Our Tea Blog | Camellia Sinensis


A couple of new Pu-Er Shou teas have just arrived…

20 November 2009

at 12:32 by Seb


Foreground Pu Er Xianguan 1998-76563 loose leaf and Pu Er 2005 cake in the background.

Enthusiasts know that most tea is ephemeral, it won’t last for long and it should be consumed while it is still fresh before harvest of the following year. Pu Er teas however can be kept for decades and seem that they will last forever.  So we were sad to see the end of our reserves of the 1995 Shou and the Yongming 2006.  To replace these favourites 2 very interesting new teas have just arrived from Hong Kong, selected to fill these gaps in our catalogue.  They are the Xiaguan 1998 -76563- loose leaf and the Haiwan 2005 in cake.

These 2 teas have already been well aged and have developed smoothness, depth and rich comforting liquors. The Xiaguan 1998 has a lighter character with a thick yet silky liquor, rustic notes (liquorice root, resin, cacao), it is slightly mineral and sweet (beet, potato and fresh cereal). The Haiwan 2005 cake is made of larger leaves and gives a strong almost black liquor.  Grilled barley aromas sweet notes of brown sugar and fresh berries ……..Both are generous when re-infused and make an ideal introduction into the fascinating world of Pu Er Tea.

liqueur Pu Er shou

The notions of «Invoice » and « Grade » in the Tea World

10 November 2009

at 14:03 by Seb


Kevin tasting different invoices from the same garden.

Once a batch of tealeaves is plucked from the garden it is rushed to the factory to be processed.  Left too long the leaves would oxidise and become useless.  Thus we find some form of factory in every size of tea garden.  The leaves are passed through the various machines in the factory depending on the style of finished tea desired.  The final steps in the manufacturing process are to grade and then pack the tea into invoices.

It is important to distinguish the difference between the “grade” and the “invoice”.

Grade denotes the quality;

As a batch of leaf is finished in the factory it is first sorted into different grades. In most producing countries this is based on industrial standard sizes, or shape of finished leaf.  These different shapes and sizes of leaf can be sorted with anything from a simple grill to the complex computer systems we see in Japan. Once the batch is sorted each grade will be will be packed separately.  Different grades are of interest to different parts of the tea market.

With Taiwanese teas the grades are often used in the name of the tea thus Bai Hao1 would be superior to Bai Hao 2.

Invoice denotes the lot number/code for auction:

To prepare for auction the separated grades of each batch of finished tea will be given an invoice number.  These invoices now ready to be offered against other invoices of the same grade from different days of production, and invoices from other gardens.  Indian teas are often named this way.

Example: Darjeeling Singell DJ-2

Darjeeling: the region

Singell: the garden

DJ-2*: the invoice number.

*With Indian teas the invoices are numbered chronologically.


THÉ: Histoire, terroirs, saveurs

1 November 2009

at 5:14 by Seb

livre camellia

You may have heard through the grapevine that our new book Thé: histoire, terroirs, saveurs (published by Éditions de l’Homme) has just gone on sale in stores. Our team of tasters put together this vast project that took 2 intense years to complete. The result is an exceptional book. As informative for a beginner as it is nourishing for an expert. It contains so many facets of the fascinating world of tea: history, terroir and producing countries, tasting, infusion techniques, original recipes and an extensive section of all new laboratory results on the chemistry of our favourite drink. Not to mention hundreds of beautiful original photos from archives of many years spent visiting the tea lands.  As yet the book is only available in French but an English translation is in the works so we will keep you up to date.


special collection

Welcome to the Special Collection
Here you will both find Teaware and Teas created by some of Asia’s most talented craftsmen.