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British Tea Culture

British Tea Culture, we all know it exists, we all know it’s important, but what exactly does it mean? I set out to figure this out by interviewing over 110 people from the United Kingdom about their tea habits. I wanted to see what makes their tea culture unique across all social classes. I deliberately did not ask tea connoisseurs, for we know that the “connoisseur crowd” is a common stripe among all tea cultures. Assumptions made: British Tea is a black tea, mostly a blended black tea. Teas blends are commonly made up of teas from India (Assam), Sri Lanka, or East Africa. The
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Good tea in Chicago

** Note: Chicago Tea Garden has closed. ** The Chicago tea scene is blowing up. If you are visiting Chicago and are super into tea, please make it a point to visit these Chicago tea shops: Todd and Holland (Forest Park) - http://www.todd-holland.com/ Adagio (State Street, Naperville, Old Orchard) - http://www.adagio.com/stores/ TeaGschwendner (River North) - http://www.teagschwendner.com/US/en/Locations.TG Madame Zuzu’s  (Highland Park) - http://www.madamezuzus.com/ The Green Teaist (Lake Forest) - http://www.thegreenteaist.com/ The Tea House (Naperville) - http://www.theteahouse.com/ The Coffee and Tea Exchange (Lakeview) - http://www.coffeeandtea.com/ Dream About Tea (Evanston) - http://www.dreamabouttea.com/ There are more tea shops in Chicago, but these are the most legit. They are all driven by passion
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Describing Muscatel

Muscatel is an elusive taste found in some Darjeeling teas, most likely second flush teas. It is very hard to describe the taste in words, but it is easy to recognize the taste once you are familiar with it. James Norwood Pratt goes as far as saying that in tea, muscatel “denotes a unique muscat-like fruitiness in aroma and flavour.” Rajiv Lochan, owner of several tea gardens in India and CEO of Lochan Tea Ltd remarked that muscatel is “very difficult to describe but it is something extraordinary and rare.” I asked my tea friends how they would describe this elusive
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Thoughts on American Tea Culture

Or any culture for that matter. I was reading a translation by MarshalN of a Chinese blog post about snobbery in the tea world and it kind of went along with my thinking of late about tea culture here in America, where it seems like there are so many different groups with differing opinions and ideas that made up our “culture” here.  I guess its a social “thing” that happens in a lot of niche industries. Let’s remove tea from the equation and talk about products in general — the masses (the majority) tend to cling to a product of lesser
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Chicago Tea Tasting

Had a great tea tasting for my company, Chicago Tea Garden in January. If you live in the Chicago area and would like to attend a tasting, please signup here. Thanks to Flickr user faraocious for taking these awesome photos! view the whole set by foraocious here.
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No Bullshit Tea Companies

Someone recently asked me how many tea companies exist right now that have made a commitment to only sell pure tea. I didn’t have an answer, so I started searching, and with the help of my friends on Twitter and Reddit, I came up with the following list. The criteria for the list: the tea company must sell tea in loose or compressed form only, no tea bags or sachets all tea sold by the company must be unflavored, unscented, and free of inclusions with the following traditional exceptions being made: Black tea flavored / scented with bergamot White or
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What is Tuocha?

Tuocha or “dome-shaped bowl tea” is a compressed tea, usually made of pu-erh. The shape resembles a bird’s nest and tuocha range in weight from 3g(seen above) up to 3kg or more. Tuocha are convex in order to help the tea dry out after processing. “The name for tuocha is believed to have originated from the round, top-like shape of the pressed tea or from the old tea shipping and trading route of the Tuojiang River [Wikipedia].” While mini tuocha can be steeped whole, most large tuocha are broken into pieces and only small amounts are steeped at a time. If you’d like to check out
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Tea for iPhone, an Interview with the Developer

I recently sat down with Samuel Iglesias, tea-enthusiast (nerd) and first-time iPhone developer to discuss his journey in creating an app called “Tea.” Who helped you with the app? Tea is the result of a collaboration between me (@siglesias) and designer Mac Tyler (@mactyler). I came up with the concept after being frustrated by my scattershot, do-whatever approach to making tea–sometimes it would taste great, other times not so much, and I would never be exact about how long I steeped it, just sort of let it sit there until my intuition told me it was ready. After learning that
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Nuo Mi Xiang “Sticky Rice” Pu-erh

There exists an herb in China’s Yunnan Province who’s aroma closely resembles that of sticky glutinous rice. “Nuo Mi Xiang Nen Ye” translates to “Sweet Rice Tender Leaves.” This tea in maocha form, is left for months in close contact with Nuo Mi Xiang Nen Ye leaves until the tea leaves take on the scent of the herb. The leaves are pressed into tiny tuochas, which Wikipedia states is “believed to have originated from the round, top-like shape of the pressed tea or from the old tea shipping and trading route of the Tuojiang River.” The shape resembles tiny birds-nests, and they
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