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Dachi Tea Co. Oriental Beauty Oolong

Tea For Me Please - 7 hours 11 min ago
Country of Origin: Taiwan
Leaf Appearance: varied green and brown with silver tips
Ingredients: oolong tea
Steep time: 40 seconds
Water Temperature: 185 degrees
Preparation Method: porcelain gaiwan
Liquor: amber

Oriental Beauty, aka Bai Hao oolong, is one of my favorite types of Taiwanese teas. It's one of the few teas that is organic by necessity (at least in the summer) because it requires that the leaves be bitten by leaf hopper insects. I know that might sound a bit gross but bugs chewing on your tea is a very good thing! It starts a slow oxidation process before the leaves are even picked, creating unique flavors and aromas. The leaves of this particular bug bitten offering from +Dachi Tea Co. were big and beautiful. I couldn't resist a quickie photo shoot in between infusions. Immediately after taking my first sip I couldn't help but exclaim out loud, "Holy crap, that's good!. The body was delicate yet very complex. Notes of raw sugar and cinnamon danced around a juicy grape-like quality. It wasn't quite a Darjeeling level of muscatel but it was very close to it. The mouthfeel was relatively thick and viscous, especially on the first two rounds. The finish had a pleasant sweetness balanced by just the slightest hint of astringency. One of the things that I like most about Dachi Tea Co. is the depth of information that they provide about their teas. Everything from basics like elevation and level of oxidation to profiles of the tea producers. I think that is something every tea company should strive for.

Oriental Beauty Oolong sample provided by Dachi Tea Co.

A beautiful Oriental Beauty from @dachi_tea_co #orientalbeauty #baihao #ilovetea #oolongA photo posted by Nicole Martin (@teaformeplease) on Dec 20, 2015 at 7:40am PST

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Sydney Tea Festival Expands to Melbourne

World of Tea - 8 hours 19 min ago

I ask you – what could be more exciting than announcing a tea festival? Announcing two!

In mid-January, I had the privilege of meeting up with co-founders of the Sydney Tea Festival, Corinne Smith owner of Rabbit Hole Tea and Renee Creer owner of Perfect South Tea. As we sat sipping on beautiful teas at Corinne’s own tea establishment, the Rabbit Hole Organic Tea Bar in Sydney, the girls dropped a bomb shell on me!

Sydney Tea Festival was launched in August 2014 and in its first year attracted around 5,500 tea enthusiasts. By August 2015 the Sydney Tea Festival in its second year, surpassed all expectations by almost doubling its attendance and attracting over 10,000 tea lovers. The bomb shell was about to be dropped as I asked the girls “so, what about 2016? What’s happening”? They both smiled as they looked at each other and as they turned announced – there wasn’t only going to be a Sydney Tea Festival in 2016 but a Melbourne Tea Festival in 2016 as well.

YES, two tea festivals!

The first will be Melbourne Tea Festival on Sunday 29th May 2016 at Melbourne’s Conference and Exhibition Centre. The venue which hosts many of Melbourne’s top events and should be a popular choice with Victoria’s tea enthusiasts.

“Melbourne Tea Festival will be based firmly on the successful blue print that we’ve used to create the Sydney Tea Festival,” explained Corinne. Our objective is the same – to present an event which offers a progressive, inspiring and creative experience that showcases and celebrates specialty tea. “Our focus is and will always be on the consumer – the tea enthusiast, the tea inquirer, and the tea connoisseur,” Renee added. “The festivals exist to inspire more people to discover, experience and really connect with what we call “the adventure of tea,” she said.

Following the Sydney Festival format, the free one-day event includes a tea market where specialty tea providers, associated products and producers showcase and sell their goods. A varied selection of tea educational workshops where attendees can learn from the best and most respected tea industry figures will also be present. Tea tasting is a major part of the day and by purchasing a festival tasting cup, visitors can enjoy teas and tisane originating from just about every corner of the globe.

I asked – “With the incredible social media presence of the Sydney Tea Festival Tasting Cup, would Melbourne have its own and would Sydney be getting a new look?”

The answer was “yes” to both. Each year the festivals will have their own style of cup, which creates a collectable item for many tea buffs. I’m sure the image of the Melbourne Tasting Cup and the new re-styled Sydney cup will be just as prolific on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter in 2016.

Then on Sunday 21st August we come to the original, the Sydney Tea Festival. This year, the event will be once again held at Carriageworks in Eveleigh, Sydney, its home for the last two years. This year, however, it will be held indoors, in a space that’s twice the size of the original venue.

“Our biggest problem last year was the number of people that came, which was an awesome problem to have!” Corinne said. “The larger floor plan will help with crowd flow and interaction between stallholders and visitors. And it will also allow us to accommodate many of the tea purveyors who were waitlisted last year.”

The ever popular tea market will consist of even more stall holders offering their specialty teas and tisanes for tasting and to purchase, there will be tea ware, homeware and producers, and lets not forget the fabulous selection of food trucks and food stalls offering sweet and savory treats that complement the range of teas. The ticketed workshops program will again allow the opportunity to reserve your spot, to interact and gain knowledge from some of Australia’s leading tea professionals. Focus will again be on interactive “hands-on” sessions as well as food pairing.

Renee and Corinne then again looked at each other and smiled “we also have something new for 2016 but we won’t be announcing it. You will just have to attend to find out more”. The festival which has now become firmly planted in Sydney’s social Calendar, looks to have tea cups clattering with chatter as it secures its place as Australia’s premier event for specialty tea.

The festival website for the Melbourne Festival is about to go live and the Sydney event website is www.sydneyteafestival.com.au. As we get closer the team will announce sponsors for the two festivals, tea companies attending and others stall holders via the websites and their regular newsletter. Applications for stalls being presented in the tea market’s will be accepted in February for Melbourne and April for Sydney. For information contact the festival organizer’s through the respective website.

Personally I’m looking forward to attending both Sydney and Melbourne Tea Festivals, catching up with friends, tasting some teas, being inspired by tea people’s imagination and hey, just simply enjoying a good day out!

Spills and Thrills: Tea-Time Theatre

T Ching - 11 hours 10 min ago

Murder, mystery and mayhem? Romance and raucous? Drama, comedy, tragedy,  and excitement for sure! All while having tea? Of course!

Why not bring the theatre to the tea room? How perfect a marriage could there ever be? Just as in a real marriage, however, there will need to be some adjustments – not only can it be done – but it is being done!

On the 17th of January, my mother, my daughter and myself, all went to tea – but not just an ordinary afternoon tea (not that there is such a thing)– this was quite the extraordinary afternoon of tea!

The Grand Tea Room in Escondido, California, debuted its first ever tea-time theatre production of Oscar Wilde’s, The Importance of Being Earnest. The 413 Project is a San Diego based, not-for-profit, theatre group that rather flawlessly put on a marvelous show for us while we sipped our tea.

Katie and Julie Burlington, sisters, and founders of The 413 Project, along with the Director of the show, Chelsea Robinson, were all frequent patrons of The Grand Tea Room.  Just as most of us know firsthand, things do happen while having tea. When they approached the owner, Louisa Magoon, she loved the idea and the ladies quickly agreed to collaborate with each other.

There’s the key word, “collaborate”: to work together, to team up, to join forces, to pool resources, to act as a team, to cooperate together; see where I’m going with this?

Over the past six years or so, we’ve sadly seen many of our colleagues and friends have to close their tea shop doors. Perhaps this could be an answer for those currently struggling or for those just wanting to do something different – to break out of tea shop / tea room doldrums, to encourage a greater sense of community, to support the arts, to come up with a win-win-win plan that also increases revenue and has everyone walking away completely happy.

This could be it! Eight shows took place at The Grand Tea Room – all of them full! We attended the Sunday afternoon production for a cost of $52 per person and found everything to be superb. I’ve paid almost that amount for afternoon tea without a show, so I found the price to be exceptionally fair.

I did interview both the director, Chelsea, and the tea room owner, Louisa, to get their perspectives on the collaboration. Both would do it again in a “heartbeat.” They split the take at the door – one third to the theatre group and two thirds to the tea room – both seemed extremely comfortable with the split and the final take.

We’ve all heard of Dinner Theatre. This is similar but smaller, and can be modified to suit the production group and the tea room, as well as doing justice to the original written work. When doing an Internet search to see if any other tea rooms were doing this type of thing I didn’t find much – but what I did find was a rare gem.

Gail Gastelu, the founder of The Tea House Times, did an interview with speaker, author, and playwright, Laurie Nienhaus, about this very same topic. With Laurie’s permission, I am including the link to her website.

Upon arrival at her site, click on the blue box that says “BOOK TITLES”. She has written an e-book entitled “TeaTime Theatre”, in which she gives tea room owners a detailed, 34-page, richly-insightful guide to how this is done. You will be guided to Smashwords where you can download the information in a format that suits you. She is graciously offering this e-book for free.

“Weaving an engaging theatre production into teatime creates a novel and memorable experience for your guests. But, as intriguing as Teatime Theatre is, I knew it might also seem like a monstrous project for busy tearooms. I wanted tearoom owners as well as fundraising groups, churches, and not for profits to have all the information they need to make Teatime Theatre simple, fun, timesaving and lucrative.”

-Laurie Nienhaus of Gilded Lily Publishing

For tea shop owners that offer a different style of service, other than the traditional British-style, there is still so much you can do and offer your customer base that could incorporate theatre: open mic, spoken word, book readings, youth theatre, community theatre, etc.

A great many artists are looking for venues and by offering collaborations of all sorts, you can fill your shops with enthusiastic, and talented people to entertain your customers, and to bring in a whole bunch of new ones – while serving and selling them TEA.

In the spirit of collaboration – there will be success. Sure, there will probably be spills, too, but there will also be great thrills! Here friendships can be made, and stories can be told.

The post Spills and Thrills: Tea-Time Theatre appeared first on T Ching.

Sorry To Read Your News

The Devotea - 15 hours 16 min ago

Dear Fresh Cup I’m sorry to read your news. Now, I don’t know you. I understand that you are a long standing magazine about tea and coffee. Or rather, based on the ten most recent articles when I perused your website, a magazine about coffee, coffee, coffee, coffee, milk, coffee, coffee, coffee, tea and coffee. […]

The post Sorry To Read Your News appeared first on Lord Devotea's Tea Spouts.

Tea Review - East India Company Fine Foods Teas

Notes on Tea - Tue, 02/09/2016 - 18:03

The East India Company was created by Royal Charter in 1600. After two hundred and seventy three years later of monopolistic trade, and colonial and military expansion, the company was dissolved in 1873 with the Regulating Act of 1773 (aka the East India Company Act 1773) as well as the East India Company Act 1784 (aka Pitt's India Act). For a more thorough history, that is, to fill in between 1600 and 1873, read the EIC Wikipedia page, the company's Our Heritage webpage, and if you'd like a longer read, check out The Guardian's review of William Dalrymple’s book, The Anarchy: How a Corporation Replaced the Mughal Empire, 1756-1803. The company has rather a checkered history but I know you came for notes on their contemporary teas.

In my tea pantry are three beautiful tins of tea - Royal Breakfast, a blend of Indian and Sri Lankan black teas; Boston Tea Party, a blend of Chinese black and green teas; and The Staunton Earl Grey, again a blend of Indian and Sri Lankan black teas but with bergamot and neroli (orange) oils. Let's start with the Earl Grey. In general, Earl Grey is not one of my favorite teas, but there are a couple of Earl Greys that I have enjoyed. Unfortunately this is not one of them. The aroma and flavor were overwhelming.

I was really curious about the Boston Tea Party because it is reportedly based on the original varieties of tea thrown overboard during the historic event. I like this tea. It has a smoky aroma which you can taste. The actual smells and flavors are of clove, leather, very toasted bread, and hardwoods. There is some contradictory information on the company's website about the specific teas in the blend. In one place, it describes the blend as "black Chinese Keemun tea, and black and green Yunnan teas" while in another it lists the ingredients as "Chun Mee, Atterkhat, and Kaimosi teas from India & China." In either case, the combination works. You can enjoy this tea with or without milk.

My favorite of the three is the Royal Breakfast, and it's good in the morning and in the afternoon. It is very good plain and fantastic with milk. The tea is a blend of Ceylon and Assam. It is rich, full-bodied, flavorful, brisk; everything that you would like to taste in a classic "breakfast tea" blend. This blend would be a great base for a masala chai.

The teas were paired with Seville Orange Marmalade cookies, or if you are British you would refer to them as sweet biscuits. The aroma and taste exude orange but not in an obnoxious manner. The cookies are crunchy and bits of dried orange add a chewy texture. Earl Grey and Assam teas are recommended to drink with the cookies. Go Boston Tea Party or Royal Breakfast. (They pair well with tieguanyin, too.)

Teas and cookies provided for review.

First Experiences with Matcha

T Ching - Tue, 02/09/2016 - 13:00

This past Christmas I received a tea gift I had been wanting for quite some time: a small and perfectly simple matcha set. Over the last weeks I’ve been enjoying learning how to prepare the delicious brew. After a few hiccups, I think I’ve managed to get it right.

The first time I made the matcha I made a few important mistakes. The first thing I did was make a total mess of the kitchen. Upon opening the bag of matcha I was greeted by a cloud of green powder that proceeded to cover a vast area of the counter. As I continued, every step I took to prepare my tea made even more of a mess!

Another I made was that I forgot to add a bit of water to the bowl, and whisking the match into a kind of paste.  I was living in blissful ignorance of the clumps of powdered tea I was about to swallow. My last mistake of that cup of tea was the amount of water; I filled my bowl to the top with water. This left me drinking a watered down, clumpy cup of matcha …but was it ever good! I was hooked to say the least.

Over the course of the holidays I proceeded to become addicted to the delicious tea and learned from all my mistakes.  I can now proudly say that I make a half decent cup of traditional Japanese matcha!


The post First Experiences with Matcha appeared first on T Ching.

Global Tea Hut: November 2015 - Mountain Rain

Tea For Me Please - Mon, 02/08/2016 - 17:00
I'm so behind on sharing my +Global Tea Hut experiences with you guys! Better late than never I suppose. I was excited about this one as soon as I saw envelopes popping up on my Instagram feed. Dian Hong is one of my absolutely favorite types of tea and every one that I have tried from Global Tea Hut has been awesome. 2014's Golden Vajra and Daughter of the Forest are still the penultimate in my book but Mountain Rain was still a very nice tea. The dry leaves were beautifully curled with lots of golden tips. There was plenty of leaf for experimentation so I brewed this tea in a gaiwan, kyusu and in a bowl. Although I usually prefer bowl brewing I found that I most enjoyed the kyusu brewed version. Go figure. The taste was earthy and malty. Slight astringency was balanced by a sweet lingering aftertaste. A lighter than usual degree of oxidation made it bit lighter bodied than what I am used to. It was a very warming tea, perfect for enjoying after a long and chilly commute.

The gift that was included in this month's envelope was a very handy little bamboo coaster. It worked perfectly for my side handled teapot. These little doodads that they send are great for setting up cha xi, basically a stage for your tea. The environment that we drink our tea in can add a lot to the enjoyment of it. Tea & Tao magazine's theme this time around focused on tea and the feminine. It's an interesting topic in part because I find a lot of people here in the U.S. consider tea to be a feminine past time. Reading about Tien Wu's experiences of serving tea to women's circles really hit home for me. Although there's plenty of fellas that I nerd out and enjoy tea with, I definitely have many more ladies with whom I have deeply connected with because of tea. Being a fan of Petr Novak's work, I was really intrigued by his article. Rather than being about his own work, he tells the story of his partner Mirka.

Welcome the Year of the Fire Monkey

Black Dragon Tea Bar - Mon, 02/08/2016 - 13:15
新年快樂 - Xīn nián kuài lè 恭喜發財 - Gōng xǐ fā cái Happy New Year !

2016 Tea Festival and Trade Show Schedule

World of Tea - Mon, 02/08/2016 - 05:19
January February March April May June July August September October November Not Yet Scheduled

Photo Credit: Terry Madely

Tea Tunes - Sunday For Tea

Tea Guy Speaks - Sun, 02/07/2016 - 16:00
By Peter and Gordon. Accompanied by a montage of tea-drinking scenes featuring The Avengers.

Cuisinart TEA-100 PerfecTemp Programmable Tea Steeper

Camero Cat - Tea Song

Tea Guy Speaks - Sun, 02/07/2016 - 15:00
From a band that apparently hails from Poland.

Adagio Teas - Best Tea Online


It's All About the Leaf - Sun, 02/07/2016 - 02:20

疲れた肌には美容液、傷んだ髪にはトリートメントなどでケアをすることになるでしょう。まつげも普段のメイクでダメージを受けているため、充分な栄養を与えて修復することが大切です。まつげは専用の美容液などでケアすると良いのですが、健康な状態を取り戻すだけでまつげを伸ばすこともできるのです。マスカラなどのメイクを落とす時は、まつげが抜けたり切れたりする原因になりやすいため、優しく丁寧にメイクを落とすようにすると良いでしょう。ソイエは女性向けの脱毛器なのですが、口コミでもかなり人気が高くなっています。ソイエを使えば腕や脚のムダ毛はもちろん、脇などのムダ毛も自宅で簡単に処理することができます。シェーバーとは違う仕組みなのですが、ムダ毛をローラーで挟んで引き抜いていくという仕組みです。そのため痛みの感じ方については個人差もありますが、かなりの痛みを伴うこともあると言われています。痛みに弱い人や肌が敏感な人などはエステサロンで施術を受けた方が良いかもしれません。ちなみに、ソイエでのムダ毛処理は毛根から引き抜くことができるため、一度手入れすればその部分からはしばらく毛が生えなくなるというメリットが挙げられます。脇毛は処理が難しいのですが、慣れてくれば簡単に処理できるようになります。処理が終わればムダ毛のない綺麗な肌を手に入れることができるため、多少の痛みは我慢できるでしょう。ソイエでムダ毛を処理したいなら、正しい使い方をしっかりと守ることが大切です。薄毛で悩んでいるという場合、専用のクリニックで治療を受けると良いでしょう。「薄毛 治療 クリニック」などといったキーワードで検索することにより、薄毛治療を受けられるクリニックの情報が簡単に手に入ります。


Think Fast: Your Cuppa Needs You!

The Devotea - Sat, 02/06/2016 - 21:43

In over 350 posts, I have often written about situations where it is hard to make a good cup of tea. For example, I once described being stuck in a transit hotel overseas “with two ..teabags, some slightly damp sugar sachets and …creamer” . Or my guide to making endless unauthorised cups of tea on long haul flights. […]

The post Think Fast: Your Cuppa Needs You! appeared first on Lord Devotea's Tea Spouts.

Jin Xuan Black Tea from Gabriel Global Trade Co., LTD.

SororiTEA Sisters - Sat, 02/06/2016 - 12:25
Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black Tea

Where to Buy: Gabriel Global Trade Co., LTD.

Tea Description:

Jin Xuan black tea, made from Jin Xuan tea, has a special honey and fruit smell taste. The aroma of tea soup is particularly evident. The flavor is different than the general black tea. It’s suitable for the early adopters who prefer the fragrance.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Jin Xuan Black Tea from Gabriel Global Trade Co., LTD. is a black tea that is not only terrifically tasty – it’s pretty darned special in other ways too!  Let me explain.  Eric from Gabriel Global told me that this specific tea – their Jin Xuan Black Tea – is a new breed of tea.  It’s been grown in between 600 and 800 meters altitude.  It has a similar taste as Oriental Beauty but at just below 1/3 of its price.  It tastes different that a traditional black tea.  I agree with his comment of it tasting different than your average black tea, however, I also think it’s far superior in not only taste but aroma when it comes to comparing it to Oriental Beauty, too.

Upon opening the bag I was overjoyed at the amazing aroma of this dry loose leaf tea.  It was naturally scented – dancing with the combination of sweet honey and fruit – maybe plum – and it was truly amazing!  The  very long and winding dry loose leaves were a sight to see, too!  They were mostly black or grey in color with an occasional light brown or khaki-colored spec morphed in.  The first time I tried a cup of this Jin Xuan Black Tea I had a hard time fitting it in my over-size infuser that went directly into my cup but I hardly saw that as a downfall – it just made this tea more interesting!  Once I added the water on to the tea leaves the aroma was still impressive but it changed a bit incorporating a fairly strong bakey or crusty type of aroma mixed in with the honey and fruit notes I mentioned prior to infusion.  The taste of this tea is out of this world.  I don’t say this often but I give this tea 100 out of 100.  Yes!  It’s True!  This tea is on my short list of absolute favorites in the tea world!  It’s incredible in every way!  I’m going to try and save this tea for special occasions or a bad day when I need a smile – but I will tell you right now – it’s going to be hard because THIS tea – Jin Xuan Black Tea – is one that I could easily drink every day – never getting sick of it while still appreciating it for it’s wonderful quality, taste, and aroma!


The post Jin Xuan Black Tea from Gabriel Global Trade Co., LTD. appeared first on SororiTea Sisters.

Australia’s Top Tea Houses and Tea Shops

World of Tea - Fri, 02/05/2016 - 22:10

Australia, that land down under, where just about everyone around the world wants to visit, study, work or just hang out! To learn about Australia, researching the guide books is a great way to find out where to visit, what to do and what you can expect to see, plus a few Australianism’s to help you blend in, like – “G’Day Mate.” A list of interesting creatures that you might be better off not playing with, great beaches, ancient mountain ranges, fascinating cities, awesome road trips, lovely locals, and great cafés, what more could you want? Well what about the tea? So we asked the locals to tell us their favorite top ten tea houses and tea shops in Australia.

Australian’s love of tea goes all the way back to the early colonial days. In fact, what’s known as the “First Fleet,” sailed into Sydney Harbor in 1788 with tea on board it’s ships. These tea leaves were possibly the first in Australia. During those early days of colonialism, as in Britain, tea was certainly seen as a luxury commodity and only available to the very wealthy. By the 20th century, Australians were to become one of the highest consumers of tea per capita in the world. Then, with the emergence of espresso style coffees, and the café culture scene in the late 1980’s & 90’s, tea certainly took a back seat.

Today, Australia like so many other parts of the world is witnessing a dramatic growth in interest towards leaf tea and tisane, which are being accompanied by new fashionable tea shops and tea houses (for the lack of a better word). Unilever’s unique T2 tea retail outlets were born on the streets of Melbourne, Australia but today are opening around the world, including in the UK, the US, and in New Zealand. Then, with the ease with which tea finds internet retailing so suitable, the global tea retail market has become enormous. Products, which not so long ago would have taken months to reach the consumer, today, can be brewing in your own teapot in weeks, fresh from the gardens. An industry which has stayed relatively unchanged for the last few hundred years, is now riding the wave of the technological age by embracing the internet and utilizing modern logistic solutions.

But where does the Australian tea drinking public buy or drink their precious brew?

We asked them to share their favorite tea houses and tea shops, so we could share them with you. Each time a tea house or tea shop was nominated, the nomination was counted as a vote for the individual establishment. It is unfortunately a fact of Australian life, that with over 80% of the population living along the east coast of Australia, polls like these will always be dominated by east coast cities. The following are the results of a month long poll:

Australia’s Top Ten Tea Houses

We will open this Saturday for your last minute Christmas tea shopping! Doors open 10am – 2pm only

Rhubarb Oolong from Stylin’ Tea Blends

SororiTEA Sisters - Fri, 02/05/2016 - 17:00
Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy: Stylin’ Tea Blends

Tea Description:

Unfortunately no longer available, but if you see this tea, you have to grab it!

Other Oolong offerings from Stylin’ Tea Blends. . . . . . .

Taster’s Review:

I know. A rhubarb tea.. .  how odd, right? I thought so too.  Probably why it took me so long to give it a go.  Let’s start with how this tea looks.  This tea had the most gorgeous oolongs intertwined with a few larger rose pieces.  A really stunning blend.

The aroma this dry leaf gave off was sweet and slightly floral.  I had always thought rhubarb was more of a tart flavor so I was very shocked and pleasantly surprised when my nose encountered this glorious aroma.  This tea released an aroma that I want bottled in air fresheners and candles alike.

I brewed this up like I do my oolongs- about 190F or so and about 3 minutes to start.  I still had my hesitations.  My brain kept saying- This tea has RHUBARB in it!!! And I honestly couldn’t get past it.  Finally the tea had cooled slightly so I could take my first sip.

Ever have a tea that made you hear glorious singing and just made you sigh? Well this tea did just that.  I can’t honestly say that I’ve ever had rhubarb before but I’m seeking it out! This tea was brilliant, bright, and vibrant. The oolong was a mellower base allowing the flavors to really produce a solid feel.  The flavorings were slight, but enough so there was this slightly sweet yet tart flavor with just a kiss of floral love.  I can’t describe how amazingly light and refreshing this tea was. This is a tea that will make you dream about the next cuppa you get to have of the blend.  It was that good and I still can’t get over how much I adore this oolong blend.  I wish it was still available from Stylin’ Tea Blends because I want gobs of this tea.  I actually felt like crying after the 6th steeping and I knew it was getting close to the time I would have to head home for the day.  I knew I would have to say goodbye to this tea but I am hoping a quick google search will get me more of this gorgeous blend.

The post Rhubarb Oolong from Stylin’ Tea Blends appeared first on SororiTea Sisters.

Friday Round Up: February 7th - February 13th

Tea For Me Please - Fri, 02/05/2016 - 17:00
Interview with TJ Williamson of The World Tea podcast
Connor of T Ching did a great interview with +TJ W of World Tea Podcast. Who knew that skiing could lead to a passion for tea?

Bug-bitten teas: why are leafhoppers only sometimes a good thing?
+Eric Scott (who contributed an awesome article to the latest issue of Tea for Me Please Quarterly) wrote a thorough and informative post about bug bitten teas on +Tea Geek.

3 Leaf Tea: Wild Pu'erh Buds (Ya Bao): A Tea Review
I always enjoy +Amanda Wilson's tea reviews. This one reminded me that I haven't had any Ya Bao in far too long.

It's a New Day!
After blogging about tea for so many years, it can be easy to lose sight of why we became passionate about tea in the first place. +Darlene Meyers-Perry's declaration about changing the way she blogs was inspiring. She took the words right out of my mouth!

New York City Moments
+Jen Piccotti shared a bit about her visit to NYC. I was supposed to have joined in the adventure but was under the weather that day so I had to stay home. I'm so glad that she had a good time.

2016 Toronto Tea Festival Recap

World of Tea - Fri, 02/05/2016 - 14:57

January 30th and 31st, people from across the Greater Toronto Area flocked to see what tea is all about at the 4th annual Toronto Tea Festival. Founded in 2013, the Toronto Tea Festival is the largest event of its kind in Canada, and over 40 different companies showed up to sell their wares.

There were independent vendors like festival founder Tao Tea Leaf; the dapper folks behind T by Daniel; newer Toronto-based sellers like Genuine Tea, Chaiwala, and Momo Tea; festival regulars like Capital Teas Limited and Basilur; and the national chain David’s Tea, among others. Ceramics vendors also made an appearance, like Secret Teatime, which makes stoneware Chanoyu cups and bowls by hand.

For those who wanted to delve deeper into tea’s secrets, there were organizations like the Tea Guild of Canada, Tea Journey Magazine, the Tea Association of Canada, and the World Tea Podcast. For the truly adventurous, there were also tea tasting contests where participants had to taste six different teas and identify the type of tea, country of origin, and varietal, with prizes for the winners (your humble author did very poorly, getting only 15 points out of a possible 36).

Finally, there were also several presenters at the event, discussing various aspects of tea. Here’s a quick look as some of the presentations.

Pu’erh’s Roots: Caravan Fuel to Boutique Idol — Jeff Fuchs, Jalam Teas

Part tea vendor, part documentarian, Jeff Fuchs has become known for his unusual travels within the tea industry — Fuchs claims to be the first person to have walked the full length of the Tea Horse Road. His talk looked not only at the current status of indigenous puer production in Yunnan, but also at how the current thirst for puer has led unscrupulous tactics to increase profit. Fuchs’s talk discussed ancient puer production techniques, myths surrounding puer aging (according to him, chasing after some fabled 50-year-old tea is useless), and more.

Appreciation of the Leaf: How to Appraise Chinese Tea — Zhen Lu, Zhen Tea

One of the people behind Zhen Tea, Zhen Lu’s talk was a primer for those new to the different types of Chinese tea. Her talk discussed not only the different types of tea produced in China, but also their production methods, the naming conventions behind different varieties, and how different brewing techniques result in different flavours being produced. Lu also discussed some of the difficulties found in translating Chinese tea names into English, and why the same tea might have multiple different names.


The Many Ways of Tea: Its Path Around the World — Linda Gaylard, The Tea Stylist

The history of world trade is intimately tied up with the history of tea, from the Tea Horse Road to the introduction and widespread adoption of tea Europe to such dark chapters in tea’s history like the Opium Wars. Linda Gaylard provided a fascinating mini-lecture on the history of the tea trade across the world. Sharing much of the information found in her debut work The Tea Book, she talked about tea’s distribution across the world and how tea culture has spread to different countries, from austere and dignified ceremonies in eastern Asia to the strong, heavily-sweetened teas of East Frisia.

Cover Photo Credit: Rita Fong

Blast from the Past: New Marketing Tools (Circa 2011)

T Ching - Fri, 02/05/2016 - 13:02

Marketing is one of my favorite parts of running our business – a close second to face-to-face interactions with our guests at the teahouse (which I love). It’s the part in which I get to be creative and have the opportunity to bring in business, but realistically, I just don’t have the luxury anymore to focus as much on marketing as I’d like. Aside from traditional marketing venues such as events, social media, and advertising, I’d like to explore some of the newer ways to spread the good news of tea. Hopefully, if you own a tea store or cafe, you’ll share some of your experiences with us. As a consumer of tea and tearoom / teahouse experiences, I’m also curious to know what speaks to you.

In this post, I’d like to focus on Groupon. Last year, we participated in a Groupon campaign when it was fairly new to the area. By now, most of you have heard of Groupon, but in late 2009 / early 2010, the concept was fairly nascent in this area. I liked the sales rep who asked us to participate, and agreed to launch a campaign in April last year. If you’ve never launched a Groupon or other similar campaign, I’d like to share some of our experiences using this type of marketing tool:


  1. Groupon has a wide reach, having lists upwards of 100,000 or more in some areas (probably more by now). Your product will be featured exclusively with links and a rather colorful description to this mailing list for an entire day.
  2. The exposure could deliver potential new customers to your door, giving you the opportunity to turn that initial visit into repeat visits.


  1. Expensive: Groupon asks that you discount your product by at least half, and they take half of what is purchased from you. You get the remaining 25% of that product sale, which, if you’re familiar with the razor-thin margins in the restaurant / service / cafe industry, results in an actual cost to you. Put another way, you’re giving away 75% of your revenue to run this campaign, and you have to ascertain if this cost could be better invested elsewhere (say in an underwriting campaign on public radio).
  2. Brand / product devaluation: Mass couponing higher-end, premium products could devalue your product and consequently your brand. This could potentially dilute the equity you’ve built into your brand over the years. Think about certain retailers you frequent only when they have big sales – would you ever buy anything full price from them when they’re constantly advertising “biggest sale of the year” each week?
  3. Uncertain target: Are Groupon users potential repeat customers, or just bargain hunters looking for a one-time deal? Remembering that each customer is costly to bring in the door, the success of your campaign lies in repeat, quality visits and new loyal guests / friends of your business. At the time we ran the Groupon campaign, there were no tools to track repeat visits, although we frequently ask new friends how they learn about us. We have had a few people say they met us through Groupon, but not many.
  4. Rush to redemption on expiration date: If you’re a cafe, beware of booking close to the expiration date of the Groupon. Don’t make your expiration date on your busiest day, as everyone will want to redeem on or around this last day. Our expiration date was on a Saturday in October, just as business was picking up again. Everyone wanted to redeem their Groupons that day, which resulted in a full cafe of Groupons all day, barely room for regulars, and demoralized servers (Groupon users rarely tip on the full pre-discounted price).

Lessons Learned

I am glad we tried Groupon, despite it being an expensive experience. Discounting to this extent was a fairly new marketing tool to us, and I was unable to foresee certain scenarios that hurt us, such as timing of the campaign, caps, expiration date, structure of product discounting, limits of the offer, and so on. I was happy to reward our current, loyal guests with Groupon discounts, but overall many Groupon users didn’t tip, demoralizing the staff, and it remains to be seen how many have resulted in repeat visits. My hope was that the Groupon would encourage folks to visit during the summer, but it didn’t happen (could’ve been the awful construction we’ve been suffering through now for over a year). Summer was very slow, and few Groupon users redeemed June-August.

What wasn’t measured, or even easy to measure, is the opportunity cost, a cost that should’ve been factored in: how much money was lost in a small dining room packed at peak business hours with only Groupies? During those times, we were turning away full-price customers right and left on busy days … lessons learned, until next time.

This article was originally posted to T Ching in February of 2011.


The post Blast from the Past: New Marketing Tools (Circa 2011) appeared first on T Ching.

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