Tea Giving: Day 19 (WuYi Dark Oolong)

pearl_WuyiDarkOolongDay19

If Daenerys Targaryen drank tea, it would be this one. 

Wuyi Dark Oolong, also known as “Northern Fujian Black Dragon Tea” doesn’t go as far back as Game of Thrones (298 AC/seventeen years after the end of Robert’s Rebellion) but is a more recent dating back to the Ming Dynasty (c. 1368 – 1644). This style of tea was originally referred to as Rock Tea (Yan Cha) – which described the terroir from where it grew (rocky soil).  The name Black Dragon referred to the long, dark, twisted leaves which were then pan-fired to stop oxidation and baked in the final stages of processing.

Wuyi Dark Oolongs are the polar opposite to spring/ greener oolongs such as Jade and BaoZhong style which is buttery and more floral in taste.

This tea is produced at a 100% organic tea garden near Fujian that has 36 rock peaks. Only teas grown within a 60 kilometer territory are considered authentic Wuyi Tea. Wuyi Dark Oolong, is a heavily oxidized style of oolong that yields a full bodied, rich mouth-feel tea that leaves a lasting impression. Notes of sweet baked apricot, caramel, and brown sugar shine through. It’s leaves a haunting end note that begs you for more. This is a powerful, dark, rich oolong you won’t soon forget.

For those of you that are familiar with this style of tea, you will rejoice knowing that today Day 19 of our 25 Days of Christmas can enjoy 25% OFF by using code TEAGIVING19 at checkout on the website.

For those of you who aren’t familiar, this is a great time to give this type of oolong a try. It pairs brilliantly with cheeses like blue, gorgonzola. Is divine with dim sum or even Chinese Take-out delivered to your door. Any salty, heavier meals are divine with a Dark Oolong.

So get ready for last and final Season 8 of Game of Thrones and have your Wuyi Black Dragon Tea by your side. (“The things I do for love.” – Jaimie Lanister)

Happy Sipping!
~The Chief Leaf

 

Tea Giving: Day 19 (WuYi Dark Oolong)

Tea Giving: Day 3 (Moroccan Mint)

pearl_MoroccanMint

“Tea is the drink of the gods that loosens tongues and opens hearts.

Day 3 has us scooting over to Northern Africa where drinking green tea with mint is legendary and an inherent part of its culture, customs and most importantly its hospitality. Tea is everywhere in Morocco: cafes, markets, businesses and especially at home. But the actual history of tea in Morocco is not clear.

Hot drinks, herbal infusions and remedies have been a part of Moroccan culture since before actual tea was introduced to the country. Some say that wasn’t until the 17th – 18th century when Chinese green Gunpowder tea showed up. By the late 1800s, trade increased and tea spread across the county as a luxury item and status symbol of ones wealth and high standing in the community. Eventually, like all things, tea found its way into local markets in cities and villages; on caravan routes into the mountains and desert.

Traditional Moroccan Mint tea is typically a blend of Chinese Gunpowder Green tea which is shaped like small pellets, and has a very bitter taste if brewed too long.  The name “gunpowder” refers to the very tightly rolled, compressed dried tea leaves. The more compact, the better the quality. A slight sheen to the gunpowder tea indicates freshness and is what is most desired.

Moroccan Mint  / Chinese Gunpowder Green Tea needs to be brewed with a lighter hand (less time), or even cold brewed for iced tea which always comes out perfect. If you want to try to make tea the way they prepare it in Morocco here are steps to follow:

“A traditional pot of Moroccan Mint (Attay) will include mint, sugar, green gunpowder tea leaves, and hot water. Served on a Sinia tea tray, gunpowder tea leaves, fresh mint sprigs and sugar cubes are first put into the teapot before it is filled with boiling water. After a few minutes of steeping, the first pot of tea is poured into the tea glasses, not to drink, but rather to warm the guest’s glass, as the second round of brewing begins. Once perfect levels of sweet and bitter have been achieved, the host will hold the teapot high over the tea glasses, to create a little bit of froth. The glass is then held at the rim of the cup, and sipped carefully.”

Our Moroccan Mint Green has been slightly modified recently and is even better than the long-standing blend we’ve had over the years. The melange of mint really shines through – especially the spearmint! This is one of our most popular teas in summertime when we brew it for local farmers markets and serve over ice, but its a truly wonder hot tea year round. And if the flavor of green tea with mint isn’t enough to entice you into trying this, the health benefits might:

  • Relieves stress and anxiety
  • Improves Digestion
  • Boosts Immune System
  • Fights Bad Breath
  • May help Cold and Flu
  • Improves Mental Awareness and Focus
  • Full of anti-oxidants
  • Makes you feel happy*

*Lots of field research went into the last bullet point.

Please use Code: TeaGiving3 to get 25% OFF on Day 3 of our 25 Days of Tea Giving!

Happy Sipping!
– The Chief Leaf

Tea Giving: Day 3 (Moroccan Mint)

25 Days of Tea: Day 21 (Mao Jian)

img_lg_maojianWe made it!

Today at 5:44am EST, we welcome the Winter Solstice: the shortest day of the year and the day that marks the “turning of the Sun.” From tomorrow onward, the days will now get longer as we head into Spring. The first day of Winter is a not a gloomy day, but a celebration of the end of darkness, the dawn of light and the unending cycle of nature. There are so many traditions and rituals surrounding the Winter Solstice, from Pagan rituals to Norse, but the one I wanted to focus on this year was that of  Dōngzhì (冬至). This Chinese Winter Festival that celebrates the shortest day of the year began during the Han Dynasty (202 BC – 220 AD) and really peaked during the Tang and Song dynasties (618 – 1279). Families came together (and still do) on this most auspicious day to celebrate with a meal made of filling, hearty foods that inspire hope for the warmer days of Spring.

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Tang Yuan rice balls

The traditional meal is a  rice dish called  Tang Yuanglutinous rice balls filled with sweet sesame or red bean paste cooked in a ginger broth – an auspicious symbolize of family togetherness and reunion.

What could be better then celebrating the end of darkness by spending time with family and friends eating dumplings and sipping endless cups of tea. And not just any tea, but another one of China’s Ten Famous teas: Mao Jianrevered for its pleasant aroma and refreshing, easy taste. Legend has it that that nine fairies from heaven brought this tea down to earth for humans. It is said that, when you drink this tea, you will see the images of those nine fairies dancing in the steam. The name Mao Jian is broken into two parts to reflect Yin/Yang or “Xinyang” – the words “Mao” and “Jian” refers to the shape of the tea. Mao (hairy) and Jian (straight and pointy/sharp).

Whatever ritual or celebration you participate in today, or even if you do nothing at all, try to remember the bigger message: There is an end to darkness, and what follows is always light. Tomorrow morning when you wake to seconds more of that light, give thanks to nature for providing us with everything we need and one of the most delightful plants on earth: the tea bush! Here are some notes on our Mao Jian:

• Overview:   One of China’s 10 Famous Teas
• Dry Leaf:    Emerald green, sharp and pointy with tiny hairs
• Liquor (liquid):   Gorgeous green, clear and sparkling
• Aroma:   Cucumber, fresh, sweet
• Flavor notes:    Easy on the palate. A green tea for every day. Slight sweetness on the finish after notes of clean crisp cucumber find its way out front.
• Brewing recommendation:     170˚F  for 2-3 minutes.
• Caffeine: Yes

If you are interested in giving todays pick a try, please visit the Pearl Fine Teas tea shop today and use code: 25TEAS21 at checkout to get 25% of Mao Jian– today only!

Happy Sipping!
-The Chief Leaf

#tealove
#teaunites
#teasaveslives
#sipteafeelhappy
#TeaTent
#teainDC
#teainVA
#teainMD
#25Teas
#maojian
#greentea
#wintersolstice

 

 

25 Days of Tea: Day 21 (Mao Jian)

25 Days of Tea: Day 16 (White Peony)

img_lg_whitepeonyWe’re stepping into some controversy as we embark into the category of White Tea.

But first, lets have a look at White Peony (or as its also called: Bai Mu Dan or Pai Mu Dan), a very mild, slightly sweet white tea from China. It’s made from harvested leaves (2 leaves and a bud) before the leaves are fully open and still have the fine white, fuzzy “hairs” on the leaf. These leaves are left to wither slowly and air-dry so that there is minimal oxidation as compared to green, oolong and black teas and is not exposed to heat from a flame. The low oxidation and minimal processing yields a very delicate, fresh, crisp brew with mild, light honey flavor.

Now to the controversy: There is overwhelming information on the internet about the caffeine content of white tea – which is generally thought to be lower in caffeine than green or black tea. However, there is evidence that original tea plants from the Fujian, China may have a low caffeine content compared to other other tea plants. That said, there are studies that show that white teas contain as much or more caffeine as green or black teas. I did a blog post in 2009 on this and used the research from Nigel Melican, a tea master and scientist in the tea industry. You can revisit that blogpost information here. . but also check out this post by Cha Do back in 2008.

It’s important to gather as much info from sources related to the caffeine levels in white tea, especially if you are sensitive or allergic to caffeine. I’m still reading and researching the mystery around white teas and caffeine to stay informed and relay the information to my tea followers. Americans in particular are very intent on knowing caffeine levels in tea, often asking for subtleties by percentages. My standard answer is always the same: If you are sensitive or allergic to caffeine, do not drink tea (camellia sinensis). There are so many other options like herbals/tisane and rooibos–which rivals green tea in many ways related to health and wellness benefits and anti-oxidants. And its totally caffeine free. Here are further notes on White Peony (Bai Mu Dan):

• Overview:   A very mild, subtle, delicate and slightly sweet tea.
• Dry Leaf:    Large, unbroken leaves
• Liquor (liquid):   Pale yellow
• Aroma:   Fresh, slightly hay, light floral
• Flavor notes:    Floral, sweet, herbaceous
• Brewing recommendation:     185-190˚F  for 3 to 5 minutes.
• Caffeine: Yes

If you are interested in giving todays pick a try, please visit the Pearl Fine Teas tea shop today and use code: 25TEAS16 at checkout to get 25% of White Peony – today only!

Happy Sipping!
-The Chief Leaf

#tealove
#teaunites
#teasaveslives
#sipteafeelhappy
#TeaTent
#teainDC
#teainVA
#teainMD
#25Teas
#whitetea
#whitepeony
#baimudan

 

 

25 Days of Tea: Day 16 (White Peony)