Monthly Archives: February 2010

Tie Guan Yin from Chicago Tea Garden

Coming soon, in the first few weeks of March, Tony Gebley and his partner, Erin Murphy will be opening the doors online to Chicago’s latest tea merchant – Chicago Tea Garden (you can also keep track of Tony’s progress with his business on twitter, @worldoftea). To celebrate this, we’ve received a sampling from them of a Tie Guan Yin Oolong tea. This tea is a competition-grade Oolong from Anxi County, China. According to Tony, this tea was sourced by the infamous American tea guru, David Lee Hoffman from one of the organizers of the Chinese National Tea Competition. This particular tea is part of Mr Hoffman’s prized Phoenix Collection. Chicago Tea Garden is making this special tea available to American tea drinkers where it will retail at $14.99 for 50 grams and will be available online. Newer tea drinkers may feel this is expensive, but it’s really an excellent example of the accessibility that comes with fine, upper-level teas.

This particular Oolong is very much considered a fine tea, and those 50 grams will easily give you upwards to 50 cups of tea or more with resteepings. A typical teaspoon measurement holds about 3 grams of tea so you’ll get about 16 initial cups, but due to the hardiness and quality of the leaves, this tea can be resteeped 3-4 times. We found that one measurement of this tea resteeped well enough to keep our cups full for an entire afternoon.

Tie Guan Yin is a historical tea and was used as a tribute tea to the Royal Court. It is often translated as, “Iron Goddess of Mercy” and is a reference to the Buddhist goddess of love which is associated with the legend behind this tea’s birth. Click through to read what we thought

Two reasons why tea is for busy people

Tea is for work. Forget all the people who say tea is just for relaxing and only there to help clear your mind. To define tea that way, and to limit tea like that is nonsense. Far more people probably drink tea in the middle of their work day, or while doing household chores. A lot of people don’t even take a tea break to do it. They boil up some water, toss in some leaves and pour. Then, of course they hope to make it back to the pot in time to retrieve them – assuming they even remember.

How many pots or cups of tea have been ruined by hard-working folks deep in the middle of cleaning, writing, fixing, making, or just doing?

There is a lot of marketing hype out there about the relaxing nature of tea drinking. Though tea drinking certainly can be calming, the truth is, few people have time to sit back with their cuppa and put their feet up while listening to soft tunes on their iPod. Yes, it’s awesome to do that, but how often does that happen? And are those the only times you really drink tea?

Like so many others, you probably work hard every day – maybe even on weekends. Bosses, families, friends, everyone has things to do for somebody, and not enough time to get it done. Relaxation is often the last thing people ever get to do. More often than not, you are tired, but keep working, or you’re distracted and you keep going. You may even be thirsty and force yourself to wait for a chance to drink. For many hard-working people, tea really has less to do with taking a break, and more to do with staying hydrated so you can just keep getting things done. Keep reading to learn why tea keeps you going

Battle of the British Brands

What better way to test out a new brand of British tea than to pit it against a long-time favorite and champion of British blends.

There is definitely a place in the industry for tea bag teas. To those who say that tea bag tea is disgusting and undrinkable, we say – expand your palate. If you were a wine drinker and only drank expensive bottles every night then you would never really know if you have it good. Drinking ordinary table wine allows you to really
appreciate a great top-class wine. It’s the same way with tea. There are plenty of drinkable teas out there packaged up in tea bags and drinking them will help you appreciate the subtle qualities of a good oolong, or a fresh Darjeeling. Here, in America, when it comes to standard, blended brands, we are limited. However, in Britain, the blended brands are plentiful.

We are taking the old and trusted PG Tips, and pitting it against a new underdog brand, Make Mine a Builder’s. In the process, we are going to learn a little something about tea from our British friends across the pond. Namely, that blended tea brands are more sophisticated and complex than many people realize.

PG Tips

PG Tips is manufactured by Unilever UK. While Unilever has many brands it’s known to be the largest multinational tea company in the world. PG Tips was initially introduced in the 1930’s under a different name; the PG Tips name was adopted in the early 1950’s. PG is a popular English Breakfast-style
Make Mine a Builder’s

Builder’s was put together by the marketing firm Elmwood Designs in 2007. The founder’s attended Interbuild, a large annual conference for builders and contractors were they held a tea tasting. The goal was to bring back the Great British Cuppa. The blend they came away with was branded Make Mine a Builder’s.

Keep reading to find out who wins!

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