What is Cold Brew?
I have been receiving some queries from my tea friends on how to properly cold brew tea.
Personally I am a big fan of this tea brewing method as it gives you a unique tasting experience and you get to know a different, relaxed side of your favorite tea.
When you brew tea hot, over 400 different components are released into the water and some of them are released quicker at higher temperature. You will have noticed that if you brew a hot tea at a too high temperature or for too long it becomes bitter. Not so with cold brew tea, which will be more mellow, more balanced and sweeter as the high temperature components are less dominant.
Cold brewing gives you a whole new range of preparing tea. But you will need patience, as this is not your quick tea bag dunk for 2 minutes. Good cold brew tea will take several hours, if not even overnight to release the wonderful magic that is cold brew tea. Continue reading →
Enter the amazing world of Oolong teas. Oolong teas are semi oxidized in a wide range from low (20%) to high (80%). This type of tea means “little dragon,” due to its twisted shape of the tea leaf, a leaf shape you find for some Chinese Oolong teas.
This tea type is normally not just for the quick cuppa. It has the amazing ability to be infused many times and that is part of the journey with this tea. The aroma and flavor with each infusion is changing slightly with different balances on the flavor scale. It is like a dance on your palate.
This tea ceremony has been enjoyed by my wife Kristen and I. The kids are sleeping peacefully. The ceremony is dedicated to peace and harmony.
It starts off by creating an atmosphere of calm and peace. The sun has gone down and I am lighting a green tea incense and a tea candle held by a Buddha. The wonderful smell of the tea incense fills the air and the candle light reveals the stage: a large bamboo tray.
The actors are already here: my new Yixing tea pot, a smelling cup and a few drinking cups to serve the tea. As with all of my tea ceremonies, they are happy to be out of their Chinese silk boxes and participate in this ceremony.
When I decided to get my first Yixing tea pot, I wanted to be a purist and dedicate it to only one special tea. Inspired by a famous watch commercial my mantra is: “You don’t own a Yixing tea pot, you merely look after it for the next generation.”
My goal is to turn this into a generational piece for my kids. I had to think long and hard about which tea to choose. I wanted it to be a tea where I know as much as possible about it, down to the individual farmer who made it.
My pick finally went for a Chinese Oolong tea, Huang Zhi Xiang Dan Cong (Gardenia Dan Cong). I truly enjoy Dan Cong teas, the tea of ‘many tastes’ and I have tasted several varieties over the years. There are 12 main varieties of Dan Cong teas with different aromas and such beautiful names like Honey Orchid, Ginger Flower, Almond, Gardenia and Magnolia.
I picked a tea that is complex, has an interesting aroma and flavor profile and it will be interesting to see how the flavor profile develops over time (and hopefully generations) while using the same Yixing tea pot. I am fascinated by the mystery and the depth of Chinese Oolong teas. I have a similar passion for Wuyi Shan Oolongs.
I often get asked the question: Why do you like tea so much? I can best sum it up by looking at my tea past, present and future.
When I was a little kid we often would take the train from Berlin, East Germany to St. Petersburg, Russia, – a two day journey. On this trip it had been my job to get the tea for the family and I remember this procedure vividly: a strong black tea in a glass mug in a heavy iron casing with a long piece of sugar. I had to make a few trips, for a little kid in a fast moving train not an easy task. But it left something in me, a sort of family tradition. Continue reading →