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The Fine Line between two styles

22 June 2012

at 1:19 by Manuel Legault-Roy

Tuyet San, Vietnamese green tea

It is usually easy to distinguish from the leaves, just by eye, which family a tea belongs to. ‘Buddy’ and downy white teas, green teas composed of small curly leaves or large twisted leaves reveal themselves in various chlorophyll shades, etc.

But what happens when this visual distinction becomes blurred and one finds oneself, for example, with a green tea consisting solely of fleecy white buds? It is a obvious question at the sight of Tuyet San, an unusual Vietnamese green tea which made its debut on our menu this spring.

This tea seems to be a well guarded secret among the Vietnamese. Absent from the tea market in Hanoi, Hugo was referred towards this curiosity by a method as old as it is efficient for finding genuine products among foreign connoisseurs: word-of-mouth. Some tea sellers mentioned a mysterious white tea produced near the village of Suoi Giang. Armed with this mere thread of information, and following up on the chance, Hugo came across this little gem.

Tuyet San is a unique tea in its style. Manufactured by a family of producers, Tuyet San is made from leaves of wild tea plants that are centuries old. Harvested and processed by hand, this delight takes the form of ashen buds with copper highlights that could be mistaken for leaves of white tea. Yet the transformation of it leaves no room for doubt: it is indeed a green tea. On its aromatic side, more surprises. The dry leaves release rustic aromas with a distant tartness of resinous sap. On the palate the slight bitterness is softened by a delicate touch of sweetness. Its aromas are slightly reminiscent of young Pu Er Maocha with floral and mineral notes while also leaving a pleasant artichoke taste.

A curiosity to discover, a gourmet journey not to be missed.

Lin Jianhong: Portrait of a potter

8 June 2012

at 0:28 by Manuel Legault-Roy

Lin Jianhong
At first, when talking about Taiwan, a tea enthusiast will inevitably think of the unequalled richness of its wulong. Indeed, over time, Taiwan has developed a widely recognized speciality in the manufacture of semi-oxidized teas with explosive floral aromas, which are the pinnacle of high mountain teas.

However in the background of this exceptional process, hides another equally deserving of attention. Once the tea is harvested and processed, it is still necessary to have the equipment to be able to taste it. Well, suffice it to say, Taiwan also has master artisans making these artifacts of everyday life. I would like to turn your attention to a potter that Hugo and Sabrina had a chance to meet this year during their Spring tour of the tea gardens. This young artisan is called Lin Jianhong, a talented ceramist whose potential was well balanced with his humility. Having pursued a mechanical engineering training, he soon abandoned machinery to focus attention on clay and creating by hand. Lin Jianhong first went to Japan to seek guidance from teachers who enabled him discover the wonders concealed in the depths of this malleable medium and taught him how to breathe a unique soul into each creation. His cups and jars, all made by hand, seem to be inspired by the Chinese technique of celadon, having in common with it the blue-green color, the velvety texture and the safe feeling of weight in the palm of the hand.

Come and experience the charm of these pieces – as inspirational to the touch as to the eye.

 
 

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