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Precious Drops: Tea the Price of Gold

22 January 2014

at 15:27 by Seb

FINAL (?) - Illustration - temomicha couleur

For the last three years it has been our pleasure to offer the fruits of a small scale Japanese tea production technique, Temomicha. Produced entirely by hand by a remaining hundred or so producers who strive to preserve this tradition.  This exceptionally rare tea is generally intended for annual competitions (in order to acquire a reputation for excellence). Thus it is a great privilege to invite you to savour the intensity of a few drops of the nectar generated by Mr.Miyano’s carefully formed tea.

The infusion method that we suggest is as original as the tea itself. It allows us to appreciate the full potential of a Temomicha and to explore all its subtleties!

Using a Shiboridashi or small flattened shaped porcelain vessel place 4 to 5 grams of the long tea leaves lengthways to create a long pyramid.

DSC_2762The infusions will be made with very little water at a surprisingly low temperature poured both sides of the leaves allowing the infusion to take place from underneath.

Here are the recommendations of Mr. Miyano:

First infusion: 2 minutes with 25 ml of water at 50 ° C

2nd infusion: 1 minute with 25 ml of water at 60 ° C

3rd infusion: 45 sec. with 50 ml of water at 70 ° C

4th infusion and following: 2 minutes and with 100 ml of water at 75 ° C

For each infusion, it is important to transfer every single drop of the liquid so as to not affect the following infusion.

Then prepare yourself to experience a few precious drops of a dense liquor with vegetable and floral aromas of remarkably long persistence. Despite the small amount of liquid that the technique provides us for tasting, the effect on the palate is powerful and can even be accompanied by a euphoric flush. A recommended experience for all seekers of the sensational!

Some Wulongs to counteract winter

9 January 2014

at 23:18 by Seb

DSC02713

While the summer heat might make our mouth water at the sight of white and green teas with their refreshing virtues, the chill of the winter season naturally calls for tea with a more ‘cozy’ flavour. Warm and dark teas, with aromas of wood, roasted nuts or candied fruit will perhaps be those that meet your needs. The Wulongs, black teas and Pu Er offer such a vast choice of teas to discover! Here are some pointers to locate these warming teas in the little known Wulong family.

Just like an apple cut and left in the open air, the oxidation that the leaves undergo during processing allows the development of their darker pigments while altering their internal chemical structure. Hundreds of different aromatic molecules are thus generated naturally creating an impressive range of fragrances, from floral and fruity notes for less oxidized teas with woody and spicy nuances for the darker ones.

Some are cooked or roasted accentuating their characteristic sweet nuances of honey and pastry. The cookings also enable alteration of the flavors and textures of teas while prolonging their lives. Here is an opportunity to risk an adventure into an aged wulong with aromas of pipe tobacco, toasted cereals or dried fruit, maybe facilitating the  emergence of old memories!

Here are three terroirs to discover illustrating the diversity of flavors, textures and aromas of this fine family of teas:

Though the island of Taiwan offers the sophistication of teas with low oxidation, produced its renowned mountains with altitudes exceeding 1000 meters, the traditional roastings of Dong Ding as well as Bai Hao and Gaba Cha, being more highly oxidized, will fill your taste buds with rich sweet flavors of exotic fruits and opulent flowers. Fans of aged teas will also find new favourites with an original selection of supple teas with warm nuances of scorched bark, black earth or cocoa.

The two provinces of Guangdong and Fujian compete for the quality of their roasted wulongs with long twisted leaves. The Feng Huang mountains (Guangdong), populated by old tea trees and varied cultivars with the names of exotic flowers, present teas which are bright and lofty with strong flavors of citrus and honey. Mi Lan Xiang is definitely a must try! The curious could also try one of our rarities from a single tea tree (of venerable age!) offering a profound taste experience.

Fujian, meanwhile, generally produces more heavily roasted teas from tea trees perched on the sides of mountains in the heart of the famous Wuyi Mountains. These teas, with large blackened leaves, develop ample liquors, soft and mineral with malty and woody aromas, nuanced with accents of ripe fruits and nuts. Dare to try the teas from this region in combinations with your Scotch whisky, cheese or favourite chocolates to enhance the warmth of your gastronomic pleasures.

Wishing you a warm start to the year and a multitude of opportunities for sharing this sublime drink – tea, across its many dimensions, and for greater pleasure!

 
 

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