Monday, December 12, 2016

Making Puerh Tea an Asset in Your Life

The terms “assets” and “liabilities” are commonly used in association with managing financial wealth and investments. For the financial manager the focus is solely on the ins and outs related to cash flow. In the case of puerh, once you have incorporated tea into your life the benefits goes beyond financial wealth. As a puerh enthusiast and collector for well over a decade I believe that the values that can be gained from tea have a deeper and more meaningful impact but the choice is ours whether to embrace them.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Natural Fermentation – Local Black Mushrooms (Hed Tup Tal)

In Thailand these mushrooms are locally known as Hed Tup Tal (aka เห็ดตับเต่า) and if there was to be a mushroom version of puerh tea this local delicacy would be hard to beat. Very much in line with ripe puerh tea, Hed Tup Tal possesses an intensely dark color that varies from brown to black and despite their strong appearances both have gentle and mild characteristics. The mushroom tastes mildly earthy with a deep mushroom flavor.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

2010 Golden Needle White Lotus Ripe (Menghai Tea Factory)

The Golden Needle White Lotus (GNWL) series represent a line of premium ripe puerh produced by Menghai Tea Factory. The production can be traced back to the 1990s when GNWL was initially sold as loose leaf tea. This would later change in 2005 when the leaves were compressed into 200g mini teacakes. Subsequent years have seen the GNWL retain its compressed form with the size of the teacake being increased to the more standard 357g weight as represented by this 2010 version.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

2008 Hung Shui Dong Ding (Taiwan Oolong Tea)

The higher level of oxidation and roast imparts a darker color to the resulting tea. On a deeper level the effect of traditional Hung Shui from Dong Ding is considerably more soothing and comfortable, and ideal for those who have a sensitive digestive tract. As someone who is sensitive I am happy to share that I can drink traditional Hung Shui all day without any ill effects. By comparison the nuclear green oolong tea that currently dominates the market in Taiwan is noticeably more acidic and drinking too much leaves me feeling jittery and unwell.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Cleaning & Sorting the Oolong Tea Cabinet

Cleaning and sorting through things is not a particularly fun task so it helps to that there are interesting items that act as motivation for the process. Bringing these oolong teas out from the dark was definitely an incentive.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

A Tea Session w/ the 1996 Purple Dayi (Menghai Tea Factory)

The Menghai TF recipe teacake consists primary of plantation leaves that are chopped, rolled and blended together. It is a category of raw puerh tea that has a proven history of successful long term storage.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

How to Use Charcoal

 
Before using the charcoal pieces it is important to wash and boil the charcoal for 10 minutes to clean and sterilize the pieces. This process can be repeated weekly to help prevent bacteria contamination.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Tips for a Tea Session - The Usefulness of Huang Pian

Huang pian consists of lower grade large tea leaves that are broken, yellow and at times not too well processed. For this reason the humble huang pian is often overlooked by tea enthusiasts but this soft and mild mannered tea has many practical uses that can contribute towards the greater appreciation of tea.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Natural Fermentation – A Bad Batch

A Bad Batch - After 2 months this batch became slimy, forming clusters of floating matter and reeking of a sour and putrid smell. The taste was quite stomach turning and horrible.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Brewing Tips: Opening Up the Characteristics of a 20 y/o Toucha

The remnants of a 20 year old petrified looking toucha I picked up from Hong Kong. The tightly compressed tea leaves have rigid and unyielding characteristics. Brewing this tea under normal circumstances gives a muted and lack luster brew. However once the leaves are sufficiently rested the tightness in the tea dissipates and the characteristics open up to reveal decent qualities.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

2003 Millennial Old Tree Mini Teacake (Jingmai)


The Jingmai region is famous for its old trees and the high quality tea leaves they produce. Raw material from these old growth trees have made Jingmai amongst the most recognizable and sought after regions in Yunnan Province for producing puerh tea. The name “Millennial Old Tree” is a reference to Jingmai’s natural treasure of 1000 year old majestic trees that grows in the region. The raw material that make up the mini teacakes by the Kunming Fengling Tea Factory more realistically I believe come from centuries old trees that are more abundantly found on Jingmai’s natural landscape. Having drunk my way through several of the mini teacakes I am impressed by their quality and feel that the distinctive character and high quality of Jingmai’s old growth tea is well represented by these teacakes.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Experimenting with Water – Discussion

For those interested in reading more on others experiences with different sources of water I recommend going to Teachat’s forum on this topic – Experimenting with Water. The exchange gets heated at times and covers broad and wide ranging opinions and practices by passionate tea enthusiasts. It is a fun and informative read for tea lovers with an interest to experiment and with the goal towards getting the utmost from their tea session.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Healing Sounds that Touches the Soul by Drukmo Gyal Dakini

 

This young lady Drukmo Gyal Dakini creates beautiful music that is a part of traditional Tibetan culture that uses sounds to heal. The sounds are unique and leave a powerful impression on the body and mind. It is a wonderful accompaniment to meditation and to a tea session.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Testing Water LOT 1 – Brewing the 2005 Gan En Ban Zhang Part 2

 
The 2005 Gan En Ban Zhang is a semi aged puerh tea. The tea has shred most of its youthful green characteristics and is in the initial stages of developing dark characters with low and heavy notes. The tea leaves are giving and provide a substantial brew with strong Cha Qi.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Testing Water LOT 1 – Natural Springs from Australia, Fuji, Iceland, Scotland Part 1

 
The clarity and purity of the natural spring water and underlying sweetness in the above bottles highlights the quality that is missing in my local tap water. From left to right i) Scotland, ii) Fuji, iii) Iceland, iv) Australia

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Looking for Improvements - Water for Brewing Tea

For much of the last 5 years I have relied on my Amway eSpring to purify the local tap water and provide me with the water I need to brew my tea.  It is a practice of convenience and one that has yielded satisfactory results but fails to put a shine on some of the teas I know can really excel with the right water.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Reflecting on Teas with Cha Qi – A Personal Experience

Natural and organic farms, wild tea trees that grow naturally in a biologically diverse environment that is thriving with life provides the source for quality tea leaves that possess good Cha Qi.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

An Appreciation of Cha Qi

Translated text from the article An Elementary Introduction to the Qi of Tea by Gao You Cheng, The Art of Tea No.2

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

The Influence of Weather on Tea – A Hot Summer

A blue sky that provides little shade from the sweltering sun means that rising temperatures are close to 40C in high humidity.

This year’s hot and humid summer in Bangkok has been stifling and things will only become more heated as we enter the peak months of April and May. As a result I can feel myself becoming more and more drawn to bitter and astringent teas as a means to help dispel the buildup of heat from inside the body. Over the years I have noticed this craving for bitter and astringent tea to come more regularly as the thermometer starts rocketing up. Despite tea being a hot beverage I find that brewing and drinking bitter tea is deeply satisfying to my body at this time.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Roasting the 2010 Menghai Hong Yun Puerh Teacake

 
The 2010 Menghai Hong Yun is a ripe tea that is compressed into100g mini teacakes. Inset: Roasting requires constant motion of tossing and turning to keep the little chunks of tea from burning.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

1960s Chong Shi Cha (aka Worm Tea)

Old Chong Shi Cha is black with a tint of grey. High quality black pearls will display good physical form and uniformity with minimum debris. The aroma is rich and sweet giving of an alluring candy like licorice fragrance.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Natural Fermentation w/ 1970s Fuzhuan Brick – Part 2

i) The above photo shows the result of 2 months of fermentation at room temperature. The color of the tea brine has lightened considerably from the first day in mid Nov 2015. ii) To stabilize the batch the jar was refrigerated. The reduced state in the follow up photo shows that I have been actively testing the results for the past month.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

2016 New Year’s Resolution – Good Health

 

It is that time of year whereby we strive to make improvements to ourselves, our lives and perhaps to even influence those around us. It is a highly commendable goal and with the right intentions that change can be for the betterment of ourselves and those close to us. My goal for the last 5 years has been to improve my own health, spread the word on healthier living as well as to gain more well rounded knowledge on health issues. It is a gradual and progressive course of action. However this should not sway you my dear readers into thinking that I am a health freak. I have my cravings for a good burger, pizza and sweet desserts like anybody else of which I periodically indulge. I simply do not believe in living to extremes and it is more about finding a healthy balance that accommodates diversity for making life enjoyable and fun.