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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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/
A very nice comment from one of our friends: "This morning I enjoyed my first bowl of the ceremonial matcha that I ordered from you. It was bright green (always a good sign) and delicious. Thanks for sending it out so quick!". Cynthia H., Minneapolis.
Thank you. We are happy to hear your opinion and suggestion. This is why we keep going with our tea journey to put that happiness on your face. Thank you so much for being a part of our tea journey.
Tea Presentation at Minneapolis Institute of Arts (MIA).
What a fun day! It was at the Minneapolis Institutes of Arts that i had a chance to present tea to Patron group. We plan to offer tea ceremony in the future for people who are interested tea culture when we open up our brink and mortar store.
We have been really busy with new packaging. This is to help us assure the quality of tea and lower the cost to pass to you in long term. We decided to go ahead with new packaging. Don't be surprised when you see us next time!
This is a real tea country. Everywhere is tea from vending machine to side road. Welcome to Taiwan. Taiwan is famous for their oolong. Majority of them are grown in the central part of the country, but you can find other type of tea production through out the country.
Tea fields are in the neat rows rising and falling with the slope of the mountains like waves of green sea water, majestic and elegant at the same time. Tea farms are everywhere.
If you come during harvest season you will have a chance to observe scenes of tea harvesting and processing; the whole countryside, at this time, is filled with the rich aroma of tea. The tea grown here has a fresh and sweet flavor.
We met with Tea Master Jeff in Songbaoling. He is the owner of a tea farm and a Tea Master in his own right. I told him that i would come to visit him but with me missed my connection flight (ugh), I didn't specifically tell him when I would arrive. As I walked along the street, the street vendors sell mainly pineapple, yellow ginger, some mushrooms and most of all, Tea.
While I was looking around, I stopped in front of a store to admire tea pots. Without realizing it was Mr. Jeff 's store, I said "Oh, is that Mr. Jeff?" He invited me to go inside. When I entered his store, I noticed him and his wife were busy picking out tea. I asked what they were doing; they said they were separating higher quality tea leaves. We knew beforehand that Mr. Jeff's tea are award winning in several competitions. We then introduced ourselves for a little bit.
He asked what tea I would like to drink and we hit it off with Jade Oolong, winter tea. The tea was so much of flower aroma and strong with astringent. After 2 cups, we moved to Jin Xuan Oolong which also has a flower aroma but lighter and a little bit more palatable for me. At the end, he asked if I wanted to try black tea. This black tea is made from smaller leaves (Camillia Sinensis) as opposed to Camillia Assamisis which is famous to grow in Sun Moon Lake area, Sun Moon Lake Black Tea #18. See our another blog on this tea.
It was not my plan to visit him during the Buddha's birthday. There were many worshipers, drum playing along the street, and many display of Buddha's images. After tea tasting, Mr. Jeff and I walked to see the Buddha's birthday event. Incense smell filled the place with so many people carried Buddha images into the temple. The sky was so blue with no cloud and definitely, it was too hot for a Minnesotan like me (around 27C /80F that day).
On the way back to his store, he pointed out his cousin store on the way back. We stopped by to buy a mochi (rice cake dessert) and his wife invited me to join them for a lunch. After lunch, he took me to his factory where I could help him with tea processing and looked at his tea farm. I learned that his grandfather started the tea farm and now he is the 3rd generation of tea family.
Standing next to his tea plants, I smelled flower aroma which was in his tea. I have always wondering why Taiwan's oolong smells so good. I thought they added something in the tea but no, it actually comes from the tea plant. As I helped them rolling the tea, the aroma was so fragrant and beautiful. No wonder why many of his teas won tea competition.
I came here for a cup of tea but I received a kindness, true friendship and hospitality from him and his wife. Thank you.
As we search for the best tea, we took a walk up the trail to see the sun rise. This area is Sun Moon Lake, Nantou, Taiwan.
It is one of the Eight Wonders of Taiwan. Coming from a land of 10,000 lakes, I thought to myself "Do I need to see another lake?".
Surprisingly, What I didn't realize is it was different than our lakes where tall mountains were back drop. Sun Moon Lake got its name from the unique terrains that look like the sun on the diamond-shaped eastern side and crescent moon on the curved western end.
The lake’s scenic beauty has given rise to such names as “Pearl in the Mountains,” “Honeymoon Lake,” and “Lovers’ Lake.” It is also called the “Heart of Taiwan” for its role as a major hydropower generator.
Sun Moon Lake Black Tea #18 is a mixture between two cultivar of local Taiwan tea plant (B-607) and Burmese tea plant (B-729) back in 1999 and was kept improving its cultivar since then. The leaves were picked by hand. Its smell is like light lotus and cinnamon which is uniquely produced in Taiwan. Some people may not like drinking black tea but this tea is easy to drink with red-brown liquor when brew. We would recommend this tea because it is premium and uniquely produced tea.
We sourced them directly from the tea farm in the Sun Moon Lake area. Please enjoy the photos from the farm.
Disclaimer: We are not associated with any local or oversea tea organization.
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