Tea (rec.drink.tea) Discussion relating to tea, the world's second most consumed beverage (after water), made by infusing or boiling the leaves of the tea plant (C. sinensis or close relatives) in water.

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Default Tea Family Clan in Oakville, Ontario

I just got back from a visit to a small sort of "out of the way"
shop/restaurant in my hometown, and I wanted to attempt a review.

Please keep in mind that I am pretty new to tea (2 years) and still
developing tea "taste buds" and they are far from developed!

With those caveats in place, I have to say that I just had a GREAT
experience in this shop. I had a Spring Oolong tea (this years, I was
specific about asking that), and it was absolutely amazing. My only
real Oolong experience in the past has been fairly generic blended and
probably machine harvested, and I could not believe the difference
between those teas and this one.

The tea is High Mountain Tea From Taiwan. I did not catch the estate
name, but from what I could gather, the owner of the shop was actually
part of the family that ownes the estate, which I believe when she
explained to me that she was going home to help with the harvest
shortly.

She explained that the tea is hand picked and rolled. I don't know yet
how to tell the difference, so I will describe what I saw. The tea
that I had was 4 leafs and a bud. It was served "Gong Fu" style (is
that the right way to say it?) and was rinsed, then brewed and served.
The owner explained that she did not brew for a set time, but rather
filled the pot, and when the water level went down, she knew it was
ready.

She also showed me their award winning tea, and that was 2 leafs and a
bud, which she explained was their highest quality tea. The awards
that the tea had won were on the wall, tho I personally could not make
much out of them, as I really did not know what I was looking at.

The owner was very happy to talk to me about the tea, in halting
english, but fairly understandable, I would say that what I did not
understand was more my lack of comprehention rather then her
explaination.

Bottom line was as I left she offered for me to return at any time to
do a tasting of all their varieties (4 or 5 I believe). Very friendly
and helpfull, and I will definately go back to grow my own knowledge.

If there is any experts here in the Oakville/GTA region that is
interested in checking this place out, I would love to hit it with
someone who knows good quality tea from bad, I know what I like to
taste, but admittedly I am no expert when it comes to discerning the
higher quality tea from the generic tea that is out there (as
demonstrated by my previous posts )

Anyhow, as Dominic previously pointed out I have not contributed much
to this board before, so hopefully this little discovery is a valuable
one, to be assessed by the experts here!

Cheers

Mike

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Default Tea Family Clan in Oakville, Ontario

Mike Morton > writes:

> [...Taiwanese oolong in Ontario...]
>
> She explained that the tea is hand picked and rolled. I don't know
> yet how to tell the difference, so I will describe what I saw. The
> tea that I had was 4 leafs and a bud. It was served "Gong Fu" style
> (is that the right way to say it?) and was rinsed, then brewed and
> served. The owner explained that she did not brew for a set time, but
> rather filled the pot, and when the water level went down, she knew it
> was ready.


Sorry, I don't understand this. The water level went down? After
evaporating for a long time? That couldn't be it! Could you please
elaborate?

/Lew
---
Lew Perin /
http://www.panix.com/~perin/babelcarp.html
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Default Tea Family Clan in Oakville, Ontario

On 2008-07-23 14:47:54 -0400, Lewis Perin > said:

> Mike Morton > writes:
>
>> [...Taiwanese oolong in Ontario...]
>>
>> She explained that the tea is hand picked and rolled. I don't know
>> yet how to tell the difference, so I will describe what I saw. The
>> tea that I had was 4 leafs and a bud. It was served "Gong Fu" style
>> (is that the right way to say it?) and was rinsed, then brewed and
>> served. The owner explained that she did not brew for a set time, but
>> rather filled the pot, and when the water level went down, she knew it
>> was ready.

>
> Sorry, I don't understand this. The water level went down? After
> evaporating for a long time? That couldn't be it! Could you please
> elaborate?
>
> /Lew
> ---
> Lew Perin /
>
http://www.panix.com/~perin/babelcarp.html


Because I did not see it happening (she did the brewing on the bar
while I was @ a table) watching from afar....

What I sensed that she was talking about was the water being absorbed
by the tea. She was doing the brewing in a Yixing pot - very small,
and then pouring it from there to a porcelain pot for warming and
serving. What I gathered she meant was when she poured in the water, I
noticed that it literally overflowed the small pot, so perhaps as the
leaves unfurled, they also absorbed the water, and at a certain level
she figured it was ready?

I have never done this way myself, I thought it was a bit different, as
I have always timed it, but this method worked, as the tea tasted
wonderful, not too strong, and very light in color. I sort of mind
timed it and it seemed to be about 1-2 mins steeped.

Does that make any sense?

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Default Tea Family Clan in Oakville, Ontario

Mike Morton > writes:

> On 2008-07-23 14:47:54 -0400, Lewis Perin > said:
>
> > Mike Morton > writes:
> >
> >> [...Taiwanese oolong in Ontario...]
> >> She explained that the tea is hand picked and rolled. I don't know
> >> yet how to tell the difference, so I will describe what I saw. The
> >> tea that I had was 4 leafs and a bud. It was served "Gong Fu" style
> >> (is that the right way to say it?) and was rinsed, then brewed and
> >> served. The owner explained that she did not brew for a set time, but
> >> rather filled the pot, and when the water level went down, she knew it
> >> was ready.

> > Sorry, I don't understand this. The water level went down? After
> > evaporating for a long time? That couldn't be it! Could you please
> > elaborate?
> > /Lew
> > ---
> > Lew Perin /
> >
http://www.panix.com/~perin/babelcarp.html

>
> Because I did not see it happening (she did the brewing on the bar
> while I was @ a table) watching from afar....
>
> What I sensed that she was talking about was the water being absorbed
> by the tea. She was doing the brewing in a Yixing pot - very small,
> and then pouring it from there to a porcelain pot for warming and
> serving. What I gathered she meant was when she poured in the water,
> I noticed that it literally overflowed the small pot, so perhaps as
> the leaves unfurled, they also absorbed the water, and at a certain
> level she figured it was ready?


The leaves had better have absorbed the water; otherwise they couldn't
release their essence into the tea liquor. But I don't see why the
level inside the pot would go down.

> I have never done this way myself, I thought it was a bit different,
> as I have always timed it, but this method worked, as the tea tasted
> wonderful, not too strong, and very light in color. I sort of mind
> timed it and it seemed to be about 1-2 mins steeped.
>
> Does that make any sense?


Yes. I encourage you to try it yourself. Small brewing vessel, lots
of leaf, many short steeps. Either a Yixing pot or a gaiwan will do.

/Lew
---
Lew Perin /
http://www.panix.com/~perin/babelcarp.html
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Default Tea Family Clan in Oakville, Ontario

> If there is any experts here in the Oakville/GTA region that is
> interested in checking this place out, I would love to hit it with
> someone who knows good quality tea from bad,


I'm from the GTA, except I'm in China now, but I will get back
eventually, sometime.
One thing I find weird about tea stores in Toronto is that recently -
looking at their websites - they got photos of old tea!
That's really scary. Are they really selling old tea?


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Default Tea Family Clan in Oakville, Ontario

On 2008-07-23 17:40:03 -0400, Lewis Perin > said:

> Mike Morton > writes:
>
>> On 2008-07-23 14:47:54 -0400, Lewis Perin > said:
>>
>>> Mike Morton > writes:
>>>
>>>> [...Taiwanese oolong in Ontario...]
>>>> She explained that the tea is hand picked and rolled. I don't know
>>>> yet how to tell the difference, so I will describe what I saw. The
>>>> tea that I had was 4 leafs and a bud. It was served "Gong Fu" style
>>>> (is that the right way to say it?) and was rinsed, then brewed and
>>>> served. The owner explained that she did not brew for a set time, but
>>>> rather filled the pot, and when the water level went down, she knew it
>>>> was ready.
>>> Sorry, I don't understand this. The water level went down? After
>>> evaporating for a long time? That couldn't be it! Could you please
>>> elaborate?
>>> /Lew
>>> ---
>>> Lew Perin /
>>>
http://www.panix.com/~perin/babelcarp.html

>>
>> Because I did not see it happening (she did the brewing on the bar
>> while I was @ a table) watching from afar....
>>
>> What I sensed that she was talking about was the water being absorbed
>> by the tea. She was doing the brewing in a Yixing pot - very small,
>> and then pouring it from there to a porcelain pot for warming and
>> serving. What I gathered she meant was when she poured in the water,
>> I noticed that it literally overflowed the small pot, so perhaps as
>> the leaves unfurled, they also absorbed the water, and at a certain
>> level she figured it was ready?

>
> The leaves had better have absorbed the water; otherwise they couldn't
> release their essence into the tea liquor. But I don't see why the
> level inside the pot would go down.
>
>> I have never done this way myself, I thought it was a bit different,
>> as I have always timed it, but this method worked, as the tea tasted
>> wonderful, not too strong, and very light in color. I sort of mind
>> timed it and it seemed to be about 1-2 mins steeped.
>>
>> Does that make any sense?

>
> Yes. I encourage you to try it yourself. Small brewing vessel, lots
> of leaf, many short steeps. Either a Yixing pot or a gaiwan will do.
>
> /Lew
> ---
> Lew Perin /
>
http://www.panix.com/~perin/babelcarp.html


I agree that it does not make logical sense, it could very well be that
I am mis-interpreting or not understanding what she was explaining.
Logically there would not be a lot of water that would be evaporated,
not enough to make a significant difference anyhow, and even if the
water was absorbed into the leaf the volume would still be there.
*shrug*

I wish that I did have a Yixing or gaiwan to test it with myself -
little short on the paraphernalia at the moment

--
Cheers

Mike

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Default Tea Family Clan in Oakville, Ontario

On 2008-07-23 20:32:00 -0400, niisonge > said:

>> If there is any experts here in the Oakville/GTA region that is
>> interested in checking this place out, I would love to hit it with
>> someone who knows good quality tea from bad,

>
> I'm from the GTA, except I'm in China now, but I will get back
> eventually, sometime.
> One thing I find weird about tea stores in Toronto is that recently -
> looking at their websites - they got photos of old tea!
> That's really scary. Are they really selling old tea?


What sites are you referring to? How do you tell if a tea is old from
the picture? I am curious....?
--
Cheers

Mike

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Default Tea Family Clan in Oakville, Ontario

Mike Morton > writes:

> On 2008-07-23 17:40:03 -0400, Lewis Perin > said:
> > [...gongfu brewing...]
> > I encourage you to try it yourself. Small brewing vessel, lots
> > of leaf, many short steeps. Either a Yixing pot or a gaiwan will do.

>
> [...]
>
> I wish that I did have a Yixing or gaiwan to test it with myself -
> little short on the paraphernalia at the moment


Then why not get yourself a gaiwan? 100 ml or so is probably a good
size if you only use one. A decent porcelain one will quickly repay
you, I think. (Heavy stoneware is cheaper but not nearly as good in
terms of heat management and the pleasure your hand takes in wielding
a good tool.)

/Lew
---
Lew Perin /
http://www.panix.com/~perin/babelcarp.html
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Default Tea Family Clan in Oakville, Ontario

> What sites are you referring to? *How do you tell if a tea is old from
> the picture? *I am curious....?


If you know your teas, then you can tell - just by looking at a
picture of the dry leaf or the infusion color.

Here's an example (and don't tell me it was the lighting that made it
look like this):
http://www.theteaemporium.com/custom...&cat=55&page=1

And here's one that looks a little fresher:
http://www.teaopia.ca/products2.cfm/...Leaf-Green-Tea

Here's another pic of fresh longjing:
http://www.nipic.com/show/1/58/19a4ab832c240337.html

Now do you know?
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Default Tea Family Clan in Oakville, Ontario

Ok, maybe I should elaborate further:

http://www.nipic.com/show/1/58/19a4ab832c240337.html
Notice how in the above pic, the leaves are bright green and shiny.
That's a fresh longjing.


http://www.theteaemporium.com/custom...&cat=55&page=1
Now in The Tea Emporium pic, above, notice how the leaves are dark and
dull. That's an old tea.

If you see yellow longjing leaves - that's also an old tea.


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Default Tea Family Clan in Oakville, Ontario

Let me elaborate further. (If this was posted twice, sorry.)

http://www.nipic.com/show/1/58/19a4ab832c240337.html
Notice how in the above pic of longjing, the leaves are bright green
and shiny. This is a new tea.

http://www.theteaemporium.com/custom...&cat=55&page=1
Now notice in The Tea Emporium pic, the leaves are dark and dull. This
is an old tea.

If you see yellow longjing tea leaves, that's also an old tea.

Old tea, new tea - there is a big difference in taste and aroma too.
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Default Tea Family Clan in Oakville, Ontario

On 2008-07-24 22:07:50 -0400, niisonge > said:

> Let me elaborate further. (If this was posted twice, sorry.)
>
> http://www.nipic.com/show/1/58/19a4ab832c240337.html
> Notice how in the above pic of longjing, the leaves are bright green
> and shiny. This is a new tea.
>
> http://www.theteaemporium.com/custom...&cat=55&page=1
> Now notice in The Tea Emporium pic, the leaves are dark and dull. This
> is an old tea.
>
> If you see yellow longjing tea leaves, that's also an old tea.
>
> Old tea, new tea - there is a big difference in taste and aroma too.


ahh yes - I can definitely see the difference there. thanks

--
Cheers

Mike

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