Saturday, December 2, 2023

Tea Of The Year 2023


I had written about tea for many years and I had not had a 'tea of the year' entry since I started. It would be fun to end this year with such a post. 

The tea, in my opinion, has to be good; have some age and for its price levels not break an arm and a leg to acquire such a tea.  These are simple parameters. Finding such a tea from an obscure tea factory would be an extra bonus as well. 

I present to you the tea; 2005 Shuang Xiong raw pu erh cake. 

This is a Yongde Shuang Xiong tea factory production. I could not find much information on the internet about this factory and it is possible that this factory had closed its operations. Yongde region is now well known for its pu erh tea harvested from nearby Bing Dao and Da Shue San (big snow mountain). These tea regions were not well known 20 years ago but now these pu erh tea are now commanding high prices in the Chinese tea markets.

This tea brews strong. The color of the tea and tea leaves when brewed was dark rusty amber. Initial aroma was like being in an old book or antique shop. The woody aroma and taste was like a whisky or wine that had the oaky aftertaste. The tea is smooth and rounded.  Mouthwatering and having a salivating sensation in the aftertaste. The almost 20 years of clean Malaysia storage was good. There is good mellowness and roundness in the tea. A strong complex tea and yet there is a soft and gentle side to the tea. Whenever I brew this tea, the tea session is short; finishing 6-8 infusions within a short time. Addictive.     

Friday, November 17, 2023

Japanese Gaiwan Variations


When it comes to brewing Chinese tea, one would normally use a teapot or gaiwan (the one in white in pix).  Add tea leaves and hot water into the gaiwan, hold up the gaiwan and tilt the cover a bit and proceed to dispense the tea. Tilting the gaiwan cover a bit will prevent the tea leaves from being poured out so you can continue to make further infusions of tea. 

Japanese also use a teapot and a variation of the gaiwan to brew their tea. There are 2 major variations; shiboridashi (bottom left) and the Hohin(right). The Shibo has no strainer but has grooves incorporated in the design. You need not tilt the cover to dispense the tea. This is less risky than the gaiwan, in my opinion as it might reduce any accidental slips or spillage of the tea. The Hohin is a spouted gaiwan with a built in strainer. This vessal is also easy to use. 

I enjoy using Japanese tea ware. They are more elaborated in terms of design and material. My Japanese tea ware collection are vintage pieces so I am more careful and deliberate in my tea brewing when I used them. Fun to use. 

Thursday, November 2, 2023

2007 Changtai Ripe Pu erh Cake


This is Changtai tea factory ripe tea cake. Produced in 2007, this cake was a special order made for a Taiwanese tea shop called Jing Mei Tang.

Changtai tea factory does special orders for their oversea clients. I am aware beside Jing Mei Tang, Chang Tai also made cakes for Cloud Tea House, a Hong Kong setup owned by the famous tea writer Chan Kam Pong. Changtai had also produced cakes for a Malaysian tea shop as well.

Jing Mei Tang had stored a portion of their Changtai tea to age in Malaysia (for 12-15 years) before moving back the tea back to Taiwan a few years ago. My Jing Mei Tang collection is from this Malaysian storage and I am very pleased with their storage results.

It was also an opportune time to refill my ripe tea caddy. This cake is called 'yi wei' (translated as one flavour or aroma). This tea, when brewed is complex, with a mix of fresh bread and leather. This unusual aromatic combination somehow worked very well together and is quite addictive. Already more than 16 years of storage under its belt, this tea is smooth, mellow and sweet. I found that adding an extra gram when I brewed this tea was even better, amplifying both taste and aroma of the tea.

Friday, October 20, 2023

Old Sea Dyke Oolong


I like Sea Dyke oolong.  Sea Dyke tea factory is located in Xiamen, China. where most of China's oolong are produced. Sea Dyke tea factory has been around for more than 60 years and today they continue to produce a wide assortment of oolong.  Most of my tea are already more than 12 years old. With storage, these oolong had aged to a smooth, mellow and sweet tea with a lingering smoky aftertaste.  Sea Dyke oolong are not top shelf tea.  Many oolong tea enthusiasts think Sea Dyke as a cheap tea (yes agreed) and are low in quality in terms of taste and aroma. I have fooled many enthusiasts and oolong 'experts' when I brew up my old Sea Dyke during a tea session. They would not believe that this oolong was much better than they had thought. 

Let me elaborate. My Sea Dyke collection are mainly Lao Chong Shui Hsien, Da Hong Pao and Tie Kuan Yin.  I would rate the tea as 7 points out of 10.  A tea buddy recently gave me a tin of expensive oolong; 50g at $80. This tea was very nice and I would rate it about 7.2 points, higher than my Sea Dyke collection. Price wise, this is 4-5 times higher than my tea.  The tea is, however not 4-5 times better in taste and aroma but only a small incremental improvement.  I have heard of even higher prices for higher quality oolong. Perhaps it is time to make a trip to Xiamen. Meanwhile, I am brewing a packet of Sea Dyke tie kuan yin. Noticed the exterior parts of the tea tin had already discoloured.  More important is the tea. Yummy.     

Saturday, October 7, 2023

A Long Time Ago In A Galaxy Far, Far Away.....


A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away..........

Actually, not that long ago.  About 12-15 years ago, when you step into a tea shop looking to buy pu erh, you will be told by the sales staff that if you are buying new raw pu, you will have to store it away for a few years before brewing the tea. Consuming the pu erh immediately would be astringent, bitter and difficult to drink. Storing the tea for a few years would make the tea more palatable as the tea would have mellowed out a little. 

This 2011 Lao Man Er tea factory pu erh cake is one such tea. Made from a blend of banzhang, bulang and nannuo old trees, the 'force' is strong with this tea. I could feel the qi and starting getting sweaty from the 2nd infusion. There is nothing sweet about this tea. A woody aroma with bitter medicinal herbs dominate the flavour.  It is slightly mellow and not astringent. Mouthwatering with a nice long aftertaste.  Good for 10-12 strong infusions. Quite addictive. A strong tea.   

Today, many new pu erh tea sold in shops are 'ready' and 'can drink now'. The pu erh processing is different now. Maybe it's the timing of the 'kill green' (frying), or the manual drying of the tea in ovens instead of sun drying.  I am old fashion and prefer the traditional style of pu erh. My entire collection is from the traditional type. The tea would easily last me a lifetime.   I am thirsty. Time for tea.  

Saturday, September 23, 2023

2018 Taetea Brothers Ripe Pu erh 100g


This is a Taetea (aka Dayi) special edition Shou (ripe) pu erh cake that was produced in 2018.  Packaged and sold in 100g brick, this tea is nicely boxed and is called 'brothers together'.  The Penang tea shop translated this tea as 'Being with you through the wind' which I felt was a little inaccurate. 

More importantly is the tea itself. This tea brews strong and I recommend you use less tea leaves than usual for this brew. This tea is aromatic when brewed. I detected toasted sweet breads as well as the signature Dayi aroma. There is hardly any sweetness in the aftertaste.  There is also a fermentation scent in this tea even though this 'brothers' tea is already 5 years old. Perhaps this tea would be better if it was stored away for another few more years. 

Overall, this tea is decent; strong and able to brew up to a dozen good infusions. The tea in the teacup (see pix) is in its 10th infusion.  

Saturday, September 9, 2023

Xiang Mu Hai Chien Liang Cha


This is Xiang Mu Hai tea factory's Chien Liang cha. This is a black tea. Black tea produced in Henan, China were traditionally compressed in to 'log' like sizes, wrapped in bamboo, stored in a cloth bag before they are sold to the public. Such log sizes can vary in weight from 1 kg to more than 30 kg. These logs are kept in shops or homes standing proudly while they age away. From what I gathered from black tea drinkers, these tea are normally allowed to age for more than 10 years before these logs are cut to smaller slices. 

What Xiang Mu Hai tea factory did was to produce these logs and proceeded to cut them to slices before these slices are individually  packed and sold to the retail market. 

This Chien Liang cha is the factory's premium product called Fu Yong Chien Liang chan literally from Fu Yong (hibiscus) mountain. Sold as a 600g slice, this tea is very aromatic with a floral fragrance that lived up to the floral name of this tea. Noticed there is some 'jin hua' (golden flowers) in the tea leaves.  The compression of this tea slice is light.  I noted there are more leaves than stems in this tea.   

This Chien Liang cha is produced yearly and I have the 2020 version.  When I brewed up this tea, the perfumed fragrance is enhanced by a lightly sweet aftertaste.  Good for 6-8 infusions. A delicious tea session.    

Saturday, August 19, 2023

Plastic Bag Liu Bao

I had seen this liu bao tea for sale in a tea shop and at a tea expo in Malaysia a few years ago. I was intrigued.  I had never seen tea sold in plastic bags at retail level. Yes, I had observed wholesale oolong tea (10-20kg) that are packed in a large plastic bag before the tea is further packed in a carton box.  However, such oolong at tea shops would be 'nicely repackaged' either in fancy foil packets or placed in a pretty tin or box.  

As you can see from the plastic bag, this 1 kg liu bao was packed using the '4 gold coins' brand of liu bao.  This brand  is a highly regarded by serious liu bao tea drinkers,  There is also a line (last line) that seem to suggest this was a commemorative production for a Chinese bank (Chang Tong bank), perhaps for a promotion gift.  There was no information who had packed the tea and who the actual distributor was.   

Back to this tea.  I was told there were 2  (2005, 2007) productions of this tea.  There is no date on the bag to tell which year the tea was packed for sale. Both places where I had saw this tea claimed they had the 2005 version for sale. The first 2005 version was perceived as more expensive as it was deemed like the '1st edition' production. When I pressed further for more information, the shop claimed he had gotten the tea from a tea collector in Malaysia. Likewise, the stall at the tea expo told me he had gotten his supply from another tea collector as well.  Both sellers were unable to show proof or documentation that their plastic bag liu bao was a 2005 production.  

In addition, one tea drinker told me he believed the tea was originally packed in Hong Kong. I was even more curious. I contacted my tea shop buddies in Hong Kong to find out more about this tea. It was a surprise that they informed me there was no such tea produced in Hong Kong and banks in Hong Kong do not give away tea in plastic bags.  Another old tea drinker buddy believed that this tea was packed in Malaysia and only sold locally there.  No one seem to know who had actually produced this plastic bag liu bao.  

I had sampled the tea and it tasted about a mid age tea.  It is quite a decent tea.  I have no experience whether it is a 4 gold coins tea.  I will continue to find out more on this mystery. I had bought few bags of this tea and will put them in my online store so my readers can taste and experience this mysterious plastic bag liu bao tea.    

Wednesday, August 9, 2023

My Online Store - Time To Revamp


I am suppose to reopen my online store when I had returned from my USA trip last month.  I will need a little bit more time. 

I want to tinker with my product offerings. Let me elaborate. You would agree that the prices of tea had gone up significantly, especially after the 3 years of covid.  Many goods and services, beside tea, had seen their prices gone up. My regular local chicken rice or beef noddle meals had increased by more than 25% and I find that my overall monthly expenses had gone up.  I can imagine as a Chinese tea drinker as myself, ordering and buying tea can burn a little hole in your wallet. 

This is what I plan to do in my online store. I will like to give my buyers a more exciting, informative and hopefully a happy and inexpensive experience in my store. I am thinking of offering tea that you can compare say within a brand, or a vintage year or comparing tea being store in different regions ( Malaysia, Hong Kong or Guangzhou storage). You need not buy entire cakes of pu erh but I will offer you an economic option of purchasing in say 50g or 100g. This meant say you want to try a 2009 Dayi 7542 and a 2009 Dayi 8582, I will be selling as a set of 50g of each tea. Like wise you can also try selection of old pu erh storage from Hong Kong vs Malaysia in 50g packs. This would allow you to appreciate the many varieties of pu erh as well as the results of storage from different regions. 

We can also have a tasting discussion online where we can have a live chat or even a group video face to face discussion where we can exchange our views or even disagree whether there is a sweet aftertaste in the tea.

I hope this inclusion of 'study' tea packs will provide you a wider appreciation of the Chinese tea without hurting yuur wallet.

So stay tune while I tinker and consider the tea that I will offer as 'study 'packs.  If you have suggestions what you like to see in my store, let me know. Thank you.    

Sunday, July 30, 2023

Tea Exchange


I had been talking about tea exchange in my posts and one reader asked how he can exchange tea with me. 

A tea exchange with me is simple. When both of us get to meet .......we would exchange a tea or tea ware with each other.  You can tell me what you would like from me; whether it's a pu erh, oolong, liu bao or other tea you like. It may also be a teapot or teacup....provided I have extras.  In return, you can give me a tea or tea ware in exchange. I hope that we can experience and appreciate the different tea storage conditions of our collections. 

This exchange can take place in Singapore. if you are local or visiting Singapore, let me know and we can not only have a tea exchange but have a meal together as well. Same when I am overseas, we can meet, have a meal and a tea exchange as well. I had met and made many new tea buddies this way. 

We can also meet up overseas when we 'happen' to be at the same place at the same time.  I am hoping to travel to Malaysia, Hong Kong, Guangzhou and possibly Seoul later this year. Tea exchange anyone? 

Wednesday, July 12, 2023

2013 BaiShaXi Black Tea Brick

I have added black tea into my tea drinking repertoire. I now brew black tea at least once a week. The pix above is a 2013  black tea brick produced under by the Baishaxi tea factory. This factory primarily produced black tea and is like the 'Dayi' brand of pu erh. 

What is black tea?  It is actually a popular tea that is enjoyed all of the world. Really. Those teabags you see sold in supermarkets are black tea. Many of this black tea is produced in China, India, Africa and Sri Lanka. Yes, the teabag you jiggle in your mug (sometimes milk and sugar is added) came from these major producers. The aroma and flavours of the tea from these teabags are 'blended' that the tea would taste the same in taste and aroma today, next month and even a year from now. 

This black tea brick is more in a raw form in that nothing has been blended into the tea.   Moreover long term storage of this Chinese black tea, which is highly desirable, make this tea an aromatic and delightful drink. 

This 2013 black tea had undergone fermentation during the production process.....something like shou pu erh. However the taste and aroma is different. While shou pu erh is more earthly or has toasty bread aromatics, black tea is more like a Chinese herbal medical tea concoction with a light sweet aftertaste. I had mentioned a tea buddy in Penang, Malaysia who brewed 7g of black tea into 500ml water and slow simmer the tea over a charcoal stove. You can imagine the intensity of the taste and aroma of the tea. I will try this setup soon, but meanwhile I brew my black tea in a teapot and and let it infuse for a couple of minutes per infusion. Good for 2-3 infusions.  

Friday, June 2, 2023

Malaysia Pu erh Tea Club 10th Anniversary Cake

How do you commemorate a pu erh tea club 10th anniversary?  Duh...obviously with producing a puerh cake. Yes, this was what they did.  This is the 2014 10th anniversary raw pu erh cake. This tea were from the Lincang area and the cake was pressed iron cake style. The pressing is different from the traditional Xiaguan iron cakes in that this cake is smooth on both sides unlike the Xiaguan version which is spiky on one side of the cake. 

I decided to open a cake and brewed up a session of this tea. There were many things Iike about this tea.  This tea brews strong. There is a long lightly sweet aftertaste. A wispy smoky camphor aroma makes this tea a delightful drink. 

I will take about 50g of this tea for my USA trip (Portland, Chicago and Seattle). If you like to have a tea exchange with me, please let me know and I will look forward to meet you. 

It is a pity that many new pu erh cakes produced are so much different now. Many newer pu erh  tea are more floral 'green tea' taste.  I am happy to have enough of the old style pu erh in my collection to last me a long time.  

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Questions About Dark Tea


I had posted an entry about dark tea last week and Peter, a reader  posed the following question -

"I've been to Penang and seen that these giant bricks are very popular with older tea drinkers. Is it because they are so cheap? There are tea shops that seem to only sell these teas."

He was referring to those very heavy (about 1.5kg) bricks that you see in the 2nd pix

Here is my response:

1.  Yes, Peter you are right about black tea is generally cheaper than say oolong or pu erh tea. Gram for gram, those black tea bricks whether the small (1st pix) or larger bricks (2nd pix) are cheaper than pu erh tea. 

2.  One reason is that there is a much larger pu erh (or oolong) tea drinking community than the black tea drinker groups. There is also a very large group of pu erh collectors that buy to store for  investment. It is actual commodity trading except this time its pu erh tea. It is interesting to know that many limited and high end pu erh factory productions for the past 10 years are often sold out at product launch. These tea are never drank but are bought and sold like trophies. As far as I know, these black tea bricks are mainly purchased for drinking. Yes, there are collectors that aged these black tea bricks to sell but these resold black tea are usually bought up to be consumed. 

3. Black tea includes other fermented tea that include liu bao and ripe or shou pu erh. Older versions of these tea can be quite expensive now. 

Who knows. Black tea bricks may be the new investment tea in the next few years. 

Wednesday, May 10, 2023

A Crash Course On Black Tea

I was in Penang, Malaysia last week.  I was at the food fair and there was an area in the food expo devoted to Chinese tea. There were not many tea booths there.  A little disappointed but the fabulous local Penang food made my stay there very enjoyable.

I was fortunate to meet a hardcore black tea drinker and I learnt many things from this new tea buddy. Here are the things I learnt about black tea.  

1.  The local tea community here in Malaysia called Black tea as dark tea than black tea.  Dark tea is considered Chinese tea that had undergone deliberate fermentation during tea processing before the tea is sold.  Hence, according to my tea buddy, tea like ripe/shou pu erh, liu bao,  Si Chuan Tibetan tea, AnHua gold flower tea and the famous BaiShaXi famous black tea bricks are all regarded as dark tea. It appeared to me the dark tea categorisation of fermented tea is quite broad.

2,  I was told dark tea in Malaysia are brewed 2 ways. The first is kung fu cha style.....add tea leaves in a tea pot and brew as you would would with other Chinese tea like oolong or pu erh. The 2nd way is to boil the tea. I was told to brew 8g of tea with 500ml of water.  Boil the tea at a slow simmer for 5-10 minutes and the tea is ready to drink.   This is similar to Chinese herbal brew where you add 3 bowls of water to a bag of herbs and boil till about 2 bowls of  herbal tea is left.  The dark tea will be extremely aromatic and strong and the taste is more complex. I cannot wait to try this boiling method. 

3.  I was told that dark tea needs a minimum of 5 years of storage before the tea is ready to drink. I was taken to a Chinese tea shop in Penang and bought some tea to start my dark tea adventures. The 2 bricks in the 1st pix are at left a 2015 Baishaxi 1.6kg black tea brick, The yellow box is a year 2000 Si Chuan Tibetan 1,7kg brick. The 2nd pix showed a 2019 gold flower Anhua tea. This tea has gold flower mold introduced to the tea during processing.   The white wrapper is a 500g slice 2021 Chian Liang Cha. This is an actual slice from a 30kg tea log.  I also managed to get a 2kg bag of black tea stems. I was told boiling these stems would give off a very strong Chinese herbal medicinal taste. 

I look forward to start my dark tea adventures.    

Friday, April 28, 2023

2021 Xiaguan Raw Tuo


A new local tea buddy recently contacted me telling me that he wanted to buy some tea to age at home.  He was thinking about buying Xiaguan and wanted to buy a carton of tuo to store at home.  He asked me what I thought about the new Xiaguan raw tuos

It so happened I had bought a pack of 2021 tuo. This is the 'te tuo'. The name, I conclude is a shortened name version of their popular 'te ji' tuo. 

As you can see.  the packaging had changed. The 'palace and lake' illustration was gone......all words now.  The tuo wrapper is a white wrapper. These visual changes are not important to me. The tea itself is more important. 

Here are my observations and thoughts

1.  The smoke level of this tea is low.  Really low. I could detect a very faint smoke in the 1st two infusions before the smoke fades away.  The early versions I own (pre 2007) was more smoky.  I remembered when I had opened my first te ji tuo (2007 version), the strong smoke caught me by surprise. 

2. The floral aroma and lightly sweet aftertaste is pleasant.  The tea brews reasonably strong. 

3. This tea will age but the results of aging will be very much different from that of the earlier productions of te ji tuo due the very light smokiness in the production. 

4.  I would advise my new tea buddy that there is no need to buy a carton of this tea to store away......but instead buy a variety of Xiaguan tea or even other brands (4-5 choices) to fill a carton instead.  In 10-15 years time, your box will have a good variety of aged tea to drink and enjoy. That's my 2 cents worth.  

Saturday, April 15, 2023

Brewing Tea Overseas

I had just returned from a long overseas trip from Europe.  Here are some of my observations and adjustments I did for my tea brewing sessions while I was abroad.    

1.  Water

I could drink water straight from the tap in those countries while I was in Europe.  Tap water would taste different from different states or countries but it is an economic and convenient option than bottled water. 

The main issue is boiling water. Many hotels 'upgrade' their room hot water by providing coffee machines (with coffee capsules).  These fancy equipment is nice and the coffee actually tasted good. However, if you use the hot water to brew tea, there is a faint coffee aroma in the hot water and  this makes Chinese tea brewing unsuitable.  And....there were 2 European hotels during my trip where there were no kettles or coffee machines in the rooms and I had to go to a common pantry to get hot water. 

Anyway, I think an ideal solution is to bring along a travel kettle. There are many inexpensive travel kettles; smaller than 1 litre and with dual voltage selection where you can bring this kettle to different countries with different voltage requirements. Don't forget a multipurpose wall plug as well. 

2.  Tea

The tea I took for my travel had hibernating issues. Some of the tea tasted flat or subdued before the tea recovered again (about 1-2 weeks).  I cannot explain but serious overseas tea drinkers had advised to drink their tea, ordered from overseas, one week after arrival, to allow the tea to rest. I had brought along raw, ripe pu erh and some oolong for this trip and found my raw pu erh 'hibernated' during the air flight but woke up 1 week later.  

3. Tea Ware

I had used a small porcelain teapot and 2 teacups during my tea. It was adequate for my use. The teapot was about 150ml and I normally had 4 infusions of tea at one tea session. As I did not bring along a tea tray or tea waste bowl, I, on most occasions, do not rinse out the tea but drank from the very 1st brew.   It was more a matter of convenience.  Most Chinese tea we buy now are generally clean and there is no health risk not to rinse the tea. I was told by a tea buddy friend that unrinsed tea had the most caffeine but I cannot verify this fact. 

Anyway, these are my 2 cents of how to brew better Chinese  tea overseas. I believed there are better ways and would appreciate if my tea readers would share how they brew their tea when on a trip.

I will be visiting the USA (Seattle, Portland and Chicago in June) for about 3 weeks and look forward to more tea adventures again. 


Saturday, March 18, 2023

2011 Tea Urchin Ding Jia Zhai

This tea cake is produced by Tea Urchin, a tea business setup In Shanghai.  This business is owned by a couple Eugene and Belle.  Eugene was from Australia  before he settled down in Shanghai where he married Belle.

I had written about them way back in 2012.  This couple were quite hardcore when they set up the the business in 2004.  They made frequent trips to Yunnan to source for their own tea.  They visited the smaller tea families and farms and try to find and offer to their customers the rare and lesser known pu erh tea.  I believed they have a few kids now and the recent pandemic had prevented them from visiting Yunnan to personally source the tea.

This cake is the 2011 Ding Jia Zhai. This tea is primarily from the Yiwu region.  I had stored this cake for almost 10 years and had now broken up the cake and put the pieces in a tea caddy.  This tea is aromatic; wood and hay aroma.  This tea is extremely mouthwatering.  I would not serve this tea to new tea drinkers.  There is hardly any sweetness in the aftertaste. No sweetness or fruitiness.  This tea is slightly herbal bitter with a strong qi. I felt sweaty after the tea session.  This is the type of tea when you want it to be strong without any fuss. I like. 

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

Late 90s CNNP 7581 Ripe Brick

This is a late 90s CNNP 7581 ripe brick.  I had acquired a carton of this tea during one my early visits to Guangzhou. I was introduced to a Chinese tea drinking group and I had later got to purchased this tea from a retired CNNP tea manager in that group. It was from him, Mr Chen that I started learning about pu erh tea and storing pu erh tea as a hobby. 

This tea survived my trip to Europe. Unlike my raw pu erh tea, this 7581 did not "hibernate' during the journey here. The taste and aroma was good exhibiting old earthly notes of old books and leather. This tea is a workhorse brewing up more than a dozen good infusions in a tea session. 

This only thing I found challenging was brewing tea in this cold wintry weather. The tea cools very fast. I like to drink my tea reasonably hot, but over here in Paris, the tea cools down and was luke warm after 10 min. I had to finish my tea quickly in between infusions. I wonder whether Chinese tea drinkers, in winter, drink their tea quickly in between infusions. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

The Case Of The Hibernating Pu erh


It is winter in Paris and I am brewing and drinking Chinese tea.  I had, in my previous blog entry, decided on the tea I had selected for my overseas adventure. One reader asked "no xiaguan? ".   Yes, I managed to packed some 2006 Yue Shang Raw tuo.  

I had brewed this tea a couple of days before my trip. I enjoyed this tea a lot and I was eager to brew this tea when I arrived in Paris. 

The tea tasted different. It tasted less vibrant and aromatic. I tried a longer infusion time but the results was not any better. I thought it may be due to the water. I tried a ripe 7581 pu erh tea the next day and the tea tasted alright. I concluded that this tea went into hibernation during the air flight and needed time to 'adjust' to the new climate. This phenomena was highlighted by many tea experts (residing in USA) who had ordered tea from overseas and tried the tea when the order had arrived.  Cwyn renown for her 'death by tea' blog recommend to rest the tea for a couple of weeks before you brew the tea.  This allow the tea to adjust to the new climate. It is like awaking the tea or Xin-cha in Chinese. The tea will taste better after a couple of weeks. I cannot explain this awaking phenomena but my many overseas friends has 'sworn' to rest their newly ordered tea for a couple of weeks before brewing the tea. 

I am going to let this tea rest and drink my other tea stash. As a reward of my clever sleuthing, I had rewarded myself with buying a Sherlock Holmes novel, printed in 1893, from the famous Abbey Bookshop in Paris.   

Saturday, January 21, 2023

Happy Chinese New Year

Happy Chinese New Year.  2023 is the year of the rabbit. and falls on 22nd January.   My essential checklist include Mandarin oranges, red packets of money to give to parents and kids, lots of snacks and of course Chinese tea.

One last reminder - I will be closing my online store for about 6 months as I will travelling a fair bit. Europe in next 2 months and USA in summer.  Hopefully Malaysia and Hong Kong in between.  

I wish all my friends and readers a Happy Chinese New Year.  Live long and prosper. 

Sunday, January 8, 2023

Selecting Tea For My Overseas Trip


I had written in my previous blog entry that I will be closing my online store for 6 months - Feb thru July.  I will be travelling and hope to meet tea friends and hope to have a tea session with them. 

For 2 months (February and March), I will be in Europe; specifically Paris, Amsterdam and Brussels.  I do not many opportunities to go to Europe and I hope to do the touristy stuff while I am there. If you want to meet me for tea, please let me know. We will have a tea exchange as well. 

I will follow up with trips to Hong Kong in May and to USA in June. 

I intend to bring some older tea for my trip. I have decided on a late 90s Langhe raw pu erh cake, a late 90s CNNP 7581 ripe brick and a pack of Hong Kong Cheong Hing Tie Lo Han. I will also throw in a 100g of 90s y303 oolong. As for tea ware, I will show you pix when I am brewing and drinking my tea overseas.  

Looking forward to my oversea adventures in every cup.