Wow. When life gets in the way and things go on the back burner, they really stay there a long time, don’t they? The last time I posted, I had one son. Now I have two! I’m currently writing this with my three month old having a nap, and my three year old hanging off of my arm. He’s become a bit clingy since his baby bro came along, but I’m hoping that will wear off soon.
Me and my boys
I’m lucky enough right now that I can continue with my tea education, taking classes at Mohawk College for the TAC Tea Sommelier program. I had taken Tea 101 a couple of years ago, and started back up with the classes last spring. I took some time off from them to have my Boxing Day baby, and now I’m taking Tea 105 next week! Trying to find time during the day to sit and have a proper tea session is still a challenge, so having these classes help to set aside some “me time” to recharge, and I also love being in an environment with like minded people who are just as (if not more) passionate about tea as I am.
In the meantime, I’m hoping to be able to get back to more tea enjoyment. I’ve ordered some new teaware for myself that has to be broken in, and a Yixing teapot that needs some attention!
Ali Shan Oolong in my new Yixing teapot
FBOP Extra Special from Tekola Tea
Brewed 1 tsp per cup for 6 minutes at 98 degrees celcius
Company Product Description: Widely accepted as a prestigious tea, FBOP Extra Special is a wiry well twisted long leaf tea. Its high percentage of “long tips” makes it much sought-after in the world of quality teas. It is usually served straight and has a sweetish soothing taste.
This tea looks great, with the golden tips, and smelled incredible. My first thought when I smelled it was “chocolate”, but then I quickly realized there was more to it, more like “chocolate raspberry”, which made me really anticipate having this tea. I normally drink my black tea with milk, but I tried this without first, and I could definitely get used to this. I was expecting the usual astringency you get with a black tea, but this was incredibly smooth, with only a hint of the acidic taste on the finish, which was surprising because I like my tea strong and I let this brew for a bit longer than normal. A great, bold, silky smooth tea, perfect for waking up with.
Setoya Momiji Black Tea
Recommended brewing guidelines can be found here
I received this as a sample in my last order from yunomi.us, which is a company that exclusively sells Japanese tea and accessories . I love getting tea from them. I learn so much about the different types of Japanese teas just from browsing their site, and I get great info on the tea farmers themselves. I’ve gotten packages from them that have the address of the farm that produced the tea! How cool is that?!
This black tea I brewed for 3 minutes with 98 degree water, so pretty standard for black tea. It smelled stronger than I was expecting, and wonderfully woody. The taste is equally surprising, as I find it very similar to a darjeeling in flavour profile. I added milk to it (although it didn’t really need it, that’s just how I like my black teas), and this becomes a perfect breakfast tea for me. Strong and silky. Definitely to my liking.
- Yunomi.us – Marketplace for Japanese teas & teaware
They sent me a sticker! I put it on my desk!
Organic Superfine Moderately Roasted Tie Guan Yin “Iron Goddess” Oolong Tea
Recommend Brewing Guide:
||8 steeps: rinse,30s,45s,55s,70s,100s,120s,160s,180s
||3 – 10 mins
Steeped for 2 minutes at 92 degrees in David’s Tea Glass Perfect Mug after 5 second rinse
The smell of this tea dry is fantastically rich and vegetal. It reminds me of spinach dip and pumpernickel bread, really heavy and full of flavour. When steeped, it smells so nicely toasted, and tastes that way as well. Even a bit smoky, which was a surprise. Further infusions bring out more of that woodsy, roasted flavour. I’m a bit sad, as this was a single sample I received along with one of my Teavivre orders, and I wish I had more of this tea to enjoy.
Me with Tea
I decided to sign up for a class on tea at our local college here in Hamilton. It is offered in cooperation with the Tea Association of Canada, who also provide online courses for those who aren’t lucky enough to have a college in their area offer the program. The courses go from Tea 101 to Tea 108, and when you’ve completed the program you have the opportunity to write the Tea Sommelier Certification Exam and become a Tea Sommelier! I’ve just come home from the second class (there are four classes in Tea 101), and I have to say I am enjoying myself immensely so far. I hope I am able to continue taking the further classes, but may have to put it on pause for a bit to figure out a schedule when I go back to work from my parental leave, which finishes at the end of March.
It really makes me happy to be surrounded by people who are as (or even more so!) enthusiastic about tea as I am. I’m hoping to refine my palate and be able to better describe what it is I’m tasting, which is why I’m looking forward to T103 – Tea Sensory Development. This course is, for me, as the instructor put it when she described about when she initially took the course, “An expensive hobby.” But who knows? It may lead to something in the tea industry for me in the future!