Floating Leaves Tea Home ---Shiuwen's Blog!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Delicious Summer Iced Tea

Many people have stopped by and told me that they are not drinking as much tea during the summertime. What? How can one stop drinking tea?

A good iced tea is one of the best things to help quench the thirst and it's so refreshing!

For the July 4th BBQ party(it was hot in Seattle that day), I made two iced teas and nobody asked for soda or other drinks like that. Really delicious! Here are the recipes:

Jasmine Tea Lemonade: For one glass of lemonade, use one full tablespoon of honey (mix it well with hot water first) and about an ounce of lemon juice. Mix them well with pre-brewed Jasmine Green Tea and pour the mixture over ice. It's a great drink!

Cranberry and Oriental Beauty (AKA Cranberry Beauty): Use a handful of Oriental Beauty Oolong for about one gallon of water. Cold brew the tea overnight. It's very yummy just the way it is. But if you want to add some flavor to it, mix the tea with some cranberry juice (you might want to add sugar to this because cranberry juice can be very tart).

Both of the iced teas are delicious and one can taste all the ingredients, especially the tea! We carry a special higher-roast Oriental Beauty that was made especially for iced tea.

If you want something more simple, just brew some Dragon Well or Silver Needles and pour the tea over ice. It's so refreshing!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Brewing Da Yu Ling High Mountain Oolong Tea

When I was in Taiwan in May searching for Oolongs, I didn't notice that some of this past season's tea has a slight bitter taste in the back of my tongue. After I brought them back to Seattle, that mild hint of bitterness appeared in some of the new teas. I don't know why they had such a change. Perhaps just like humans, tea can change in new environments, too.

Many customers have tried this spring's Da Yu Ling and they've commented that this Da Yu Ling is sweet and complex, but not bold. They generally like this tea. A regular customer bought a bag of the Da Yu Ling, and after he tried it twice at home, he came to tell me that the tea had some bitterness to it. I was having tea with some friends at the teashop at that time and he didn't want to sit down to try the tea that I was brewing. I asked him to come back again and to bring the regular pot he uses for high mountain teas and with that pot, we could brew the tea together. He gladly accepted the invitation.

My customer showed up with his pot later in the week. He brewed the tea in his pot the way he is accustomed to and I brewed the same tea in a gaiwan. The first three infusions from his pot were overwhelmingly bitter. He tasted mine and told me that the bitterness was there, but it was not offensive. I laughed and said,"no wonder you didn't like this tea. It's too bitter the way you brew it!" He justified by saying," I think this tea is interesting. The flavor changes throughout the infusions and it can last for 7 infusions. This tea is not boring at all. I just don't like the first three brewings." I laughed again and told him that it was not good enough. He was very intrigued by the tea's different taste when brewed in a gaiwan compared to his pot, though. My point was to ask him to give this tea a chance.

Alone in the teashop one afternoon, I found that I was in the mood to drink Da Yu Ling. I took out a yixing pot and put in a lot more tea leaves than usual. I brewed it for about 20 to 25 seconds (I noticed that customer timed his tea 20 to 25 seconds). It was really good! I wish he was there at the time to try the tea. It had full body and was full of flavors. The slight bitterness was there, but it was not offensive at all. I enjoyed that tea until the last drop of many brewings.

My customer came again afterwards. I asked him if he could bring his pot over so that we could brew the same tea in two different pots, and he accepted the second invitation again.

This time, we were pretty scientific about the brewing. We measured the pots and the leaves. My pot is just little bit smaller than his. He used around 10.2 grams of tea and I used 10 grams. He timed the 20 seconds of brewing time and I added two to three more seconds. It turned out again that the tea from my pot was not as bitter as his. He insisted it was still too bitter and I respected what he was tasting. I told him with a sincerity that I liked the tea. I told him that in Taiwan, many people brew tea even stronger than what we did that day, and they would brew it to just the "right edge". Their tea tastes bitter, but it was normally full body and the Hua Gan(sweetness turns back to the throat) and a sweet taste will appear at the mouth. People like interesting changes like this. He told me it was the first time he ever heard of Hua Gan and he couldn't "sense" it. But it was interesting for him to learn new things.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Taiwan Tea Tour 2010!

As some of you already know, I am going to lead a tea tour to Taiwan next May. We will be visiting Pinglin (Baozhong tea), Muzha (Tiequanyin), Alishan Mountain, taking tea classes from some of the most famous Taiwanese tea experts, eating delicious food and doing many more fun things.
The itinerary is posted on Floating Leaves Tea website HERE

Check it out!

I look forward to taking you to my homeland: Taiwan!

*All the pictures are from one of the 2007 Taiwan Tour members: Jim Molnar