Ceremonial Matcha – Majesteas

                       Recently I have been starting each day with matcha. I set aside enough time to quietly prepare it in a meditative way. I quickly ran out of my matcha and went out to get a new one to try. This one is from Majesteas.  I noticed it in the shop about a week before I ran out. The kanji on it captured me as I sought to translate it, but failed.
      Getting it home I eagerly waited till the next morning (Friday) to enjoy the tea. Although it was not until Saturday evening I decided to write about this brew. Earlier I had visited a Man I had met over a year ago at Allen Gardens who I over heard taught Japanese Tea Ceremony. I contacted him and I enjoyed a ceremonially prepared cup of match with him. We discussed the utensils he used, the historical aspects of ちゃのゆ, and he began to teach me how to fold the ふくさ(fukusa).
       Starting in November I will begin learning 盆略手前 (bonryaku temae), tea prepared on a tray. It is quite different from how he served me which was 立礼 ( ryūrei) which he used a table like structure and I sat at my own table as a guest. As an artist I am eager to learn more about ceremonial styles as I can. Especially with my tea series taking over my usual women dominated work.                                                 
        Anyhow enough of my ramblings and back to this tea. When I opened the package inside the tin I was welcomed by a very vibrant green powder. I eagerly filled my kettle with spring water from Muskoka.  After letting it cool in my glass pitcher for a while I sifted the powder and whisked it. Vibrant green with  fine foam greeting me. I quickly drank it. It was like milk chocolate with 40% Dark mixed in. Very smooth on the tongue. I decided to accompany this with a mini sponge cake with apricot filling, they complimented each other very well. I can not wait to learn more about matcha preparation from my new sensei, and perhaps I can get my Japanese sensei to help me translate this tin some time. 

Xantou Mandarin White- Lauriam Tea House

 Lauriam Tea House is located in Bowmanville, around a hour and a half drive to about 2 hours by train east of Toronto. My mom introduced me to the shop when I was still in school and now it is a favorite hangout when I visit my family. Tea is served to you in a white tea pot along side delicate china cups. As I was introduced to Afternoon Tea through this tea ware before it has become quite nostalgic. This tea is a White Tea Puerh, which has absorbed the sweet mandarin qualities of its fermentation “container”. The leaves are dense inside the dried fruit, I had to resort to using a pick from my tea tools to pick enough leaves out.  The wet leaves are quite young and very uniform in size, being not longer than an inch.  They smell subtly sweet, unlike the dry leaves which have more of a mandarin smell to them.
       The resulting tea is creamy and sweet. Coaxing out a salivating sensation. There is a sweet peach taste on the back of my tongue, which is the reason for me keeping such a tea close at hand. The liquor is a beautiful amber hue. I found it slowly dissipated in colour over the infusions I was able to coax out of the leaves. At this finial infusion only the salivating sensation remains and a dull sweetness with no characteristic I can pin point.
     I have bought this tea quite a few times over the last few years. Only pulling it out to get frustrated with the “container”, something that I just have to learn more about over time.Much practice is needed for this storage method of Puerh.

Milk Oolong – Tsaa

    I have been visiting Tsaa (pronounced Cha) since I discovered it apartment hunting. A very well lit cafe style makes it very welcomeing. Promoteing the consumption of glutten free and vegan treats, they also offer coffee, bubble tea, teaware, teas etc. They are very versitile and cary a vass aray of tea ware. From chawans for Japanese tea ceremony to yixings for gong fu ceremony right down to the tea pot I got to use with this weeks tea.
     I apologize that I only have one image as this review is from notes I have sitting around waiting to be posted. I ordered a whole pot of this tea for the afternoon. Hidden is a glass pitcher in which I was given he first infusion and the second was steeping in the pot.  The first sip was creamy and warmed my stomach thoroughly. The brew was very consistent. The second infusion had cooled a little by the time I was able to enjoy it (Japanese homework keeps me quite busy). It had a lighter taste and was sweeter than the tea while it was hot. 
     Drinking tea in this manner is quite relaxing although I felt as though I should have made more infusions with the leaves. Though by the time the second infusion was done I was itching to paint that afternoon. My tea art is a result of that. I perhaps will revisit this tea again sometime in the future and compare many Milk Oolongs together. I am still formulating notes so this may take some time and research on the process for Milk Oolongs themselves.

Darjeeling Jungpana First Flush- Davids Tea

         To start out my weekly tea reviews I picked out my favorite Darjeeling so far (sadly finished it too with this review…).  I originally bought this tea in an attempt to flesh out my taste for Darjeelings, instead it has kept me close to other light Darjeeling (such as Teaopia’s Ambootia Darjeeling). At a mere $15.00 for 50g it was well worth trying.  Disappointingly it is “limited time only”, thus I am in a search for a new one to replace it or to try.
         The Davids Tea website says this:

Darjeeling Jungpana First Flush

A legendary tea

First flush teas are usually plucked after the first spring rains, marking the end of the long Himalayan winter. From the remote Jungpana Estate, deep in the mountains of India, this is a delicate tea with a woodsy taste and aroma. In case you were wondering, FTGFOP 1 stands for Fine Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe, first grade. Sounds like a mouthful, right? Trust us, it’s one of the best mouthfuls you’ll ever taste.

 Like always Davids Tea creates a little story or juicy description for their teas. This one keeps to the origin of the tea and tries to promote the estate. For my review I conducted it at work so that I could ensure the quality of water and temperature, at a latter date I will have the means to check the temperature at home. Below are my basic tools: a simple infuser and a glass mug. I used about two teaspoons to around 14oz of 100 Degree C water. The water at work is filtered four times in the back room and have not had any problems with other teas I have smuggled in.

 After steeping the leaves for three minutes I removed the filter. The leaves were quite green prior to steeping (forgot to take this image) and even more so after. The wet leaves smelled sweet, apple like, grassy and reminded me of fogy mist.
     The tea itself tasted smooth, mild, slightly sweet with a bit of honey and almost toasty. It reminded me a bit of Japanese green teas I have had in the past, or perhaps it was the lingering flavor in my cup from Genmaicha. I had cleaned out the cup thoroughly before hand . I am not entirely sure.  I hope to get a bit more of the tea before their supply runs completely out, again though if anyone has some suggestions I am open to them.

AFTER NOTES: As this is my first review (since Sumatra Highland) I hope to get better at describeing teas as well as prepare for taking the Tea Sommelier Exam (when I get there, wish me luck). I hope to get better at takeing tea photos as well, I recall seeing a toutorial for this and will look it up for the next review. Till then look forward to your next cup of tea!

Tea Review- Silver Needle @ Teaopia

     When we got this tea in at work I dropped putting away shipments for a moment to get a cup going. The leaves are about one inch long on average. Fuzzy and gray-green.
   They smell sweet dry but peachy, white peaches.  The liquor  is light and just as peachy as the smell.
   Going down it is creamy,  smooth, stimulates chi flow and very mellow.
    I have used a gaiwan at home for small short infusions and teaopia’ tea master for three minutes. As well as using the teamster to do small short infusions.
  More information can be obtained on their website or in store~