Iced tea from Paradise

With this recipe I won the Demmers Teehaus iced tea contest in Austria last July. Let me tell you how I came up with this recipe. I wanted it to be exciting and fun to make, which is why I incorporated some recent trends I have been seeing a lot over here in the US, including cold brewed tea.

My tasting notes: loose ripe Pu Erh

The first time I had pu erh was a long time ago and I didn't even know it. Back then, the only thing I knew about tea was that I liked it a lot. One day a relative gave me a round colorful cardboard box with black Chinese characters. Inside the box, wrapped in paper, there was tuocha, a dome-shaped compressed tea, made of pu erh. I cannot describe the fascination this little box exerted on me. It might have not been very high quality tea but to me it was like a treasure. You had to grate the dome-shaped cake to make a cup of tea and this process alone had something magical to it. The tea was strong, intense.What is pu erh?

Dreaming of a hot summer

In the heat of summer, you might not be so keen on that hot steamy cup of tea. Well, you see, living in San Francisco, I don't have such problems. The average temperature is 59 F (15 C) but I can always pretend it's hot outside and enjoy summer-appropriate food and beverages. For example, I could make some lovely iced tea. Nevertheless, I really want to trick myself into thinking that it is a scorching summer day out there and the best remedy against it is ice cream, of course! So, today I am making chai tea ice cream because on the one hand, I want to feel like I am enjoying the summer; on the other hand, the warmth from the chai spices is much more in tune with what I need right now (given the current temperatures!). 

My tasting notes: Phoenix Mountain

"Oolong" is a funny word. In Chinese it means "black dragon tea" and refers to a partially oxidized tea. This particular black dragon tea comes from Phoenix Mountain. I know, I realize this sounds like straight out of Chinese mythology. Misty mountains, remote tea gardens... Ok, now I am getting sidetracked!

A sophisticated take on chocolate truffles

A friend of mine introduced me to rooibos and I was instantly hooked on its naturally sweet, nutty flavor. Now let me introduce you to this magical beverage.Rooibos is a type of herbal tea from South Africa. The leaves of the Aspalathus linearis plant are oxidized, which gives rooibos its distinctive reddish-brown color. The process is similar to that used to make tea from the Camellia Sinensis leaves. So similar that there is also green rooibos, which - like green tea - is the less oxidized or non-oxidized version. I’ve never tried green rooibos but I must say I am intrigued. 

My tasting notes: Gyokuro

Whenever I enjoy tea, I need beautiful things around me. Flowers, for example. I've recently gathered my tasting notes for Gyokuro, also known as "jade dew" from Japan. When I think of Japanese art, the first thing that comes to mind are irises painted on a golden screen. Irises convey elegance and serenity. Now that we've set the mood, let's taste some tea!

Afternoon tea with Mr. Squirrel

Welcome to my blog and thank you for stopping by! If you are here, we probably have one thing in common. I am so passionate about it that I cannot keep it to myself any longer. I am talking about tea. By that I mean “tea” as in “tea ceremony”, “tea” as in “afternoon tea”. I mean the real thing. No sad-looking tea bags containing sad-looking tea dust here. The connection between tea and squirrels might sound far-fetched, but let me tell you how The Tea Squirrel was born.