A deep and abiding love of Oriental Beauty

A deep and abiding love of Oriental Beauty

A springtime tradition for me! Chilled Oriental Beauty Delight!

Overbrew that Oolong and it's a bit strong? Have more Oriental Beauty than you can drink? Here's what you do!

1.Cinnamon ( a nice fresh Saigon is my favorite!)
2.Maple syrup ( high grade organic please!)
3.Blue Agave sweetener if desired
4.Almond milk (I prefer unsweetened vanilla.) Also a splash of mocha mix non-dairy creamer is good if you want it thicker

Pour the still warm Oriental Beauty or other Oolong of your choice into a large glass over ice, add non-sweetened almond milk or dairy item of your choice, in the amount that best suits you. I like mine milky looking and thick.

Add maple-syrup to taste, the highest grade the better please, don't cheat yourselves by using that Mrs. Butterworth's nonsensical crap, Ok? Do we understand each-other? I am not here to enable you to consume nonsense. 
I use a protein-drink shaker bottle and really agitate it to fully mix the ingredients.
Sprinkle in some cinnamon if it pleases you.

I also add a small drop of blue agave sweetener if I am in the mood to make it even sweeter. I have also been known, (see a prior post) to use some chocolate syrup. Shhhhhhhh.
Don't judge. It IS Oriental Beauty after all, and deserves more respect but on the other hand, wasting OB, not stretching the imagination and finding other ways to enjoy it later in the day after the hot session is complete? Well, that is just untenable, is it not?
Yours in Tea,

2016 Qi Lai Shan Oolong from Jade Leaf is a stunner that won't be around for long.

Sometimes a tea is so good I actually don't want to write about it. But I don't want to be selfish, so I come clean with you, dear readers, and this is one of those times. This is an amazing tea. This is THE tea to turn people onto teas who have never had a good tea. Its simply, clearly, astonishingly delicious. Every single steep.
(I am only writing this after literally just leaving paypal where I bought 4 ounces of this. I had to make sure I was covering my naturally selfish little monkey-butt.)

This is a tea to watch and from the moment you do it starts putting on a show. Pretty, pretty leaves, look at them swell, opening for you but not too fast, making the steeps last, six, seven times. Oh my. I never knew.

Here is a link to Emilio's blog post about this tea, a must read!
I will let the post speak for itself and just add we, as a tea community are blessed to have this man in our midst. Find the tea here!


Located in a remote, pristine high elevation garden on the edge of a national forest Qi Lai Shan is close to Li Shan. Even in Taiwan, Qi lai Shan is a still largely unknown growing region. This is because this area is relatively new to tea cultivation. Only locals who know where the best tea in Taiwan is know about Qi Lai Shan. This tea is grown at 2050m. The dry leaves have a clean fragrance of high mountains. The taste is pure and buttery with a long smooth aftertaste. This year it snowed in Qi Lai Shan during the winter, making this spring's tea "snow tea". Because of it's rarity, snow tea is renowned for it's excellence. If you are a high-mountain lover tea we highly recommend this tea.

So many ways to make good tea! None of them involving a bag!

Da Jin High Mountain Oolong but a different experience thanks to trying out new kinds of brewing devices!

If you, Dear Reader remember reading my post called 'Smacha Whacha Wow!' (and honestly I don't even remember writing it, I was so tea-drunk)  then you know I really liked Smacha's Da Jin High Mountain Oolong. Maybe too much. I believe my gushing might have taken on new spectral heights in that 'review'. I will not apologize. Enthusiasm is a gift, people, a gift!
Today I had the Da Jin again and once again had a series of wow moments, but in quite a different vein. Oh, I still loved it, its just this session is a low and slow, passionate yet playful science experiment playing with parameters, temperatures and so forth and all with my Smacha auto-brewer instead of a gaiwan. I followed Smacha's written advice and used almost 8 grams of tea as I filled and refilled the 12 ounce pretty white porcelain infuser over and over. I went from 205f to 190, all the way down to 170, and all with different tones coming out of this sweet Oolong.
It is not an overly complex tea, I am learning from complex with my huge stash of shou Puerhs, but it has depth and personality and wonderful floral notes and nuanced sweetness, it has earthiness and nuttiness and all sorts of things you want from a good high mountain Oolong!

Time to find a new batch of Oriental Beauty Tea! I've finally run out!

Oriental Beauty.Bai Hao. My favorite tea(s) ever. Thanks, strange little insect!

Oriental Beauty Bai Hao Premium Oolong is the highest quality handpicked whole leaf Oolong tea recognised as “Top Super Fancy” on its native island of Taiwan.
With its distinctive floral aroma and smoothly sweet taste, Oriental Beauty is a top quality premium Oolong that has a low annual yield, which is highly sought after and valued accordingly.
Hand picked at a ratio of one bud for every two leaves, Oriental Beauty Bai Hao Premium Oolong can only be produced from leaves that have been bitten by the Jacobiasca formosana leaf insect, whose chemical signatures react with the chlorophyll present within the leaves to produce a unique, sweet flavor and aroma. Processed with mid-fermented light fire baked technology in the tradition manner, Oriental Beauty Bai Hao Premium Oolong is produced without the use of any insecticides so as to allow the Jacobiasca formosana leaf insects to thrive. As a result of this, the premium tea gardens that produce Oriental Beauty become totally natural and organic as well.
Renowned for its bright amber coloration, subtle honeyed aroma and pleasantly lingering aftertaste, Oriental Beauty Bai Hao Premium Oolong also enjoys notes of apricot and stone fruit.

Black tea from Vietnam and a cup by David Holden of Dingle Ireland, using hand-dug native, local clay!

This tea is more than faintly reminiscent of some of my favorite sort of teas. It reminds me of a good Indian tea, it has a chocolate note, and it has a gorgeous coppery color that deepens with each consecutive steeping.
Made gongfu style for this first test of this tea I used four grams in a 6 ounce gaiwan, and flash brewed four steeps in succession after a quick initial rinse.
Just a warm, malty lovely flavor!

Cup created by ceramic artist David Holden of Dingle, Ireland who shares with us;

 "Although I have been working with the medium of clay as a ceramic artist and potter since 1988, my most recent work using hand dug native clay of the Dingle Peninsula has been truly rewarding. I process the clay myself in small amounts in the West Kerry Gaeltacht, and then make these organic pots and fire them in my studio. These pieces are truly of the earth, rivers and hearth of Corca Dhuibhne nothing is added to the clay, and only a few stones are removed from it. The clay when harvested is already made fine from the flow of rivers through it. The organic shapes and glazes attempt to resonate with the surroundings where the clay was found. I hope you enjoy my work."

Trying a Mighty Leaf Tea pouch and not hating it! A GongFu purist takes the plunge.

So. I have this great doctor I see once a year, a classy old-timer and doc to many of Hollywood's elite (of which I am most certainly not) and in his reception room he always has a cupboard full of tea bags. They are nice teas, always bought ( I am guessing) at Gelson's which is nearby.
This is the only time I partake in anything resembling tea in a bag, EVER. For I am as you know, dear friends, a tea snob.
Anyhoo. Today, amongst the boxes in the precious little lacquered tea-closet I found he had Mighty Leaf Breakfast Tea, and I liked the smell of the tea through the bag so gave it a go and I made that 'tea-pouch', in that paper cup, and I smelled it and I am sure my eyes widened a bit and I can definitely report to you that when I took a sip I literally grunted,  (not particularly attractive in a 52 year old woman in a full waiting room) with surprise and admittedly, delight.
I loved that tea. I admit to you now I 'stole' an extra 'pouch' to take home and try with Volvic water at some precise temperatures in my Bonavita gooseneck kettle and it performed well in that environment too. Am I going to start carrying around tea pouches from Mighty Leaf instead of my heavy bag with GongFu Cha supplies; loose leaf teas, gaiwan, cha hai, strainer, tiny cups and mini tea-tray? Doubtful. But I AM going to give Mighty Leaf loose teas a try and yes, I think  I will in fact put a few pouches in my bag on those days where I don't anticipate being able to bully some stranger into having a GongFu cha tea experience with me!
So. Mighty Leaf!Thanks for the tea, dudes!
And readers! Check out what they sent me! Looks good enough to turn the kettle on right now and give it a go, Gong Fu style of course!

Art Of Tea's lovely and verdant Fukamushi

Received a sample of this lovely Japanese green this weekend and found it was quite worthy of my time and attention. Pulled out my rarely used Takaname Kyusu just for the occasion and proceeded to really give this lovely green tea a run for its money.
Sweet, fresh, grassy and very pure, I found this to be a terrific way to ease myself back into Japanese teas! Off to try some more of their offerings. See for yourselves at Art Of Tea!

Four Seasons Tea's white tea cake. Bought two. One to enjoy and one to age.

Want to see a beautiful website? Want to have an amazing immersive experience both online and in your tea-space at home? Look no farther than Four Seasons Tea, which has got to be, hands down, the prettiest website around. And the quality of the teas (thus far in my limited experience,) matches the intention and design of the whole enterprise. Every time I get to sip one of their teas, I want to try more, I feel intuitively that I have stumbled upon a source of great value, both monetarily in that I can afford their offerings and in the love and care the owner/s must feel about their chosen profession in the world of cha.
The tea cake linked here has got to be one of the best teas I have ever tasted, and I am told it will age beautifully, not only by the sellers but by other tea-heads who are familiar with it.