A deep and abiding love of Oriental Beauty

A deep and abiding love of Oriental Beauty

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.

Hidden Peak Teahouse's 2008 Lincang Shu. Goodbye, beloved teacher! Goodbye, old friend now in the form of a tiny 3 gram chunk of tea! Goodbye....Goodbye!!!!

Just finishing up the last of a ten gram sample I bought over a year ago from Hidden Peak, the 2008 Lincang Shu. Every session I liked it more, did it age over this brief year and a half lingering in its little sample bag, stuck in the dark all alone in  tiny ceramic cupboard drawer? I don't know but I know my palate has evolved a TON over this time, and I know further that I LOVE this tea.
It is a great introductory shu I think, and I furthermore think, I am off to buy some more! This shu is deeply earthy, dark from first flash-rinse, almost meaty in color and texture and has all that forest undergrowth mossiness I have come to love. Clean earth, great energy and of this writing, the last three grams of this teacher of a tea are still telling me tales that change with each steep, going on the 9th as soon as I finish this brief missive to you, my readers.
Visit Hidden Peak Teahouse and check it out for yourselves.
(Photo from HPTH website with my thanks. Gonna go buy me a brick o'this right now!)

Smacha's White Peony aka Bai Mu Dan. Gorgeous and sweet.

White Peony is thus named poetically for its leaves shape as it steeps and opens and for its lovely aroma. I also would have to add it is by far the prettiest tea I have seen all year, lovely colors mixed with long thin pieces and gorgeous leaves, before brewing it is as pretty a picture as I could ask for...

This tea just made the start of my day a lovely one, a perfect choice for the first day of sun in a week, outside still dewy on my cactus' and my resin lawn buddhas, Trader Joe's trip for dinner tonight a distant memory and its only nine a.m. Perfect time to open this new years offering from Smacha of this perfect white tea.
185f and three grams only as I don't want to go through it too fast, steeped less than a minute ( but not by much) in a 70 ml gaiwan. Just a total delight. Heading back in for steeps three and four, see how long it lasts! Gently, gently goes the pour! Want to treat this particular Bai Mu Dan like the treasure it is!

A floral, complex and distinctive oolong from White2Tea

Just finishing a first time session with W2T's OBSX, which is a really nice change of pace from my usual Sunday morning Oriental Beauty options, and a very wakeful brewing session. I don't know much about Wuyi Yanchas but this was a good one to start to learn with. Very easy to drink, lightly floral and mineral notes both. Started with an eye-balled amount of most likely 3 grams in a 130ml hohin at 205f. Too light. Added another 'pinch' which I am guessing made it 4 grams and upped my water temp to 209, and the next four steeps were lovely. Rich golden color, wet leaves smell just great. Not a heavily floral tea, more mineral notes and really a rather sophisticated taste in my humble newbie opinion! I will not be eye-balling any more tea any time soon, I was just being lazy in not reaching for my scale this morning, my suggestion to myself and to my newbie readers is to count on your scale and if you don't have a little digital scale, get one. This is mine. Under $20, found mine with free shipping, just get one, it's actually fun to use.
OBSX is an acronym for 'Old Bush Shui Xian' and is super fragrant, floral and has a medium roast and a nice depth.

Tea Haikus by BuddhaMomTea herself.

dearest kyusu

i will be back for you soon
please don't forget me.

yuzamashi mine
sit patiently with your friend
winter will come soon.

there are flowers here
honey and warm afternoons
sunshine in my mouth.

the tea tray is wet
porcelain tasting cups shine
waiting for more tea.

i may never see
yunnan in the summertime
scott will be my eyes.