Paper and Tea

Paper and Tea Teascopia

Last February I went to Berlin for few days to meet with some friends during the Berlinale Film Festival. As my friends already knew the city I didn’t make any plans but there was just one thing I was really looking forward on doing: visiting Paper and Tea, a tea shop that I love.

Since we “knew” each other through social media, a week before my trip I sent them a email saying that I was going to Berlin and I wanted to say hi, but unfortunately I didn’t get any reply. Nevertheless I told my friend Marlies, who also loves tea, that we should go anyway and check out the store as we’ll be able to get some nice teas to bring back home and also just to have a look around.

We went to the Concept Store, a gorgeous shop located in the neighbourhood of Charlottenburg where we wandered around sniffing all the teas on display, admiring the collection of teaware while we sipped a black Keemun they had kindly offered us.

IMG_2296We had finally made up our minds choosing some teas and they told us that we could have a small tasting. I wanted to try the Maia’s Pick and we had the opportunity to try the Sakura Garden as well. We had a lovely tasting and made the final decision on the teas we wanted.

At the till I mentioned to the guy from the shop that I had a tea blog and that a week before I wrote to them saying that I was coming and that I wanted to say hi and finally meet them in person. He was very surprised and sorry that I didn’t get any reply from them as they are always happy to welcome bloggers and offer proper tasting, a nice tour through the store and many things more. But the truth of the matter is that he had done so already. He gave us a great tasting and he was very nice! His name is René and we stayed even longer chatting away. He also gave me more tea samples to taste (coming below) and a couple of the signature tote bags with the P&T message: “You drink coffee I drink tea my dear” for me and my friend. He was very kind, welcoming and interesting to talk to and we even exchanged emails and cards. So I am glad I introduced myself after all!

Here are the samples I got: a White Pu Er Bai Ya from Yunnan China, a green Jade Bud (organic bio) from Hubei China and a Sencha, Sakura Garden from Mie Japan.

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I also got for myself a delicious Osmanthus Oolong “Change-e Forever” that I love to have in the morning when I want to daydream: roasted and flowery at the same time, well balanced and perfect. And the “Maia’s Pick” that combines the grassy taste and colour of a sencha with the sweetness of a Chinese green. Absolutely delicious!

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This store really exceeded my expectations in every sense. Not only do they have a gorgeous, minimalistic space to celebrate tea but also high quality tea from almost every corner of the world, plus they know how to make people fall in love with their selection.

Thank you Paper and Tea and René for having us!

http://www.paperandtea.com

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Tea Tasting 14.04.15 Barcelona

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I am very excited to announce that I will be doing a Tea Tasting event in Barcelona at the Cuchara Club on Tuesday the 14th of April at 7:00pm. Join me to discover the fascinating world of tea in an intimate and friendly environment where we will appreciate the simplicity and the complexity of this ancient beverage. The tasting will be in Spanish but please do not hesitate to contact me at teascopia@yahoo.es if you have any questions.

Degustación y apreciación del té: una experiencia sensorial

Descubre el fascinante mundo del té en un ambiente intimo y cordial donde apreciaras la sencillez y la complejidad de esta bebida milenaria.

El cupo es limitado. Para reservar por favor envía un correo electrónico a: cucharaclub@cucharaclub.com / Space is limited! To reserve a spot please contact: cucharaclub@cucharaclub.com 

http://cucharaclub.es

¡Espero verlos allí! I hope to see you there!

Notes on tea – Teatulia

In this opportunity we head off to Northern Bangladesh, to the region of Teatulia.

Teatulia is a company that specialises in organic tea from their own single USDA-certified organic garden in northern Bangladesh, offering a range of teas as well as herbal infusions.

I have had the pleasure to taste and review three of their award-winning organic teas from the North American Tea Championship: a white, an oolong and a black tea and now to share my notes with you.

Teatulia Organics - Teascopia

Few months ago I was talking to a Wine Sommelier, as I was looking to buy an organic and natural wine, and she made me taste one of her favourites that she described as “wild”. She used the term to say it was “as nature intended” and I loved it as it perfectly described the taste and the feeling of that particular wine. The experience still lingers on my mind and I think the term can be applied to these teas as well. For me their best quality is precisely that they are natural but sophisticated at the same time, raw and refined; a fantastic result of the way they have been grown and produced.

I also appreciate the fact that this brand has a strong social commitment with the local community who works at the garden and the environment. In a world where profit and mass production is the norm, it is refreshing to come across with companies with a sensitive and sustainable approach to business.

Thank you Teatulia for this experience!

http://www.teatulia.com

Iced Rose Tea Latte

Spring is around the corner or at least that is what I would like to think, so today I want to share this recipe with you to anticipate and welcome our next season! It is a flowery and sweet iced tea with a festive character, perfect to cheer us up while we wait for the sun to warm us up again.

Iced Rose Tea Latte Teascopia

P.s. Please feel free to substitute the teas I have listed above for any strong black tea that you have at home. An English Breakfast will do the trick as well!

Cheers! x

Notes on tea – Golden Tips Tea

Few weeks ago I received a little box covered in a sewn white cotton fabric with a beautiful red wax seal. It had travelled from New Dehli to Barcelona all the way. Inside the box there was just tea, tea leaves awaiting…

This parcel comes from Golden Tips Tea, a company established in 1933 that specialises in pure Single Origin unblended teas from India that they have kindly sent to me and that I now have the pleasure to review.

Below you will find each one of the teas with some of my notes and thoughts. I hope you find them useful and somehow inspiring.

Teascopia review

Arya Pearl Darjeeling

Temp 80C / Time 5 min

Elegant, long, almost untouched dry leaves with a beautiful soft olive green colour. The perfect leaf set of one bud and one or two leaves. Altogether they look like dancing leaves.

With a nice bright and pale yellow liquor, this is a very delicate tea with fresh aroma and fruity taste of passion fruit or even elderflower. Unlike other white teas, this one has a very low or none astringency and a very silky texture in the mouth. Nice and subtle tea with a medium sweet fruity aftertaste.


Glendale Jasmine exotica

Temp 80C / Time 3 min

The smell of the dry leaves is striking: it has the enchanting aroma of fresh jasmine.

The leaves are green and brown in different shades with abundant golden tips.

Its pale yellow liquor is mellow in taste with subtle hints of jasmine, almost faded. It has a low astringency and a medium sweet light aftertaste. Nice and pleasant to drink: it is delicate, fresh and flowery. If I had just tried this tea without knowing what type it was, I might have thought it was a white tea.

I have a soft spot for jasmine green teas and I couldn’t resist trying a jasmine tea from Nigiri, India. I must say it is a peculiar experience: the infusion has the character of an Indian tea but the aroma of Jasmine adds a unique layer to it.


Thurbo Darjeeling Oolong

Temp 90C / Time 4 min

Mixture of short brown and green leaves with lots of silver tips. Nice and uniform in size.

Beautiful amber liquor. It is a powerful tea with the characteristic muscatel grape taste with a punch of fruitiness. It also has a long fruity aftertaste. Medium silky body. This was my favourite of all four. It is my first time tasting an oolong from Darjeeling and I loved it, it has something special!


Castleton Moonlight Black Tea

Temp 90C / Time 4 min

The dry leaves are olive green and brown with presence of silver tips: the classic beautiful colour of a fine first flush Darjeeling.

Bright light caramel brown liquor. Very fresh, fruity with the distinctive muscatel taste of Darjeeling black teas. Very low astringency and medium bodied. Short but very pleasant aftertaste. A very complex tea.


 

Thank you Golden Tips Tea for the tea, it feels like I have travelled. From the packaging to the tea itself it, everything was brilliant. It definitely grows my interest to visit the tea fields in India even more.

http://goldentipstea.com

Welcome to Blends for Friends

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Welcome to Blends for Friends, the place where it is all about tea.

Alex Probyn started Blends for Friends with the purpose of using his experience as a Master Tea Taster to create bespoke blends for people, initially friends and family. Today he still supplies and makes blends for customers but also to businesses around the world in much larger volumes. His solid career and experience in the tea industry as well as his love for tea are surely part of his business’ success.

I met him in 2012 at a Masterclass at the Langham Hotel in London. After the class I approached him and expressed my interest to learn more about tea. Unfortunately he wasn’t giving any other training at the moment but he said that if I was interested, I could go to Blends for Friends to help out with his business in exchange for tea training. It was a deal!

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So I went there in February of last year for the first time and spent two weeks breathing, smelling, touching, blending and tasting tea, just what I was looking for. It was a great opportunity for me to explore, learn and have a hands-on experience working with tea.

I tasted more than three hundred teas and herbs during those weeks and I even remember getting dizzy because of how much air and mix of herbs and teas I tried. It was also my first time blending samples for customers as well as working on my own blends. Another valuable experience I cherish was the tasting session as part of a consultancy for an important tea brand: the preparation of the tasting and the evaluation of the tea samples were exhaustive and systematic, according to the highest standards.

IMG_1537One of the things I also liked about BFF was that almost every member of the staff knows a lot about tea, probably because there are ongoing tasting sessions open to all staff so you can always have a break and try new blends, herbs, spices and teas. Another great thing is that there are plenty of teapots and cups that you can use to make yourself and others a cup of tea and you are encouraged to do so. You can be as creative as you want, making your own blend or choosing any tea you particularly fancy, at any time, as many times you want. Did I say unlimited tea?

IMG_1600I am proud to say that I have joined and experienced almost all areas of the tea process before it gets to the final product and it has been enlightening.

I went back in November again and I was amazed (but not surprised) by how much Blends for Friends had grown in size, in staff, in numbers and every aspect of the business since I went the first time. They now have two working sites with new blending, packaging and stock areas, new machines and of course, new temporary and permanent staff.

Alex is one of the most generous persons I have met in the industry, he is not only passionate about what he does but he is also the kind of person that will give you the confidence and the tools for you to try and do the things you really want. I truly appreciate his generosity and kindness and I am very fortunate to have him as a guide in my present and future endeavors.

While I write this post I am sipping a milk oolong, one of the “top five staff favourites” teas at Blends for Friends. Definitely one of the best choices if you want almost everyone to say “yes please” after you have brewed a pot of tea to share.

Last but not least, I wholeheartedly want to thank everybody at Blends for Friends for their warm welcome and for making me feel part of your team. Special thanks to Sara for taking care of me and for being so wonderful. It was great to see you all again and I look forward to joining you later on this year!

Thank you!!!

http://www.blendsforfriends.com

Spain Uncovered: Tea in Barcelona

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Hello!

Today I am featured in the Podcast “Spain Uncovered” talking with Pilar Orti about Tea in Barcelona. Below you will find the link to the interview in English but there is also a Spanish version available on the website: http://www.spainuncoveredpodcast.net/

Thank you so much Pilar for having me as a guest in your wonderful podcast. It was a pleasure talking to you!

Full interview: Spain Uncovered: Tea in Barcelona