Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


Chifir' (or just Chifir) is a type of strong tea brewed in Russia. It is often associated with the Gulag system of Stalin era because inmates have been drinking it. Russian writer and historian Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn mentions it in his book The Gulag Archipelago.
Some say that Chifir' has kind of psychoactive effect.
What does the word Chifir' mean? There are opinions that Chifir'comes from the word "chikhir" meaning a strong Cuacasian wine. In Siberia it means wine that has gone off and become sour and acidic.
How to brew it? It is prepared with two or three teaspoons of loose tea per person. It is brewed for 10-15 minutes. It is drunk with sugar and held in mouth.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Yong Chun Fo Shou

Yong Chun Fo Shou (Fo Shou, Buddha's Hand, Yong Chun Buddha's Hand) is Oolong tea. Fo Shou when translated means "Buddha's Hand". Why? Well, the appearance of its tea leaves resemble the leaves of a Buddha's hand fruit tree.
It was first introduced in the Chinese Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127 AD) by a Zen Master, who brought the tea plant from An Xi to Yong Chun county of Fujian province.
Tea leaves are tightly rolled and look like kind of question mark. Yong Chun Fo Shou tea has delicate fruity aroma. The colour of infusion is bright yellow.
How to brew it? It is recommended to use purple clay or porcelain tea ware. Rinse tea cup and teapot with hot water. The teapot must be 1/4 to 1/3 full with tea leaves. Steep tea leaves in hot water at 100 degrees Celsius for about a minute for the first and second brewing. For any further brewing slightly increase steeping time and temperature.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Tai Ping Hou Kui

Tai Ping Hou Kui (Monkey Chief, Monkey King, Monkey tea) green tea is one of ten most famous teas in China. In 2004 this tea was declared "King of Tea".
Hou Keng village, at the foothill of Tai Ping county, is where best Tai Ping Hou Kui is produced.
Leaves of this tea are spear shaped..huge, flat...with kind of criss-cross pattern on them.
What about the taste? It's complex...nutty at the beggining and with slowly revealing sweetness..
Little bit about brewing...Put 1-2 teaspoons of tea leaves for every 150ml of water. Steep tea leaves in hot water at temperature of 70-80 degrees Celsius for a minute. That is for the first and second brewing. For any further brewing increase steeping time and temperature of water.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Jun Shan Yin Zhen

Jun Shan Yin Zhen (Mount Jun Silver Needle) is the king of Yellow teas. It is one of China's ten famous teas. The tea is originally from Jun Shan Island (known also as the Island of Immortals) of Lake Dong Ting in Hunan Province.
It is a very rare tea. The yearly production of this tea is very limited, using only before and early Qing Ming harvest. Qing Ming ("clear and bright") is one of 24 Chinese solar terms relating to the plucking of tea. In western calendar it is on April 5.
Juan Shan Yin Zhen tea includes needle-shape tea buds. Jun Shan Yin Zhen tea has delicate aroma with a touch of floral. The tea taste starts with light, smooth, sweet...and ends with kind of smoky.
How to brew it? Rinse tea cup and teapot with hot water. Put 1-2 teaspoons of tea leaves for every 150 ml of water. Steep in hot water at 70-80 degrees Celsius for a minute for first two brewing. Slightly increase steeping time and temperature for further brewing.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Tea for two

"Tea for two" is probably the most famous tea song. It is a song from the musical "No, No, Nannete" (1925) with music by Vincent Youmans and lyrics by Irving Caesar.
The song is sung from the viewpoint of a lovestruck man, who plans the future with his new woman in mind.
Here is this song preformed by Tommy Dorsey (1905-1956) and his orchestra. Enjoy!!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Huang Shan Mao Feng

Huang Shan Mao Feng (Yellow Mountain Fur Peak) tea is one of ten most famous Chinese green teas. It has been grown in the Yellow Mountain (Huang Shan) region of Anhui Province for more than 300 years.
Its leaves are young, tender..emerald green. Brewed Huang Shan Mao Feng tea is of jade-green colour. It has light flowery green tea fragrance.
How to brew it? Rinse tea cup and teapot with hot water.Use 1-2.5 teaspoons (2.5-3 grams) of tea leaves for every 225 ml of water. Steep tea leaves in hot water at 70-80 degrees Celsius for 1 minute for the first and second brewing. For any further brewing increase both steeping time and temperature.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Bi Tan Lan Xue

Bi Tan Lan Xue (Lan Ya, Snow Orchid) is the highest quality Chinese jasmine tea. Leaves of this tea are picked during early spring, and carefully preserved until jasmine blooming season, in which they are scented. Jasmine used for preparing this tea is from Si Chuan province.
Bi Tan Lan Xue is quite rare tea because only finest young tea buds and leaves are used to make it.
It has flat, straight tea leaves with some jasmine petals mixed in it. Bi Tan Lan Xue is a tea of jasmine freshness, soothing taste. Its aftertaste will leave tender sweetness in your mouth.
How to brew it? Prepare it in porcelain tea ware. Put 1-2 teaspoons for every150 ml of water. Steep tea leaves in hot water at 70-80 degrees Celsius for 1minute for the first and second brewing. For any further brewing increase steeping time and temperature.

Sunday, October 21, 2007


Tasseography (also known as tasseomancy or tassology) is a fortune-telling method that interprets patterns in tea leaves, coffee grounds, or wine sediments.
The terms derive from the French word tasse (cup), which in turn derivesf rom the Arabic tassa (cup), and the Greek suffixes -graph, -logy, and -mancy (divination).
After a cup of tea has been poured, without using a tea strainer, the tea is drunk or poured away. The cup should then be shaken well and any remaining liquid drained off in the saucer. The diviner now looks at the pattern of tea leaves in the cup and allows the imagination to play around the shapes suggested by them. They might look like a letter, a heart shape, or a ring. These shapes are then interpreted intuitively or by means of a fairly standard system of symbolism, such as: snake (enmity or falsehood), spade (good fortune through industry), mountain (journey of hindrance), or house (change, success).
Source: The Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology, Fifth Edition, Vol. 2 edited by J. Gordon Melton

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Sweet tea

Sweet tea is a variety of iced tea where sugar or other sweetener is added to the hot water before brewing, while brewing the tea or post-brewing, but before the beverage is chilled and served. Sweet tea is especially popular in southern parts of the USA.

Friday, October 19, 2007

More of Chinese tea quotes

"Kissing is like drinking tea through a tea-strainer; you’re always thirsty afterwards."
Chinese saying

"So I must rise at early dawn, as busy as can be, to get my daily labor done, and pluck the leafy tea."
Le Yih
Ballad of the Tea Pickers
Early Ch’ing Dynasty, 1644

"I am in no way interested in immortality, but only in the taste of tea."
Lu t'ung

"The best quality tea must have creases like the leathern boot of Tartar horsemen, curl like the dewlap of a mighty bullock, unfold like a mist rising out of a ravine, gleam like a lake touched by a zephyr, and be wet and soft like a fine earth newly swept by rain."
Lu Yu (d. 804)
Chinese sage, hermit

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Drinking tea with friends

"What is the most wonderful thing for people like myself who follow the Way of Tea?
My answer:
the oneness of host and guest
created through 'meeting heart to heart'
and sharing a bowl of tea."

Soshitsu Sen
Grand Master XIV
Urasenke School of Tea

Monday, October 15, 2007

Drinking tea...alone

"In my own hands I hold a bowl of tea;
I see all of nature represented in its green color.
Closing my eyes I find green mountains and pure water within my own heart.
Silently sitting alone and drinking tea, I feel these become part of me."

Soshitsu Sen
Grand Master XIV
Urasenke School of Tea

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Hong Kong-style milk tea

Hong Kong-style milk tea or Dai-pai-dong milk tea is a beverage that is made of black tea and evaporated milk. Similar drinks from other parts of Asia are The buble tea (boba tea) from Taiwan and the Malaysian Teh tarik. Hong Kong-style milk tea includes mix of several types of black tea (which and at what proportion are secrets of famous milk tea sellers), evaporated milk and sugar. Sugar is usually added by customers themselves.
A very interesting feature of Hong Kong-style milk tea is that a sack cloth bag is used to filter the tea leaves. It is believed that such a bag makes the tea smoother, gradually develops and intense brown colour as a result of prolonged tea drenching. This bag looks like a pantyhose so this milk tea is also know as "silk stocking milk tea".
Some people think that milk should be added before pouring the tea, but there are also those who claim the opposite. It should also be mentioned that the iced milk tea prepared with ice cubes also exists.
A cup of hot milk tea is usually served either in a ceramic cup (often referred to as a "coffee cup") or in a low cylindrical cup made of glass or ceramic.
Cha chow ("tea without" (evaporated milk)) is a milk tea prepared with condensed milk, instead of evaporated milk and sugar. Its taste is sweeter than ordinary milk tea.
Finally, there is a drink called Yuanyang which is a milk tea mixed with coffee.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Japanese tea terms

Chabatake: Tea Plantation
Chaboko: Tea Chest or Box
Chaire or Chaki: Tea Caddy
Chanoki: Tea Plant
Chanoyu: Tea Ceremony or Party
Chasen: Whisk
Chawan: Tea Bowl
Futaoki: Lid or Ladle Rest
Kakoi: Tea enclosure within a house
Kensui: Waste-Water Bowl
Koicha: A thick, pasty Chanoyu tea
Koshikake: Waiting Bench (in inner or outer garden)
Machiai: Portico in which guests wait until they are summoned to enter the tea room
Matcha: A powder green tea used in Chanoyu
Midsuya: Anteroon where tea utensils are washed and arranged before being brought in
Mizusashi: Water jar
Roji: Tea Garden, or garden path which connects the machiai with the tea room
Soto Roji: Outer Garden
Sukiya: Tea Room
Tsukubai: Water Basin for Tea Water
Uchi Roji: Inner Garden
Usucha: A foamy green Chanoyu tea
Yoritsuki: Waiting Room

Friday, October 12, 2007

Yixing teapots

Yixing (pronounced as "ee-shing"), near Shangai, has a long tradition of the "pottery capital" of China. World's first teapots were created there during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). These distinctive reddish stoneware teapots came to be considered the "best vessel for brewing tea".
Yixing teapots are made from the special "Zisha" (purple sand) clay. They are not glazed.
When tea is brewed in these teapots a tiny amount of tea is absorbed in the interior. Yixing teapot is never washed with just rinsed it withcold water. With continued use, a layer of tea sediment is formed.
Many of Yixing teapots made for Chinese market are kind of small (100-300 ml) by Western standards. This is done so the entire content of the pot may be quickly emptied after each infusion. That way tea is always served fresh, hot and strong...

Thursday, October 11, 2007


Tamaryokucha is a fine Japanese green tea. The word tamaryokoucha means "curly green tea" because of the curled shape of the leaves. Such shape of tea leaves is result of the extra processing steps.
Tamaryokucha is made primarily on Japanese Kyushu island. Local Kumamoto prefecture produces most of Tamaryokucha in Japan.
There are two types of Tamaryokucha. Pan-fried and steamed. Pan-fried, or Kamairi style was the original technique used for Tamaryokucha learned from Chinese green tea production. Current market tendency is to producemore steamed Tamaryokucha.
Tamaryokucha has a deep, earthy flavor...It can be steeped more than once, each time creating little bit different flavor and aroma.
This type of tea also requires a slightly cooler water temperature to bring out the full flavor and avoid "cooking" the tea leaves.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Awabancha is quite an unusual Japanese tea. During summer, tea leaves are picked and then boiled.
After boiling, tea leaves are rubbed and placed in a barrel to ferment. They are then dried under the sun.
Awabancha is made in Tokushima (city on Japanese Shikoku island).
Awabancha has kind of stale aroma

Tuesday, October 9, 2007


Bancha ("common tea") is a Japanese green tea of somehow lower grade. It is harvested from the second flush of Sencha between summer and autumn.
Bancha is not very popular in famous tea production areas cause teas which can achieve higher prices are grown. Still, in rural mountain areas of Japan Bancha is still popular everyday drink.
Bancha has milder flavour and the lowest level of caffeine among any standard Japanese green tea. Like any green tea it is rich in antioxidants.
How to brew it? Heat the water at temperature of around 80°C. Pour the water on the Bancha (1 teaspoon per cup) and let it steep for 1 to 2 minutes.

Monday, October 8, 2007


Botebotecha is a tea or maybe better kind of snack, available in Japanese city of Matsue (western Honshu). It is made by mixing together tea flowers and hot tea in a tea bowl using a tea whisk. After that shiitake mushrooms, koyadofu (tofu) and other vegetables are added while the mixture is still hot.
The name Botebotecha comes from "bote-bote" sound that is made by the tea whisk as tea is mixed. Botebotecha used to be a food of poor during famine in the Edo period. Now Botebotecha is served as local delicacy.
It is customary to pat the bottom of the tea bowl as you drink the tea, vegetables and all and without using chopsticks, in one long gulp.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Tea of Hachijuhachiya

In traditional Japanese calendar the first day of Spring is called Risshun. The 88th day after Risshun is called Hachijuhachiya (literally 88th night). This day is special because it is the beginning of year's first tea picking. Hachijuhachiya slightly varies from year to year but usually occcurs in early May.
"First flush" of young leaves is considered by tea experts as the absoulute finest in quality, freshness and flavour. It is also believed that such tea will keep you from paralysis. This first tea is important for traders, farmers and consumers.

Friday, October 5, 2007


Hukamushi (Fukamushi) green tea, which means "deep-steamed tea" is fragnant, heavily flavoured tea.
Prolonged steaming process of this tea results in less bitter, more mild tea,with less green aroma. It makes a great iced tea.
Hukamushi is often called "misty green tea" because slightly cloudy effect of tea's infusion.
How to brew Hukamushi tea? Use 1 teaspoon of loose tea leaves per cup. Heat water until 77-85 degrees Celsius. Let steep for 30-60 seconds. Multiple infusion is possible.
Hukamushi tea is not common outside Japan.

Thursday, October 4, 2007


Kukicha, stalk or stick tea is made of four sorts of stems, stalks and twigs of Camellia sinensis.
Kukicha has light flavour, fresh green aroma. It has very light yellow-green colour. It can be added to a juice to make a drink for kids.
Kukicha is a strong antioxidant and its level of caffeine is the lowest among all traditional teas.
For best results, Kukicha is steeped in water between 70°C to 80°C (155°F - 180°F) for three minutes (otherwise, like all green teas, the result will be a bitter, unsavoury brew).
Some suggest that Kukicha can be dry fried in an iron pan to make it more alkaline and good for diseases that thrive in acidic conditions.
It is an inexpensive tea of enthusiasts, rarely drank outside Japan.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007


Mecha or bud tea is a special Japanese green tea made of early leaf buds. It is known for its flavour depth and bitter green aftertaste.
Mecha is harvested in spring and made as rolled leaf teas. To be more precise, Mecha tea is made from collection of leaf buds and tips of the early crops.
Quality Mecha tea has clear, soft yellow appearance.Considering the above mentioned bitterness, Mecha tea is a good tea to drink after meals to cleanse the palate.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Tea tasting terms

Professional tea tasters (brokers, agents, buyers) use numerous terms, expressions. Here are some of presented at Relax, Sip & Enjoy

Body - The weight and qaulity of the tea on the tongue. Can be describedas wispy, light, medium, or full.

Brassy - Strong and bitter; caused by underwithering of black tea.

Bright - Lively, fresh, and high quality.

Brisk - Opposite of "flat"; pungent without being undesirably high in tannin content.

Burnt - An off flavor caused by overfiring.

Chocolaty - A desirable flavor quality of fine Darjeelings.

Coarse - Bitter or overly acid; attributable to improper processing.

Dull - Muddy looking; the opposite of "bright" or "brisk."

Earthy - May be inherent to the leaf, or caused by damp storage.

Flat - Off, stale taste; usually a property of old teas.

Full-bodied - An ideal combination of strength and color.

Green - When said of black tea, refers to immaturity of character due to underoxidation or underwithering.

Harsh - Very rough in flavor; associated with underwithered teas.

Heavy - Low in briskness and very full-bodied.

Light - Lacking strength and depth of color.

Malty - Subtle, underlying flavor; a desirable quality in Assam teas.

Mellow - Smooth, easy, pleasant.

Metallic - A sharp, coppery flavor.

Point - Used to describe a leaf with desirable brightness and acidity.

Pungent - Pleasantly astringent; a good combination or briskness, strength, and brightness.

Self-drinking - A tea that can be drunk alone, without blending with other leaves.

Smooth - Rounded in flavor, pleasant on the palate.

Soft - The opposite of "brisk"; caused by inefficient oxidation or firing.

Vegetative - Grassy flavor, a desirable characteristic of some green teas.

Monday, October 1, 2007


Houjicha is a pan-fried or oven roasted green tea available in Japanese teashops. Houjicha is very little bitter, refreshing...The tea is fried at high temperature...As result of it tea leaves become red...
There are two main types of Houjicha - light and deep-fried. Deep-fried tea has stronger, roast aroma and taste. Houjicha has distinctively red appearance and are low in caffeine. Houjicha can be drank with all kind of food. Japanese people are often drink itafter dinner. Houjicha is excellent as Iced tea too. Houjicha is not expensive, but it is rarely used in the West.
How to brew it? Until you decide what time of brewing is the most suitable for you, check your tea every 30 seconds or so...Start by using 1 teaspoon (5 grams) of tea to 170 grams of water. Experiment with water temperature to get different flavors.