898 Tasting Notes
Guys, I might take up daily blogging again, I am missing my daily writing about tea. Now no promises because like I said when I decided to go to three days a week, blogging is time consuming…but I do have a lot of time, so we shall see. In other news, namely Ark news because it is the other thing that I am obsessed with, my base in the Gulch of Lamentation is complete, it is egg thief proof, secure from giant snakes, and currently very teal. Ok, I am still painting it so it is not totally finished, but building is done, yay! My next bit of Ark shenanigans is deciding if I should upgrade to a Fabricated Sniper Riffle (because I am always a sniper if the option is there) or if it is kinda irrelevant on a PVE server and I should just hunt dinosaurs with my Long Neck Riffle with a scope attachment. These are the thoughts that keep me up at night.
Last day of the GABA Oolong week with Tea From Vietnam, whose website is currently down and has been for a while, much to my sadness. I hope they come back because I fell in love with some of their teas and will be sad if I can’t get more. This GABA is pretty different from the others in aroma, it starts with a strong note of sweet potatoes, like freshly baked sweet potato pie but without any spices. Sweet notes of molasses and honey blend with a tiny bit of walnuts and a finish of ripe plums, it is incredibly rich and sweet, I felt like I was sinking into a sticky dessert while sniffing the dry leaves.
Into the gaiwan the leaves went for their steeping, and the aroma that wafts off the wet leaves is intense. Notes of plums and sweet potatoes mix with molasses and raw honey with an earthy spicy undertone and just a hint of wood. Unlike the other two I looked at this woody notes in this GABA are incredibly light, focusing more on plums and earthy notes. The liquid is soooo sweet, strong notes of honey and brown sugar with molasses and sweet potatoes, my goodness this smells like baked sweet potatoes but with a side of juicy baked plums and a touch of mangosteen. Holy moly the sweetness in this tea is something else!
The first steep starts out immensely sweet and smooth, it just flows in my mouth like warm honey but without the thickness or stickiness (it is so much harder to chug warm honey, trust me on this.) It starts with molasses and plums and pretty quickly moves to brown sugar and mangosteen. There is a touch of the familiar woody sourness I associate with GABA Oolong, but it is really quickly replaced with sweet potato sweetness and earthiness at the finish. It lingers for a while in the aftertaste.
The second steep’s aroma is similar to the first but with a much stronger plum presence, it is like plum candy or jam with that extra level of sweetness. The taste is not much changed from the first, the thing that really stands out is the increase in plum and mangosteen with an addition of peaches, it is immensely sweet. No sourness or woodiness in this steep, just heavy and heady fruity sweetness and a finish of sweet potatoes that lingers for what seems an eternity. As of the second steep I was so zenned out, just kinda melted into my chair.
For the third steep the aroma takes a bit of a toasty note along with plums and sweet potatoes, making the pie similarities even stronger. The one downside some might say to this tea is there is not a ton of variation between steeps, but I personally was very ok with this considering it was immensely tasty. This might be one of the sweetest teas I have slurped, but it is just short of cloying so I never got sick of it, I kept steeping this tea for many more steeps and even when the leaves had hit their limit the resulting watered down tea was very sweet.
I have a Bionic Rex!! Yeah, in Ark they have a skin that you get once you tame all the tameable creatures and kill the boss, I was working towards it but wow, so many animals I really did not want, and I do not want to tangle with the giant spider boss. Someone in chat was asking if anyone was selling and someone was, but their price was too high for this fairly new player, for me though it was a piece of cake. So for a pair of fridges I got myself a robot skin for my favorite Rex. This pleases me, not only does my Rex look epic, I also get to focus on animals I want to tame other than working for the skin, I foresee a pack of Compies and army of frogs in my future.
Today I am continuing my look at GABA Oolongs, this one is from Grand Tea, I won this tea in their photo contest they held several months back and got a big ol’ box of the stuff, which has been steadily getting smaller. This specific GABA comes from Huang Shan, meaning (unless I am mistaken, always a possibility) it is from China. The aroma of the dark curled leaves is both sweet and woody, notes of apricot and raisins blend with apple wood and a gentle toasted grain note at the finish and bamboo wood at the finish. This is probably the woodiest of the three GABAs I am looking that, and as a person who adores woody notes, this pleases me.
Into my gaiwan the leaves go, I let GABA steep longer than I usually do for Oolongs, similar to the 45-60 seconds I use for Gui Fei and on the rare occasion I Gongfu up Hong Shui. The aroma has that distinct sour woody and sweet fruity notes that scream GABA to me, it smells lovely and a combination of soothing and invigorating. The liquid is gentle and fruity, notes of raisins and apricots, a slightly sour woody note at the finish but mostly it is sweet dried fruit.
First steep is richly colored and richly sweet, a strong thick mouthfeel that vaguely reminds me of fruit juice but more tea like. It starts with a slightly sour woody note and then pretty immediately moves to dried apricots and dried apples. The finish is all raisins, like a cooked raisin compote but without any spices, it tastes almost like raisin candy and is yum. The aftertaste is delicate but has a lingering plum note.
By the second steep, the leaves have unfurled more and you get to see their mottling of green, brown, red, and a touch of golden. The aroma of the liquid is raisins and peaches with grainy undertones and fruit wood notes. It is not as sweet, but it has a heaviness to it that is quite mellow. This steep is not as sweet, there are raisin and plum notes, but it has a musky woody quality that reminds me of deep forests, but high in the canopy and not on the shou puerh floor. It has a distinct sourness at the finish like slightly under-ripe plums.
The third, but not final, steep of this tea is a bit sweeter, notes of honey and peaches blend with raisins and wood in the aroma. The taste is a perfect balance of the first and second steep, blending strong fruity notes and strong woody notes for a rich and lingering taste. The sourness is still there, I have seen in various places that the sour note can be off-putting to some, I can certainly see that being an acquired taste, but I like it since it reminds me of fruit wood and adds a level of complexity. I was able to get several more steeps out of it before it called quits.
Hello everyone, back from my little hiatus! For those who don’t know a close family member had to have crazy intense heart surgery and frankly worrying about that made my brain a pile of mush, so now that it is over and they are in recovery I can think again! I have of course been using this time with a mushy brain to play Ark and drink tea, like I do, Ark is great, set up a huge new base in The Gulch of Lamentation (best name ever) and currently I am getting ready to hunt down and tame a Quetzal. This has been one of the biggest goals of the game for me, I love those giant flapping majestic things. Plus they act as giant winged transports, meaning taking an Anklyo to the mountains to get metal will be soooo much easier.
This week I am going to look at three different GABA Oolongs from three different growing regions, to see how terroir affects taste! I love being able to do comparisons and thought this was the perfect opportunity. First off, GABA Oolong is special because it gets exposed to a nitrogen heavy environment during its oxidation, making it high in gamma-Aminobutyric acid. This is thought to have a lot of health benefits and I am a complete skeptic (like I am with most health claims) but find it intriguing because yours truly took a synthesized gamma-Aminobutyric acid for the neuropathic pain and Fibromyalgia, granted I had to stop taking it because it caused me a mess of problems (like ‘hey this isn’t working anymore, take more until you get seizures, bahh) but in a low amount it can’t hurt. Mainly I sought this out because I find taking tea and processing it out of the norm to be fascinating, and that brings us to Grey’s Tea Formosa GABA Oolong, from Taiwan! The aroma of the leaves is sweet and surprisingly mellow for the level of sweetness present. Notes of peaches, papaya, raisins, raw honey and caramel mix with a woody undertone. The woody notes remind me a bit of fruit wood with a slight sourness and a distinctly odd ‘GABA-ness’ that I associate with this kind of tea but cannot accurately describe it. It is a like a mix of loam and fruit but with a familiar note that I just cannot place, it is maddening!
Into my gaiwan the leaves go for their first steeping. The aroma of the only lightly unfurled leaves (it takes GABA a while I have noticed) is very fruity and sweet, like a blend of dried papayas, peaches and mangoes with a touch of woodiness. The liquid is also quite sweet, but with the added note of dates and malt and just a little hint of loam. It is quite light but intensely sweet.
First steeping time, it is a fairly mild start, being thick in the mouth with an undertone of being very thirst quenching, like it sends the salivary glands into overdrive like some Shengs do. The taste is gentle, notes of sweet dried papaya and woodiness with a honey finish. This first steep is very light bordering on delicate in taste but the mouthfeel’s thickness makes up for any lightness.
Second steeping time! The aroma is both woody and fruity, and really the wood notes are astoundingly fruity, it smells like apple wood blended with dried papaya and a touch of dried apples. All the fruit notes are definitely the sweeter dried versions rather than juicy fresh. This steep is darker and stronger, the mouthfeel is still just as thick. It has a distinct GABA-ness again that I find hard to describe, it is like tasting solely with the sinus cavities in my forehead rather than my mouth, it is weird and more of a sensation than a taste, again I only get this with GABAs. The taste is more balanced, still sweet and fruity but with more loam and woody notes and a sour finish. The sourness is not like a citrus, but like sucking on a piece of greenwood, it has a lingering apple note that stays for a while.
Third steeping and the aroma is quite woody, with a strong underlying sweetness of dried fruits and a touch of raisins. This taste is strong, the mouth is thick and slick, bordering on oily, and with the accompanying sour and sweet blend makes me salivate a lot. This steep is balanced in woody and fruity notes, dried papaya and apples are dominant, but a sour plum note sneaks in at the midtaste and gets stronger till it dominates at the finish. Of the various GABAs I have had, this one is the lightest while also being the woodiest.
One of the things I love about playing on the server I do is the minimal trolling. Other than one complete jerkwad everyone is super nice, and one person even came to my rescue today! I had just finished taming a new Rex up in the frigid north (aka one of the really hard regions) and I got stuck thanks to my Pteranodon being an idiot (its pathfinding sometimes is made of utter fail) inside someone else’s house. So I called out for any ideas to get unstuck in chat and someone came in on their Quetzl and got me out. There is just a great little community with this game and it pleases me, being notoriously shy and not good with people I tend to avoid multiplayer games like the plague, but this game really works, there is a great camaraderie while also competition, big tribes look out for little ones and the newbies get lots of love. Unless someone is a troll, then watch-out because payback on a PVE server can be…interesting.
You know what I love, Kenyan Silver Needle, so imagine my bit of joy when Grey’s Tea contacted me to review some of their teas and one of them was a Kenyan Silver Needle from an estate I had not tried before, exciting! Kenya White Lelsa Silver Tip Tea is from the Lelsa Tea Garden in Kenya’s Kericho District in the Rift Valley, this garden also grows a decent amount of tea, but from what I gathered most of it is black tea. The needles are small compared to other silver needles from Kenya I have had, delicate things with downy fluff, they did get a little crunched in the mail, but mostly the needles are intact. The aroma is gentle with a surprising slight toasty note, like distantly cooking bread, blended with pollen, sugarcane, caramel popcorn, bamboo, and a finish of melon. Its sweet with an underling graininess that really endears Kenyan silver needle to me, like eating kettle corn or some summertime snack in that nature.
Into the gaiwan the leaves go, I tend to brew my silver needle (and whites in general) a bit more heavy handed than a lot of the other teas I drink, I find that a good silver needle can be brewed at 195 for like 15 minutes and it won’t be bitter…intense and only good for one steep sure…but not bitter. So I take my already pretty flexible brewing method and bend even more. The aroma of the soggy leaves is pretty intense, it smells like summertime to me with pollen, watermelon, kettlecorn, and sugarcane, the aroma is very strong on the nostalgia front for me, bringing back memories of late summer and happy times. The liquid is very sweet, less corny and grainy and more straight up sweet, melon and honey mix with pollen and a touch of crisp celery at the finish.
So after my five minute steep, it is time to chug some white tea! I was expecting the familiar kettlecorn and peony notes I associate with Kenyan silver needle, but this tea surprised me. It has the peony, lightly, but it also is more green. Notes of celery and cucumber mix with gentle pollen and a touch of sugarcane at the finish. This first steep was fairly light and has a smooth mouthfeel.
Second steep brought the kettlecorn note I know and love! This is definitely more familiar, the first steep was like a blend of a Kenyan silver needle and a Fujian one, fascinating stuff, and the crisp greenness was very refreshing. This steep is sweet and grainy, with a little bit of the cucumber and melon notes and a finish of lingering sugarcane. Since I brewed this one long and hot I found it finished at two steeps, but it was entertainingly contrasting, so I don’t mind the lack of longevity.
You know what is really awesome? Having a mobile taming unit, aka, a loaded with supplies T-Rex, because nothing messes with a Rex so I can tame whatever new dino I need in peace. Ok, not totally true, alphas, Gigas, and other Rexes will come and bother me, but usually I have nothing to worry about. Even in the swamp which is a harrowing place I feel very little fear because what is going to bug my big ol Rex friend? I named him Marc Bolan for those who are curious, and when I manage to bag me a female I am naming her Electric Barbarella, and if you get those references you have excellent taste…and if you follow my train of thought on why those names go together consider me impressed!
Today’s tea themed rambling takes us back to long time blog favorite, Eco-Cha! Looking at their Spring 2015 Tsui Yu Jade Oolong, and going to look at it bowl/grandpa style today since in the past I reviewed this tea gongfu style, I like mixing it up a bit! The aroma on this lovely pile of leaves is a blend of green and sweet, mixing gentle notes of sesame with lettuce, sage, broken vegetation, and a touch of distant apples. It almost reminds me of a mix of apples and apple leaves, very gentle and crisp.
Tossing the leaves in the bowl and adding hot water, I notice the aroma takes on a buttery quality to it, blending with fresh vegetation and mellow herbaceous qualities. There is a touch of fruity sweetness, though mostly the aroma has become green and springy. At first the taste is very mellow, not a whole lot going on, gently sweet with apple and sage and accompanying notes of fresh vegetation and sesame.
As the tea unfurls and the water is refreshed the green notes become stronger and crisper with an addition of lettuce and hyacinth and a sweet nectar finish. This is a tea that I love drinking when I am feeling off, there are not a lot of notes and it is somewhat subtle, the notes that are present are very crisp and the tea has a clean, pure quality to it that feels really good to drink when I feel off my game (or when I am gaming, either one really) and it is good both gongfu and bowl style. If you are wanting a more floral green experience go the gaiwan route, it really brings it out.
Happy Lupercalia everyone! It is an ancient Roman festival held roughly February 13-15 celebrating things totally outdated, like cleansing and fertility! It is all about the she-wolf that suckled Romulus and Remus (maybe) and fertility gods of the fields (maybe) basically it is one of those holidays that history has not been kind to so researching it is just a mess, but it is special to me! See when Ben and I first got together we didn’t want to celebrate Valentines because neither of us have good associations with that day, so we rummaged on the internet and ran into this archaic holiday and decided to use it instead, specifically on the 15th because that means the restaurants won’t be packed, everything stops being hideously pink and red, and the candy goes on sale…perfect reasons to celebrate! Plus wolves are cute and fuzzy and cleaning things is always worth celebrating.
Just because my blog is exploring a new schedule does not mean I have forgotten about my beloved What-Cha Wednesdays, they are still kinda happening, just more random and not always on Wednesdays, like today. Plus my stash was running low and I need to stretch it out a bit! Today I am looking at China Yunnan Simao Pure Bud Golden Snail Black Tea, possbly some of the prettiest leaves, I mean just look at them, they are adorable, all fuzzy and curly. I am such a sucker for Dian Hongs it is ridiculous. The aroma is super sweet, strong notes of cocoa and malt mix with yams, toasted peanuts, a bit of cooked peaches, and a finish of a pepper and resin, a bit like pine sap. The yam note is strong, very starchy blends well with the cocoa and malt.
The saddest part of steeping these golden beauties is watching the fuzz go away, but the color of the liquid makes up for the lack of fuzzy. Woo, the aroma of the wet leaves is intense, not so much sweet, but strong notes of yam and toasted peanuts with malt and cocoa, at the finish is a burst of black pepper and a touch of woodiness. The liquid is very sweet, blending honey, chocolate, dried peaches and a woodiness that vaguely reminds me of bourbon.
This tea starts strong, not a weak first steep here. Smooth in the mouth with a slightly sharp citric note in the texture, but not in the taste. It starts with yams and malt and quickly moves to cocoa and molasses and the finish is a blend of peanuts and raisins. It balances sweetness and richness really well, I was impressed with the oomph this tea started with.
The aroma of the second steep is malty and molasses heavy, with cocoa and that woody bourbon note again, I almost want to get a bourbon barrel and toss this tea in it to see if I can really bring the quality out. Somehow this steep manages to be stronger and richer, but luckily there is no astringency or bite to this tea, it is smooth as silk and heavy with its richness. I feel like sinking when drinking it, this tea makes me melt in my chair just a bit. The taste is sweeter this time around as well, the cocoa has gone straight to chocolate and the yam is more candied. Notes of roasted peanuts and molasses at the finish and just a tiny, tiny, hint of rose in the aftertaste.
Last steep, ok not really, I could pull a few more out of this one, not a ton, it seemed to max out at five but could go for a couple more but only be really light. The aroma for this one is malty and starchy, strong and sweet with undertones of resin and bourbon. The taste is similar to the second, formidable in its intensity of texture and taste but smooth and gentle, I assure you I can make a few off colored jokes here, but I resist. The best part is my notes are a jumbled almost unreadable mess, totally unintelligible to anyone but me, and only barely to me! Strong notes of yams and malt give this tea its start, it is not sweet but starchy and rich. The middle and the end are sweet like chocolate and a touch of peaches with a slight woody finish and a lingering peanut note. I kinda love that peanut note, reminds me a little of boiled peanuts but without the salt, and being Southern I cannot get enough boiled peanuts, ever. As you can tell I really liked this tea, my next What-Cha order will definitely have more than just a sample of snails, I’m getting a big ol bag of this stuff…but like all my other Dian Hongs it will be gone far too quickly.
I think I am coming down with a nasty cold. Ben has been fighting with one all week and I happily seemed to have missed out on it, until last night a double slam of sore throat and fever headache hit me and all I could say was ‘oh no’ and hope it was passed in the morning. It wasn’t. I feel much worse today and my brain is mush, so I am delving into the archives for a blog I wrote specifically for days when I feel bad! Sometimes I can use foresight!
Once more into the pile of teas from the past, or at the very least tea notes from the past! Today we are looking at Spa Hydrate from Tealyra, a blend of Green Tea, White Tea, Oolong Tea, Lemon Myrtle, Lemon and Orange Peel, Goji Berries, Papaya, Pomegranate, Lime, Stevia Leaves, Osmanthus Petals, Cornflowers, and C’watre Minerals. Yes, minerals, this tea is infused with minerals to hydrate the skin, yeah I selected this tea because it sounded odd, but also because I like osmanthus flowers something fierce. The aroma of this tea is sweet and tropical, it has heady floral notes from the osmanthus, sweet papaya, lots of citrus (it smells like orange, lemon, and lime) and undertones of vegetal green and freshly cut grass. It smells very refreshing!
Brewing this tea is wow, my tea area ended up smelling like a citrus pile! Strong notes of orange and lime with undertones of lemon and lemon leaf. Underneath that are notes of papaya and sweet goji berry and a slight note of osmanthus flower. The liquid smells citrusy and refreshing with notes of papaya nectar and osmanthus flowers, at the finish is a honey sweet note of goji berries.
Tasting time, and it starts out kinda odd, it is very sharp and sour, like biting into a lemon on steroids, then it immediately goes to sweet citrus and papaya. The one two punch of sour then sweet certainly woke up my mouth and my brain! Next comes the flowers, osmanthus and lemon myrtle with a touch of green vegetation and hay undertones. It manages to make my mouth feel super dry from the lemon and then immediately quenched from the salivary explosion from the sourness. This tea was kinda fun, not a favorite, but certainly entertaining.
Well I did it, I finally saw The Force Awakens, took me long enough. I might lose all of my nerd cred, but I am not much of a Star Wars fan, it has always been a franchise I enjoyed but could not really get into, so that is why it took me so long. That and I hate theaters, crowds, going out in public, and of course being in a car for very long…so other factors. I did enjoy it though, it was predictable and nostalgia laden, but these things made it enjoyable, plus laughing at Kylo Ren’s emo self was immensely entertaining. Reminded me of my goth phase in high school, when I wore a mask and had a lightsaber.
Today’s tea is from Yunomi, a company who I have not visited on this blog in a while, so I thought it was time to change that. Looking at their Ocharaka: Hojicha Baked Apple Flavored Roasted Green Tea, a different take on one of my favorite teas, Houjicha! I am not a big fan of flavored teas anymore, I still drink them on occasion but usually I got for pure leaf or a blend, but once in a while I am craving a taste and don’t have access to it, usually that craving is food related and imitated in tea, so I reach for it to satisfy a craving. This time I was craving apple pie, so it seemed a perfect time to try this tea I had in my stash. Blending Houjicha, Ginger, Apple and Flavorings, this tea smells like tart apples and ginger with a strong caramel undertone. It kinda reminds me of the apple pie caramel lollipops they gave with the apple pie blizzards at Dairy Queen where I worked, hated the blizzards but man did I love those lollipops! There is also a toasted note that vaguely reminds me of crust, but mostly this tea’s aroma is all ginger and apple.
Into my little kyusu the leaves go for steeping, this pot is the perfect sized for a single me sized cup, I like small cups and I cannot lie! The aroma is a lot less tart and more baked sweet apples, toasted crust, and ginger. It does not exactly remind me of pie, but does remind me of cobbler which works for me! The liquid is very sweet with just a hint of tart apples and pie crust. Ok this tea officially smells like pie now.
Mmmm pie, in fact it tastes like slightly burnt pie, where the crust is burnt and the sugar has caramelized a bit. It is quite sweet and smooth with strong toast and ginger notes with light apples, luckily the apple tastes like apple and not apple candy, which I was a bit worried about from the aroma of the dried leaves. I found the apple notes to be strongest in the aftertaste or when the tea had cooled a bit. It is not an exact pie match, but it was close enough to ease my craving!
Man, the last day has been a whirlwind of emotions! Last night my computer had an accident and I thought, well crap, there goes the blog since I lacked the funds to get a new one for at least a month, let’s just say I did not go to bed happy…or woke up happy. But lo and behold Ben fixed it (at least temporarily) so hooray for that! To celebrate (and get my agoraphobic self outside of the house…going to try for at least once a week) we did my favorite thing, visited a thrift store. I got a really cute little cup, oh yea, and A FRENCH HORN!!!!!!! For those who don’t know, this is a really big deal, I go into a full explanation of why here, but after many years I own a French Horn, its a double so it is what I played, needs a mouthpiece and some oiling, but wow. I am practically exploding!
Ok, I can focus long enough to blog (and then go back to playing Ark because it is all I do, it is all I know) and today I am looking at 3 Leaf Tea’s Golden Eyebrow (Jin Jun Mei) and for those who have been reading my rambling for a while, you know how excited I get over my favorite Wuyi Red Tea (sorry Lapsang, I love you too, but that is Ben’s favorite) with its oh so delicate fuzzy leaves. The aroma is delicious. blending sweet notes of cocoa and sweet potatoes with malt and peanuts. Jin Jun Mei has a resinous woody quality that reminds me of pine sap, and the finish is starchy and sweet.
Into my dear little Petr Novak pot the leaves go for their bath, the gold is no longer fuzzy, but it is worth altering their appearance. The aroma of the soggy leaves is really sweet, nice notes of brown sugar and sweet potatoes with malt and peanuts. The finish is sappy and pine like adding a bit of woodiness to the sweetness. The liquid is a sweet blend of dates, malt, brown sugar and sweet potato with a roasted peanut finish. These aroma notes please me.
First steeping is made of yum, it starts soft in both texture and taste, with notes of malt and molasses and I swear a touch of maple syrup. Towards the end it picks up notes of sweet potatoes and dates with a touch of roasted peanuts. The mouthfeel at the end almost has a sticky quality, reminding me of sap, not sure why but this tea always comes off as very resinous to me.
For the second steep the aroma is rich and malty with a strong resinous and roasted peanut undertone. This is carried over into the taste as well, it starts rich and sweet and stays that way til the end, luckily this is a rich tea without a hint of bitterness, no astringency either which is probably why I prefer Chinese reds to the more robust Ceylons and such. The finish is a blend of molasses and malt, with a lingering honey aftertaste.
Third steep, though it was not my last, this tea had a few more steeps in it. Sadly I find that Red teas are kinda in the middle with longevity, I have never really had one that lasts more than seven (and not just tasted so watered down and boring) where as most Puerhs, Whites, and Oolongs can go much longer and most greens putter out at about three-four. This steep carries on from the second, going strong with rich and malty notes, not really changing but being very tasty and soothing. The fourth steep is the real change, it looses some of its rich maltiness and is replaced with wonderful honey sweetness that lingers.
Book time! I have been voraciously reading, it is the time of year where I go deep into the books and tend not to come out again until spring. Today’s book is The Tea Book by Linda Gaylard and by one of my favorite publishers, DK. See, DK has a tendency to publish really pretty books, their book on Gemstones is still a classic favorite, but this is about tea and not rocks. From the moment I cracked open the book I was impressed with the visuals, it is beautiful!
But looks alone do not make a book (unless it was a photo book, of course) so how is the substance? First off I will say, I think I found THE perfect book for people new to tea and with a voracious appetite for knowledge. This covers so many of the basics, but instead of stopping there it delves deep into various cultures, history, and regions. I was pleased to see coverage on Korean tea and their tea culture, along with Vietnam and Kenya, and not just the typical China, Japan, India, and Sri Lanka.
There is a large section on recipes, but it is not the more trendy cooking with teas but different drinks using tea. Frankly most of them look so delicious, I plan on breaking a few of them out for events when I have to serve tea to a bunch of people. So many delicious looking recipes, plus a method for making popping spheres meaning an upgrade to bubble teas.
Along with lots of juicy information about tea and recipes, there is a section on herbal teas/tisanes. I had mixed feelings on this, on the one hand it was very valuable information (the wheel of healing was my favorite) and herbal teas are definitely a big part of the tea world, but on the other hand this is space that could have been filled with more info about tea!
At times I wish this book would have delved deeper into various topics, mostly because I really enjoy Linda’s writing style (I have been following her blog for a while, good reading there!) and would have loved to have seen more of it combined with DK’s signature bombastic visuals. I find myself daydreaming about a book of this style devoted entirely to Yunnan’s tea culture or Vietnamese tea. Again, I really cannot stress how I think everyone interested in tea should buy this book, even though a lot of the information presented was a refresher for me, I loved reading it because it is so well written and enjoyable.