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The rich history behind and around tea around the world

The demise of Tongmu Lapsang Souchong – part 3

The demise of Tongmu Lapsang Souchong – part 3

Which brings us back to Lapsang Souchong, the strong smoked version of Zhenshan Xiaozhong. The accurate name in Chinese is Yan (smoked) Zhengshan Xiaozhong, which is the most familiar in the West, at least in the present day.

The demise of Tongmu Lapsang Souchong – part 3

The demise of Tongmu Lapsang Souchong – part 2

The trade of black tea accelerated with the opening of the port Xiamen in 1684. In 1732, Liu Jing, the mayor of Changan county, currently Wuyishan City, set an area of 600 sq kilometers with Tongmu at the center as the only authentic area where black tea was produced.

Nirmal Sethia, A tea visionary

Nirmal Sethia, A tea visionary

Mr. Nirmal Sethia is the founder of Newby Teas, an international tea label that has won around 85 awards from the North America Tea Championship and the British Great Taste Awards since its establishment in 2000.

The demise of Tongmu Lapsang Souchong – part 3

The demise of Tongmu Lapsang Souchong

Tongmu Village, high in the Wuyishan Mountains in Fujian Province, is the birthplace of black tea. It is Lapsang Souchong that made this area famous, with it’s strong smokiness giving rise to a fixation for many people, including Sherlock Holmes, the very archetype of obsession.

Winding paths

Winding paths

A bulky man trudges along the winding path traversing 45 degree slopes.  The first of these trails was constructed in 1828 when Capt. Lloyd first...

Are you serious?

Are you serious?

Once upon a time, there was a health-conscious thirty-something named Sarah. Sarah read that catechins and flavonoids are Very Good For You.

Chinese tea ceremony for non-tea drinkers

Chinese tea ceremony for non-tea drinkers

Mention the words “Chinese Tea Ceremony,” and many people start thinking of Gongfu tea. This is an association I dislike, since it insinuates that gongfu tea is a ceremonial, ritualistic event.

27 steps of Wuyi tea art

27 steps of Wuyi tea art

Oolong tea is considered by some connoisseurs to be the ultimate in the art of tea. Not just its manufacture but also the way in which it is enjoyed.

Counterproductive measures in tea

Counterproductive measures in tea

Four billion kilos of tea is produced annually in the world which is consumed by seven billion people living on planet earth, with no inventory of stock to carry over. This statistic is growing in every direction – north, south, east, and west.

Scented Teas

Scented Teas

Whilst we think of it as the favourite drink of the British, tea is the national drink of China. But more than that, it is an important part of the countryís culture and tradition.

Darjeeling tea & China

Darjeeling tea & China

Darjeeling tea was not known in the 1850’s, when tea planting first began in the area. A lot of hard work took place through the 1900’s, when 89 gardens were running at full steam.

Six important truths about tea

Six important truths about tea

Every now and then, it is important to rethink the “truths” we cling to. Sort of like cleaning out the garage, basement, or the car . . . the process is painful, but the result is bliss.

Darjeeling comes to Eastern Europe

Darjeeling comes to Eastern Europe

With lots of states breaking away from what had been the former USSR and regrouping as Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries, the ensuing economic prosperity has made it possible for the middle class…

Buddhist influence on Chinese tea culture

Buddhist influence on Chinese tea culture

The popularity of drinking tea among Buddhist monks helped to spread the custom of tea drinking to the common people. During the Tang Dynasty, Buddhism became popular, in particular, the Chan School of Buddhism, which…

The missing tea history of Darjeeling

The missing tea history of Darjeeling

Recently, Jonathan Kane Houldsworth from New Zealand contacted me via Facebook about a Robert Fortune film that was produced by an Australian company. Mr. Houldsworth is associated with Dilmah Tea, but the spirit…

Afternoon tea with Lady Sippington

Afternoon tea with Lady Sippington

Within the first few months of working at Ahmad Tea, I had the privilege of meeting graphic designer and tea enthusiast, Lady Sippington (the alter ego of English expat, Nina Daryanani, named by her friends and family after her…

A new way of thinking

A new way of thinking

Sometimes, when you search long enough, dig deep enough, and study hard enough, you find yourself facing an obstacle that comes not from outside, but from within. One’s preconception and understanding become themselves a limitation…

Ancient tea roads

Ancient tea roads

The British brought tea to India (or started planting tea in India) no earlier than 1828, but tea has a history as long as 5,000 years, so certainly tea traveled in and around India for a long time, although there are…

The evolution of tea – Part 2

The evolution of tea – Part 2

When we last left off, we were speaking of the Sage of Tea, Lu Yu, who wrote one of the most comprehensive treatises on tea, Cha Jing, or The Classic of Tea. We know that tea during Lu Yu’s time (Eighth Century) referred…

Tea-picking ballads and operas

Tea-picking ballads and operas

Like many involved in labor-intensive agrarian endeavors, tea pickers must often wrestle with the forces of Nature, although capricious weather conditions are not always the nemesis. What some laborers eventually succumb…

The myth of clouds and mist

The myth of clouds and mist

I love Chinese tea stories. They always contain mystical elements. Recently, I discovered a Chinese green tea called “Clouds and Mist” or “Yunwu.” It tastes completely different from any green tea I have ever tasted. Yes, it has…

Tea and addiction

Tea and addiction

Someone once told me that I am addicted to chamomile. I like it, don’t get me wrong, but I’m more hooked on white and green teas, both of which contain caffeine. That being said, the second most consumed beverage…

The evolution of tea – Part 1

The evolution of tea – Part 1

Tea has come a long way from a single leaf plucked from a plant. Today, the tea plant is processed using six methods to become green, white, yellow, oolong, black, and dark (AKA post-fermented) tea. From these six types…

Wild tea in wild Las Vegas

Wild tea in wild Las Vegas

I’m on a mission. You see, I teach tea classes here in Las Vegas. My partner, Ashanti, also loves to teach and the two of us could talk for hours about tea … if it weren’t for our very energetic offspring. Our tea classes range from informational Tea…

Gandhi and tea

Gandhi and tea

When one thinks of Mahatma Gandhi, peace comes to mind. When one thinks of drinking tea, a calming effect often comes to mind. So, clearly, Gandhi must have been a strong proponent of tea drinking…

The changing tea landscape in China

The changing tea landscape in China

Just got back from China yesterday. Every time I travel to China, I’m amazed at all the changes taking place. Development and new construction continue at a dizzying pace. A view in any direction from virtually any major city…

Builder’s tea

Builder’s tea

“Working man’s tea, known better as “builder’s tea,” is everywhere in England. Most places are still serving it – and most people are still drinking it, even if they never pick up a hammer or saw…

Xi Fang Mei Ren

Xi Fang Mei Ren

Three teas – Darjeeling, Dong Fang Mei Ren (from Taiwan), and Jin Jun Mei (from Wuyishan) – are very similar. Their shared characteristics can also be seen in Zhong Hong…

A mid-autumn pairing: Chinese tea + mooncakes

A mid-autumn pairing: Chinese tea + mooncakes

If there were ever an occasion that would get people more interested in Chinese tea, it would be the Mid-Autumn Festival, an annual event that falls on the 15th day of the eighth month in the Chinese calendar (this year, it will take…

Another famous Chinese tea – Huang Shan Mao Feng

Another famous Chinese tea – Huang Shan Mao Feng

While composing my last post, Naming a Tea: Duyun Mao Jian, I became interested in China’s Ten Most Famous Teas. Like the rest of the world, the Chinese love compiling lists. So is there a universally acknowledged list of top-ten…

Monk Nature’s tea party

Monk Nature’s tea party

On August 25, I attended Monk Nature’s tea party. Monk Nature’s real name is Suk Ja Yeon (释自然). Suk means Shakyamuni, as in Shakyamuni Buddha, and Ja Yeon means nature. Most of my Chinese friends call him Mr. Suk…

A time of change

A time of change

Whether it is Darjeeling, Kokrajhar, Kishagunj, or Bangalore, it is a civil war and the brunt of this war is felt by tea, in particular, our beloved great Indian tea, including Darjeeling, Doke, and Assam…

The history of tea in Taiwan: A fractured fairytale

The history of tea in Taiwan: A fractured fairytale

If tea drinkers were asked to list their favorite teas and then told afterward that their tea choices provided a peek into their personalities, many would concede that there are plausible connections. Personal in nature, our choices might reflect taste…

Naming a tea: Duyun Mao Jian

Naming a tea: Duyun Mao Jian

Although I was aware – prior to visiting the Bowers Museum – that the focus of the exhibit “Masters of Adornment: The Miao People of China” would be on the ethnic group’s silver jewelry and textiles…

Tactile tea

Tactile tea

My grandmother kept her tea in a wooden caddy that had an ivory band around the lid, and a tiny brass-bound lock that turned with a smooth and promising click. The lock, I suppose, was an echo of the 18th Century…