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“Anyone for another cuppa?” (From Yahoo! Images)

“Anyone for another cuppa?” (From Yahoo! Images)

What in the world could Christopher Columbus have to do with tea? During the time he was out sailing around on those dangerous oceans and trying to find India, tea had not yet made its way to Europe, where he was from. And tea growing in India was confined to parts of the state of Assam at the northern tip of that country. He was seeking spices and other treasures, not to plunder but to trade other goods for. To get there from Italy, Spain, Portugal, etc., meant sailing around Africa, and getting around the southern tip was especially treacherous, subject to unpredictable and wild storms that regularly sank ships. So he sought an alternate route.

Now, remember that this was a time when folks weren’t quite yet sure that the world was a sphere. Many still thought it was flat, and even those convinced that it was a sphere weren’t quite sure about traveling westward across uncharted oceans. The idea of sea monsters and edges of the world dropping off into a void still persisted. Getting together a crew was a bit problematic. And then when he had managed that and those three ships (the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria) had sailed farther west than others before them from that part of Europe (the Vikings are another matter), what happens? He runs into land. The wrong land. It wasn’t even this continent. It was some islands. Sheesh!

Here’s where the tea part comes in:

If tea had come to Europe, there would have been lots of tea parties. And we all know how tea not only stimulates but calms, so they would have had tea and then said, “Heck with the spices. I’m taking a nap.” And those islands would have been discovered by somebody else. Maybe even Vikings. And it’s anybody’s guess how history would have gone from there. Especially considering how those Vikings took over Dublin and then a chunk of the rest of Ireland. And let’s not forget their settling Iceland.

So, raise your teacup in a toast to Christopher Columbus and his inability to get to India by sailing west from Italy. Poor misguided sailor. We could have all been speaking Scandinavian right now. Skol!

See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

A “leaf peeping” map so you can find the best “shows”! (via Yahoo! Images)

A “leaf peeping” map so you can find the best “shows”! (via Yahoo! Images)

It’s that time of year when the leaves on those deciduous trees start to lose their chlorophyll and go from green to various hues of yellow, orange, red, and brown. Lots of maps appear across the Internet to guide you to the best spots for a bit of “leaf peeping.” A wonderful pastime. But here we are talking about a different kind of leaf peeping – taking a good gander at those tea leaves after they’ve steeped. It can be quite an eyeful and avoids all those extra miles on your car’s odometer.

While the appearance of tea leaves does not always indicate the value and flavor quality of the tea, it can certainly help you feel connected to where the teas come from. Tea growers in an increasing number of countries, including here in the U.S., work hard to bring those leaves to market. So a moment of your time to ogle and drool over those leaves is a small thing to do by way of saying, “Thanks!”

Top to bottom: black tea, Dragon Pearl green tea, and Spring Pouchong oolong tea. (Photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

Top to bottom: black tea, Dragon Pearl green tea, and Spring Pouchong oolong tea. (Photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

One thing you will note is that the colors of the tea leaves shown here are rather Autumn-like in their hues. The top one is a tippy black tea with coppery color to the leaves. The middle is Dragon Pearls Green Tea showing those “pearls” fully opened after two or three infusions and sporting a bright yellowish green hue. The bottom one is Spring Pouchong Tea, a lightly oxidized oolong (although some consider it a green tea) with a mix of those small tip leaves and larger ones from further down the stem (but not too far) and displaying a bright green (kind of like a tree that is resisting the call of that time of change).

One thing is for sure: you don’t get to leaf-peep with a bagged tea, especially one filled with tea dust. So every now and then go for some loose leaf tea and an infuser or strainer, like one of these. It’s a bit more effort, but will put forth a bounty of tea time pleasure that the bagged teas can’t. Or is that just the artist in me talking?

Enjoy the leaf peeping at your next tea time!

See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Tea and a big sneeze is a bad combo. But it happens. You feel it coming on. You try to hold it in. For awhile it seems as if you will succeed and have time to swallow that big mouthful of tea you just swigged from the teacup. Then, just when you are mentally giving a sigh of relief and about to swallow that tea, the sneeze bursts forth…along with that mouthful of tea. Murphy’s law at work here.

(From Yahoo! Images)

(From Yahoo! Images)

Well, the other day, without warning or any opportunity to try to hold it back, the big sneeze totally wasted a mouthful of superb English Breakfast No. 1 (with some milk and sweetener, of course). But just as you shouldn’t cry over spilt milk, crying over sneezed tea is equally futile. Thankfully, it wasn’t the last drop of tea in the house, or I must confess that an air of panic would have gripped me quite strongly at that moment. As it was, the biggest issue was clean-up. The next issue was getting the tea that went up my nose back out again (trying to be delicate here). It takes awhile. And a lot of facial tissues.

Tea is said to have a lot of health benefits (some backed up by real scientific studies and others…well…). Their effect on your nasal membranes can be less than beneficial, however. And things added into the tea, such as flower petals, fruits, lemon juice, sugar, and honey, will have their own effects, good or bad. Tea with milk in it is better, though, and can lessen the effects somewhat. That’s been my experience, at least, but definitely is not scientific. In fact, I searched and searched and cannot find a study done on people sneezing while drinking tea and having some or all of it go up their nose. Maybe some bright doctoral student will take this on as his/her thesis. Or not.

My personal tips:

  • Blow your nose well until you get out as much tea as you can.
  • Use a mild nasal spray, preferably one that is just a saline solution, spray up both sides of the nose per manufacturer’s directions.
  • Take smaller gulps of tea.
  • Avoid black pepper and other sneeze-inducing substances when drinking tea.
  • Keep plenty of extra tea on hand so wasting a little won’t be too disastrous.

These days, we tend not to carry cloth handkerchiefs, but you might consider it. Not those delicate and virtually useless lace ones. Have handy those nice white cotton cloth square ones. You may have to grab it at a moment’s notice to save your tea time guests from an unexpected incident.

Above all, don’t worry about it and enjoy your tea!

See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The general consensus these days is that tea is not bad for you – and there is a fair amount of evidence that it might even be quite good for you. There are exceptions, of course. Like the woman who drank excessive amounts of iced black tea over many years and suffered some unpleasant side effects. But if consumed in moderation – or even moderate excess (guilty) – you could do a lot worse than tea.

But the idea that tea was a healthy drink was not always thus. From the time that tea came to Europe in the early seventeenth century there were those who praised it, but there were also those who cautioned against the ill effects that would surely result from consuming it. This sort of thing was still going on in 1833, when a certain John Cole, of London, penned a paper called On The Deleterious Effects Produced By Drinking Tea And Coffee In Excessive Quantities.

He goes on at length – nearly five pages – and, for obvious reasons, we’ll focus on his thoughts regarding the perceived evils of tea. Early on, Cole, a medical man who read and debated the pros and cons of his paper in front of the London Medical Society that year, sums things up by noting that tea seems “to have the power of reducing the constitution.” He does note that this is the result of “excessive” consumption, but doesn’t define what that means. I personally don’t consider my 6-8 cups per day to be excessive but some might.

Cole goes on to describe some of the supposed ill effects of tea, such as a gnawing in the stomach, a feeling of fullness in the neck and a flushed face and sparkling eyes. And that’s not the end of it. Next up are a number of case studies. Several of these look at women aged 25-40, who were experiencing mostly stomach problems, supposedly from drinking tea, and one unfortunate woman who “suffered sudden attacks of Insensibility” after drinking tea.

Which sounds like grim enough stuff. But over the years I’ve been writing about tea I’ve come to learn that the tea of yesteryear was frequently adulterated, sometimes with mostly innocuous substances and other times with more scary ingredients. Which leads one to wonder if tea was really the culprit in these cases or not.

In any event, if you’d like to read Cole’s letter in its entirety, go here.

See more of William I. Lengeman’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Green Tea Sampler (ETS image)

Green Tea Sampler (ETS image)

Those of us who have been drinking tea for a while might tend to forget that there are a lot of people for whom tea is a mystery. Which is probably more likely to be the case in a country like our own United States than someplace that’s more tea-centric, like the United Kingdom. I can vouch for this since a mere nine years ago I was one of these people who found tea quite mysterious.

This came to mind recently when I ran across a comment on Twitter recounting a tea novice’s first experience with green tea. This individual seemed surprised and perhaps a bit relieved (and perhaps a bit of both) to discover, as they put it, “it’s actually not horrible!” Well, what a relief.

Which brought to mind a few beginner’s type tea-related incidents from my own past. One concerned yours truly, in the early days of my acquaintance with tea. As it so happens someone at the office where I worked had a box of something alleged to be green tea. It was in tea bag form and so I proceeded to steep a cup of it. And proceeded to taste it. And while I didn’t spew it across the room like a character in a sitcom, I might as well have. Because it actually was quite horrible. I was familiar enough with green tea to realize that this just a bad specimen or it might have put me off green tea for a while.

The other incident took place when I had become better acquainted with tea and had gotten my hands on green tea that I considered to be not in the least bit horrible. In fact, it was nearly spectacular. I thought I would share some of this fine elixir with someone I knew who had a passing interest in green tea but not much experience with it. Who took a few sips of a it and asked for sweetener.

Needless to say I was quite floored, baffled, and put out, though I tried not to let on. But looking back on it from the perspective of someone who’s been drinking “good” tea for a while, I can see that it sort of kind of made sense. It had taken me years to get to the point where I could appreciate the subtle flavors of a delicate green tea, and so it was asking a bit much to expect a tea novice to love it at first taste.

See more of William I. Lengeman’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The first half of the year has passed and the seventh month of the year is beginning, a time for displaying your independent spirit with a bit of red, white, and blue. Some teas and herbals to help you get things going:

5 very “independent” teas for July. (ETS image composite by A.C. Cargill)

5 very “independent” teas for July. (ETS image composite by A.C. Cargill)

 

1 Blue for vigilance, perseverance, and justice: Bingo Blueberry Herbal

A full flavored herbal with a strong blueberry character. Specially formulated to acknowledge the great taste and known health benefits of blueberries. In addition to the antioxidants in the blueberries, hibiscus brings the added benefits of Vitamin A and C to the blend. Bingo Blueberry will accommodate the tastes of people who want to experience a refreshing healthy new style drink without caffeine since it contains no tea. Excellent hot or cold. Add a pinch of natural cane sugar to accentuate the natural flavorings and bring out the subtle tastes of the dried berries. Ingredients: Elderberry and Raisin and Apple pieces, Hibiscus and Cornflower petals, and Natural flavors

2 Fruity and flavorful: Long Island Strawberry Green Tea

A Sencha style green from Hunan, China, combined with the sweet flavor of strawberries. Green tea foregoes the fermentation process required to produce black tea. The leaf is steamed after plucking, then bruised either by machine or by hand. After that it’s pan or basket fired, leaving it with a distinctive glossy look and light sweetish flavor – an almost perfect match for the strawberry in terms of character profile. The juiciness has been further enhanced by the addition of dried papaya pieces. Ingredients: Green tea, Strawberry and Papaya pieces, Natural flavors

3 More blueberry goodness: Blueberry Flavored Green Tea

A delicious green tea with a wonderfully sweet character and a pleasing astringency. Made from a green Pekoe Gunpowder, this wonderful tea is flavored naturally. Blueberries rank the highest when compared to 40 other fruits for antioxidant activity, and their sweet character make them a wonderful additive to a delicate green tea. Terrific when served hot or iced. For the best brew, steep in water that is steaming for 1-4 minutes. Ingredients: Green tea, Cornflower petals, and Natural flavors

4 Red for hardiness and valor: Strawberry Tingle Rooibos Herbal

The perfect harmony between rooibos and strawberries. The mellow flavor of the rooibos goes particularly well with sweet strawberries. The Strawberry Tingle Rooibos blend is a caffeine free tea. Ingredients: Rooibos, Safflower & Rose petals, Blackberry leaves, Natural flavors

5 White for purity and innocence: Oasis Mango White Tea

An oasis of tropical mango flavor. The flavor is delicate and round with light honey notes, deep hits of mango and a lightly astringent finish. Ingredients: White tea, Natural flavors

Hope you get to try some of these during July to your independent spirit a boost!

See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Sencha Kyoto Cherry Rose Festival Green Tea (ETS image)

Sencha Kyoto Cherry Rose Festival Green Tea (ETS image)

How well we like a tea is often a matter of what we’re used to. The simple proof of this is giving teas you didn’t like awhile ago a new try. Or revisiting a tea you have fond memories of but haven’t had in a few months … or even years. The results can be quite surprising.

That Grassy or Seaweedy Green Tea

I have seen numerious comments from tea drinkers out there about green teas that taste like an infusion of grass clippings or dried seaweed – and they said so as a complaint, not a compliment. And I was one of them. That was about four or five years ago. Fresh samples of some green teas from China and Japan arrived recently (I’ve been trying to reduce the flood of tea samples coming in to more of a smaller, steady stream so I can keep up), and I eagerly dived in to see how they would compare. Let’s just say that the “grassy” quality now had more dimensions to it, such as sweetness and a mild floral quality. The seaweed quality in some of them now took on a new appeal, too, especially when paired with some sushi we had fresh from a local eatery. Either the growing conditions were better this year (quite possible) or my palate is improving for detecting some of these subtleties (also possible) or I’m paying better attention (definitely!). Or maybe I’m just getting used to these flavors in these teas.

That Bitter Black Tea

Lapsang Souchong can be overly smoky for my taste. Assam needs milk and sweetener to cover that bitterness and be palatable for me most of the time, even when steeped only 3 minutes, as some folks suggest. Pu-erh teas (especially the kind called “cooked” or “raw” or “shu”) can be overly earthy (like the aroma of wet decaying leaves on the ground of a forest). Yet, revisiting each of these reveals new surprises. The Lapsang Souchong can be steeped lighter to reduce the smoky quality. Switching from a CTC Assam to a higher quality tippy Assam will shift the flavor profile away from being bitter to a more nutty quality. And you can gain an appreciation for that earthiness, especially if you steep it in a more gongfu fashion (small amounts of tea leaves and liquid – usually about 4 to 8 ounces of liquid – steeped in water brought to just below boiling for about 10-15 seconds the first time and adding about 5-10 seconds each time you add more water to those leaves for another steeping). Sometimes being able to get used to something is a matter of altering it to suit you.

That Flavored Tea That Didn’t Quite Please

Flavored teas (that is, those teas where the vendor thinks he/she needs to improve on nature by adding flower petals, spices, fruit pieces, etc.) are a real dilemma for me. For the most part, I have begun avoiding them. The exceptions are masala chais and a few flavored with fruits such as Sencha Kyoto Cherry Rose Festival Green Tea. The added flavors mask the tea flavor (yes, I know there are many of you out there that want the tea flavor masked), tend to get distorted over time, sink down inside the container so that you have to stir things back up each time you want some (applies to those loose forms, not the bagged ones), and generally steep up consistencies each time. I keep retrying some that at first impressed me, but frankly can no longer find them appealing, again with a few exceptions such as Monk’s Blend which is always pleasing. I’m thinking here that if you get used to the flavors in high-quality teas, you won’t need the flavored kind.

Bottom Line

Just as we all deserve a second chance, so do your teas. Give that Assam or Chun Mee or Hojicha another chance to tickle your tastebuds! And expand what you’re used to tasting so your tea enjoyment can expand, too.

See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

We’ve all been there: there’s that tin of tea lurking at the back of your cupboard, boldly asserting its continued existence as you make a quick grab for your favourite teas at the front of the shelf. This lurker is the tea that you thought you were going to love but somehow never quite managed to enjoy properly, the tea that you were given as a gift and never opened, the tea that is almost the same the one you drink all the time, except not as good…

There comes a turning point with these teas, when you can no longer abide their silent skulking. Or maybe it’s just because you’ve run out of space on the shelf. In any case, there comes a point when you need to decide how to deal with these un-drunk teas. If it’s a tea you are convinced you just do not like, you may opt to throw it away, with no regrets.

The Tea Taste by Elise Nuding, all rights reserved

The Tea Taste by Elise Nuding, all rights reserved

However, sometimes it’s more complicated. Perhaps you are one of those people who feel guilt-ridden whenever they throw things away unnecessarily.  Whatever the reason, you may find yourself having to submit this unloved tea to The Tea Test; that is, you may have to try it.

The Tea Test can be a dodgy business, especially if the tea has been sitting on that shelf for a while. Is the tea still good for drinking? Did that tea tin do its job? There is only one way to find out—after all, what’s the worst that could happen? A bad cup of tea? Granted, this is a sorry affair, and if the tea is no longer drinkable because it’s sat there too long, it will have to head for the bin. However, you might also find that the tea is still perfectly fresh and drinkable. What’s more, you might even enjoy it! After all, for many of us, tea tastes do change…

See more of Elise Nuding’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The sixth month of the year is beginning, a time for honoring fathers everywhere. In recognition, here are some teas that I would tend to think of as very fatherly and not to miss in June, along with some tea treats worthy of their appreciation:

5 “fatherly” teas for June (fathers are so special). (ETS image composite by A.C. Cargill)

5 “fatherly” teas for June (fathers are so special). (ETS image composite by A.C. Cargill)

1 Give Dad some choices: Best Sellers Sampler

Give your dad choices. This sampler is a convenient way for him to try some classics and see which best wets his whistle. Five bags of each in resealable pouches. No muss, no fuss, and a lot of pleasure!

Some of the flavors that are offered (substitutions may be made according to availability) – steep each (except the chamomile) for 2-5 minutes in water brought to a rolling boil:

2 Show Dad he’s special: English Breakfast Tea Gift Basket

Man (nor woman) does not live by tea alone, no matter how good the tea. Tea and food go together so well, in fact, that in many countries, especially Britain, having tea usually means something more like a meal with various foods involved. So this gift basket includes some very traditional tea time foods (the kind served at one of the most traditional tea times around – the cream tea). Scone mix, jam, and clotted cream are tight and cozy with some tasty tea – English Breakfast Blend No. 1 (a personal favorite) – and a sturdy teapot for steeping it. (Substitutions might be made depending on availability.)

3 Show Dad that he deserves the gold: Yorkshire Gold Loose Leaf Tea

The best Dad’s are good as gold, so some Yorkshire Gold Tea is quite appropriate. The flavor of this rich brown colored tea is malty and even better with milk and sugar. Teas from India, Sri Lanka, Africa, and elsewhere are blended just right and add a great brightness to your breakfast cuppa (but of course you can enjoy some all day long). (A good alternative is English Breakfast tea. (Get more info on the company here History of Taylors of Harrogate.)

4 Flowers are for Dads, too: Jasmine with Flowers Green Tea

Green tea from the Fujian province of China is steamed and the leaves spread out among jasmine petals to absorb their aroma. Of all the teas out there with natural floral flavors and aromas, jasmine is not one of them. It has to be added. The process has been around for centuries and is one of the most popular flavor-enhanced teas around. Dad will feel quite special. This version is the first grade below the exotic jasmines and has all the flavor, aroma, and good green tea qualities without the exorbitant price.

5 De-stress Dad with this herbal: Casablanca Caffeine Free Herbal

Dad can enjoy a cup of this caffeine-free herbal infusion after a hard day of doing dad-type things. It a combination of several fruit pieces (elderberry, apple, passion fruit, kiwi, raspberry, and strawberry) and flowers (rosehip, hibiscus, rose, sunflower, cornflowers). The flavor is so Casablancan that Dad will be saying “Play it again, Sam” before you know it!

Hope you get to try some of these during June to help you show Dad how much you appreciate him. Enjoy!

See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Izu Matcha can be a bit strong in taste, so be prepared! (ETS image)

Izu Matcha can be a bit strong in taste, so be prepared! (ETS image)

Can you pair a taste description with the tea it’s referring to? Take this quiz and find out. But first a bit about tea taste descriptions.

Describing the taste of a tea can be like trying to describe color to someone who has never seen. Or music to someone who has never heard. Plus there is a major subjective component to taste: your personal experience with other flavors. Sensory experiences tend to build on each other. We try to relate a new taste to something we’ve tasted before. Thus, so many things are said to taste like chicken. But if you’ve never tasted chicken, then this description of the flavor of that item doesn’t help you much. The same goes for saying that a tea has a green bean like flavor or an asparagus character; if you’ve never experienced those flavors, you won’t have a clue what these mean.

For this quiz, though, we took descriptions from various tea vendors’ sites and want you to pair them up with the proper tea. Some of these you will know by reputation. Others may leave you wondering what in the world the vendor is talking about (partly because the description is an overly literal translation from another language). Have fun and see how well you do.

The Quiz

Descriptions

  1. “a malty full-bodied character with bright flavoury notes and hints of cask oakiness”
  2. “the flavor is nutty and full, but still young enough to have plenty of ‘cha qi.’”
  3. “a unique, toasty rice flavor tending sweet”
  4. “an initial astringent, vegetal taste which then gives way to a lingering sweetness”
  5. “a very sweet, appetizing honey-life fragrance, taste and finishing. The sweet aftertaste will linger on in your mouth after a few sips.”
  6. “a warmed sugar sweetness and a subtle hint of white grapes”
  7. “sweet, vanilla like and floral. Some fruity character can be noticed along with almondy character. It has very little astringency and leaves the tip of the tongue with a sweet aftertaste. The after taste lingers and even after your tea has cooled, there still are beautiful flowery and fruity notes.”
  8. “a rich and refreshing flavor” (a rather non-descriptive description)
  9. “a distinctive nutty/oak taste”
  10. “a robust, nutty and pecan flavor, with a sweet finish”

Tea List

A – 2002 Hai Lang Hao “Mengku Wild Arbor” cake
B – PG Tips
C – Tie Guan Yin
D – Scottish Breakfast Tea
E – Denong Wild Ripe Pu-erh  (2009 or 2010 vintage)
F – Superior Gunpowder
G – Matcha
H – Genmaicha Japanese Green Tea
I – Puttabong Moondrops First Flush Darjeeling
J – Silver Needle from one of the larger tea vendors

 

 

The Answers

1 = D 2 = A 3 = H 4 = G 5 = C
6 = J 7 = I 8 = B 9 = F 10 = E

 

How Many Did You Get Right?

Don’t be at all surprised or feel bad if you didn’t get many of these. Describing taste is very tricky and tea reviewers are all different. Some tastes are commonly ascribed to certain teas, but you may not perceive them. Worse yet, you may get an unpleasant experience from a tea because of what you were led to expect by the taste description on the vendor’s site. Try the tea again without any preconceptions and see how it goes. Also, be aware that some teas steep up stronger than you would expect – one example is Matcha which can overwhelm those new to it or not used to a higher grade version.

See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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