Down in Yunnan

Tuesday, January 13, 2015 1 No tags Permalink 0

15744942442_a19e9c6c45_cThe bulk of our time in China was spent down in Yunnan. We took two flights down to the Pu’er/Simao region…

15557971378_d306baa4db_c…to look at a tree.

15557564519_845ceb3647_cA tea tree, of course heheh. A family friend heads the Pu’erh Tea Association in China and runs one of the largest pu’erh tea companies in the area…

15123531864_a34d0cb592_c….there’s no way we could have ventured here without her guidance.

15741500041_8c6629767b_cA four-hour drive from the airport…

15741569061_4a08cfcce3_c…coupled with more than our share of roadblocks and mudslides as we drove…

15558239447_c15ea07cb8_c…high up Kunlu Mountain (in the prefecture of Ninger). But we made it!

15744977282_18ff47be63_cMost of the ancient tea trees (this one was 950 years old) are owned by small families.

15124014803_23876cdf5a_c-2These families harvest and sell to producers/processors who turn it in to what we know as…

15557534829_c0901a3b01_c…pu’erh tea.

15558643950_f56350ec3e_cThis particular family owned a few of the ancient trees and a number of smaller wild pu’erh tea bushes.

15744996792_a2aab29e87_cWe had only planned to take a brief look at the leaves…

15743406375_bfe374fbf0_c…but ended up staying the entire afternoon…

15719698956_cc67717aed_c…drinking fresh, just harvested pu’erh alongside the aged pu’erh.

15741494541_afe4046378_cIt’s always a bit surreal to be in a setting like this…

15743411735_88ccab011e_c…so far from “ordinary” city life. Why not stay for another cup of two? ^-^

Shanghai | Song Fang Maison de Thé

Thursday, January 8, 2015 1 No tags Permalink 1

15557245918_1780c861a9_cSlipping away for a quiet afternoon…

15718973756_261be9782e_c…in the French concession of Shanghai.

15123283103_579d1dcea5_cSong Fang is a teahouse on the corner of Jiashan and Jianguo Road. The owner is from Paris and worked for Dior and Veuve Clicquot before opening Song Fang in 2007.

15740754971_5c1f7543b5_cDownstairs is a retail tea counter…

15556802809_0307b5a5cd_c…and upstairs is where you can spend a quiet afternoon…

15744211292_644196eda2_c…perhaps with long jing (which is produced in nearby Hangzhou) and osmanthus.

15742674775_b0ba419d35_cSee you back soon again ^-^

Honey Orchid Oolong | Mi Lan Xiang

Saturday, January 3, 2015 0 No tags Permalink 0

15916990195_b59c6caf3f_cOn my last Taiwan trip, I visited a tea shop (one of the oldest in Taipei!) owned by a friend’s family.

15915142471_1e8e4ed4d7_cWe cupped six oolongs over the afternoon. And when we steeped the Honey Orchid Oolong (aka Mi Lan Xiang) her aunt noted that it was excellent with honey in the winter and champagne in the summer.

15729500518_c1c04cd67e_cSo we brought some back to NYC. And while I love this oolong best plain and pure (that’s when you get this heady sweetness that envelopes your entire mouth, intense!)…

15729766560_419854dcb5_c…it’s lovely late at night with a tiny spoonful of honey. This oolong has natural honey notes (hence the name), and this further enhances it.

15916390082_d1b149bdce_cBut if the caffeine from too much tea keeps you up, no worries. There’s always champagne. Do an 80:20 ratio of champagne to oolong. Best to cold-steep the oolong the night before. And of course, make sure it’s chilled before topping off that glass.

Mahalo to Allen for the photos ^-^