Monday, November 21, 2011

Azusa Tea Club (10/22/2011) - Taiwan Tea's Next

We have organized a tea meet up by Azusa Tea Club at Kuanshi, Hsinchu on 10/22/2011. The topic is "Taiwan Tea's Next" and we open this forum to local Taiwan tea elite to join with our 2011 TOST members for the discussion after visiting three tea museums in the area that used to play very important role in Taiwan's tea history. Many local tea entrepreurs have not eyewitnessed those "good old days" and hard to imagine how those "giant" tea factories were used to operate... from the photos, the films, and from the layout of old sites... it is a great opportunity for them to meet up with our visiting tea professionals...and together we can share our viewpoints on what will be our Next. Professor Lynn Lin and Mr. CS Lou, two of our advisors for Taiwan Tea Institute got chance to hear us out and also share their opinions. Marketing and production must be working well together for Taiwan tea. We do hope these members of TOST will turn out to be Ambassadors of Taiwan Tea in the Northern America. Azusa Tea Club via can truly help orgainze some meaningful events like this one.

Azusa Tea Club (11/19/2011) - Cupping & Tasting "Yilan Charm"

11/19/2011 at Baldwin Park, Ca.
We were cupping and tasting three Oolongs from Yilan, Taiwan.
I have picked a good name "Yilan Charm" for fine Taiwan oolongs grown and made our of this tea district. The Jade Oolong we select from the Chinsin Oolong cultivar., the Milk Oolong, which is Jin Suang cultivar and the baked Amber Oolong is Chinsin Oolong cultivar.
Karen helped us to prepare the three samples for our cupping and learning about these teas.
And, at the sit down session, we used our new glass cups to taste each tea that was infused with Q-Teapot made by ForLife Design.
We do enjoy a wonderful afternoon with great Yilan Charm.

(*for more details about these 3 Yilan Charm: please refer to our another link )

Friday, November 11, 2011

Cupping 3 Oriental Beauty (11/11/2011)

Ready for the cupping on three Oriental Beauty - almost can tell the difference from the dry leaf. Yet, what will be your choice? when considering the cost of each tea...Tea business is that much challenge and also fun in dealing. Easy to pick better tea...but not necessary will be the right tea for your market and your customers...

Be patient...3 grams, 150 ml of rolling boiled water, and set for 5 minutes....

It is time for the journey of finding the specialty note in cup and also in the wet leaf...apparently these are not from the summer crop...

Have one more closer shot....

Thanks to my tea friend, Mo accompanies me for this cupping from Northern California...

Mo Sardella the one on the right looks promising. nice looking wet leaf...wish I could taste with you!

Thomas Shu Mo - actually the middle one has my attention...yet these 3 all fail to offer the Honey touch I am looking for...and the wet leaf of each just proves the answer to me. Oriental Beauty should have a precise remark on the season, and also on the fresh leaf that selected for the tea to be processed. These will be okay to be marketed as White Tip Oolongs, yet definitely not Oriental Beauty or PON FON CHA.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

20110911 Taiwan Tea @ Lawerenceville, NJ

It is always so nice to have good friends to link us up with local community when we are on a business trip. This time, after World Tea East @ Philly, Josephine and I got invited by TAANJ and TAAGP with Grace Taiwan Church to visit Lawrenceville/NJ and having a Taiwan Tea Workshop on the 911 afternoon. This event is in celebration of Autumn Harvest, and we are lucky to enjoy so many beautiful flowers arrangements on display at the Church. Our hearty appreciation to Dr. Chanchi Lee to coordinate with Mr. Albert Tsai, Sheng-Chia Chang, Doris Liu and Rev Peter Chao. What a great bunch of tea lovers there to enjoy a wonderful afternoon with fine Taiwan teas.
We also got to meet with our good friend, Kirsten and her talented daughter Maj there. They have worked together to publish "The World of Tea - Focus on Taiwan" based on their 2009 TOST experience and good research works.

2011 World Tea East

Besides working on the Focused Tasting: Taiwan Oolong, we got chance to walk around the show floor, which is absolutely not possible for us to do so during World Tea Expo. So excited to see many tea friends and also we got a small reunion with several TOST members.

At ITI booth, we got invited by our good friend, Devan Shah to offer a tasting session, which we highlight Yilan Charm - Chinsin Oolong, Amber Oolong and Milk Oolong.
Josephine did a short YouTube film on our joyful moments...

World Tea East @ Philly - 9/8-10/2011
We are glad that we can make it and our mission accomplished!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Discover the Oolong Triad of "Yilan Charm" !

"Yilan Charm" - an isolated Taiwan Oolong tea district that will gradually gain its popularity...
In old days, before the World's 5th longest Hsuehshan Tunnel was finally completed on 6/16/2006, usually it will take like forever to drive from Taipei City to Yilan County on the Northeastern Taiwan. "9 Turns 18 Bends" along the roadway, very scary and most people will try to avoid. Now, less than 45 minutes of driving...we can visit this beautiful region.
Many tea farmers here are actually from my home town, Hsinchu County. They climbed over the mountain to settle down at the new homeland yet continue to grow tea and have their tea gardens...Carry on the Hakka heritage...which includes Hakka Tea Mountain Love Songs, of course. The soil, the climate, plus no air pollution... the tea from this tea district quietly enjoyed by domestic tea lovers...or used to be sold at different names. We started to visit this tea region since TOST 2008, and we've made good friendship with tea farmers here ever since. Yilan Charm, is what I am going to use for the tea from this region...and I am going to share with the tea World how simple and pure their teas are.

Jade Oolong - sku#60458
Cultivar: Chinsin Oolong
Lightly oxidized about 12%-15%
Crop: Spring, 2011
Lusciously floral fragrant (osmanthus, jasmine, orchid...mixed)
Taste: very similar to a fine Wenshan Pouchong with natural sweet finish, yet this one has richer body plus aroma seems to be better sealed.


Amber Oolong - sku#80452
Cultivar: Chinsin Oolong
Lightly oxidized about 25%-35%
Crop: Spring, 2011
Floral fragrant with smoothly toasty aroma.
Taste: Very nutty and balanced...soothing and pleasant. A mastery baking job with good tea base. I find the third and forth infusions of this tea are still very enjoyable.


Milk Oolong - sku#60459
Cultivar: Jin Suang Oolong
Lightly oxidized about 12%-15%
Crop: Spring, 2011
Lusciously floral fragrant with a milk note.
Taste: The special cultivar plus the excellent soil condition, this tea offers a very refreshing and delightful cup, and the natural milky flavor could be picked up in the taste., definitely not any modification in the process. For those tea lovers who are in pursuit of natural Milk Oolong, this one is recommended.

Give another look on these 3 Oolongs...

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Personal Tea Service

This is my new toy... bought it at the LA Tea Fest last weekend.
I thought I could introduce it to some tea room owners...if they are thinking to have their customers to do the hands on tea infusion, instead of get serving from the kitchen...

Compact enough. Easy to serve.
Originally, this is a coffee there comes a small creamer holder.
I decided to add a mesh-filter to the set, so it could be converted to a personal tea set.
The creamer will be used to vessel the dry leaf first., and after the leaf poured in teapot, it will be a resting place for the mesh-filter. The leaf will be pre-measured with one table spoon...
Suggest customers to pour hot water in the tea cup, and then pour in teapot. This way, the tea
will be just enough for one tea cup to serve, no extra tea remains in the teapot and not to worry about over-steeping.

What do you think?

Monday, August 15, 2011

First Annual Los Angeles International Tea Festival (2011-8-13)

Having a very mixed feeling after the First Los Angeles International Tea Festival...

This tea event is a great success for its First year.

The reason this event is successful, per my personal observation:

1.) Location:

Little Tokyo is a very International community, the regular tourists plus the public transportation is well linked around...make it an easy accessed place to have event. JANM is a great museum that have good exhibition and also good facility to offer our tea exhibitors an excellent supports.

2.) Timing:

The Ni Sei Week in Little Tokyo is happening on the same weekend, this is a great and exciting pulling power for our attendees. Plus, we have taken the new internet media...with Group On and MeetUp, two excellent tools... Our attendees were able to get reached with full information. The attendees are very well categorized, they know tea very well...

3.) Supports:

JANM - museum's Board Directors are very helpful to give us the best supports on almost everything. Chado Tea Room is taking a great lead for this event. The local tea vendors, almost all are stepping up to make this event possible and repectful. The tea society of Southern California is amazingly alive...they help to mobilize the attendees for this tea events.

4.) Team Efforts:

A bunch of non-professional staff is pulling together to plan and run a professional tea festival...The volunteers are excellent... Together we accomplish the mission...I have to congrats to our core team - Devan, Reena, Faith and Tak.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

2011 World Tea Expo - Tea Infusion Challenge

This is the second year of Tea Infusion Challenge in World Tea Expo. I have the honor to be part of the program and serve as the judge for Oolong. The pictures are courtesy of World Tea Media. Enjoy the slideshow! (The four contenters for this Challenge: Steven Downer, Kasia Vermaire, Jonathan Munsayac, and Amy Lawrence; from the left to the right.)

Friday, July 22, 2011

An experiment on tender Green tea - Pine Needle (sku#35110) 2011.07.22

We were cupping a few teas in this Friday morning.
After our cupping, we thought of having fun to find out what will be the right combination to make this Pine Needle a unique enough cup. Follow us on this one:

1.) Take a close look on this tea...

2.) Have two upping sets ready... the heated water is controlled with the temperature...
3 grams of sample, set for 3 min infusion...
the one on the left, we will use heated water at 150F
the one on the right, with 175F

3.) Check the wet leaf, check the aroma, check the liquor and taste the tea... carefully...

We got the hint: to have the water temperature to be adjusted to 165F, and remain 3 minutes of infusion will give the tea enough heat and time to get well unfurled and extracted... This will make sure we serve it right. Well, it is not true this will satisfy all of you, but follow the way, you can always find the Harmony between you and the leaf. Enjoy your journey!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Cupping two PiLoChun (20110721)

This morning we were cupping two Pi-Lo-Chun, both from Fujien, China. Per our vendor, these two teas are from same region, same cultivar...One is slightly tighter roll than another.
Which one should we take?

We did a comparison cupping and also tried on an intentional tasting...
Here are the photos, step by step...

I prepare the cupping sets, as usual, we measured 3 g of sample each and infused with rolling boiled water, without the lids on intentionally, to be infused for 5 minutes...

The right one - the liquor color is darker, and taste is a bit stronger...also the wet leaf is apparently indicating the leaf is more matured compared with the left one, tea leaf plucked in earlier days...tender leaf..

We use 175 F to infuse 2 g each leaf with 5 minutes... (1:50 ratio)
to see how the taste will be presented...

The right one seems more flavor and the cup is more complete. These two teas both are very nicely made...yet, if we have to make only one choice, I will go with the right one.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Cupping San Hsia Teas (20110720)

There is a small tea district inside New Taipei City...all by itself, unique Cultivar and serves a special tea market in Taiwan. Let us try to learn about the San Hsia Teas!
We've selected four samples for our cupping - These are all the same cultivar, Chinsin HuangGan, which is very special and not found in other tea regions in Taiwan.
#38107 San Hsia Lung-Jing
#38106 San Hsia Pi-Lo-Chun
#20601 San Hsia Formosa Bonita #FB-68
#20472 San Hsia Oriental Beauty

Taiwan has Lung-Jing and Pi-Lo-Chun?
There is a seldom known story. When KMT was forced to move from China to Taiwan after 1949... Chiang and his staff missed the green tea back home... so, for some reason, the green tea Lung-Jing and Pi-Lo-Chun were duplicated and made in San Hsia tea district. However, the farmers might be so used to Pouchong making...the Taiwan version are slightly different in appearances from their China origin. 2010 TOST members were there to see how the farmer manufactures his Lung-Jing with Japanese Sencha rollers instead of big pans with hand pressure. Pi-Lo-Chun also similar to Pouchong only tender leaf is lucked to be rolled.
Since Taiwan Green tea is limited and very different from China...the demand, even not in large scale, yet enough to keep these teas to be continuously produced. The recent trend for "Encouraging the Local Tea Industry" aadopted by one of the World's most famous beverage chain in Taiwan does help the San Hsia tea district moving along. Take a closer shots on these two teas:

This is #38106 Taiwan San Hsia Pi-Lo-Chun
With 180 F, infused for 3 minutes...naturally sweet, very refreshing.

#38107 Taiwan San Hsia Lung-Jing
Not exactly looks like Lung-Jing from West Lake, China...yet the flavor and taste is none the less. Compared with #38106, the leaf is a bit matured. Apply with 185 F, let the tea steep for 3 minutes to serve.

These two teas - Oriental Beauty and Formosa Bonita, are fairy new to this tea district. Very interesting to see Summer Crop became a Good to have season, which is not the case in old days. With TRES' guidance...the farmers here learn how to do Oriental Beauty, yet with different cultivar, expecting a different surprise if your are traditional Oriental Beauty fan. FB-68 is definitely a must trial, very good Honey touch in the cup and complex in flavor. Take a closer shots for these two teas:

#20472 - San Hsia Oriental Beauty, this sample might not be summer crop...not too much green leaf hopper's trace to be found in leaf... Yet, Chinsin Ganchong's character is giving me a very pleasant finish. Definitely, not the PonFonCha I used to have from Beipu/Omei, Hsinchu tea district. Yet, for the price, this will be a good deal for Oriental Oolong tea lovers. Infused with 195F and 3-1/2 minutes.

#20601 - San Hsia Brandy Oolong #FB-68, my favorite among these 4 samples.
Very soothing and a pleasant honey touch. Good tea to have. (200F for 3-1/2 minutes)

We are very glad to launch a new line grown and produced from this tea district, and these teas will be in our "Sanhsia Breeze" series...

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

2011 World Tea Expo - World Origins Tasting Tour

2011 World Tea Expo - Show is On

2011 World Tea Expo - Comparison on Milky Oolong

Please also enjoy YouTube movie of the cupping.

2011 World Tea Expo - Oriental Beauty vs Formosa Bonita

2011 World Tea Expo - Comparison on Baked Oolong

Please also enjoy the YouTube movie of the cupping.

2011 World Tea Expo - Focused Tasting: Ruby 18

2011 World Tea Expo - Taiwan Tea's Traceability

2011 World Tea Expo - Tea Decor

2011 World Tea Expo - Taiwan Tea Gala A&B

2011 World Tea Expo - Taiwan Tea Gala C&D

2011 World Tea Expo - Advanced Tasting

2011 World Tea Expo - Taiwan Tea Gala E&F

2011 World Tea Expo - Taiwan Tea x ForLife

2011 World Tea Expo - Samples Display

2011 World Tea Expo - 2011 TOST Registration

2011 World Tea Expo - TOST Members Reunion

2011 World Tea Expo - Behind the Scenes

Taiwan Tea Gala (20110702) - Opening

Taiwan Tea Gala (20110702) - Soul Mate

Please also enjoy a YouTube movie of the Presentation.

Taiwan Tea Gala (20110702) - Celebration

Please also enjoy the YouTube movie of the presentation.

Taiwan Tea Gala (20110702) - Maturity

Please also enjoy YouTube movie of the presentation.

Taiwan Tea Gala (20110702) - After the Presentation

Taiwan Tea Gala (20110702) - Display No.1 Soul Mate

Taiwan Tea Gala (20110702) - Display No.2 Celebration

Taiwan Tea Gala (20110702) - Display No.3 Maturity

Taiwan Tea Gala (20110702) - Behind the Scenes

Monday, May 30, 2011

Azusa Tea Club (5/28/2011) - Focus Tasting: Green Tea

5/28/2011 at Baldwin Park
Azusa Tea Club is having its monthly meet up despite of Memorial Day long weekend break. The 6 green teas we cupped are: Dragon Well, Pilochun, Gyokuro, Green Pearl, Gunpowder, Taiwan Green. We also discussed for a proper infusion of each tea for tasting. The most apparent difference found in Gyokuro and Dragon Well. With lower temperature of heated water and make the second infusion to taste.
Our members were "lucky" to taste the Azusa Pouchong that I just finished about 2 hours before the Meeting... What a fun experience!

Hand made Azusa Pouchong

5/27/2011 (Friday)
Plucked the tea leaves from our little tea garden in the front yard of our house in Azusa Mountain Cove. The altitude of this tea garden is about 868 feet high, and I am not sure what kind of cultivar we have. (*I do hope someone can tell from the photo.)
I planned to make a small batch of Pouchong.
The leaves were brought over to our office. I did outdoor withering and indoor withering based on the experience of 2009 TOST in Wenshan. I did use our small baking equipment to do the firing... then...hand rolling, baking, hand rolling and baking...
We have our first tasting with our friends in Azusa Tea Club on 5/28/2011.
The dried leaves smell fresh and good...yet the taste simply not strong enough...and the taste is kind of flat... Not a happy result yet plenty excitement. Just a lot more to learn..

Please also enjoy the YouTube movie.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

2011 ITASA Midwest @ Northwestern University (4/16/2011)

I always like to visit this campus.
We thought April weather should be warm and sunny...not this day, though. Windy and rainy, extremely cold when we walked over from the Hilton with one of our host Joyce.
Well, the students warmed Josephine and me up almost immediately with their full-house enthusiasm while we arrived our classroom. We surely have a lot of fun with these ITASA Midwest friends. I know we will return next year, maybe to different campus.

2011 ITASA West @ UC Berkeley (4/8/2011)

How time flies...
It seems that I was here at this campus last April on Cal Day right after 2010 ITASA West Conference@UCSD. Meeting with different groups of students to have tea with. This time, Josephine got good many good photos that she took from the past TOST trips, edited together, she made a very impressive presentation. Pictures can say more, especially with those moments still deeply rooted in our heads. I believe she did entice many of ITASA friends - yes, their Next Stop:

Thursday, April 28, 2011

20110417 Afternoon Tea @ TAAGCC

Thanks to our friend, Edward Lin's linking up with TAAGCC for this tea event. We got to meet with so many new friends in Chicago. Dr. Ching-Chong Huang, the current President of TAAGCC has organized this event extremely well. The venue, the audience, the interact...what could be much more we expected? Just check these photos out...look at the faces...and, as you know, I got the chance to sing, not one, not two...a few Tea Mountain Love Songs! Enjoy this one very very much!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Azusa Tea Club (4/23/2011) - Focus Tasting: Pouchong

4/23/2011 at Azusa Tea Club -
This workshop was set before our trip to Taiwan and we did not think of this is Easter Weekend. Several members had canceled their RSVP till very late. However, we still manage to have 10 people for this Pocuhong workshop.
We got 4 samples to be cupped vertically for the first session. From the dry leaves checking, cupping and appreciating the aroma, liquor and flavor, plus the review of wet leaves....we've done it all professionally, step by step. The second session, we got 4 volunteers to make tea with different vessels to serve... Patti did with Zen Teapot, Henry with Tea-One brewer, Dorothy with Glass Gai-Wan, and Richard performed Gong-Fu Tea Ceremony....
We just enjoy a great afternoon together.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Azusa Tea Club (3/5/2011) - Leicha Experience

Karen and Ben, two participants of the World Youth Hakka Summer Camp in Taiwan last July, held a session in Leicha making this past weekend. I thought it would be a great idea to let Karen lead this tea event for our Azusa Tea Club. During which we all had the chance to hand grind the tea and ingredients by ourselves. I believe that both Karen and Ben did a great job. After we all had a chance to enjoy or self-made Leicha, Josephine led a short sharing session. So…what’s next?
Here is the ingredient list that we used to make the Leicha per Karen's suggestion:
- Cilantro (Fresh)
- Peanuts (Dry roasted and unsalted)
- Almonds (Raw and unsalted)
- Black Sesame (Whole)
- White Sesame (Whole)
- Black Sugar (In powdered form)
- Genmai Cha (6 Teaspoons)
- Matcha Powder (1 Teaspoon)
- Rice Krispies (Used to top off our drinks, when enjoying the final
product of Leicha)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Party after Torrance Symphony's "Taiwan Night" Concert

TUF President, Mr. Simon Cheng, invites a few friends from Torrance Symphony, including conductor Frank Fetta and several Board members to meet up with TA musician plus TUF Board... Maestro Tyzen Hsiao is very happy with the concert on 1/15/2011... Good time for all to share the good memories of this co-sponsored music event. We are looking forward to having another concert soon...
Josephine and I, set up a little tea bar to serve Taiwan Oolongs to our guests...just to show our appreciation to these good people for all their hard efforts.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A fun experience in our cupping room

This morning, I invited our staff to have an in-house tea class in our cupping room.
We talked about the 4 T - Tea amount, Temperature of heated water, Time of Infusion and Tea Vessel. The four major factors that will affect the quality in a cup: aroma, flavor and taste out of the same tea.

There we went through a few experiments together...

From the photos, you can see the timer, thermometer, scale, and vessel of water to be highlighted in four sets.
You can see the results of four color cups on each set.
"Set other things being equal, to experience with one variable" -
in the study of economics, we has this "laissez-faire" - so I found it in our tea experiments.

A good cup of tea is a journey of pursuing the Harmony of 4 T.

Often in my tea workshops, I joke with the crowd:
The No.5 T to make a good cup of to select the tea from Taiwan !

...then, Josephine and our audience will humorously add my favorite statement:
There is another T, that is to get tea from Thomas!
*Hahaha... I like it...always.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Tea Cozy, keeps your tea warm, makes your room cozy, and your heart happy!

 These grass-woven Tea Cozies that we bought at a small Hakka village in Taiwan on our way to visit tea gardens in Miaoli during March 2010. A few aged ladies were making these tea cozies to support their families and raise their grand children while their parents working at the cities.... In Taiwanese, they called these tea cozy, 茶壽, what a great imagination for a tea cozy. We were told the idea was originally from the Bird's Nest...and now it become an energy saving warmer for our tea, and makes our room cozy. When we are relaying our orders to those ladies...from our friends and our fellow tea colleagues...we know we are also making many families happy! We sure will like to keep this handcraft to be preserved and will also further introduce it to the upcoming World Tea Expo. Josephine and I plan to have one as the raffle drawing prize.
If your tea rooms or your tea shops plan to get one, we will be more than happy to serve. Every piece is different in size, weight, and the fabrics also varies. >

Write your own Tea Stories!

We have custom made this package for displaying 6 teas at a time with their stories...
The first Azusa Tea Club MeetUp, we introduced "A Taste of Taiwan Oolongs" - 6 different Taiwan's specialty Oolongs: Wenshan Pouchong, Oriental Beauty, Classic Tung-Ting, Alishan Jade Oolong, Mucha TieGuanYin, Chichong Pouchong (Baked Pouchong).

The second Azusa Tea Club MeetUp, we introduced "USDA Certified Organic Teas, Around the World" - another 6 different Organic teas: Taiwan Jade Oolong, Formosa Bonita, English Breakfast, Rooibos Bourbon, Genmai Cha, Pomergranate Tea.

We plan to have 6 teas in a group to make each Book with 6 tea stories...and serves as a Live Tea Menu for tea rooms or fine diners...even the traditional Dim-Sum Restaurants...

Wishing to have more inputs from our fellow tea enthusiasts, tea lovers... Let us write up many more tea stories...

Azusa Tea Club (2/12/2011) - USDA Certified Organic Teas Around the World

This is our second meet up. 15 friends show up for this event.
Our topic for this one: USDA Certified Organic Teas, Around the World.
Taiwan Jade Oolong, Formosa Bonita, English Breakfast, Genmai Cha, Rooibos Bourbon and Pomergranate Tea. Devan and Josephine have done a wonderful job to lead this topic. Karen and Ben are helpful all along.
When and what topic will be up? Please check our event that will be published on:
We have listed so many topics...and we welcome your inputs...
Here are two good video clips on the cupping session:


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Azusa Tea Club's first MeetUp (1/22/2011) - A Taste of Taiwan Oolongs

Josephine and Karen, my team players are really helpful for the first MeetUp of Azusa Tea Club!
Dianna Harbin, our fellow tea enthusiast who leads me into this new wonderland, has come all the way from Santa Barbara to give her support...(*Thank you so much, Dianna.) I hope soon we can also extend our helping hands to other friends who will start their new tea MeetUp groups.)

Our topic for this one: A Taste of Taiwan Oolongs
We have 11 friends joined us for this topic. The six teas we prepared for the cupping are:
Wenshan Pouchong 60436, Spring 2010
Alishan Oolong 74438A, Autumn 2010
Oriental Beauty 20439, Summer 2010
Classic Tung Ting 80451, Autumn 2010
Baked Pouchong 70439, Baked in Winter 2009
Roasted Oolong 70438A, Roasted in Summer 2008

All participants got to work on the professional cupping session, step by step...with the Cupping Log I had prepared. (*We might be so used to this practice...but it is fun for tea lovers to learn and work through the whole process... ) After cupping, we had Josephine to demo how she will serve Oriental Beauty with her Traveling tea set... We moved from the cupping counter to another table for the Tasting session. With no timer, no scale...simply based on her own experience and with the hints she got from her earlier cupping on that particular tea ... We are not surprise what our friends comment about the difference... Cupping is the science, for us to find out all the characters in tea's quality. To make a good cup of tea to treat ourselves or to serve our family or is an art. Based on the information we got from the Cupping, we then can try to harmonize the right amount of leaf, with the right temperature of heated water plus the time for leaf to be infused on the tea ware you selected to prepare... maybe served with snacks or foods which are pairing well with that particular tea.

This is a great group we have for our Azusa Tea Club. We enjoyed a wonderful Saturday afternoon together. Hoping more tea topics with more tea lovers can meet up soon. At this moment, we have scheduled our next MeetUp on the topic of "USDA Certified Organic Teas Around the World !" on 2/12/2011. We have invited our good friend Devan Shah to co-host with Josephine for this one. It will be a great chance for everyone to find yourself some nice Organic teas.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Taiwan, the Paradise of Camellia sinensis !

(Tea bushes grow happily and vigorously in n Meishan, Jiayi)

(Jin Shuan, Gin Suan)

(Si-Ji-Chun, Evergreen, Four Season Spring)

(Ruby 18)

(Chin Sin Oolong)

(Chin Sin Dah Pan)

(Tsui Yu)

Opening Ceremony of 2010 TOST at TTMA office back on 10/17/2010, there were 6 plants set on display to greet our tea professionals from Northern America. These are the major Cultivars that flourish happily in tea gardens around the country. What many may not realize is that these cultivars work with Terroir to provide the unique aroma, fragrance, flavor as the backbone of each fine Taiwan Oolong.
A few members asked me whether there is any easy way to tell the difference among these bushes. I just smiled...and replied, " their friends, and you will get to know them well, and very soon you will be able to identify each of these cultivars..."
Guess what? Our members did spend a good whole week to hands on study Taiwan teas on the tea fields, at the tea plants, in the tea shops,...they have heard so much about these cultivars in different occasions along the trip, and they learned about why farmers prefer to select one over another for particular reason; or tea masters insist to use the leaf plucked from one specific cultivar to make a specialty tea... Oh yes, cultivars play such an important role in Taiwan tea's quality. And the air, the water, the soils,...the unique environment in Taiwan's mountains and hills that offer our tea bushes to posses the unsurpassed "terroir".
We should also not forget our Senbai (TeaCha, teachers) in Taiwan tea industry,... their experience, knowledge, craftsmanship and wisdom passed on generation to generation.
Over the Christmas and New Year breaks, I thought of having all these key ingredients that make Taiwan tea so marvelous, to be included in my new Hakka lyrics for this tea song to praise for the nature's best plants that grow in Taiwan --
Taiwan, the Paradise of Camellia sinensis !

台灣--茶樹介天堂 (用 鄧雨賢「望春風」曲)

台灣實在好地方 茶樹介天堂
好山好水好氣候 好茶滿山頭
紅茶綠茶烏龍茶 各有老茶客
代代茶人恁打拼 台茶基礎正

青心烏龍好種草 茶甘香氣高
金萱翠玉四季春 滿奈多人種
紅玉十八新品種 滋味當出眾
青心大冇若著涎 膨風茶盡展

台灣實在好地方 茶樹介天堂
好山好水好氣候 好茶出風頭
包種半球老凍頂 東方美人夯
代代茶人愛煞猛 保住好名聲
(*You will have to wait for the video of actual singing...
coming soon in World Tea Expo 2011 at Las Vegas!)