Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Winter Green

At our Japanese tea tasting over the weekend, we introduced something most people haven't heard too much about: aged Japanese gyokuro. Yes, a green tea that has been "aged" and it's not even Chinese. It's also not a new practice, Japanese connoisseurs and tea merchants often save their gyokuro harvest for up to a year before they will drink it. While we always look forward to drinking fresh gyokuro in the spring, we've been buying extra and storing some on the advice of Japanese tea friends. When properly stored, many green teas can last up to a year without dropping in quality and freshness but gyokuro is purposefully stored to improve the quality and the tasting experience. The tea is supposed to mellow and become even sweeter. The flavors are better balanced and even the texture is supposed to improve. We have a couple questions that we hope to answer with our own experiments: How long can gyokuro be stored and when does it peak? At what point in time does aging no longer improve the tea? Will the gyokuro eventually go stale like other green teas? What's the longest gyokuro has been successfully aged?
Our gyokuro (pine grade) comes from Uji in the Kyoto prefecture. It was harvested in the Spring of 2009 so we've had it for about a year and half. The broken leaves are rolled into little, slender stalks. The color is a rich, glossy green with bluish highlights. The aroma is soft with a hint of cocoa.

The most frequently asked questions at the tasting event centered around water temperatures and brewing times. We've addressed this a couple times on this blog but I'm happy to reiterate some basic points.Especially since I've been hearing about a popular tea guide on the internet that advises brewing green tea at 170 - 180 Fahrenheit for up to a minute... do not do this.
water cooler
Any guide that just has a general brewing temp. for all green tea, regardless of type is useless. Longjin, bilochun, sencha, gyokuro (to name a few) all have different requirements to achieve their distinctive flavors. For example: Chinese LongJin can handle a flash rinse at 185 Fahrenheit but then the water temperature is lowered dramatically (by about 30 degrees) for the actual infusion. Gyokuro, even one that's been aged like ours, requires very low temperature brewing from the start and doesn't get a rinse. If you brew a Japanese green tea at 180F, you are cooking the leaves. You might as well invite friends over for soup instead of tea. Also, the "tea guide" I was shown didn't even go into leaf and water ratios. I'm guessing the writer uses very little tea in a large amount of water and then a long steep time to pull out as much flavor as possible. Generalities like this just leads to mediocre tea, avoid them and take the time to practice and experiment for yourself. It's not hard to memorize the different requirements of tea; the knowledge will come naturally with experience. Okay, rant over; back to the tea.
  • For the gyokuro, we brewed with water at 130-140 Fahrenheit.
  • I used my small gyokuro pot (made of tokoname clay) that holds 90ml and about a tablespoon of tea leaf. 
  • Traditionally, water used for brewing sencha or gyokuro is brought to a boil first even though we use a lower temp. The boiled water is used to heat up the brewing vessel and cups. I transferred the water from the teapot to a water cooler bowl and added the dry leaf. The heat from the teapot brought out the delicate, nutty aroma of the leaf. It's very important to preheat the teaware because they can pull a lot of heat away from the water for brewing, especially water that's already a low temperature. After a little wait, my water was sufficiently cool enough to use (transferring water from vessel to vessel cools it down considerably, it doesn't take long until your ready to brew).  
  •  Gyokuro leaves are delicate and should be handled gently. For the first brew, I used a fine but steady stream and started pouring from the edge of the pot. Slowly, I made my way around the rim of the teapot and until the pot was filled to the brim. This way the leaves are introduced to water indirectly and they swirl gently around the pot, opening up without getting bruised.
  • I waited 30 seconds before decanting the first infusion and poured it directly into the tea cups using a gentle stop and pour action. (This method is described in a previous post on brewing sencha)
  •  The second infusion takes 10 seconds longer and the water can be a few degrees hotter but not much more than that. I noticed the leaf didn't fully expand even after the second infusion.
  • The third cup is optional and usually the weakest infusion even while using hotter water. I added another 15 seconds to the brewing time. Much of the delicate flavors are released with the first two brews and and I tasted less umami. It was still enjoyable but I knew that was the end of the experience.
While the leaves become a bright, saturated green when they unfurl in the water, the tea itself is quite pale with a yellow-green hue. However, it holds a surprising amount of body with a soft, chocolaty finish. The first sip is a light touch and then the umami starts to blossom and triggers the regions of the mouth that produce saliva. The sweetness follows the savory elements. The idea is to sip and savor this tea slowly so that you can experience the subtle shifts in flavor. It's almost difficult to do because the tea is very smooth and travels easily down the throat. Minute leaf bits are suspended in the infusion like dust motes in air and add to the satiny texture. Not a trace of bitterness or astringent quality, it was also missing the grassy note of a fresh gyokuro. I ate some of the leaves themselves and they tasted pretty fresh.
Even though it's been below freezing in New York and Toki likes to keep the windows open, I haven't experienced the internal cooling sensation that usually accompanies green teas. So far, I haven't gotten the usual chills and I'm happy to discover a green tea I can drink in the dead of winter without any discomfort. I'm curious to do a side by side comparison tasting of this gyokuro and the next harvest in 2011.

Aged gyokuro... worth the wait so far.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Dragon and Phoenix

I finally brought my dragon & phoenix gaiwan to the Tearoom for show & tell. This was the super ornate, hand painted one I found at a Hong Kong teashop; balked at the price; went home to New York without; then had reverse buyer's remorse and made Michael order it for me. It's been languishing in the back of my tea cabinet while we focused on setting up the new tearoom. I was happy to rediscover this lovely piece last week:

I love the lush details of the dragon with the gold outline of it's jaws, clean white fangs and every scale was added by hand. Even the background hasn't been spared as a closer look shows a tight random pattern surrounding the mythical beasts and flowers. It's richly colored and psychedelic yet also elegant.

When I received the gaiwan, Winnie also handed me this:
At first I thought it was very flimsy puer knife. Turns out, all the gold trim on the lid, cup and saucer was painted and left matte. The "knife" is used like a scraper to bring out the traditional shine of the gold. The blade is agate and polishes up the gold paint. I had not counted on that and Winnie just gave a shrug and said "That's how it's done, get scraping." Seriously, she seemed more surprised that I didn't know this fact about new gaiwans. I also realized just how much gold was incorporated into the artwork, like the thin line that traces the dragon's spine or the flecks in the Phoenix feathers. Michael was entertained by my frustration and said with an evil grin, "Imagine how much more this would have cost you if the artists had to do this part. It's going to take you hours but you'll save money." Several "Dexter" episodes later and aching fingers, I managed to give the gold details a soft, buttery glow.

I am a little scared of using this gaiwan. It's even thinner than the ones we sell at The Tea Gallery and there is only the slightest flare along the rim. There's more risk of chipping or just outright dropping it while I'm decanting tea. I do intend to use it but I'm also happy enough to just see it displayed.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Now on Flickr

Yumcha and Toki are teaming up and sharing our photos on
We just started the '21 Howard" page to document the daily life of our tearoom in pictures. Please visit and let us know what you think as we add a little bit each day to our photo diary!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Red Hot

As we're hitting winter's stride in NY, I've been relying on more red (black) teas to get me through the biting cold and sunless mornings. I'm not a morning person and I choose the extra 15 minutes of sleep time over breakfast and tea before I leave home. Fortunately, I work in a tearoom and the promise of good, hot tea is what drags my bleary-eyed self in these days.This morning I made myself the Shizuoka Red, a red tea from Japan that we recently discovered. I love the floral and malty notes of this tea and there's something delicate about it's structure that separates it from the more traditionally robust red teas. The rich, coppery color of the brew gives me a cozy feeling and actually whets my appetite.

The broken, oxidized leaves of this tea resemble a Chinese red tea like Keemum. I could see bluish highlights on the mahogany covered leaves. I also spotted some very slender stems. Their lighter color made them easy to pick out against the dark leaf.

  Native red teas are somewhat rare in modern day Japan. I heard they were more prevalent during less abundant times as it was easier to store and save than the more fragile green teas. Nowadays, the most common red teas on the Japanese market are from other parts of the world. We had sampled a few red teas in the past but they were pale imitations of richer, fruitier Chinese reds. Our opinion changed when we first tried the Shizuoke Red. Beautifully balanced with a natural sweetness, it stood up to our scrutiny and we discovered something novel yet pleasantly familiar at the same time.
  I used 4 grams in the medium gaiwan (90cc). A teapot with a built in strainer would be fine too. In fact, because the leaves are so broken up, a gaiwan isn't the best brewing vessel. It's easier for the broken bits to slip out and a strainer would be helpful. I was careful about how big I made the opening between the lid and bowl when I poured out the tea and used a separate strainer to catch escaping leaf bits. 
Since this is a Japanese tea, I decided not rinse the leaf and steeped the first infusion for 10 seconds. Toki was also in the office so I decanted the tea into a pitcher and served him a cup. The taste reminded him of a Darjeeling or Oriental Beauty. There is a familiar sweetness with a touch of malt and honey that we also find in those teas. I found more fruit than flowers in my cup. If I could describe a tea's "personality", I'd say it had a sunny nature. The body was smooth and slender, no trace of tannins. I let the second steep sit a bit longer, about 30 seconds. The color and flavor deepened with more malt and maintained it's smoothness. Even with the 3rd steep, there wasn't the usual tannic quality and astringency that comes with red teas. The taste softened dramatically after the fourth steep and like other Japanese teas, didn't carry much stamina for more than 4 cups. I'm still drinking this tea more than any other red tea this season, partly because I feel it warrants more experimentation with brewing times and leaf to water ratios. If anyone else is drinking this tea, I would love to hear how they are doing it. With it's refined sweetness, the addition of sugar or milk would overwhelm this tea's nature.
Fall is my favorite time of year and these past couple months I've been using a vintage cream pitcher from Japan because of its red maple motif. The matching colors and elegant styling is perfect for serving the Shizuoka Red. While I love traditional fairness pitchers, a small, antique creamer does the same job and adds something unique to your tea table. Also, this piece had been separated from the rest of the set long ago so it only cost me $15.00 at the flea market. Old, pretty and very affordable... my favorite combination. 

Shizuoka Red and a vintage creamer... a nice way to add some refinement to a casual morning at the office.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Qi of Tea

camellia sinensis flower

These past several weeks of tasting events have brought a lot of new people to our tearoom and a lot of common questions. One of them was the about the term chaqi that we use a lot and I'm surprised that I've never really written about it before though it's mentioned so much by us. When I first heard the term, I was already drinking tea with Winnie and Michael regularly. "Cha" meaning tea and "Qi or Chi' meaning flow of energy (usually ascribed to living things), is a way to describe the so called energy of the tea and describe it's physical effects on the drinker. 

I can only share my personal experiences with chaqi and the little I've gleaned from drinking tea. The idea of chaqi and it's role in tea's history could fill a book. Michael and Toki say it's a term that's been used for centuries. When a lightly roasted Pheonix oolong can cool the body while a heavy roasted WuYiCliff oolong can make a person sweat though both teas are served at the same temperature, the chaqi is used to explain the phenomena. (This was well before people understood about caffeine content or the nature of polyphenols. Even discovering and isolating unique tea compounds only tells us part of the story now.) Chaqi is inextricably linked to Chinese medicine and the belief that our own qi flows in meridians throughout our body which is subject to blockages and imbalances depending on various influences. The balance of yin and yang is the balance of opposites, hot and cold, light and dark. Individuals have differing balances but men are generally considered more yang while women are yin. It's believed as you get older your body's balance changes towards cooling yin and you must avoid food or drinks that will cool you further. In China and Taiwan, the elderly are encouraged to drink more aged and heavily roasted oolongs or aged puer because the qi of younger and lighter teas can be too chilling. That's one example of chaqi in every day life. White and green teas, although served hot, are considered cooling to the body's internal heat and used to refresh oneself in hot weather.

light shan lin xi oolong

When does chaqi become a factor in your tea drinking? 
For some reason, only Chinese and Taiwanese teas are considered to have chaqi and we don't consider the qi of an Indian tea or Japanese tea. Maybe it comes from the centuries of breeding particular tea trees with leaves that could produce such strong physical sensations in China and Taiwan that hasn't been replicated elsewhere. Tea trees that are more than a century old are considered to possess more chaqi. "The older the tree then the stronger the qi" is a common belief. Strong chaqi or the perception of it can dramatically raise the price of a tea. Often times, the difference between a tea that costs a few hundred dollars a pound to the same cultivar costing a few thousand is more about the trees' ancestry and the chaqi than the difference in flavor and aromas. The books written about Chinese tea connoisseurship from an eastern perspective often discuss chaqi when describing certain teas.
Chaqi is important to the tradition of Chinese tea. At the tearoom, we cannot evaluate a tea without certain expectations of chaqi. If it's a WuYi Cliff Tea, then we want to feel a gradual build-up of heat in the hands and chest. Sometimes, there is pressure behind the eyes and a coolness on the neck. I've seen fair skinned people become rosy after a few sips that has little to do with the actual temperature of the tea. I don't know why I'm particularly sensitive but an old tree, WuYi oolong makes my normally cold hands become damp with sweat and I get a tingling sensation down my spine. I can't drink light Taiwanese oolongs during the winter because I get too cold and my fingers will go numb. My favorite part is the calm and sometimes outright bliss that settles on me when. We also drink tea for the flavor and aroma but if there isn't any chaqi to enjoy, the tea can't really hold our interest. I've noticed that tea's from older tree's have more complex flavors and fragrances so these desirable characteristics go hand in hand with chaqi.

I try to find my own balance between the traditional wisdom of Chinese medicine and it's modern interpretations. Everything I've shared here is based on what I've learned from tea masters and personal experience. What I have are only anecdotal discoveries and that isn't the same as scientific evidence. That's fine with me and I think it's a personal journey for anyone interested in Chinese teas. Just as everyone has differing tolerance levels to caffeine, some people are insenstive to the myriad physical sensations that premium teas can deliver. Whatever unique combination of tea compounds causes these lovely sensations, we just call it the chaqi.

 There's a lot of mystery surrounding chaqi and I think it can get overly complicated. I've heard some connect it to "quantum vibrations" of all things. I doubt that they have actually discovered a sub-atomic influence on an individual level (I can really taste the quarks in this tea!) nor is this reasoning even necessary. Chaqi is a lot of things but it doesn't have to be the gateway to everything. I'm reminded of a quote by the late, great Richard Feynman, "Keep an open mind, but not so open that your brain falls out." Words to live by...

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

I have a lot to be thankful for this year. I love working with The Tea Gallery and now that we've joined with The Mandarin's Tearoom, I get to learn from Toki whose been generous with both his time and tea. It's been a busy month for us but one that's been filled with so much support and enthusiasm from our friends and patrons, there's no room for complaint. Though Thanksgiving is a holiday unique to the U.S., I'm also grateful for the positive welcome we've received from the international tea community now that we can ship to the rest of the world. More countries are being added every day thanks to your requests. We're moving forward with more events and workshops this winter and we hope to see you all soon at the tearoom.

This season, get 10% off any order worth $50.00 or more with our holiday coupon code when you shop online: TTGW1NTR
Just type in the code on the checkout page of our website. This is a multi-use coupon that is good till the 31st of December.

 Wishing you a wonderful holiday!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Our New Tearoom


Our tearoom is finally open and the first two days have been super hectic but so much fun! We've hosted our first couple tea events and were so pleased with the turnout and enthusiasm. Thanks to everyone for you support. I'm so sorry to those we had to turn away for some of the events which filled up quickly, especially tonight's oolong tasting. Your requests have been heard and next week's tea tastings will focus just on oolongs. Details can be found on our Events Page. To those who signed up too late for this week's event, I hope you can make it to next week's tea socials.
We've already had a couple of private tea tastings and it's given Michael a chance to break in his tea table. When available, Tim likes sit in and share his own insight of the teas that Michael brews. His presence has added a new dimension to our usual tea session. Of course, all the members of the tearoom is expected to brew for clients; you just never know who's going to stop by and share a cup.

Our tearoom is ready to receive patrons but I have a feeling it will always be a work in progress. Between Tim and Michael, there will always be changes depending on mood and season. We hope you'll visit to us and see for yourself.

And to the many tea drinkers who keep asking what we look like.... 
We're just regular people who love tea. 
Not pictured is the camera shy Winnie who happens to be the best looking one out this bunch.
See you soon.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Coming soon..

We're almost ready.
Things are starting to come together in our new space but there's still more work to be done in the eyes of Michael and Tim. I gave Brandon at WrongFu Cha the chance to post some exclusive pics of our space when he was in town over the weekend. We've made some more changes since then! I'll post some pics once everything is settled or you can drop in during our evening tea events starting next week and see for yourself.
Though we are still a work in progress, we are on schedule and will be officially open November 1st. Here's what else you can look forward to at our new tearoom:

While we're operating by appointment only, we're developing more weekday events that will be open to the public. We'll be developing open tea events every month that will give tea lovers opportunities to enjoy tea in our tearoom. Thanks to all the inquiries about tea workshops and classes, we're working on those as well.
We're also designing a set of Tea Tasting Menus for our new tearoom. Each menu will incorporate teas from both The Tea Gallery and The Mandarin's Tearoom so guests will have a chance to experience a variety of teas in one sitting. Details and the different session levels will be available on our website in a couple days.

 There will be some more developments in the coming weeks so please check back to learn about new events. To those of you already signed up for our first week's events: I'll see you next week!

It's back to work for me.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A follow up...


 It seems my previous post may have churned up more questions than it answered. Here are the ones I can answer at this time:

Q. Is your new space open for business?
A. Almost. We're still in midst of moving some furniture around and getting the details just right. Our official opening date will be November 1st. Please check our events page to see more details.

Q. I can't find your storefront, where are you?
A. That's because we don't have a storefront. We are actually on the 2nd floor of our building and accessible by a flight of stairs. Our address is 21 Howard Street, Suite 201 in downtown Manhattan. Please note: we are only open by appointment. Consider us an exclusive club for all you tea lovers out there. Please keep reading to learn more: 

Q. Will you be selling drinks to go?
A. No, we are not your typical tearoom and we are not a cafe. We don't even have a storefront and are not remotely interested in selling ready-made drinks or iced teas. We will be hosting private tea tastings and we are currently working on a menu that will allow visitors to try tea from both companies in one session.

Q. I'm not interested in a tea tasting. Can I just come to the new space to browse teas and shop?
A. Sorry, but we are operating only by appointment for the time being. We're still a small group and we really want to focus on a certain level of tea. This means we don't have time to properly host unexpected walk-ins. A scheduled tea session allows us to give the attention that each of our patrons deserve. If you don't have an appointment or haven't called ahead, you will not be admitted into the tearoom. There will be events open to the public and this is you chance to drop by and taste some teas for less than the cost of a basic tasting.
Q. What can I expect at November's Tea Events ?
A. Taste teas from both The Tea Gallery and The Mandarin's Tea and meet the members of The Tea Gallery and The Mandarin's Tearoom. We're all very busy and not always in the tearoom at the same time; these scheduled events give us an opportunity to be together and share our love of tea with others. Mingle with other tea people and make some new friends over a common interest. Each day is devoted to a different tea category; visitors to every event will get a chance to try all 6 styles.
If you're still not ready to take the plunge and sign up for a personal tea tasting, this is your chance to check out our space and try our teas for half the price of a tasting. We're also sweetening the pot by offering a special 10% discount off any teas or teawares purchased during the event. If you show up for all five events, you can attend the last one for free. See more details on our Events Page.

Q. Can I still buy online and pick up my purchase in person?
A. Yes. New York City dwellers can still choose the "in-store pick-up" option on our website whenever they shop online and can come pick up their purchase at the tearoom.

Q. How do I make an appointment and what are the rates?
A. You can call us at 212-777-6148 or send an email to We are currently working on a series of tasting menus that will vary in price depending on the value of the teas that are served. There will also be an option to customize your personal session and the pricing will depend on the chosen menu. We want your experience to be fun and memorable and will happily work with you to make that happen. More details will be available online in a couple weeks.
Q. Will you be offering classes?
A. Yes! We love to teach and we are working closely with the Mandarin's Tearoom to develop workshops open to the public and private tea classes. More information will be made available on our website in the coming weeks.

Q. Are you going to ship internationally?
A. Thanks to all the requests we've gotten from all over the world for our teas, we are definitely paying attention. We would very much like to make our tea available outside the US and are working on the logistics at this moment. We're asking for just a little bit of patience as our focus has been in getting our tearoom ready.

I hope this was helpful. Please send any more questions you may have to

Monday, October 18, 2010


Dear Tea Friends, 
 I can finally announce it: The Tea Gallery has moved to a new location!
 Not that it was much of a secret at this point. (I may have blabbed a bit to some tea friends who ended up blabbing on certain internet forums...) 
 We're partnering up with longtime friend, Tim of The Mandarin's Tearoom and sharing his spacious studio in downtown Manhattan. While both tea companies will remain separate entities, the decision to share a tearoom was based on years of mutual respect for each other's tea and principles. It's a match made in heaven as Michael and Tim blend their Hong Kong sensibilities and transform the former design studio into an elegant tearoom. Our old tea table was just set up and touches of the Mandarin have change the look of the original setup. Tim's teapots and wooden coasters are scattered across the table, as is a cigar or two. There is always a break for tea in the afternoon. I couldn't be happier working along side Michael and now I'm also learning from Tim. 
We're on old Howard Street, right above bustling Chinatown and below the designer shops of SoHo. The same policies that we had at the original space still apply. We're operating by appointments but we are also adding a slew of events to help celebrate our new look. Our official opening is on Nov.1st and we're kicking off with a week's worth of daily tea events. For more information, see the Events page.
I'll be posting pictures of our new space in the next post.

So when are you coming over for some tea?

Friday, October 8, 2010

Fall Happening

1996 loose leaf puer with mystery origins.

Hello Tea Friends!
Sorry I haven't posted in so long. We're in the middle of some big changes and our little blog has been neglected in the process. I was asked to keep quiet about what's in the works but it's become known as the worst kept secret in "teadom". There have been leaks here and there (looking at you, Brandon of WrongFuCha..) and while I still can't talk about it, most people have figured it out. If you're the few still in left in the dark... here's what I can say:
 The Tea Gallery is planning a change of scenery with an old friend.

If you need a couple more hints, just hunt down Brandon (the blabbermouth) on

Nanou Green

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Labor Day Weekend: Tea with Friends

This Labor Day weekend, Brandon AKA WrongFuCha was kind enough to host Yumcha and family (including Nana the pup) at his home in Delaware. If you're ever lucky enough to get an invite to his corner of the state; expect thoughtful hospitality, a sophisticated tea selection and lots of satisfying eats.

On Saturday, a couple members of his Philadelphia tea club came by to share tea and treats with us. The session started with a lovely Phoenix DanCong; a gift from Toki of The Mandarin's TeaRoom. He couldn't make it to Delaware but his gift of tea was appreciated by all. It was soft and full with hints of fresh almonds. We didn't have much info on the tea itself. The enigmatic Mandarin promised only to reveal his tea's pedigree after we drank it. "Taste first, ask questions later" seems to be an inscrutable, Hong Kong tea master thing because Michael also does this all the time.The intent is to provoke an honest evaluation of the tea unclouded by prior assumptions based on age, harvest details and mountain elevation.

When visiting a fellow tea junkie, it's always a good idea to bring your own teas to share. Keeping in mind my host's taste, I brought a selection that he would enjoy. Members of his tea group were still unfamiliar with certain tea styles and so Brandon requested some teas that would broaden their experience. I brought along one of my Taiwanese teapots for those who were curious about the style. I already knew that Brandon was a fan of Master Lin's teas, so I had a 6 Year Aged, Tung Ting from Master Lin to showcase with the teapot.

We moved on the 2004 Tea Gallery, white puer cake. The afternoon sun lit up the silver hairs of the cake and it was admired by the other guests. As a host, Brandon made sure that there would be a thoughtful selection of the new and familiar for everyone. As a guest and a friend, I was happy to provide a few teas and let someone else brew them for a relaxing change.

It was a pleasure watching Brandon carefully choose different brewing vessels for the most harmonious pairings. Not everyone thinks about the visual harmony of the tea table but it can be jarring when incongruous pieces share the same space. Sometimes, those with the most diverse collections make the mistake of having every accessory on view when some editing would create a more sophisticated setting.
Our tea host, Brandon, looking relaxed and ruddy cheeked from the chaqi of the puer. At this point, I was also feeling extremely warm in spite of the cool wind drifting through the open windows of the tea room. The chaqi left my hands damp with sweat.

Once you start down the road of aged puer, subsequent teas can be tried in order of greater years. The next tea was a sneak preview of a Hong Kong storage, 1996 loose leaf puer from The Tea Gallery. Not yet available through our site, it was nice to surprise our host with a new tea from the Gallery (he's practically memorized our selection).

After just 4 steeps, the build up of chaqi had me in a drunken, blissed out stupor and I felt too full too manage another sip of tea. The rest of the party was in a similar mood. Conversation trailed off and it seemed like a good place to end the session and say good-bye to the Philly members. Once the feeling of fullness wore off, it was replaced by an eager appetite sharpened from all the tea we had drunk. The rest of the evening was devoted to old fashioned milkshakes and greasy cheeseburgers. Later, I fell asleep to the soothing sound of crickets.

On Sunday, we rolled up our sleeves and set to work documenting ways to evaluate Yixing teapots with water and tea for Brandon's blog. Our host directed, I took photos and David posed for the camera. Inspiration for the post goes to Michael of The Tea Gallery and Bill from China Flair.
Read about our efforts at
WrongFuCha's blog.

Happy Labor Day!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

WuYi Tea Sunday

Photo by WrongFu Cha

This weekend I partnered up with Brandon from WrongFu Cha to document and share some tips on brewing WuYi Cliff YanCha (rock tea). This seemed like a good time to taste The Tea Gallery's 2009 Little Foot
which doesn't get nearly enough loving as it deserves. I made the tea and stayed still for the pictures (the easy part) while Brandon took photos, wrote up a quick and easy guideline and posted the results (the hard part). Visit Brandon's blog and read: Brewing Rock Tea.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Summer Update

Hello Tea Folks!
The Tea Gallery is closed until the August 14th while we take our summer vacation. That also means we won't be shipping goods until after the 14th. Sorry for the inconvenience. Just so you're not too upset with us, we'll be offering Free Shipping for the rest of the month. At least we hope that helps.

I leave you with some sencha pics from our last tea session before our break:
Kagoshima Master Blend