Saturday, February 10, 2018

Yum Cha in Hong Kong, Lock Cha Tea House

Yum Cha is a practice, associated with Hong Kong and Cantonese-speaking parts of China, of having tea and dim sum (a variety of small dishes).  It's like brunch. I was recently in Hong Kong and had a chance to visit the Lock Cha tea house to enjoy this custom.

See the tea kettle to the side?  It's cleverly built into the table. 

We enjoyed a yellow tea (top) and a Phoenix oolong (bottom). 
The oolong was called "greenish" tea in English. 

Veggie dumplings

Cakes of pu-erh and other tea

Friday, January 26, 2018

Girl Scouts and Tea

I am lucky to the be the aunt of a very special Girl Scout, and also to have been able to share my love of tea with Girl Scouts in Washington. I received my cookies today and sat down with a cup of tea to enjoy them.  Lifting my cup to all Girl Scouts, past - present - future!

Girl Scout Law

I will do my best to be honest and fair,
    friendly and helpful,
    considerate and caring,
    courageous and strong, and
    responsible for what I say and do,
and to 
    respect myself and others,
    respect authority,
    use resources wisely,
    make the world a better place, and
    be a sister to every Girl Scout. 

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Afternoon Tea at Clockwork Rose Tea Emporium

Clockwork Rose Tea Emporium

Two friends and I spent a recent Sunday afternoon enjoying afternoon tea at the Clockwork Rose Tea Emporium in the historic part of Beaverton, OR. It's a charming venue, with weekends already booked out through the end of the year. (You can email to be added to the waiting list.)

The tea room is fashioned in the Steampunk style. It's interesting and whimsical, and makes me wonder why I hadn't seen the natural affinity of these things before. It's a light touch, with interesting artwork positioned throughout the space. From the website, "Steampunk is a sub genre of science fiction or science fantasy that incorporates technology and aesthetic designs inspired by 19th-century industrial steam-powered machinery."

What I can say in current time and space is that the food is abundant, fresh and delicious; the tea choices are worth getting excited about (they exclusively serve Harney & Sons); and the service is attentive. 

Afternoon tea is $30, and for that you will enjoy a bottomless pot of tea with salad, sandwiches, savories, scones and desserts. I took a fair bit home.  Some special diets can be accommodated, (vegan, gluten free, etc.), with advanced notice.

Wife and husband team Maggie and Harold are the designers and proprietors of the tea room. Their tea journey began on a trip to Ireland, where at a B&B they asked for coffee and were offered an old box of instant. They chose tea instead, and that choice led them on a path that ended at 12412 SW Broadway Street, Beaverton. 

I look forward to returning soon!

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

NW Tea Fest 2017

 A fantastic year at the NW Tea Fest 2017We celebrated the 10-year anniversary of the event in a larger venue, allowing for new vendors and instructors.  I've been fortunate to attend 7 out of 10 years, and my love of tea has grown with each year. Here are a few highlights from 2017:

Ephemeral filter, from the skeleton of a Bhodi tree leaf

Ingrid explains the Indiegogo Campaign for a Global Tea Exchange
(I've donated!  Consider an investment in tea's future.)

Brewing in the Wu-Wo tea ceremony, gifted with glorious sunshine

Celebrating friends - Shiuwen and staff from Floating Leaves Tea

The vendor floor, and Portlanders drinking tea

Oolong Owl Blogger Char

Aged white tea that Char brewed up

Excited to taste teas from Colombia, too!  More on that to come.

I was a panelist in a Blogger forum, and co-taught a class on Bowl Style Brewing.  Fun!  And thanks to my co-instructor Ana!

Congratulations and thank you to Julee, Doug and the team that has made this event fantastic for 10 years.  Lifting my teacup to many more!

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Totem Teas

I recently spent a lovely afternoon drinking tea with friends. I'm hard-pressed to find a way I'd rather spend my time. In this gathering, Phillip, of Totem Teas, guided us through his current selection. Phillip's business model is to sell teas he's excited to drink. It's a great plan! He also sells very fine incense.

I enjoy hearing about people's tea journeys, and Phillip's began with a passion for Japanese teas. Below is his first teapot, well-loved and used. 

We tasted a number of teas together, making our way from a light Lishan oolong to a deeply oxidized Bai Hao.  Note the lovely multi-colored leaves below, one hint of a good  Bai Hao (Oriental Beauty).

All very good teas! I was particularly drawn to the Floral Mountain Tie Guan Yin. I found this to be a liminal tea. It had the light, top notes of the modern, competition styles (Anxi, greener) but with a depth of roasty groundedness (more like my preference, Muzha style). Another point of interest for this tea - it hails from Ali Shan.

Now let's talk incense.  I used to avoid it. It made me sneeze or gave me a headache. Then I discovered the amazingly delicate pleasures of Japanese incense. I was hooked, and my love of incense has grown. Finding the type of incense I appreciate isn't an easy thing from the US, and I'm delighted to recommend Phillip's line. He's got some really nice incense here, folks.

I appreciate the well-curated line of teas and incense from Totem Teas. Buying teas via the internet is always a risk - you don't get the benefit of sampling. What I can say is that you're in good hands with Phillip's choices.  

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Eclipse Viewing and Tea

I was lucky, here in Portland, to be in 99.2% coverage during yesterday's solar eclipse.  I enjoyed the viewing from a park near my home.  I went old-school with a pinbox projector.  I also brewed tea grown near Sun-Moon lake in Taiwan.  ;-)
Old Growth Tea, Black, from Sun-Moon Lake in Taiwan

Sun and Moon cups

As the eclipse was beginning
Due to the optics of the pinhole projector, the image is inverted

Crescent shadows through the trees

The twilight was beautiful, and I was lucky to see the shadow bands dancing on the sidewalk.

Did you enjoy tea with the eclipse?  Tell us about it!