A Journey Through the World of Tea

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Look Back on 2010..well sorta

Looking back at last year, tea became a even more prominent part of my life. But Tyros hasn’t been updated in quite some time, and that is alldue on my part. I let myself get busy and neglected it, and if there is one thing I have learned from tea, it is that you need to slow down some times to enjoy life.  So I would like to apologize for not updating regularly

It’s 2011, 2010 went by fast, and with new years brings new teas to review, and people to meet.

The following pictures are some of the tea treats that I have had the pleasure to part take in this past holiday season. I do apologizes at the quality of these pictures, my good camera has died on me.

This little lovely beauty is my first Yixing Clay Pot, (named it Gin) that I received from my Best friend Wes.

Along with the pot, Wes also got me this 2006 Pu-erh cake (above) and a 2009 cake (below). The 2006 cake has become the crown jewel of my teas because it was made the year I graduated from high school. I plan on taking my first sip of it come my twenty year reunion.

(/\2009 cake /\)

Last but not least this big bag of goodness is a custom blend specially for Tyros. Thanks to my friends over at Bourgea Tea for making this custom Blueberry white tea entitled “Blueberry Yum”. Keep your eyes out as I will get giving away some samples away sometime this week.

 

Over all this past year has been a good year for me and tea. Was able to cross off about 5 of the Lengendary Tea’s of China off my list, I met alot of awesome tea bloggers via twitters, blogs, and facebook, and got to take a look on how some of my favorite tea companies got started. So I raise a cup to 2011 and hope it will be another great year of tea.


Matcha 411

I love matcha. I love everything about it; whether it ranges from the vibrant green color to the distinct vegetal aroma. Ever since I was first introduced to this special treat back in early May, I have been drinking one bowl every day. As a matcha tyro, my goal is to spark your interests in the art of this unique tea.

Origin:

Now, imagine that you are a gyokuro leaf, a special type of Japanese green tea. Your roots are buried deep into Uji earth, a region in Japan where only the best matcha is produced. Fifteen to twenty days before your leaves are picked off; only 10% of sunlight is able to shine through the trees above you. This important step will provide the sweetness and robustness found in your leaves and no where else. Leaf processing begins thereafter where you are steamed and carefully dried. Your stems and veins are removed so only the most delicate parts remain. The end product is ground in a traditional stone grinder and a very fine powder is produced. Hooray, you are now matcha tea!

Preparation: The General Procedure

  • Have all of your utensils CLEAN and READY
    • Japanese Tea Ceremony
      • Chasen|Whisk
      • Chashaku|Bamboo Scoop
      • Chawan|Matcha Bowl
      • Chakin|Hemp Cloth
      • Tea Caddy
      • Ceremonial Grade Matcha
      • Etc.
    • Janna/College Student Prep:
      • Chawan (A tea bowl/cup)
      • Chasen (Whisk)
      • Chashaku (Bamboo Scoop)
      • Filtered Water
      • Matcha of your choice

Note: As a college student, the matcha process can be very expensive; especially in terms of buying ceremonial grade matcha and the associated tea accessories. It CAN be done, I promise! Don’t be afraid of the price, it is well worth it! Also, you can hold back on purchasing specific materials, etc., but always make sure you are using high quality matcha and filtered water for premium results. When I first started, I only had my trusty chasen. Now, I have a chawan, chashaku, and a chasen.

  • The Process
    • Place 3 scoops of Matcha using the Chashaku into your matcha bowl/cup. If using a teaspoon, measure out 3/4ths.
    • Boil water to around 170 ° and measure ~1.5oz.
    • Now add a little bit of water in order to avoid making clumpy matcha. To ensure that the powder does not clump together, I make a paste first. Pour a little bit of the boiling water into the bowl. Use the Chasen to whisk in an “M” shape motion. Do this several times until the mixture becomes viscous.
    • Add the rest of the water, and whisk vigorously. This process should last for a minute or two and there should be a good layer of froth at the top. Your arm should also be tired! For the picture below, I added organic soymilk for a different treat 🙂
  • Enjoy!
    • Sip it alone, or sip it with others. Personally, I enjoy matcha alone so I can harvest its benefits & experience the Zen. Also, be sure to slip it SLOW! Savor the moment!

Tips for Purchasing Matcha:

  • Know the main differences:
    • Food/Culinary grade: Used in baking in cooking
      • I.E. Yummy Matcha Cupcakes
    • Ceremonial grade: Used for tea drinking
      • Thin (aka Usucha)
        • More common
        • Stronger than thick tea (in terms of taste)
      • Thick (aka Koicha)
        • Made from older tea plants
        • More expensive
        • Sweeter
  • Buy smaller portions at a time:
    • Instead of buying 200g at one time, purchase only 30g at a time so your matcha can be guaranteed fresh
  • Look at the color:
    • Is it bright? Or is it dull?
      • The brighter the green, the fresher it is!
  • Expiration Dates:
    • I’ve found that the more reputable matcha sellers have expiration dates on their products to determine freshness.
  • Review the website:
    • Does the seller claim where he/she gets their matcha?
  • Order from a trusted site:

Enjoy your matcha experience! 🙂

xoxo,
Janna


This Week in Tea: Volume VIII

This week, Ken over at Lahikmajoe Drinks Tea shares what teas he drinks throughout his day.

Inspired by Ken’s post above, Corey over at Asiatic Fox tells of his tea drinking habits.

Do you all remember your first time with Pu-erh? Over at T Ching, Holly Erdogan shares her first experience.

If there is one thing to know about Jackie from Leafbox Tea, it is that she loves tea and chocolate, so it was only a matter of time until Peter wrote a post about it.

At A Tea Addict’s Journal, Marshall helps you evaluate tea for purchase.

The Sip Tip‘s Adam Yusko is writing about stale tea this week. It’s something I think many people can sympathize with.

Like always, for links to these stories and more, please visit our Delicious Bookmarks.