Saturday, March 28, 2009

Tai He Oolong Packaging

Here are some shots of the competition winning Tai He oolong packaging. Tai he is located on Plum Mountain in the Mt. Ah Li tea growing region. It is known as Tai He Yi Zhan or 太和驛站 or Tai He Courier Station (where couriers changed horses or rested). I have bought Tai He Competition winning tea in the past and was very pleased with the quality. It was the kind of tea that I would pull out when business is not so good. After making the tea for myself, I would always remember why I am in the tea business. Having tea like this to drink makes it all worth it. 梅山鄉公所 "Mei Shan Xiang Gong Suo" and 梅山鄉農會 "Mei Shan Xiang Nong Hui" oversee the competition.
Recently one of my customers brought to my attention the wonderfull juxtaposition of "this mortal world of chaos" with "simply having a good cup of tea". The great part of the text reads, "When one comes in need of getting away from this mortal world of chaos, seeking calmness in onesself, or simply having a good cup of tea, Taihe Mind-Soothing Vintage Tea

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Winter Baking

Winter is the time for baking tea. As the temperature drops, there is nothing nicer than roasting oolong. The entire teahouse is filled with a spectacularly sweet aroma. One thing I learned about on this most recent trip to Taiwan is how to create a space for baking oolong tea. I've done my best to create the ideal space here in the teahouse. The size of the room that the tea will be baked is important and is related to the size of the tea roaster. The most preferable ratio for the baking room to the tea roaster is 10 to 1 meaning that one could fit 10 tea bakers on the floor of the tea baking room. In preparing the space, it was thoroughly cleaned, taking special care to remove any substances that might contaminate the tea. Because tea is very sensitive, the area of tea baking should be enclosed. Though the enclosed space is necessary, air circulation is also important, so at both ends of the teahouse the windows are open just a crack to allow a slight stream of air to pass through the baking room. After all conditions are met in the house, it is important to wait for the right weather. Tea cannot be baked if it is raining because of the overall increased humidity. Baking tea is the process of removing moisture from the leaves and therefore dry weather is ideal for baking tea.
Last week, I baked a batch of Gui Fei Mei Ren here in the teahouse. Gui Fei Mei Ren is a tightly rolled summer harvest aphid bitten oolong from Dong Ding Mountain in Taiwan. Baking the tea accentuated its honey flavor as well as added a nice toasted aroma. Yummy!
This week, I am baking a batch of Li Shan high mountain oolong. The aroma is sweet and rich while the flavor is deep and full bodied. Winter time is the best time to drink baked oolong tea. With such a rich flavor is not necessary to drink a lot of tea. The rich roasted flavor brings about a warm toasty feeling.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

All the Tea in China

– a non credit class offered through Lane Community College
J-TEA is starting a new class this spring term through the continuing education department at Lane Community College.
Class title: All the Tea in China
Class number: 42487
Cost: $49
Dates: Wed April 1st, Wed April 8th, Wed April 15th
Duration: 2 hours each (total of 6 hours)
Here is the write up as it appears in the LCC catalogue:
The tea leaf has influenced history, cultures and the world. Learn about the exciting journey of the tea leaf. This course of study will expose you to how tea is appreciated all over the world and how it has influenced and been used by different cultures. The course will offer insight into “The Art of Tea” and “The Way of Tea” as well as tea’s health benefits and medicinal properties. Experience methods for making and taking tea. Cost includes a tea pot, 2 cups, and samples of tea to take home.

To sign up, call 541-463-5252. If you have previously attended Lane, you may use ExpressLane at to register and pay for classes. Space is limited and the class is filling up fast, so be sure and sign up soon if you are interested.
This class is very hands-on. Each person in the class will get to experience brewing tea. We will also drink a lot of tea in the class. I hope to see you there.