Ruby Black Tea from Taiwan

A few months ago, Mindlake Tea offered free samples of their tea so that they could compare feedback from those who lived in areas more prone to having soft water (Japan, Taiwan) with those who lived in hard-water regions, such as the U.S. Because I know well the difference water makes—my mom's northern Michigan well … Continue reading Ruby Black Tea from Taiwan

Nilgiri Frost Tea, and How Tea Leaves Respond to the Cold

Being frostbitten is generally a negative experience—for you and for many plants. Much research goes into how to best protect tea plants from frost, and in some regions of the world, such as the Caucasus, frost-tolerant genotypes have been developed. These genotypes allow plants to thrive in colder regions, which has two benefits: the plants … Continue reading Nilgiri Frost Tea, and How Tea Leaves Respond to the Cold

What Is Benifuki Tea?

A blank canvas transforms simply with an artist's stroke. So, too, a plucked tea leaf. With expertise and mastery, such leaves may retain their vegetal nature and striking green hue. Or, they may evolve into complex black tea, their molecular changes proven by the reds, coppers, and browns of the cup. And while Japanese teas … Continue reading What Is Benifuki Tea?

Jin Jun Mei—A Gentle Black Tea

One of the best perks of my job? Drinking tea! So today I tried a tea that was new to me, a sample of Jin Jun Mei kindly provided by Life in Teacup. And wow, this is a gorgeous tea! The fluffy leaves, with their long minute hairs, look like delicate golden and charcoal twisted … Continue reading Jin Jun Mei—A Gentle Black Tea

How Does Decaf Tea Compare to the Real Thing?

"Decaffeinated" with "tea" is an ill-suited pair in my mind. Because no, I can't live without caffeine (my family will attest to this). Still, there are several flavored decaf black teas that I've found quite acceptable. But what about classic teas, those teas without flavor additives? Can those withstand the decaffeination process? Decaf tea itself is … Continue reading How Does Decaf Tea Compare to the Real Thing?

New to Tea? Start Here (Part 3: Oolong and Black Tea)

Continuing my informal guide to selecting tea, we've come to black tea, the most oxidized of the tea types, and oolong, which falls between green and black tea in oxidation. If you've decided that the vegetal nature of green teas just is not for you, head for an oolong or black tea. Black Tea. Everyone … Continue reading New to Tea? Start Here (Part 3: Oolong and Black Tea)

New to Tea? Start Here

Step into any tea store, in person or online, and the choices are staggering. If you're new to loose tea, the range of options can even be paralyzing. Where do you possibly begin? Added to the confusion is that although tea leaves (Camellia sinensis) are rightfully called "tea," other leaves, flowers, and even spice blends … Continue reading New to Tea? Start Here

Colombian Tea

Colombia practically means coffee. Even the fictional coffee farmer, Juan Valdez—created in the 1950s for a campaign advertising pure Colombian coffee—has been a household name for decades! In coffee-growing countries, coffee reigns king. Costa Ricans, for example, scoff at decaffeinated coffee, while visitors are reminded at every turn of the brew's importance. Colombia tea, therefore, … Continue reading Colombian Tea

Frozen Black Tea—A Rarity Produced from Frostbitten Tea Leaves

You've heard of ice wine, right? That super concentrated dessert wine made from ripe grapes that were allowed to freeze while still on the vines and then quickly handpicked during the night so that they never thawed? Because the water within each grape freezes but the sugars don't, the grape dehydrates and you end up … Continue reading Frozen Black Tea—A Rarity Produced from Frostbitten Tea Leaves