles and a dime a dozen. 

Brand – Your silver, your story
Website – Amazon
Facebook – Silver Teapot

The 6 Iconic Tea Blends You Were Waiting For by Rangsaa

We are excited to share the first glimpse of our line of signature tea blends with you. Rangsaa’s unique tea blends are created using high quality, 100% natural ingredients that transform, bringing out complex layers of flavours and aroma that you’ve never tasted before. These blends, which are steeped in history, health and spirit, are created with a purpose keeping in mind the urban modern tea drinker. We proudly offer premium tea blends and tisanes that will help you relax, detox, rejuvenate and also allow you to enjoy tea every moment of the day. Our infusions can be served hot and cold, and are also suitable for cooking, cocktail recipes and bakery products, making them all-stars in versatility.

Experience the new definition of tea culture, ‘Made in India’, with Rangsaa. Share it if you love it.

PS: Please participate in our online poll and be a part of the movement.

 

Tea-Time Stories by Marta Colomer

Tutticonfetti was born in early 2012 with little clothing and uncertain destination, very simple characters, with a limited color gamut and a vintage touch. We love their portrayal of absurd situations, but behind each one of them there is a reflection or dialogue that tries to unravel the ‘what’ and ‘why’ of some things and the absurdity of others with a cup of tea.

Mungyeong Traditional Tea Bowl Festival, Korea

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The warmer season sees a host of spring festivals in Korea and one such reveling festival is the Mungyeong Traditional Chasbal Festival, popularly called The Korean Tea Bowl festival.

For centuries, Korean pottery has been regarded as one of the most traditional, and best revelations of artistic talent worldwide.The Chasabal (tea bowl) festival is a beautiful blend of ancient traditions and techniques that are culturally driven by harmony of clay, fire and wind. The festival recently marked it’s 17th year (May 1- May 10), with this year’s theme – “the tradition contained in the tea pottery, the deep echo!”

The festival venue, Mungyeong, is a beautiful village near an ancient road through a mountain pass, built during the Joseon Dynasty (15th century). The village is a renowned pottery-producing center with over 900 years of history. It also features Mangdaengi, the oldest kiln in Korea. Home to nation’s leading ceramic masters, the festival, since it’s beginning in 1999, is a profound medium to promote Korea’s customary tea bowls or “Chasabal”, and retain Mungyeong’s identity as the birthplace of traditional ceramics and tea culture.

Mungyeong has long had a flourishing ceramics industry owing to an abundant supply of sandy soil and firewood. This annual festival offers visitors an opportunity to gain a deeper appreciation for the unassuming beauty of ‘Chasabal’ and learn the traditional time-honored craft from region’s best Chasabal masters through many hands-on experience programs.

The most enriching experiences at the festival is the Korean traditional tea ceremony called Darye. At the ceremony people wearing Hanbok, traditional Korean costume, brew and serve tea in accordance with traditional etiquette. Some of the teas enjoyed during the ceremony are Omija (five-taste) tea, Dandelion tea, Green tea and lotus leaf tea. Tea is generally enjoyed with Tteoktraditional Korean rice cakes. The omija tea comes highly recommended, as it is a specialty of the Mungyeong region. Visitors can also sample Makgeolli (traditional rice wine) and rice cakes made with omija.

The festival hosts many thematic events including – the International Exchange Exhibition for Chasabal, the Excellent Mungyeong Traditional Ceramic Ware Exhibition, the National Grand Chasabal Contest and many cultural performances. Besides these elevating programs, there are many leisure sports like paragliding, hiking, spa and beautiful accommodations for visitors to relax, making Mungyeong one of the best destination for family trip in Korea.

The 2015 Mungyeong Chasabal (Tea Bowl) Festival ended with more than 230,000 total visitors.

Part 2 – In Conversation with Robert Wemischner

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Q1 – Which is your favorite tea? What is your favorite tea pairing? How do you define the Perfect Cup of Tea? And what is your favorite time to have tea?
RBW – Favorite tea: I love Indian teas..malty Assams as much as delicate single garden Darjeelings…Perfect cup of tea is the last one you brewed…Favorite time is about 10 pm….., recalling the fond memories of bed tea….that I have enjoyed in India…but I start my work day, at work, with tea that I brew at 6 a.m., capturing a few moments of calm before the rush of things to come during the day.

Q2 – What are you planning to present at the upcoming World Tea Expo? Tell us about your research and expectations?
RBW – I will be preparing 5 desserts especially to pair with 5 teas and talk about these desserts/sweets marry well with the flavors of the teas being paired with them. This will be a wonderful primer for tea shop owners/hotelier food and beverage managers,  who offer afternoon or high teas in their shops. I find that each tea expresses a certain flavor profile and it is that flavor profile that “speaks to me” and reveals how it will pair with specific foods, whether sweet or savory

Q3 – Tell us about your book “The Dessert Architect” and your upcoming projects ?
RBW – The Dessert Architect was released in 2010; so it has been released for five years and is used in culinary and baking programs for professionals in training all over the US and Europe……well known among pastry chefs and baking educators worldwide. I am currently working on a fifth book which will be a simple baking book for home bakers and enthusiasts using just five ingredients in each dessert/sweet, simplifying the process without sacrificing the pleasure.

Catch Robert Wemischner at the World Tea Expo, tomorrow, 8th May in Long Beach, California.