October 21, 2014

Three green teas by TeaVivre

I appreciate the generosity of TeaVivre. The company has provided me with multiple samples of several types of green teas. The tea quality is very good. The label on each tea packet includes the place of harvest. Today I share with you three green teas: Huang Shan Mao Feng, Pi Lo Chun, and Bai Mu Dan.

The Nonpareil Te Gong Huang Shan Mao Feng in Grown in She County, Huanshan, Anhui Province. The aroma and taste are fruity. The leaves, curled when dry, are pretty.

The first Pi Lo Chun I drank was Huang Jian Lin's for Adagio Teas as part of the company's Roots Campaign. Read my review. TeaVivre's Pi Lo Chun was grown in on Dongting Maountain, Jiangsu Province.

TeaVivre's Organic Superfine Long Jing or Dragon Well has a classic appearance and aroma. I wonder if its organic status contributed to its good flavor. This tea was grown in Lin'an County, Hangzhou, Zheijang Province.

I have more teas from TeaVivre so watch this space for reviews. You can purchase the teas mentioned in this post on the TeaVivre website.

October 16, 2014

Favorite Tea Ware: Jee Choe of Oh, How Civilized

As a tea drinker, and I am sure this is true for you, I adore tea ware, from bombillas to matcha whisks. Everyone has their favorites! This series showcases the favorite 3 of folks in the tea blogging community. Today's faves are from Jee Choe of Oh, How Civilized.

Mariage Frères Tea Canister: On the last two trips to Paris, I picked up tea canisters from Mariage Frères. They're so pretty and the colors are gorgeous, like this mint green one. This one is filled with Marco Polo, one of the best selling Mariage Frères blends. [Mariage Frères]

Matcha Ladle: I got this Bamboo Matcha Ladle from Ippodo, at their shop in Midtown East. This delicate ladle scoops out the perfect portion of matcha and I use it almost every day. [Ippodo Tea NY]

Matcha Whisk: When I got the ladle at Ippodo, I got this 80-tip Bamboo Whisk with it. This is my second one since the first got a little beaten up from not using it properly. I was too aggressively whisking the matcha against the bottom of the bowl -- something you shouldn't do, which I learned the hard way.

All photos are courtesy of Jee Choe. Thank you, Jee. 

September 30, 2014

Drinking oolongs at The Mandarin's Tea Room

Two months ago on a humid day, I accompanied Jee to a private oolong lesson led by Timothy Hsu, proprietor of The Mandarin's Tea Room. (Read Jee's review.) Do you know that humidity is good for tea? Timothy told us that humid air "opens up the tea leaves." I have struggled to write clearly about my experience that afternoon. I took notes about the teas we tasted but the lesson was more than that. It was the interaction between the three of us, the light in the room, the arresting photos on the walls, and the gorgeous table and tea ware. Perhaps it has been a challenge to write about the tasting because I got tea drunk! Instead of further postponement, I have decided to share several photographs of the tasting. Enjoy!

Have you had a hard-to-describe tea experience?

P.S. Have you read the recent press coverage of tea rooms in NYC?

September 27, 2014

Afternoon Tea: New Museum

Tea and art. Why not? The Hester Street Cafe at the New Museum offers afternoon tea. A nice idea on its own or after seeing an exhibit.

Jee and I ordered tea for two. (You can read Jee's review here.) I chose the keemun and Jee the pan-fired green. Milk was not served with my tea and I did not ask. The keemun tasted as it should and I enjoyed it without milk.

I don't have a good photograph of the scones and pastries (shortbread cookie, cakes, macarons). The scones were a bit dry. I was disappointed with the macarons. Now, let's talk about the delicious cucumber sandwiches! (There were only two sandwiches available on the day we went - cucumber and chicken salad. I don't eat chicken so I cannot speak for that sandwich.) What did I like about the cucumber sandwich? Fresh, flavorful bread, thin slices of cucumber, and a judicious amount of cream cheese.

The tea is priced at $20 for one person and $35 for two. Download the tea menu.

August 01, 2014

Buzz about NYC tea rooms

"New York is a city steeped in love for coffee, but for some folks, java just isn't their cup of tea." This is Lilit Marcus's opening sentence for his WSJ article on tea shops and cafes in the city. The article contrasted tea rooms and shops with more formal afternoon tea experiences at city hotels. I have not been to many of the latter in New York. Palais des Thés, Teavana, Press Tea, and Bellocq Atelier were mentioned. I Frenched my day at Palais des Thes and enjoyed afternoon tea at Press Tea. A visit to Bellocq Atelier is on my bucket list. For the time being, I follow their Instagram account.

Surprisingly, The article did not mentions Tea Drunk where I got drunk (on tea) after 10 steepings!

The Times also reported on the NYC tea scene recently, but only profiled one tea room.  Have you watched the video of a tea lesson by Timothy Hsu of The Mandarin's Tea Room?  I took a lesson with Timothy (thanks, Jee) and it will be the subject of my next review -- stay tuned.

Which tea places did the WSJ and the Times miss in their profiles?