All in Tastings
I don’t know very much about Sweden, the only thing I know is that their pastries are my new obsession. One kind in particular, Swedish cinnamon knots, also known as kanelbullar. In Sweden sweet treats are a very important part of fika, the Swedish coffee break, which is more of a lifestyle, actually and alternatively can include tea too! Join me on the blog as I pair these delicious pastries with 4 different teas!
Picture me sitting with a cup of tea in my hand, inhaling the fragrant steam rising from my small tasting cup. It feels so good to pause and enjoy. Sometimes I let my mind wander and imagine the journey of those tea leaves and all the energy and resources that went into making it. It’s impossible not to feel grateful for it, don’t you think? One thought leads to another, some questions surface. Are we using those energy and resources wisely or are we wasting them? Are we being kind to our planet? Find out how you can make your tea time more sustainable!
I had seen puer tea stuffed in mandarins before but I had never seen Korean black tea stuffed in a dried, hollowed-out yuzu. If you’re not familiar with yuzu, it’s a citrus fruit which is similar to a grapefruit and a mandarin orange in flavor. Check out this unique tea, let’s taste it together!
While tasting a 2018 Yiwu raw puer by Bitterleaf, I practiced my macro photography skills (I have a new lens, yay!) and mindfulness with some gorgeous sea shells I found along the coast on a beautiful beach in Mendocino, California.
Two Nepali white teas, spring and summer harvest, side by side.
Let’s discover Korean green teas. Join the Tea Squirrel for a Korean tea primer and tasting comparison of Se jak and Woo jeon.
Last Saturday I attended the grand opening of Stonemill Matcha Cafe, the newest addition to the San Francisco tea scene. Keep reading if you’re curious about my first impressions and pictures. Right this way —>
Tea is an incredibly versatile beverage. Have you ever tried sipping tea while savoring high-quality chocolate? If the answer is no, you’re missing out on a unique sensory experience. Tasting tea and chocolate together can help amp up both of their delightful nuances. And because we all secretly need an excuse to eat more chocolate, this looks like a perfectly acceptable one, and it’s virtually guilt-free, because, after all, it’s also a tea tasting.
Darjeeling and Assam are the most renowned tea producing regions in India, but they are not the only ones. The tea I’m tasting today comes from the Nilgiris or Blue Mountains in the state of Tamil Nadu, in Southern India. According to the Indian tea association, Nilgiri tea accounts for about 10% of the total tea production of India.
Why do we love matcha so much? Personally, I love its color, sweetness, cocoa butter notes, hints of freshly cut grass (even better if there’s some umami taste), rich persistent foam and creamy mouthfeel. Honestly, I’ve been wanting to take it to the next level of tea geekness for a while. Unexpectedly, I found an intriguing method for matcha evaluation on the Kettl Tea blog (*). When I managed to find and get my hands on 2 single-cultivar matcha, the stars aligned. I had to compare them in a systematic way. The idea of “decoding” matcha is pretty exciting and I ended up learning more than I had ever expected to.
This is a very experimental tea brewing and tasting session with a black tea from Nepal. Instead of Western style, I brewed it in a gaiwan (but I have to specify, not gongfu cha style) to push it to the edge of flavor and aroma, to get a more concentrated brew. It was a series of trial and error and adjustments to the brewing parameters, but I’m happy with the results.
Follow The Tea Squirrel on this Southern California tea adventure in the Los Angeles area. A unique tasting of Chinese Dan Cong oolongs (also known as Phoenix oolongs) awaits.
It’s a beautifully mild and sunny winter Saturday in San Francisco. My friend and fellow tea blogger Mike (The Tea Letter) and I are headed across the Golden Gate Bridge to Marin County, north of San Francisco. On the way, lush eucalyptus groves give way to towering redwoods. It’s a beautiful area and one that I often come to when I go hiking. Our destination is Lagunitas, where a very special tea tasting awaits.
The inspiration for this blog post comes from fellow tea blogger Lu Ann of The Cup of Life, who basically invented this. It’s about “keeping track” of tea, because - as someone once said - “tea is more than just a beverage, it’s about noticing your own habits.”
No matter how much I try to convince myself otherwise, we’re still in the dead of winter. January has brought a lot of rain and grey, overcast skies to San Francisco and I cannot deny the intoxicating allure of bold, charcoal roasted teas. I let my imagination run wild and I picture myself in a forest of tall, majestic redwoods (that’s what we have around here), sitting by the fire and clutching a warm tea cup filled with fragrant Da Hong Pao.
It's no secret that I’m an epicurean tea drinker. I find pleasure and excitement in the taste of tea and in pairing it with fine foods. Indulgence, beauty and deliciousness are the principles I live by. I’ve paired tea and cheese many times before and it never ceases to amaze me how two things that are so different can go so well together. You guys love it when I put together a cheese board to pair with tea, so I’ve decided it was high time to do it again.
Last October, during my European trip, I got to visit Trieste, an Italian town that holds a special place in my heart. I had not been there in 5 years and I didn’t know what to expect. I had certainly not anticipated that I would find great tea.
With the holiday season officially in full swing, I look forward to holiday parties! I will attend an Alice in Wonderland themed party in December and I hope there will be plenty of tea. I will very likely host some holiday dinner parties too and I’m making a point of introducing everybody to the magic of tea and food pairings. If you, like me, want tea to be the star of your holiday celebrations, I have tried and tested some combinations that will sweep everyone off their feet, from appetizer to dessert.
How do you taste tea? I’ve realized that I need my “tasting environment” to be conducive and, most importantly, I need to be concentrated, especially when taking tasting notes. I’m very sensitive to sound and a quiet environment is essential for me. Also, a minimalistic and de-cluttered environment can help me focus on the task at hand. You want all your senses to be alert and not distracted by what’s around you. What do you think? What’s your experience?