Have you ever wondered what Thailand is like? Wanted to know more about the tea fields, the mountains, and the people? Well, I was lucky enough to get to explore Thailand for tea reasons. I’m not sure whether you should be jealous or just happy for me, but I hope you enjoy reading this. If you don’t already want to go, then maybe this will be the push that you need.
When I first got there, I got to travel up a beautiful mountain. The mountain had a nice, paved road that lead all the way up to the top. It was quite dangerous, though, as it was also at a 90 degree angle! Once we, the driver and I, made it up the mountain, I was led to the tea market. Getting to see where the tea trading happens was quite interesting. When you go, you can see the tourists enjoying themselves as they taste different types of tea.
In the market, just about every store in the area focuses on selling tea. Some of the store owners have their own tea farms, but some do not. Thankfully, my driver knew a thing or two about the area, so he managed to find a new tea farm for me to explore. My driver was a very knowledgeable man and I did scout for new tea farm before coming here. Because of him, I knew exactly where to go and who I would be speaking with.
Jer, the lady in the yellow shirt, is the owner of her own small tea farm. While I was there, she told me that her husband was the one that started his own tea farm. About 50 years ago, he had started a farm with some of the other Chinese immigrants in the area. Back then, the “lost army”, the Kuomintang’s 93rd Division, spent decades wandering the region between China, Myanmar and Thailand, trying to find a home. During that, they were in a constant fight with the communists and those that did not want them to settle. Finally, in the 70s, they were granted land around Mae Salong by the Thai government, in return for helping crush the communist guerrillas in the mountains of northern Thailand.
Back then, the area had been used to grow opium poppies. With the help of King Bhumibol Rama 9 (Current King is Rama 10), they put an end to the poppy farms. The king told Jer’s husband that the opium was killing people, so the land could be used for better reasons. He then assisted the people as they began to grow tea, coffee and a variety of fruits. The opium fields were no more. They were replaced to help aid the people, not kill them.
As the owner of the tea farm, Jer let me taste some of the teas that she grew. Her te was very nice, as it was quite smooth. I am happy to say that, with her hospitality, we managed to obtain her “Siam Ruby” Oolong tea.
But, my curiosity did not stop at Jer’s tea farm. I continued to wander around the area; scoping other tea shops, and tasting more tea. One of the teas that I came across was called “Red oolong”. The owner of the tea shop that had it said it was a special version that was hand roasted. That means the consistency of the temperature used varied. To be honest, I thought I was smoking, rather than drinking tea. After that, I tried a tea that was roasted in a controlled temperature. There was no smoky flavor or the feeling of smoking.
I actually don't mind teas with a smoky flavor. One of the teas I like happens to be Lapsang Pouchong from China, which we carry in store. It tastes smoky, but is a lot more pleasing. It’s different than the tea I tried, which was one of the only bad experiences I had on the trip.
So, as you could probably guess, I spent the whole day tasting various teas. It got to the point that I was actually a little bit sick of tea after a while! Don’t worry, I still love tea. I just had too much that day. So, I tried some Thai food to help clear my palette. Have you ever had tuna salad with tea leaves? It is quite good, but a little bit spicy.
Oh, wanna know a fun fact? The tea trees that are found in Thailand are actually incredibly tall! The tea farmers have to shorten them to speed up the picking process.
Come by to see us at our shop if you want to see the teas we brought back for yourself. They are quite interesting, and definitely worth the trip! Our address is 16228 Main Ave, Prior Lake. To end this, I’ll put a picture in of the beautiful tea farms for you to enjoy.
Tai Ping Hou Kui, means Monkey King Green Tea. This tea is one of the most luxurious tea from China. It is very healthy for your skin and body. It is the antioxidant that helps protect your skin from the harmful effects of free radicals, which cause wrinkling and skin aging. Drinking green tea is an effective and organic way to cure acne. Regular consumption of at least 3 cups of green tea per day will treat acne by improving insulin resistance, and reducing the levels of hormones.
picture credit: teaherbshop.com
How to brew it? We also say drinking tea is as much science as art. Don't be afraid to try new way to suit your taste and style. For this tea, we suggest the water should be at 160-170F Apply 3-4 g Monkey King tea leaves to an uncovered ceramic teapot or tall heat-proof glass like picture above, add 6 fl. oz. of hot water and brew for one to three minutes. Monkey King Green Tea can generally be brewed for up to 3 times. Gradually increase steeping time and temperature for subsequent brewing.
Monkey King (in Chinese Tai Ping Hou Kui) is a native to the regions near Yellow Mountain in Anhui Province, an area which produces other famous variety of green teas, like Huang Shan Mao Feng and Legendary Liu An Melon Seed. We work with a farmer directly to obtain the best quality teas (above picture is where our tea came from).
Tea Plantation visiting & Store hour.
Many people had asked me how we decided to come up with new teas. To be honest, my husband and I listen to you. We hear about your concern about health, wellness, what you like and don't like. We are not a company that check off the list from vendors to obtain our teas; we carefully listen to what customers want. This is why we are visiting tea plantations. As a result, my husband will stay at the tea shop while I travel to the Northern Thailand.
One of our goals this year is to grow our selection on Herbal Tea. Of course, I will also visit Tea plantations (Tea as of Camellia Sinensis, a scientific name of tea tree) and other herbal tea plantations such as Chrysanthemum and Sacha Inchi. The reason to visit is to ensure that we get high quality products and they are organically grown.
I hope to bring back teas and herbal teas to share with our communities. My husband will need to take care of our 2 young children and look after the shop. For the week of 3/12 and 3/19, we will be opened only on Saturday from 9-3pm on 3/17 and 3/24. Sorry for the inconvenience.
新年快樂 (Xīnnián kuàilè) Happy Chinese New Year!
According to the Chinese zodiac, the year of the dog starts on February 16, 2018. Along with the new year, we have some new information we would like to share: after years of being located in various outside farmers markets, we have finally secured our retail store!
While we enjoyed the experience, we are incredibly excited to be holding our GRAND OPENING on February 10th, from 10 AM - 2PM. Hopefully you will all be able to come join us, enjoy some tea, and get to explore our beautiful new store.
On behalf of the year of the dog, and to celebrate our GRAND OPENING, where you will be able to try our special sample tea for free. We will also be giving everyone who attends our grand opening event a 20% discount on their purchases made that day. Hopefully you will enjoy our sample tea as much as you enjoy dogs. Unless you are not fond of dogs, which, in that case, we hope that you enjoy the tea more than you like dogs.
It will be a very fun event, so we hope to see you there.
Starting from 2/1/18: We will begin our soft opening. We hope you can stop by to say hi, see our space and look at our tea products.
Happy New Year! We hope you are enjoying your time with friends and family. We start off this year with a legend about Da Hong Pao Oolong. It is one of our favorites! It said in 1385, during the Ming Dynasty, a scholar name Ju Zi Ding was on the way to attend the Imperial exam. This exam was at that time the major path to a career as an official. Unfortunately, on the way to the exams he became ill when he arrived in Wuyishan and wasn't able to continue his journey.
Luckily, a monk from temple name 'Tian Xin Yong Le' passed by and served him a special tea with healing effects. Ju Zi Ding was healed and made it to the exams on time. He eventually passed the exam with the highest score and was awarded an imperial scarlet red robe. Scholars with the highest scores are called 'Zhuan Yuan' and have a promising career advising the emperor and taking high officials' positions.
The humble scholar was so grateful that he travelled back to visit the Monk to thank him and ask where he got the tea from that healed him. Once arrived at the tea bushes, Ju Zi Ding took of his red robe and wrapped it 3 circles around the tea bush out of gratitude and carried some Da Hong Pao tea in a jar back to the palace. Since then, the tea is named Da Hong Pao, meaning Big Red Robe in English.
Like a vintage pu-erh – the tea varietal mainly produced in Yunnan province – Da Hong Pao doesn’t expire with age, but only improves (pu-erh is a full fermented tea, if you don't know already). It can be sold and resold numerous times over the decades, gaining in value with each transaction.
Da Hong Pao still grows in traditional, small-scale tea gardens, and each spring the farmers still climb the hills to implore the tea god to bring new shoots. It’s the combination of rock and water that gives Da Hong Pao its rich flavor. The rain that pours off the sheer rock walls, flowing down narrow streams and pretty waterfalls, becomes imbued with minerals, which then impart their goodness to the tea. A legends has sprung up around the original Da Hong Pao trees, which still perch precariously on a cliff face not far from the monastery.
What Da Hong Pao taste like? This is a medium charcoal roasting oolong. It gives a flavor of red dates and purple plums and slightly roasted with light floral / fruity aroma. It is clean finished and clear, medium-amber colored liquor.
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Disclaimer: Not qualified for Journey Point Card
Thanksgiving day centers on cooking and sharing a bountiful meal with family and friends. It is another year, we blended orange black tea. Deliciously sweet and fruity with the underlying support of a robust (decaf) black tea.
The weather is getting colder. Please take care of yourself and have this wonderful Orange black tea to warm you up!
We met Karen at the church in November. We remembered that she purchased "Strawberry White" and "Blueberry White" sample tea. Since that day, she called us when she needs new teas.
We are very happy when someone is happy. This is a reason why we keep going with our tea journey -- to put smile on your face.
Thank you for being a part of our tea journey.
One of our friends suggested to change the current recipe of sweet mint tea. We took his suggestion to heart! Now it is called "Organic Exquisite Mint" Tea. We LOVE mint (peppermint, spearmint, wolly mint, etc). Do you know why mint is such a good plant? Here are 10 Reasons why drinking mint tea would be good for you:
Tea & Ice Cream
I got a chance to meet Grandpa's ice cream in Fridley. To my surprise, Kathy, the store owner and ice cream maker, wanted to make ice cream out of our teas. As I kept thinking which tea would be suitable for ice cream, I suggested Organic Chamomile Dream and Organic Ceylon Earl Gray.
Kathy turned our tea into yummy sorbet and ice cream. If you have a chance to visit Fridley, stop by Grandpa's ice cream. They are very innovative and have many different kind of fun flavors.
I admitted; I love Bubble Tea. It is one of the best creations coming from Taiwan. You may have tried in many Asian stores around where you are. I can only tell you one thing. They are too sweet and most of the time, they don't even use "real" tea.
Welcome to Chun Shui Tang (春水堂). The founder, Liu Han-Chieh, first came up with the idea of serving Chinese tea cold in the early 1980s after visiting Japan where he saw coffee served cold. Then, in 1988, his product development manager, Ms. Lin Hsiu Hui, was sitting in a staff meeting and had brought with her a typical Taiwanese dessert called fen yuan, a sweetened tapioca pudding. Just for fun she poured the tapioca balls into her Assam iced tea and drank it. Today, bubble tea shops occupy nearly every corner of Taiwan’s streets. They spread to neighboring countries like Japan, South Korea and China and then to the rest of the world. Unfortunately, Lin did not trademarked the product. Much like Sriracha sauce from my hometown, Sriracha, in the Eastern part of Thailand invented Sriracha sauce without trademarked them.
Their bubble teas are made to order and are usually shaken, not blended as in other shops. Unlike many stores in the US, they use real tea instead of powdered tea which I suspected there was no tea added at all (and full of sugar or corn syrup).
I ordered Mango & Ginger bubble tea which was a new item on the menu. Perhaps, I was sort of sick due to lack of rest during this trip and caught cold. My apology. So my taste bud didn't work well.
Anyhow, if you have never tried it before, I suggested you try it once. It is interesting texture and fun to drink (and of course, unnecessary high calories). See you next month!
Partly credited to:http://travel.cnn.com/explorations/drink/inventor-bubble-tea-885732/
Disclaimer: We are not associated with any local or oversea tea organization.
Staff at Great Tea Road Co