Tuesday, July 5, 2011

APCC Tea Experience: China

This past weekend, I attended a Chinese Tea Service presented by Neil and Zifei Sawyer and hosted by APCC. Neil and Zifei travel to China every year to buy and import Chinese tea and teaware through their business, Tacoma Trading. They shared stories and photos from their travels and experiences in the tea business as well as serving a variety of incredible teas.

During the presentation, we were served High Mountain green tea, Bai Mu Don white tea, Bailin Gongfu black tea (also considered a red tea), Benshan oolong, and two varieties of puerh (including 7581). My preference lies with green, white, and oolong teas and the Bailin Gongfu was especially wonderful.

As I have only recently been introduced to loose leaf tea, my knowledge is very limited. With that in mind, I have learned the following:
  • Among other health benefits, white tea can lower blood sugar and is a powerful antioxidant.
  • White tea can be picked wet.
  • Oolong tea must be picked when it is dry and sunny. Due to heavy rains and flooding, half of the oolong crops were destroyed last year.
  • White tea improves with age and doesn't turn bitter. Older white tea can command a much higher price. Puerh also ages well.
  • Green tea does not improve with age and should be used up within 1 1/2 years. It should be stored away from light or its lifespan will be shortened to only 2 months.
  • Benshan oolong smells distinctly of orchids after it has brewed.
  • While not necessary, it may be preferable to blanch (rinse) tea leaves with hot water before letting them steep. It seems to "wake" the flavor of the tea.
  • A law was passed in China that requires all tea to be marked with a date.

This was a great experience and I look forward to next month's tea event!

For more information on future tea events, please visit: Asia Pacific Cultural Center

1 comment:

  1. I was told the "rinsing" of the loose leaf also helps get the little dusty bits off, making for better drinking enjoyment. - Wendy