Honing Oolong Cha Qi Through Fire

Before the advent of electricity, all oolong tea was charcoal roasted to reduce moisture in the leaf. It’s only natural that many producers choose the gentle, stable heat of electric burners and ovens. It makes tea roasting easier and more consistent. The tea makers who remain loyal to the charcoal fire often learned by tending the coals at a young age as part of a long-standing family tradition. Others find that they simply cannot resist its captivating call.

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Inspiring enthusiasts to refine their taste in tea

Honing Oolong Cha Qi Through Fire

Before the advent of electricity, all oolong tea was charcoal roasted to reduce moisture in the leaf. It’s only natural that many producers choose the gentle, stable heat of electric burners and ovens. It makes tea roasting easier and more consistent. The tea makers who remain loyal to the charcoal fire often learned by tending the coals at a young age as part of a long-standing family tradition. Others find that they simply cannot resist its captivating call.

Kathmandu, Nepal

A Tale of Two Kathmandu Tea Shops

Bhairab Risal, a veteran journalist with a sharp memory at 94, speaks with ease and zeal of his memories of the early days of Kathmandu’s tea culture. In 1948, at the age of 20, he recalled his first cup of tea at Tilauri Mailako Pasal, one of Kathmandu’s earliest and best-known tea shops. In this article, Kathmandu journalist Prawash Gautam shares tales of two storied tea houses.

Kazakhstan tea feast

Kazakh Culture is Centered on Tea

Tea plays an essential role in Kazakh culture, as no celebration or family feast is held without drinking tea. Sharing tea is a ritual of unity. When someone visits a Kazakh family, tea is served first. The custom, called syi-ayak, begins with the washing of hands. The tea is ladled into a ceramic drinking bowl called a Piyala (Piala). The head of the family (husband) is the first to be served; the guests thereafter. Tradition holds that after dinner, everyone remains seated until the last person has finished drinking their tea, then everyone leaves together.

Camellia Sinensis: The Evolution of Experiential Retail

“Our stores have always offered the option to smell the tea, and clients really appreciate the opportunity to select their tea sensorially. We are done with the impracticalities of the sit-down visit, but we wanted to capture that special tasting moment and offer the possibility to take it further.” – Kevin Gascoyne, partner Camellia Sinensis, Montreal.

Carine Baudry with tea pluckers, India

Taster Profile: Carine Baudry

The world of smells is closely linked to our experience. We work on memory, and so everyone describes tea with different terms. My role as a tea taster is to understand each one and say, “you are actually talking about the same compound.”

Hengzhou is Jasmine’s Promised Land

Spring begins a romance as jasmine flowers meet the newly plucked tea. Spring green tea and summer jasmine flowers are mixed at a strictly-calculated ratio.  Hundreds of processes exist to make the miracle tea. The bitterness of tea and the sweetness of flowers are a perfect compliment. Jasmine grown in Hengzhou meets the high expectations of famous brands at home and abroad.

Lydia Gautier

Taster and Pioneer Tea Sommelier Lydia Gautier

A pioneer tea sommelier in France and the author of several reference books on tea, Lydia Gautier has been a consultant for many international brands. Her 25 years of experience and proximity to producers have led her to become one of the major figures in tea expertise in the world, and in 2107 to create her own brand, Lydia Gautier Thés et Tisanes.

China’s Gou Gu Nao “Dog’s Head” Mountain Tea

Mountainous Suichuan county in Jiangxi Province offers an incomparable microclimate for local cultivars, producing an exceptionally tender leaf. Gou Gu Nao Green Tea is highly prized. The processing method is quite complicated. It is refined through eight processes. The shape of Gou Gu Nao Tea is tight and rolled to a slight curl. The color is bright green, the aroma is fresh and elegant, and the taste is fresh and thick with a sweet and long aftertaste. 

Azerbaijan Growers are Restoring its Tea Legacy

Depending on the variety and quality, the price of local tea in the domestic market ranges from $4.70 to $29 (8-50 manats) per kilogram. Recently, farmers say, the demand for higher quality has increased markedly. People have discovered that local products are of better quality, and therefore they are willing to buy Azerbaijan tea, despite the apparent high cost.

Tea Cuisine is Now Mainstream

Beyond Tea Cuisine

What’s changed is what I hoped would change. There is no such thing as ‘Tea Cuisine;’ it is no longer an oddity or a fad. It’s just another palate of ingredients and techniques that can and do inspire many chefs and mixologists. – Cynthia Gold

Argentina’s Catalyst for Tea Innovation

Argentina’s National Institute of Agricultural Technology (INTA) is a cutting-edge organization in the Agro-technological sector in agricultural research, extension, and innovation. The institute is a decentralized state organization with operational and financial autarchy, associated with the Ministry of Agroindustry. INTA operates in the five ecoregions of Argentina (Northwest, Northeast, Cuyo, Pampeana, and Patagonia) through a structure that includes: a central headquarters, 15 regional centers, 52 experimental stations, six research centers, 22 research institutes, and more than 350 Extension Units.

Meitan County’s Tribute to Tea

Meitan Cuiya is an early spring green tea oxidized for a few hours in the shade before processing. It is made from high-quality fresh and tender tea leaves and undergoes 20 complex processes, including spreading, fixing, shaping, and drying. The leaves appear straight and flat. The aroma is long-lasting above a bright green liquor. The tea has a fresh taste with abundant amino acids, polyphenols, and vitamins.

Q|A Ceramic Artist Luo Shi

Luo Shi uses iron-rich Miaoli clay and traditional methods to bring his vision of nature to life. His work, such as his wonderful teapots, sell for hundreds of dollars each in his homeland and have earned him celebrity status in Taiwan’s fine arts and tea-drinking circles.

Nepal’s Specialty Tea Evolution

The Barbote tea farm is nestled in the steep hills of Ilam, Nepal, planted by his grandfather and tended by his father but grower Narendra Kumar Gurung spent most of his working years with the Japan International Cooperation Agency. Like most of Nepal’s new-generation farmers, specialty tea is a new endeavor built on a century-old foundation of commodity production.

Magnificant Mozambique

Once the most productive growing region in Africa, Mozambique’s tea gardens lay idle during decades of war until investors realized the potential of rejuvenating millions of mature tea trees naturally purged of pesticides and chemical fertilizer.

La Ruta del Te

La Ruta del Té

Knowledge of how tea is grown and processed came naturally to fourth-generation Argentine grower Carolina Okulovich but she observed that was not so for the tourists and visitors to the farm who found tea cultivation and processing fascinating. That was how the idea arose to create a learning experience for visitors touring the 15 hectares known as La Ruta del Té.

A Local Tea Movement Brewing in Assam

What started as a conversation about the qualities that make the teas of Assam so appealing has since developed into a collaboration with marginalized, small-size tea growers to provide natural loose-leaf “home grown” tea.

Cultivating Tea in Colombia

Tea in Colombia was first planted 75 years ago. Joaquín Llano González and his son, Alberto Llano Buenaventura, became the first commercial tea growers and their farms La Sofía and Hacienda Himalaya, located in the mountains of the western Andes above the Pacific Coast, continue producing Colombia’s sole domestically grown brands.

Tea History Collection

The Tea History Collection

The Tea History Collection fills a huge gap in the documentation of the history of the business of tea the world over. Very few individual tea companies possess archives that relate to their own history, and many other tea businesses simply disappeared when they closed or were bought out.

Simpson Garden

Fine Tea from the Island of Jersey

With its 1,800 hectares of soil, the Jersey Royal is spoilt for choice when it comes to deciding where to plant tea. The islands’ acid soil is perfect for the tea plant to grow. Thanks to the Gulf Stream, Jersey winters are mild, without any risk of frost, while summers are moderately warm and sunny. The island’s high humidity also provides ideal conditions for the tea plants to thrive.

Greeting pines

Tea from the Clouded Mist of Huangshan

For centuries, in southwest Anhui, Huangshan Mountain has endeared itself to scenic seekers, poets, and tea lovers. During the Five Dynasties, Shezhou Dafang tea was a tribute tea favored by the imperial family. In the Song Dynasty, at the onset of commercial trade, the acreage under tea expanded continuously and a variety of famous teas emerged.

Economic Botany Collection, Kew

Rediscovering 174 years of Tea

The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew houses a remarkable cache of tea leaves and tea material culture collected over the past 174 years. Kew, a 326-acre botanical garden southwest of London opened in 1759 and today houses one of most diverse living and dried botanical and mycological collections in the world.

PiPa Cha Tea Garden Portugal

Cultivating Tea in Coastal Portugal

In 2011 Portuguese wine maker Dirk Niepoort and his wife Nina Grutkowski planted two hundred seedlings in their garden adding a little at a time until, in 2018, there were 12,000 seedlings. Last spring Camélia Tea processed its first commercial crop, with a distinctive flavor that is the result of a terroir of its own.

James and Stephen Ajoo

A Remarkable Quest Reveals Untold Chapter in Tea History

From Hwuy-Chow Foo, a tea-growing district in Anhui, China to Pauri, India, the Nilgiris, Munnar, and Chennai … the Ajoo family story traverses an untold chapter in the history of Indian tea, a road James Ajoo is trying to retrace, “to say I landed my feet where my ancestor had walked.” 

Bolivian Tea Garden

Anhua’s Dark Allure

Growers in Anhua county invented the dark tea processing technology before 1524, which led to the rise of dark tea production and marketing. The compact and easily transported tea was very popular locally and in 1595,  Anhua dark tea was formally designated as the “Official Tea” of the Ming dynasty government making it a regulated form of currency.

Tea Garden in Bolivia

Tea from the Heights of Bolivia

The Bolivian government has invested in tea production as part of its Poverty Alleviation Program leading to the creation of ecological brands pioneered by ChaiMaté Tea, an IMO certified supplier producing teas competitive for export.

Tea Planter Michel Thévot

Kérouzéré Mill’s Botanical Garden

The Léonard region of Brittany in Northern France has been considered a land of plenty for centuries; but who would have thought that a tea perfectly expressing the alliance between land and sea would grow from its soil?

An Organic Tea Grower from the Land of Tie Guan Yin Oolong

Tie Guan Yin oolong, the quintessential “slow tea of China,” is time-consuming to produce and meant to be savored slowly. In Anxi, Fujian, the birthplace of Tie Guan Yi, the locals, like organic tea grower Rong Feng Wang, are fiercely proud of their oolongs. Here’s Wang’s tea journey.

Fu'an China

A Heritage Tea for Modern Times

Tanyang Gongfu tea is experiencing notoriety as well as increased demand that dates to the 1980s when local growers collectively raised their production standard, earning a reputation for quality hongcha (red tea). The tea is grown in Fu’an which takes its name from a poem in which a Song dynasty emperor bestowed five blessings: “Lucky Heaven, Lucky Earth, Lucky Mountain, Lucky Water, and Lucky Tea.”

Alfred Mwase

Alfred Mwase: Crafting Orthodox Teas Amid a Sea of CTC

The Satemwa Tea Estate, founded in 1923, began to revive the production of orthodox teas about 15 years ago. It is the only estate in Malawi crafting orthodox teas. Taster Alfred Mwase says, “my only experience prior to 2010 was CTC. My first tasting of specialty stimulated interest in these unique teas. Satemwa is a pioneering estate that is open to experiments with new tea cultivars, withering times, rolling techniques, oxidation times, and drying cycles.”

Remote farming

Remote Farming During a Pandemic

The pandemic was the worst thing to happen to Nepal’s Kanchanjangha Tea Estate, but there is a silver lining. “It radically changed how we work,” says Nishchal Banskota, who manages operations via Zoom calls between Long Island, New York, and his family’s tea estate. It’s early morning for me and the end of the day for my father, but after nine months, he says, “I have more confidence that I can manage a farm remotely.”

Andrew McNeill AM Tasting Table

Andrew McNeill on Down-Chain Tasting

“Down-chain tasting invites creative adventures into language and experience that is independent of a single lexicon. The focus is on concrete references to scents and aromas but abstract descriptors that personify overall quality are effective. Of course, your words have to describe something that touches on a shared experience  — otherwise, it’s useless.”

Last minute holiday gift guide

Last-Minute Holiday Gifts

Tea Journey readers span the globe. Half of the magazine’s subscribers reside in Asia and Europe and Africa. That’s why this year’s last-minute gift guide features festive items from India, Europe, and China. These gifts bring to mind holiday celebrations around the world

Covered tea plants

Gyokuro: Deep Sea Savory and Sweet

The aroma that swirls from a package of gyokuro, especially one of the highest grades, is so extraordinary that you could stop right there and be satisfied.

Holiday Gifting 2020

Holiday Gifting 2020

Orit Eisenberg is irrefutable proof that it sometimes takes 25 years to become an overnight success. During the recent World Tea Virtual Summit, Eisenberg, a product development specialist and production designer, told her founding story with humor and extraordinary passion. She launched the Mennä ONE in September 2019 after testing 20 prototypes over five years, gradually refining the elusive challenge of controlling steep time on the go.

La Teteria Tea Estate

Harvest Review: Tea in the Cordillera

Chileans drink an average of 427 cups of tea a year, more than any South American country and almost as much per capita as the Chinese, placing them among the top 20 tea consuming countries.

Keving Gascoyne, Camellia Sinensis

Taster Sensation Kevin Gascoyne

My introduction to tea was unspoken and visceral.  Humble mugs of the strong, milked ‘builder’s tea’ of my youth in the North of England still fill me with nostalgic pleasure whenever I’m in the U.K. My body chemistry has never been without the magic nectar. – Kevin Gascoyne

Japan’s Cultural Tea Bridge to Europe

The currents of Japanese tea culture are flowing outward to Europe. In the past 50 years, Europeans have been diving and delving into the green waters. What is it about Japanese tea that attracts Europeans, and how is it pouring into European culture?

Pluckers on way to Amba Tea Garden

Sri Lanka’s Artisan Tea Collective

Sri Lanka celebrates diversity in tea. A new generation of Ceylon tea growers recently established an artisan tea collective to showcase exceptional teas produced to interest a niche domestic market and equally, the international market.

Destination Songyang China

Modern Songyang integrates the essence of mountain and river, the taste of the countryside, and the beauty of folk art and local customs. The terraced hillsides are typical of traditional tea-producing regions, but Songyang is also a model county for national tea industry development. Plantations cover 20,403 acres of plants used in making 76,000 metric tons of Yinhou and Xiang green tea.

Harvest Review Argentina

Uniquely positioned in the southern hemisphere where the harvest will soon be underway, Argentina is one of the world’s great tea producing nations. The first few months of the November 2019 harvest were very rainy. Growers report achieving normal volumes of good quality black tea for export.

Garden of the Fairies

In 2014 in Brittany, France, Denis and Weizi Mazerolle processed 50 grams of their very first green tea using traditional Chinese methods. The tea had its own typicity, expressing aquatic, greeny, and seaweedy notes, it was a pure evocation of its terroir. Two thousand trees now make their garden, Filleule des fées, one of the largest in Europe.

Summer Fun

While hot tea still cools millions worldwide, it is iced and cold-brewed tea that quenches the thirst of urban dwellers on the go. Our Summer Fun gift issue offers some great iced teas, pitchers, tea makers and teaware. Now is the perfect time to review the terrific selection of recipes for A Summer Barbecue by Culinary Tea author Cynthia Gold. Recipes include tea-smoked salmon, tea-grilled wings with hot dipping sauce, matcha and white bean dip, and gourmet s’mores.

1979 Ah Taj

Tea’s Immunity Boosting Properties

In marketing tea, health has always played an important role. In her book Tasting Qualities, Sarah Besky writes that back when the Indian Tea Association (ITA) was promoting “Empire Tea” (teas originating in the colonies), medical journals were linking the increased consumption of these malty, astringent teas from British colonies to a population-wide rise in indigestion and constipation. Tea’s most important benefit today is boosting immunity.

Roy Fong: A Chinese-American Journey

At age 6, on his way to school, Roy Fong would linger at a Hong Kong food stand where day laborers were making gongfu cha. Sometimes someone would offer him a cup, and he never forgot the wonderful aroma and taste.

Three Mindful Tea Drinking Experiences in Japan

The originators of the Japanese tea ceremony believed that the simple activity of sharing tea with a friend was like the path of a falling cherry blossom. It is a fleeting encounter on a path that can never be exactly repeated.

Harnessing the Inherent Charm and Potential of Farm and Forest Tea

There is no doubt that in this golden age of tea quality frontier teas are precious opportunities to increase the spectrum of possibility. With the right care, everybody could win as producers gain a new source of income and the flowering of that beautiful craft-pride from focused artisanal activity. We should never forget, when tasting new tea, to exercise reverence for the passion and determination it takes to harvest and convert any form of the leaf into a finished tea. 

The Importance of Water

Shun the expensive spring water If you want a better-tasting cup of green tea ― your water of choice should be from the tap. If it is health benefits you seek, choose bottled or deionized water for superior extraction of catechins, nearly double that of tap water.

Quarantea

Craft Tea for Younger Generations

During the past few decades, all types of tea, from herbal to Pu’er, have re-emerged in premium formats favored by younger generations. “What makes the super-premium tea category unique, in my view, is the importance of storytelling with regard to ingredient origin, processing, and functional appeal,” says Euromonitor Beverage Analyst Howard Telford.

Koliapani Tea Estate

Advocating Artisan Tea for Smallholders in Assam

The Tea Leaf Theory team is very lean, choosing to remain independent, bootstrapped, refusing certifications, they represent a new kind of startup, modern yet rooted in something traditional, ancient even. There’s the social impact but Tea Leaf Theory is not an NGO working for small farmers. “We want to make them entrepreneurs, not beneficiaries,” say co-founders Upamanyu Borkakoty and Anshuman Bharali.

Temi Tea Pluckers

Sikkim’s Temi Tea

Sikkim’s Temi Tea has protected and sustained its legacy. But it also made this legacy a part of its brand story, one that complements its topnotch tea.

Tea Pluckers plucking Cusco Tea

Tea in Peru

Peru’s tea industry is gradually expanding after decades of decline. Tea drinking has grown in popularity, but due to social and political problems and the economic crisis, commercial production in the late 1990s began a seemingly endless decline, compounded by bad administrative management and the arrival of less expensive Argentine tea. In the ten years since 2011, Peru’s tea market has increased 61% by value.

A Nice Cup of Tea

‘A Nice Cup of Tea’ – for the 21st Century

Tea drinking has evolved in the 75 years since George Orwell’s famous essay ‘A Nice Cup’ was first published. The variety of teas available today would likely astonish Orwell and certainly would have astonished his Evening Standard readers. The process of discovering what a great pot of tea means to you can and should be more nuanced and wide-ranging than it was in Orwell’s time.

Glowing skin

Glowing Skin – The Effects of Silver Needle on Skin Health

Several studies reveal that healthy skin begins with the microbes living in your gut. Drinking a flavonoid-rich Silver Needle white tea helps gut microbiota adjust biological activities, improve bioavailability, and produce antioxidants such as flavonols and phenolic metabolites.