Wednesday, October 31, 2007

J-Tea Leaf House Grand Opening!

J-Tea Leaf House Grand Opening
J-Tea’s Tea Leaf House will open on Wednesday afternoon, July 25th at 2778 Friendly Street in Eugene.

J-Tea is the source for some of the highest quality hand crafted tea available in the world. Tasting this tea is a new experience. The J-Tea Leaf House will feature award winning loose tea leaf hand crafted Oolong tea, Puer tea bricks, teapots, tea cups, tea sets, other tea related tools. Since 2004, the J-Tea brand has been sold in over 30 specialty tea shops throughout the U.S. (including at the Asian Market and Provisions in Eugene).

Tea tasters are welcome although tea will not be served by the pot or by the cup.

The J-Tea Tea Leaf House is modeled after Taiwan style tea leaf vendors. Patrons are welcome to participate in tea tastings as well as purchase loose leaf tea that can be taken home for personal brewing. Tea tastings for groups are available by request.
My thanks to everyone who came by to visit the J-Tea Leaf House on Friendly Street. I very much enjoyed meeting you and look forward to seeing you in the future.

Notes on the J-Tea Leaf House schedule
Currently I am out of town on a tea selling excursion. I will return to Eugene on September 16th and I will be open through the 19th. On the 20th I am traveling to Taiwan to get more tea. I will return on the 10th of October. The tea house will be open from October 10th until December 24th. On the 27th of December I am going back to Taiwan to but tea from the winter tea harvest.

Regular hours
J-Tea Leaf House hours on most Mondays through Fridays are from 11am to 6pm. We are also open on some Saturdays and Sundays from 1pm to 6pm (call 285-8997 for more information).

Notes on caffeine
J-Tea does not sell any herbal teas. All of the tea sold by J-Tea is a camellia sinensis. As a result, many people have been asking about caffeine. Below is a list of caffeine content in particular beverages: Espresso, 1-oz shot 40 mg
Coca-Cola, 20-oz bottle 57 mg
Red Bull energy drink, 8.3-oz can 80 mg
Brewed coffee, 12-oz cup 200 mg
Mountain Dew, 64-oz Double Big Gulp 294 mg
J-Tea type Brewed tea, 8-oz cup 50 mg

Of course, the amount of caffeine in a brewed cup of tea depends on the kind of tea, the condition of the leaves and the amount of leaves used.

Notes on brewing
Ideal water temperature –
Wen Shan Bao Zhong, Oriental Beauty and Formosa Oolong – 180-200ºF
Other oolongs – 190-200ºF
Puer and Iron Goddess – 200-212ºF

Brewing in a Mug
Tools: your favorite mug
Method: Start with one teaspoon of tea and alter. The key is to experiment and discover your individual taste.
step 1 – put one teaspoon of tea in mug
step 2 – add boiled water, allow tea leaves to unfurl
step 3 – drink tea off top, leaves will settle on bottom
step 4 – rebrew up to 3 times (brew time 3-5 minutes) or until tea is no longer at desired strength
Yield – up to 4 cups

Simplified Gong Fu Tea Brewing
Tools: small clay pot/ guy wan, small tea cups, pouring pot
step 1 – boil water, warm tea pot and cups
step 2 – use up to ¼ pot tea leaves, add boiled water and pour away first brew to rinse leaves
step 3 – add boiled water and steep 30 seconds
step 4 – repeat steep adding 5 seconds each time
**steep shouldn't exceed 1 minute

Yield – 5-10 infusions

Not so distant future
This fall I will be offering a variety of high quality and exceptionally prize winning teas. Please stop by the J-Tea Leaf House to check them out.

Best Regards,

Josh Chamberlain
J-Tea Leaf House
2778 Friendly Street
Eugene, OR

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©2007 J-TEA International. All rights reserved. Last updated 9/15/07 . Questions or comments, e-mail

Thursday, October 25, 2007

J-Tea October Newsletter

J-TEA International. October 2007

J-Tea News
The J-Tea Leaf House offers tea that I have personally selected from small independent family farms. These are farms that I have direct relationships with.

Now it’s Oolong time all the time.

I am back from Taiwan. It was a great trip! The J-Tea Leaf House offers tea tasting, over 43 varieties of Oolong tea, 7 varieties of Puer tea, and other Chinese tea including Yunnan Golden Tips, as well as a wide variety of tea ware. The tea list is always growing. Fifteen new Oolongs are on the way here from Taiwan. Also I will soon receive some great new tea brew ware and some fantastic ceramics.

Trip Highlight
I charcoal baked my first batch of Oolong! Charcoal baking is the way that Oolong tea was traditionally roasted. This tea baking process is one that is kept secret and is often mystified to confuse tea vendors and producers. If everyone knew how to improve tea with this method, those that are considered baking masters would be out of work!

The function of baking tea is to preserve its shelf life, and to bring out some of the fruity or citric flavors of a tea. Actually, the process is not all that complicated, but it does take a bit of work and some very specific equipment. Here’s how it works:

First we filled a cement drum with 80 lbs of charcoal made from the Long Yen (longan) tree. This is a fruit tree that produces fruit a little bit similar to apricots. The great thing about charcoal baking is that the flavor of wood is absorbed into the tea, thus it is very important as to which wood is used to make the charcoal. The Long Yen wood is considered some of the best to make charcoal for baking tea.

The charcoal came in large chunks so we used a hammer to break it up into small pieces. Next, we compressed the charcoal by tamping it down into the cement drum. After igniting the charcoal at the center with a blow torch (a somewhat modern intervention) we covered all of the charcoal with about 2 inches of Long Yen charcoal ash. This acts as insulation and prevents the tea from being directly exposed to an extreme heat. The thickness of this ash can be adjusted depending on the charcoal heat.
This fire burned for 5 days straight. Each batch of roasting takes anywhere from 2 to a few hours, so several batches of tea can be roasted from this one fire. Roasting time depends on the heat of the fire and the degree to which one desires the roast.

A bamboo woven rung sat above the cement drum. In the rung is a metal screen and the tea sat on this metal screen. The screen was big enough to hold about 7 pounds of tea, and the rung held the tea about 15 inches above the fire. After the tea was spread evenly on the screen a small portion of tea was scooped out from the center, so that there was no tea in the center of the screen. This was the hottest area of the fire. It is important to keep tea off the hottest part of the fire.

I was helping with the roasting process for 2 days when my teacher posed the question, "Would you like to roast a batch of tea yourself that you can take back to America?" Of course I said “Yes”. What an experience!

I selected a Mt Ah Li Mi Xiang Oolong. This is a tea that has a substantial body and a sweet aftertaste. After placing my tea on the fire, an unpleasant smell was released from the tea. This is common when the tea is first placed on the fire. The timer was set for 15 minutes. Every 15 minutes I removed the tea from the fire and stirred it through a flipping motion so that all of the surface area of the tea was evenly exposed to the fire. Again after each stirring, I scooped out the center portion of tea. After about 45 minutes the tea released an incredibly fragrant smell. Toward to end of the baking process, time between stirring was reduced. After 2 hours and 30 minutes, the tea smelled excellent. I took some of the tea and brewed it and decided to let it bake a bit longer. Then after a little while I tasted the tea again, I decided it was ready, and I removed it from the fire and placed it in a bag.

Days later I tasted the tea again and it had a different even smoother woody flavor that had slowly developed in the tea. When my tea teachers tasted the tea, they both nodded their approval. It was a success!

J-Tea Leaf House Hours
The Teashop is open everyday except Friday and Saturday. Hours are from 11AM to 6PM

J-Tea Leaf House Location
We are located at 2778 Friendly St., across the street from the Friendly Street Market.

Come by to see our new selection of tea and tea ware.

©2007 J-TEA International. All rights reserved. Last updated 10/14/07 . Questions or comments, e-mail