All tagged gongfu cha

An epic tea tasting with David Lee Hoffman

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.
 

My tasting notes: Da Hong Pao

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.

Tea Reflections

Last week my friend and fellow tea blogger Mike (The Tea Letter) and I met for a gongfu tea session. Mike brought the tea, I brought the teaware and my camera. We had had tea together before at a tea house in San Francisco but this was the first time we got together with the intention to work on a “tandem” blog post. I’m glad to report that the input and inspiration I got from our tea session stretches far beyond that. This post has been particularly challenging to write, maybe because that input stirred inward reflection and assessment of my tea journey so far.
 

A Tea Renaissance is Underway in the San Francisco Bay Area

San Francisco might be known for its vibrant craft coffee scene, but did you know that a tea renaissance is underway in the Bay Area?Forget unexciting, mass-produced tea bags. Tea is worth geeking out over - as a tea blogger, I’m guilty of that. Think high-quality loose-leaf tea, so good it doesn’t need milk, sugar or flavorings. That’s the beverage with a growing following, people who care about origin, tea leaves to water ratio, temperature and quality of water, steep time and traditional preparation methods, like gong fu cha, the Chinese way of brewing tea with skill. It’s a niche, but it has seen some exciting developments lately. What makes San Francisco and the Bay Area the place to be for tea lovers? Why is the tea scene here so unique? I gathered the thoughts and perspective of some local tea professionals to help me answer these questions.

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?

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!