Archive for April, 2013

Brandy Oolong

oolong tea

Happy spring, tea lovers.

Today, I wanted to talk about Brandy Oolong.

Known for its unique flavor profile and creamy body, Brandy Oolong is quickly growing in popularity among oolong lovers.

Unique toTaiwan, this heavily oxidized oolong could initially be mistaken for a black tea; but at about 85% oxidation, it indeed is an oolong. Although Brandy Oolong can come from several different cultivars or varietals, the resulting liquor is dark amber with aromatic notes of roasted sugar and stone fruit. We love the mouth feel on this tea! It is so smooth and complex and has a great sweet finish. Some people experience a subtle camphor taste as well.

The Taiwanese are quite creative and diligent in creating new teas. One particular cultivar known as Ruby 18 (which is great for creating Brandy Oolong) took decades in testing before being released to farmers for planting. It was worth the wait. Ruby 18 is a unique hybrid of anassam and an indigenous varietal.

Brandy Oolongs, while still pretty rare in the US, can be a great alternative to black teas.  Zhi is quite excited about this new tea choice in the growing stable of Taiwanese Oolongs.

See “Jeffrey’s Personal Stash” if you are curious and find all Zhi’s ”Oolongs” at zhitea.com.

Happy Earth Day! Enjoy Nature’s Favorite Beverage…Tea!

The most popular beverageHere at Zhi Tea, we know that Earth Day is every day. Our customers do, too, and we love them for it. There are so many ways to show one’s appreciation for nature, and having a cup of tea is one of them.

Tea’s wonder is steeped in ancient traditions and the planet’s biodiversity. The cultivation and use of the tea plant is a testament to man’s relationship with the natural world. Over the centuries, the demand and appreciation for tea has grown. While that is a wonderful thing, it also brings to light many choices that have to be made to be a good steward of the art of tea and the environment in which it thrives. 

Committing to a standard of excellence is possible when committing to organic tea. Earth-friendly practices are possible every step of the way when considering planting, nurturing and harvesting of tea on the numerous plantations all over the world. All of Zhi’s teas are curated according to these values. Choosing organic tea allows one to know that he is enjoying a pesticide-free product and aligning with agricultural standards of sustainability and purity. And, it tastes great too!

When given a chance to “Pause, Reflect, Connect” this Earth Day, we hope you do so with a cup of Zhi tea. Together, we celebrate our connection to the planet’s wisdom and beauty as we strive to be ever mindful of her gifts. Happy Earth Day, tea lovers! – Dr. Oolong

Greetings from the Guangzhou Tea Markets!

Hong Kong TeaHello tea lovers,

Dr. Oolong here…saying hello from Asia!

After spending a day in Hong Kong, our China adventure continued today with a mind-boggling stop at the tea market here in Guangzhou. “All the tea in the China” doesn’t even begin to describe it. From exquisitely designed and extremely high-end teaware shops with gorgeous hand-crafted pots averaging in the $500-1000 US range, to modest stalls with open burlap sacks of low-grade tea a few feet away, it was a diverse market to say the least. Besides plenty of tea, another thing we shared in common was the torrential downpour of the day.

We found a couple favorite merchants and teas that occupied the majority of our time. As I was relearning how to “get my shop on,” I was cautious at first to make even a modest purchase. Remember, I am here not for business buying (although I am acquiring some teaware for the tea room); I am just picking up some interesting things for my own use.

So we settled into a nice relaxed tasting of a yi wu pu-erh which was quite smooth and got us into the groove. This was followed by an extensive session at a shop with zillions of little cups, among other things. We all found some well-made artisan and inexpensive cups to our liking, and I also scored a cute and unique yi xing pot for a reasonable price. Pics to come soon!

We also sipped snow chrysanthemum tea for a couple hours, which was a delight. Even though I have a gifted tiny stash of it at home in Austin, I hadn’t tried it until yesterday while in China. Crazy! It is a fantastic herbal tea! Great mouthfeel, surprisingly complex, and has a long sweet floral finish. I bought a little to bring back, as I also want to try blending with it; it is gorgeous and vibrant in addition to tasting great.

Truly, we barely scratched the surface of the tea market. You could literally spend a week there. Hundreds and hundreds of vendors. Thousands upon thousands of pu-erh cakes. Gorgeous and immense hand-carved tea tables. Relaxing and helpful sales people. And, there weren’t that many shoppers there so it was a mellow time. We capped our day with an outstanding Hakka lunch at a nearby restaurant. I love the rain, but arrived soaked. Note to self: buy an umbrella; they are cheap here!

I must point out that it helps greatly to have knowledgeable friends who also happen to speak Chinese. I would be lost without them.

So today we journey to a nearby city of which I have forgotten the name. Tomorrow we fly to Yunnan!

-Dr. Oolong