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And Were Back….

I’ve got everything moved over to the new host and things are looking pretty good right now. Still doing some tweaking on the site, but look forward to some good stuff this weekend.

Thanks for hanging in there.

Moving Site to a New Host

I’m currently in the process of moving this site to a new host, I’ve been having some ups and downs lately.

Should have everything moved over in the next couple days, be sure to check back for all new content and much more frequent updates!

While you’re waiting check out this article on what to look for in an Electric Water Kettle

Thanks,

Rob

Awesome Steepster.com Contest

I just found out about a great contest going on at one of my favorite sites. Steepster.com.

Here’s the info straight from the source.
We’ve put together a great contest just in time for the holidays. We’re calling it the “Ultimate Holiday Tea Contest” — it’s a free contest with one lucky winner taking home a ridiculously awesome prize bundle totaling over $825 that includes teas and accessories from twelve great tea companies. The contest just started and will run through Friday evening. Check out http://bit.ly/tea-contest for all the details.

Sticky: What is Pre-Rain / Pre-Qingming Dragonwell Green Tea?

Pre-qingming longjing

We know Dragonwell by many names; Dragonwell, Long Jing, Longjing, Lung Ching, all of which refer to that light and delicious tea from the Zhejiang provence in China.

Around this time of year however, we hear (generally with much enthusiasm) about something called “Pre-Rain” or “Pre-Qingming” Longjing. This can be somewhat confusing to relative neophyte in the vast world of Tea.

Simply, pre-rain or pre-qingming dragonwell is the first picking of the youngest sprouts from the plant.

What makes this all the more unique is that this process takes place over a 10 day period. This begins when the leaves first sprout and must be completed before the Qingming festival that happens on the 5th of April.
The leaves that are picked before Qingming, are then expertly processed with the result being pre-Qingming Longjing.
This highly regarded first grade Longjing is prized among Dragonwell fans for a more subtle and grassy flavor with an excellent finish.

Pre-rain Dragonwell, technically, is the tea that is picked before the rainy season begins, though not necessarily before the qingming festival. Pre-rain is considered of a lower grade than the Pre-Qingming longjing, however more often you will see pre-rain referring to pre-qingming, so generally it is safe to regard these as the same thing.
It’s always a good idea to check out the information from the particular tea vendor first, as they will usually provide a good amount of information about that particular harvest.
An added bonus in many cases is that the tea buyer may maintain a blog detailing the trip that they’ve taken to the different plantations.
This can give you a great connection with the tea your drinking and reflect on the process it took from leaf to cup.

If you haven’t tried a 1st grade Longjing, I highly recommend it. You will soon find another reason to get excited about spring time!

Storing Tea

Storing tea is a question that often comes up with new tea drinkers. Fortunately, it can be very simple if you just keep a few things in mind.

The National Tea Museum in Zhejiang Province notes Four factors that affect tea quality:

1. Temperature
Chemical changes of oxidation and polymerization are closely related to temperature, the higher the temperature the quicker the reactions. It was confirmed that rate of tea browning was increased by 3 to 5 times when temperature is raised by 10 ℃.
2. Moisture
Alimentary scientific theory revealed that components in absolutely dried foods were directly exposed to the air and easily be oxidized by oxygen in the air. When water molecules were aggregated with food components by hydrogen bonding, there formed a single molecular layer, the food seemed to be covered by a protection film. When tea moisture was about 3%, this single molecular protection film was formed. So the lipids in the tea were separated from oxygen in the air and prevented from oxidization by the film. On the contrary, when the moisture content was above this level, the water played a role of solvent instead of a protection film.
3.Oxygen
Oxygen can aggregate with almost every element and form an oxidized product. But oxygen in the air is most commonly found in molecular form and therefore not very active.
4. Illumination
Light itself is a kind of energy. Illumination can increase the energy level of the whole system illuminated and is detrimental to tea storage.

So knowing what affects tea, we can now make a few decisions about how we will store it
1st, we want an opaque container to keep out light.
2nd, we want something airtight that will keep out air, odors, and moisture.

The most important thing I’ve found is to keep your tea away from strong odor.
Tea if allowed exposure to strong smells will often absorb those odors and make for a less than pleasant experience.

Fortunately for us quite often the package that the tea comes in is more than adequate.
Tea package

For the ones that aren’t; my choice is tins, but even a plastic bag will suffice.

One trick I’ve found is to take my old tins from tea’s past and remove the labels and then refill them with new purchases.
tea tin

If using plastic bags, make sure that they are designed for food storage, and if clear, keep them out of the light.

So as you can see, tea storage can be quite simple and inexpensive.

What Tea do you keep on hand?

As I was digging through my personal assortment of Teas, two things happened:

My Tea

1st:  I realized that I have a Tea problem
2nd: I wondered whether other people keep a wide assortment of Tea on hand, or just a few that they really like.

Here’s a rundown of what I’ve got on hand right now:  Tell me what you drink.

1. Rishi Tea – Jasmine Silver Needle
2. Rishi Tea – Organic Earl Grey
3. TROT – Imperial republic Pu-erh
4. TROT – Mini Pu-Erh balls
5. TROT – Dragon Well (long jing)
6. SerindipiTea – Fiji
7. Teance – TiKuanyn (Monkey picked – medium roast)
8. TROT – Wuyi Oolong
9. SerindipiTea – Darjeeling First Flush
10. Rishi Tea – Kukicha
11. NM Tea Co. – Jasmine Pearl
12. TROT – Dancing Leaves Tea
13. TROT – Ti Kuan Yin
14. TROT – Big Green Hojicha
15. TROT – Organic Green Pearl
16. TROT – Republic Chai Tea
17. NM Tea Co. – Green Pu-erh packed in Mandarin Orange
18. NM Tea Co. – Guangnan Green Pu-erh (Tea patty)
19. Tazo – Awake
20. Two Leaves and a Bud – Tamayokucha
21. Lipton – Decaf black… (For my lady) 🙂

Log what you drink and explore something new.

I’ve started spending some time on a site called Steepster.

This site lets you log the tea’s that you’ve had and review them.
In addition to this, you can explore the reviews of others and see what other people in the Steepster community are drinking.

I think this is the best Tea based social site and I recommend it to anyone interested in Tea!

http://www.steepster.com

Coming soon… Daily news, reviews, education and information about Loose Leaf Tea

I hope to update this frequently with a wealth of information about all types of Loose Leaf Tea.

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