Sunday, May 21, 2017

Teabag Shopping







I have a friend that drinks and collects Chinese tea bags as hobby.  I never thought that collecting Chinese tea bags can be a hobby.  Most of his teabags were already factory packed in boxes and these boxes were normally factory wrapped in clear plastic.  Chinese teabag boxes normally comes in a box of 20 teabags or in larger boxes of 100 teabags.These boxes are quite colourful and are sometimes decorated with nice drawings usually about tea.  One tip, I got from my friend, is not to expose the tea boxes  to prolonged light as the colours on the tea boxes will fade.  My tea friend is pretty serious in his collection keeping his tea boxes mint in carton boxes and only displaying those which he has multiple 'copies/boxes'.  

I met him for lunch last month and we went round a few shops in town looking for Chinese teabags to add to his collection.  You would have noticed that I ended up with 2 tea boxes and a rice pattern porcelain jar.  I believe the right description is a milk pot/jar.  This unused late 80s milk pot is 4 inches (10cm) high and I am guessing would hold about 350ml of tea.  Yes, I intend to brew tea in it and it would be brewing with Chinese tea bags.  I was also considering to use it as a small tea waste jar when I am brewing tea by myself.  A happy purchase.

Back to the teabags.  The Da Hong Pao is produced by  Xiamen Tea Import and Export Co under the 'Butterfly' Brand.   The Yunnan Tuocha teabag is not produced in Yunnan but by Guangdong Tea Import and Export Ltd.  There were French words on the labels of this Pu erh tea box which seems to indicate that one of the major markets for this pu erh was France.  I was not surprised as I had seen a 80s Xiaguan ripe tuo in box, printed with information about the tea in French.  

I found the Da Hong Pao tea light.  Its not the teabag's fault though.  I drink my Da Hong Pao very strong, up to 10g of tea for a 150ml teapot.  The 2g of tea in the teabag was mild.  I could detect the floral scents and oolong taste but I think using 2 teabags next time might be a better solution for me.  The pu erh teabag was, to me, a more interesting purchase.  One teabag could get me a strong cup of ripe pu erh (better results when you use boiling water for teabags).  Aroma was quite pleasant and it even had hints of old leather scent in the tea.  

Buying Chinese tea in teabags will not burn a hole in your wallet.  They make for a good and inexpensive tea when you are on the road.  Can be an interesting hobby too.  

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Colourful Teapot










This teapot is called "Tao Se shui ping hu".  'Tao Se' literally means colourful teapot, while 'shui ping hu' refers to the classical design of this teapot.  

Colourful teapot here meant that 2 different clays were used in the production of the teapot.  You will notice the red clay used for the body while a greenish clay for the spout, teapot cover nob and the handle of the teapot.  'Colourful' teapots was quite popular for a period in the 80s.  One of the teapots in the last pix is a duan ni (yellow clay) and green clay combination.

You would had noticed that the teapot lid wall literally stands out.  Known as 'gai chiang' (lid wall), the wall is noticeably longer or higher than modern Chinese teapots.  This 'high wall' has an advantage in that when you pour tea from the teapot, you can actually tilt the teapot at a more forward angle without worrying the lid falling off as the 'high wall' would be working to keep the teapot cover on.

The disadvantage of this 'high wall' is that it will displace some tea when the lid is on.  For this small teapot, the displacement is significant.  Let me explain, I could fill about 75ml of tea to the brim of this teapot, but once the lid is on, only 60ml of tea can be retained in the teapot.  For Chinese teapot collectors, Chinese teapot capacity is measured with the lid on.  

A fun teapot to use.  Makes great tea as well.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

2009 Haiwan Lao Tong Zhi Brand - Yue Chen Yue Xiang Ripe Pu erh








I opened this cake a few weeks ago.  I had purchased this tea from the Guangzhou Haiwan distributor 6 years ago and wanted to check on the progress of storing and aging this tea in Singapore.  

Haiwan tea factory had produced a special range of tea in 2009 and I was lucky to bought some of these tea while I was in Guangzhou.  I am a fan of this tea factory and I especially enjoy their ripe tea production.

'Yue Chen Yue Xiang' is simply a Chinese phrase meaning - the longer you store the more fragrant it becomes.  This phrase is commonly used in many pu erh tea labels and many tea factories have their own versions of 'Yue Chen Yue Xiang'.  Do not walk into a tea shop asking for pu erh tea with this phrase and you might end up a number of pu erh tea cakes with such phrases on their wrappers.  

This ripe tea brews up a very strong session of tea.  7g in a 140ml teapot got me 8 strong jet black syrupy ripe pu erh tea.  Some of Haiwan's ripe tea brews up strong and I would advise drinkers to cut back a little when they have a Haiwan ripe tea session.  This tea has nice earthy and wood notes.  Smooth and faintly sweet.  A nice tea session for an afternoon break.