Saturday, November 1, 2014

Tea Tasting at Phoenix Tea

A few weeks ago, I visited my friends at Phoenix Tea to replace a much-loved gaiwan and to sample some of their fantastic teas.

First, I had to take a moment to admire one of their handsome tea pets.  It looked quite serious as it watched over the proceedings.

We started with Chinese Wuyi teas and moved on to Japanese teas, finishing with a privately owned sample of Temomi Shin Cha.  This is a rare, hand-crafted tea and I am grateful that I could enjoy it with others where we could share and compare the results.  Throughout multiple steepings, with slight changes in temperature, we experienced a wide range of results from higher, grassy astringency to savory umami.

Temomi Shin Cha is a first flush or "new" tea that has been hand-rolled into long, narrow needles.  Due to the time and labor involved and the limited number of qualified tea masters, this tea is quite rare.

Here you can see the infused leaves are still only partially open after several steepings.  With each steeping, the leaves open a little more and release a little more flavor and aroma.

Here is the beautiful golden-green first cup of tea.

After approximately five steepings, the leaves were fully open and you can see how carefully they had been rolled with little or no damage to the leaf.

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