This month I received tea samples from Grey’s Teas, a brand that I had heard of but that I hadn’t have the chance to try so far. So, I was fortunate enough to be contacted by Richard Grey, his founder, to taste and review some of their teas. I chose samples that were new for me so I could also take the opportunity to discover the brand through teas I am not familiar with.
Tai Ping Hou Kui
I find it light bodied, quite vegetal but also nutty and with toasted notes that remind me slightly to hojicha. Spinachy, a bit citrusy as well almost like lemon. Aftertaste quite toasted like tobacco and wood. Judging from its appearance, I never imagined these distinctive roasted notes coming out of this green tea.
Kenya White Lelsa Silver Tip
Wet leaves have citrusy aroma like passion fruit or tamarind. The flavour is like hay with a dark chocolate long aftertaste. The color of the liquor is yellowish, not so pale to be a white tea. Quite an interesting discovery!
Formosa GABA Oolong
Wet leaves smell like dried plum. It is very fruity and heavy in the mouth, round and velvety. Low astringency, notes of pineapple and a toasted end. And, on top of that, you get all the benefits of GABA in one cup! This formosa Oolong was my overall favourite.
Thank you Grey’s Teas for the samples, it has been a pleasure to taste them all!
In May of 2013 blogging seemed quite intimidating for me, I couldn’t help but thinking about all the amazing tea bloggers there were and all that was already written and said about tea. I would actually wonder, what else there is to say?
So I convinced myself that my blog was going to be a personal exercise to continue learning, researching, reading about tea and that I would do it with no commitments with the only condition that it had to be enjoyable, meaningful and overall inspiring. I remember it took me a while to go public but when I finally did it I said: “I would write as if nobody is reading”. Luckily today I have a beautiful audience with whom I share a common love for tea. And the truth is that blogging has been a very rewarding experience and the best way to discover and to learn more about this wonderful world.
Teascopia allows me to share my thoughts about the personal and social experience of drinking tea,
not always in a technical way but also based on my own reflexions and curiosity. My posts and my pictures usually reveal this relation with tea in a very simple way. I love the simplicity of things and how we are able to give meaning to them instead of the other way around. So I love to think of tea as everything and nothing, something that I shape and shapes me too.
I am thankful for your loving support during these years. It reassures my passion and motivates me to keep on going.
Thank you very much for reading and may this new year brings new adventures, experiences and projects we can share together!
Today I am featured in Revista Estampas with an article about pairing tea with traditional Venezuelan christmas sweets and desserts. The process of writing this post took me back to family traditions and memories that stay with me forever. Thank you Adriana Gibbs for this special invitation!
To read the full article click here
“Tardes de merienda en navidad”, un artículo que se publica hoy en Estampas donde propongo el maridaje con té para cuatro dulces de navidad tradicionales venezolanos. Escribirlo me hizo recordar tradiciones familiares y sabores que están grabados en mi memoria para siempre. Mil gracias a Adriana Gibbs por esta invitación tan especial, ¡la disfruté de principio a fin!
Para leer el artículo completo pueden hacer click aquí
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.
We 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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
I met Victoria about 4 years ago when we were both living in Buenos Aires and I can still remember when she said she was moving to Europe. Few years later we connect again, now in Spain. She lives in Madrid where she continues working as a freelance artist doing animations, illustrations, piñatas, set design, props construction and display windows among other creative projects.
Vicky recently came to Barcelona and I asked her about collaborating together in a small tea project for my blog. I have always been a big fan of her work as I think it truly shows her personal style and unique way of seeing things. My plan was to ask her to try one tea and create an illustration inspired by her experience tasting that specific tea. I had seen works of her about food, coffee, her famous cats and dogs series and I thought that tea could also be a great theme. I was really looking forward to see her style put into the context of tea, it had to be fantastic!
So I chose one of my favourite blends by Mariage Frères, Thé Vert au Tibet, as I wanted a powerful tea, full of aromas and flavors. I made a sample for her with some instructions on how to prepare it and enjoy it, step by step as well as the original description of the tea by Mariage Frères that says: “Green tea with floral (rose, jasmine) and citrus (bergamot, mandarin) fragrances, enhanced by a vegetal undertone held by the green tea”
“The fragrant green jade leaves yield a bright, limpid, golden infusion, which carries you up to the rooftop of the world!”
The only request was that she would make some time to prepare the tea and enjoy it with no rush. So I put everything together and sent it over the post.
One of the things she told me when she got the envelope was that her mailbox was perfumed by the tea and she loved it.
Few weeks later she sent me the illustration and told me she had the tea with her boyfriend and they both agreed that the tea was “fresh (represented in the blue color and the rain), relaxing (as the mountains, with a bucolic feeling and nature) and because it has a citrusy taste she also added a clementine slice as the main element”.
It was challenging, she said. Not in terms of drawing or designing but for putting a feeling, a sensation, a smell and a taste into an illustration and I agree, it is not as easy as it sounds. It happens a lot with smells, they trigger memories and sensations that are hard to explain with words as well as to draw, paint or even sing.
I am in love with this illustration. It wonderfully shows a sensorial experience as if a whole new world unfurls and comes to life from the cup of tea, almost like a magic lamp of aromas, flavors and images.
I like when images, words, thoughts, aromas are put together to become something bigger, to complement each other, to add meaning or even just a particular aesthetics to something. In this case to “represent” the experience of drinking tea.
It is a pleasure to work with people you like and admire sharing ideas and working together and I was very much looking forward to this one in particular so thank you Vicky for sharing your love and talent!
To see more of Victoria’s work please visit: http://victoriafernandez.me