A while ago I got an email from a company in China called Teavivre asking if I would like to try some samples of their teas. Teavivre is run by a group of tea lovers from China, Canada and France and they will ship Chinese teas worldwide. They also offer free samples with each order. Lots of their teas are organic and their website is packed with information on all things tea related. My samples arrived and one rainy Sunday afternoon I assembled a team of tea tasters comprising of Matt, Ann and Rae.
Although tea is in my blog title I must confess that I am no expert and apart from Lapsang Souchong I don't drink any Chinese tea at home. Luckily Rae does and brought along all the correct brewing gear as well as his tea knowledge. We got to learn all about washing leaves, optimum water temperature, brewing times etc.
This special teapot has a section in the middle for the leaves which you fill with water and then when the brewing time is up you press a button to release the tea into the bottom part. You repeat this several times. The leaves are kept separate in the upper chamber so the tea doesn't stew and the candle in the base keeps the brew warm for ages. I definitely want to get one of these!
These are the teas that we tried. We ordered them in order of strength trying the lighter, more delicate ones first - White Peony, Peach Jasmine Dragon Pearl, Guang Don Phoenix Oolong, Keemun Black Tea Grade 1 and Raw Pu-Erh mini Tuncha. This photo is of the Peach Jasmine Dragon pearl which start off as tightly rolled balls and open out when water is added.
The Raw Pu-erh comes in little hard cakes of tea.
Here's the Pu-erh after it was prepared for brewing.
The colours of the teas varied greatly from pale apricot to golden ambers with the stronger teas.
I really enjoyed tasting all the teas. I loved the spinach and nettle aromas from the White Peony and it's refreshing, grassy flavours. I've had Dragon Pearl many times and always enjoyed it but the addition of natural peach flavour took this to another level. The Oolong had hemp aromas and pleasant fruity flavours. I think these three were my favourites. I found the Pu-erh quite strong and astringent but I'm sure this is down to my underdeveloped palate. The afternoon has definitely inspired me to drink more teas, in particular Chinese tea. Did you know that it has around a tenth the caffiene of a cup of coffee? There's also plenty of health benefits. Have you got any favourites?