On the bus to Taipei today, and wondering what new tea shops I'll be able to find. ♥️ It feels like a game trying to find a great tea shop, since even in the Promised Land -- er, Taiwan -- not all tea shops are created equal. There's good tea in Taiwan, but like anywhere else, there's a lot of sh*t tea too. Just think about your favorite local bakery or cafe. Your city must have lots of nice, decent bakeries to choose from, and yet once you find that one place with the AMAZING croissants, you never wanna settle for "decent" again. It's easy to find decent food or tea. Excellence is harder to find. It takes time and patience to find the good stuff, but boy is it rewarding when you find it. Fingers crossed that I find something special in Taipei this weekend -- will be posting on IG Stories to share the ride. ✨
Peaceful days with a cup in hand, waiting to learn something new. 💚⛰️ It's been a week now since I've arrived in Taiwan, and everyday I just fall more and more in love with tea. Mornings bring tea practice and heavily brewed cups of Jade Mountain oolong. Afternoons and evenings are a mix of tea adventures. On one day, a tea class at the local university with friends from Paraguay, Korea, Singapore, and France. On another day, a hike to the tea gardens to document the terroir. I hope you enjoy the journey with me on IG Stories, since everything I learn feels like borrowed information. Tea experiences aren't meant to be kept to ourselves -- they're made to be shared, so we can learn together too. Cheesy, I know. But it's true, or maybe I just drank way too much aged oolong from earlier this evening and I'm tea drunk. 😂 Either way, see you again tomorrow for more tea.
One cup of Muzha Tie Guan Yin, one moment of quiet in a bustlin' world. 🤫 And a tasty one, too! 🍊 I'm just starting to get to know Muzha TGY. It's a classic in Taiwan, especially among long-time tea drinkers, but for some reason it doesn't get much press in the West. 🤔 I think it's because high mountain oolongs (like Alishan and Lishan) are just a little more friendly and approachable. But as someone who LOVES high mountain oolong, it's not all I want to drink. High mountain gives me a taste of the sky and clouds -- Muzha TGY offers a taste of something more down to earth, more satisfying. 🧡 This one tasted like having fruit snacks at a Fall Out Boy concert. Notes of stonefruit, mandarin orange, plus something a little edgy but that turns out sweet in the end. 🍊✨ (Hey, I love FOB but they are pop rock for sure.) I really hope I get to learn more about Muzha in Taiwan when I go -- I feel like I've been missing out for a long time. 🇹🇼
🇹🇼 T-MINUS 7 DAYS! -- By this time next week, I'll be on a plane to Taipei to spend a month in my favorite place on Earth: Taiwan. Taiwan is like paradise for tea lovers. Taiwan is known for world-class oolong, and the local culture just oozes with love for tea. 🍵 If I get my way, I'm going to have a bubble milk tea in one hand and a gaiwan in another hand the WHOLE time. 🥺 Even while I'm sleeping. This will be the third time I'll be in Taiwan. The first two were non-stop, tea farm-hopping adventures during my years at @tealettea, ⛰️ where I developed my intense love for the tea farms and clean, sustainable tea. Now, I'll be back to spend a whole month with my teachers @ai.jhentea and @jhentea. Words can't even express how much their tea has changed my life (and trust me, I tried typing it out!) so I'm just going to share everything I can with you, the same way they have always done for me. Finally, I'll get to see my best friend of 20 years, @matchafruitberry, whom I haven't seen in person for 12 years. We've known each other since we were 5, and yeah, that's another words-can't-express feeling, too. My heart is through the ceiling already. I can't wait. 💚
Warm and sunny days are here again in Vegas, and that means green tea! 🌿🍵 Today's tea: a Kagoshima sencha from Japan. Teas from Kagoshima are super friendly and easy-drinking, just from what I've seen. This one is like a spring breeze in a cup: Fresh, gentle, but bursting with life! 🌷 Not bad for a green tea that's supposedly "old". I picked this up in Osaka in 2017, at the insanely delicious, 120-year old Kuromon Ichiba market. This tea was my obligatory "I'm in Japan so I GOTTA buy tea" purchase. I should have been exploring the local tea scene (as any proper tea professional should have done) but instead I set my sights on eating as much freaking sashimi and takoyaki as possible on a 12 hour layover. That was 100% the right decision. Good times. Drinking this tea really makes those memories come back to life. 💚
A dreamy spring afternoon, with the last brew of a Jin Xuan oolong from the weekend. It's hard to ask for more than this. Some peace and quiet, some time to grow, and the hopeful promise of tomorrow. ⛅ It doesn't hurt that this Jin Xuan is freaking delicious, all gentle and like light vanilla cream. 🌼 What's in your cup to start the week, tea friends?
Happy Monday! 💚 I'm feeling pretty happy with my matcha game lately, especially with a little help from some friends. Recently, @_elodie_km challenged me to make matcha with much higher temps: around 195°F/90°C. 🔥 Apparently they use these temps for high grade matcha in the Japan, where she studies tea ceremony. I was scared of burning my matcha since I usually use 175°F/80°C, the commonly accepted temp. 🌡️ But too often, we rely on common tea knowledge without actually testing things for ourselves. 🔍 I played by the rules for a LONG time, too scared of doing "the wrong thing", when really there is no right and wrong in tea. It's all about the process! 🍵 Anyway, I'm saying all this because I want YOU to test this too. 🤓 If you have some GOOD matcha - anything fancy, single-cultivar, or small-batch will do - why not give it a whirl with 195°F/90°C? I can't guarantee that it'll be amazing. But it'll be an experience, and you'll learn something. And between me and fellow tea friends @questforperfecttea, @tea_happiness, @melucky, and @theearlgreystory, our results were a lot less scary than you'd think. ✔️ Share notes pls. #ForTeaScience
Oolong tea. 💛 It brings me back down to earth, and reminds me to let the light in. Taiwanese oolongs, like this one, are my favorite. I can't taste for shizzle today -- spring allergies, maybe? -- but luckily, a good oolong goes BEYOND flavor. This one from Yushan (Jade Mountain) tastes like cloud butter sprinkled with fresh rain. ☁️⛰️ It's rich, luxurious, and pure at the same time. A mini adventure in texture. Delicious! What's in your cup this lovely Spring afternoon? 💚
As much as I love classic teas from China, Japan, and Taiwan, they're not the only places in the world that can make good tea. What if we grew tea near the highest freaking mountains in the world? 🏔️🌏 You know, the Himalayas? Vegas friends: This week, explore the budding regions of Nepal and Darjeeling at my "Teas of the Himalayas" workshop. 🇳🇵🇮🇳 Friday, March 22 at 6 PM, hosted at @tea_and_whisk. These teas are lively, super aromatic, and often wonderfully off-beat, proving that it's TOTALLY worth it to look outside our comfort zones and expand our library of flavors. 🍵 See you soon!
Playing with teapots today. 🍵🔬 Here we have three different tea vessels, made of different materials. Left: 🇨🇳 Yixing clay pot Middle: 🇯🇵 Tokoname clay pot Right: 🇹🇼 Porcelain gaiwan Each one has the potential to either enhance or totally mess up a tea. That's why we gotta test our teaware: a good tea could taste horrible in the wrong vessel. For this test, I used Huang Guan Yin oolong, a flowery, fruity, and punchy oolong from China. Boy did it transform in these pots. One pot did good, one pot did amazing, and one pot just freaking RUINED the tea! Huge differences. Can you guess which one did best? 🤔 Hop onto the IG Live replay to find out, and maybe do a little experiment of your own. 👩🔬 Trade notes below!
I'm shook. Inspired by @_elodie_km's advice from her tea practice in Japan, I made today's matcha with her favored temp: around 90°C/195°F. 🔥 That's HOT. 🌡️🔥 If you've had burnt, bitter green tea or matcha, you know what I mean. Lots of you complained about scorched matcha during last week's #TeaHorrorStories, and for most matcha on the market around 175°F is a safe bet. But Elodie suggested trying 195°F with high-grade matcha. I used this single-cultivar Uji that I've been drinking lately to test. Holy sh*t. I expected to get at least a little bitterness, but all I got was sweet nectar of heaven. 🍵✨ This packed a level of complexity and elegance I've never experienced before in usucha (this style of matcha preparation). Irresistible. I gotta do this again. Is it a bad idea to whisk up a second bowl of matcha at 6 PM on a school night? 🌌
Memories from Paris! 🇫🇷 Today's session is a strange tea from one of the most mysterious tea shops I've ever visited: Maison des Trois Thés. It has no online shop, and no online presence. Just a quiet, elegant facade and a menu with a thousand teas. 🍵 The staff has an amazing, almost unbelievable mastery of that menu. I picked out this weirdo to take home: Ba Ding Chun Ya, a special, small batch production from Taiwan. It's an oolong tea that screams "Paris!" to me. Like the city's famous perfume shops, it overflows with complex aromas. Intenseeee, with notes of bergamot oil, jasmine, and sweet nectarine, and all sorts of other mystery scents. 🍊🌼🌆 Someone should really bottle this up and sell it. "Eau de Formosa" or something. Oh, and did I mention this is intense? 🤯
A few weeks ago, I published a friendly Guide to Silver Needle, where you could learn how to tell the difference between 2 main types of Silver Needle: Fujian, and Yunnan. After reading the guide, can you guess which type of Silver Needle this is? 🍵 🔎 Is it from Fujian - more soft and refined? Or Yunnan - more wild and aromatic? Link in bio for the guide. 📌
Happy weekend tea friends! What's in your cup today? On my end, I'm slowly working through a Silver Needle on this bright Saturday, after a matcha + Silver Needle experiment with @teaproject.uy. 🍵 Just like with the jasmine green tea from earlier this week, we whisked matcha in a light infusion of Fujian Silver Needle. It turned out even better than the jasmine! The white tea brought out the sweet, floral, and softly nutty flavors in the matcha, and with zero bitterness. 💚 I guess this is actually a thing. For now, I think I wanna go back to my regularly scheduled "proper" matcha, but dang, this is fun and fascinating. 😊 More tests to return to. Tea is endless!
Got a craving for jasmine tea. Got a craving for matcha. Well, por qué no los dos? ✌️ Why not both? To satisfy the indecisive tea monkey in my head, I whisked matcha with jasmine green tea instead of hot water. 🍵 I chose a more airy, creamy matcha (Samidori cultivar) and brewed the jasmine tea pretty light to avoid that gross, overbrewed jasmine flavor. 🌼☠️ No thanks. The results? This turned out pretty awesome. (Phew.) All the goodness of a fresh bowl of matcha, with the gentle essence of jasmine. 💚 Elegant and delicious. And thanks to some extra practice, the matcha still turned out better than last week's attempt. Swipe right to compare. Not every tea experiment goes well, but it's worth it for the wins you get in the end. 😀🤩
Spending my Sunday getting tea drunk on this gorgeous tea: a 2015 Da Hong Pao oolong. 🍵 Tea this good has a harmony that you can't mistake. There's a symphony of flavor, aroma, and texture that is hard to put in words. 🍑 Sweet like ripe peaches, but also intense and mineral, thanks to the rocky soils where this type of tea is grown. It's also kinda mind-altering. Makes you wanna sink into a sofa and listen to music on expensive headphones. Maybe I shouldn't have brewed this on our weekly IG Live tea session 😂 but it was fun to float away with y'all. Happy Sunday, friends. 🥰 Drink good tea, and have a great week ahead!
What made you fall in love with tea? When I got into tea, I fell in love with the culture, the daily practice, and the flavor. 🍵 Any health benefits were just a nice bonus. But as much as we'd like to share tea beyond the health trends, it's impossible to avoid the topic. Most people view tea as a form of medicine, and can we really blame them? Our ancestors drank tea for health far before they drank for enjoyment, and that's been passed onto us. Luckily, there are lots of evidence-driven ways we can talk about tea and health. Check out my latest post for research from the 2019 UC Davis tea conference. Link in bio.