James Norwood Pratt’s Tea Dictionary: Fukusa

Fukusa: A square silk cloth used in cha-no-yu for the ritual cleaning of the tea scoop and the natsume or cha-ire, and for handling hot kettle or pot lids. Fukusa are sometimes used by guests for protecting the tea implements when they are examining them. When not in use the fukusa is tucked into the “obi,” or belt of the kimono. Fukusa are of different colours for men and women, for people of different ages or skill levels, for different ceremonies and schools. If you want to read more about James Norwood Pratt’s Tea Dictionary or to pick up  a copy, click
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Best Tea of the Year: Hype

So many times i see awards being given out for “best ceylon tea of 2010″ etc.  [like here] And this practice is hard for me to swallow. The following thoughts instantly come to mind when I see an American company accept an award for a tea they “procured”: 1. Is it possible that more than one company imports the same tea? Must they have exclusivity to enter such contests? 2. Do they mention the farmer at all? After all, the farmer is the one responsible for the tea. I ask myself, what is the point here? Isn’t the farmer the
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Pu-erh Tea and Tobacco: A trip to Iwan Ries

Much has been written on tobacco notes in young pu-erh teas. Because of this, some local Chicago tea friends and I decided to take this idea for a spin and spend a day at Iwan Ries with Certified Tobacconist Ron Carroll. Ron wanted to learn more about pu-erh and we wanted to compare the subtle complexities of pipe-tobacco with the nuances of pu-erh tea. Instead of immersing ourselves in not-taking and in-depth comparisons, we just enjoyed ourselves and let the conversation flow. Thomas Conner of TeaSquared elaborated on the day: http://teasquared.blogspot.com/2010/05/tea-and-tobacco-smokin.html
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Todd & Holland, a tea shop in Forest Park, Illinois

On July 31st, I held my first Chicago Tea Meetup @ Todd and Holland in Forest Park, IL. Meetup Groups are a great way to meet people in your area with similar interests. The Chicago Tea Lovers group has around 250 members (As of August 2010) and has held 56 meetups in the Chicago area since 2006, so I am very excited to head up this group. Seven members came out to Todd and Holland, a tea shop owned by Janet and Bill Todd that has been in the Chicago area for over 15 years. Bill frequently travels to tea
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Tea Drinker Profile: Rachana Carter

Name: Rachana (Rachel) Carter Sex: Female Age: 33 Occupation: Some Retail – Primarily a Stay-At-Home Mom. Location: Suburb of Chicago. Do you drink tea at work?: At work I drink Adagio’s RTD Green Tea – Anteadote. Interests: First, I am an absolute addict of all things tea.  I love the chance at trying new teas and coveting old favorites. The infinite possibilities of flavor excites me and the fact that I will never be bored amazes me.  I also enjoy scrapbooking and cardmaking, but I must say I am a bit of sci-fi and computer geek.  That includes, all Star
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James Norwood Pratt’s Tea Dictionary: Jade Oolong

Jade Oolong: Contemporary trade term like Amber oolong coined by Thomas Shu in 1996 to describe Taiwan’s greenish type of oolongs. It is also sometimes called “fragrant” oolong because it is so aromatic. Jade oolongs may be made from several different varietals but never from Tieguanyin or Wuyi types used for Amber oolongs. The oxidation is kept down to 25% or less and the leaf is less shotty than Amber oolong due to this minimal rolling. Dong ding is typically made into jade oolong for example. If you want to read more about James Norwood Pratt’s Tea Dictionary or to pick
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Tea Drinker Profile: Brian Pfeifer

Name: Brian Pfeifer Sex: Male Age: 38 Occupation: I’ll be a DOS (English Teacher + manager + teacher trainer) as soon as I finish this dissertation.  Location: Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, but in August I’m moving to Shanghai, China. Do you drink tea at work?: At school, and at my last job I brewed up a bit travel mug of tea or a big Nalgene bottle of iced tea. Interests: History, hiking, spaceflight, and tea. Favorite Tea Variety: For me, it’s not about the general variety, but rather exceptional quality of each tea brewed and drunk. The only thing I’m
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James Norwood Pratt's Tea Dictionary: Rengong Fajiao

Rengong Fajiao: Chinese manufacturing term in Pu-Er production for the controlled fermentation (not oxidation) essential to production of Pu-Er teas. This accelerated process of Houfajiao uses heat, moisture and microorganisms to achieve Pu-Er and other Heicha teas. If you want to read more about James Norwood Pratt’s Tea Dictionary or to pick up  a copy, click here.
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Why is There Oil in My Tea?

Sometimes when steeping a tea – you may notice a small oil slick floating on the surface of the tea liquor. This is likely to occur when steeping teas that have been pan-fired. The oil comes from the tea-seeds, and is applied to the pan to help the leaves slide around as they are handled as well as to keep the leaves from burning. In Heiss’ “The Story of Tea,” they explain that “the solidified oil is the simple oil expelled from the leaves of tea bushes that are periodically left to grow, flower, and seed. Tea-seed oil is solid
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