Experimenting with tea

I just brewed some tea today and it didn’t taste the same as usual. In fact it was a little bit harsh. Yes, it is possible to ruin the tea by brewing it improperly. Have you ever come to the tea house and love the tea you are drinking, but then try to brew it at home and it doesn’t quite taste the same?
Brewing tea is very subjective. Different people like their teas stronger or weaker. The taste of your tea depends on a lot of factors:  amount of tea leaves, water temperature, brewing time, water quality, method to prepare your tea, etc. 
When you are brewing a new tea, you may need to brew it a few times before you get it exactly right. At Imperial Tea Court, we always list the recommended tea brewing instructions on the tea you buy. Use it as a guide. You can always adjust the water temperature and steeping time when brewing the tea. 
Personally, I like my teas on the lighter side with a lot of aroma. I typically lower the water temperature. I also have combined the first and second brew in the same teapot. I find this sometimes gives the tea more complexity, especially for green teas. Experimenting with tea is fun.
The 2011 Spring Harvest Imperial Green is one of the most forgiving green teas. You can brew it improperly but, it is hard to ruin. Many of the puerh teas are very forgiving as well. The best advice is practice, practice, practice and then of course ENJOY!
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Roy Finalizes Tea Tour Agenda in April

Roy has moved his next tea tour to the spring of 2012. It's set to depart on April 16 and visit Shanghai, Hangzhou, Fuzhou, Wu Yi Shan, and Beijing, with five-star accommodations in every city. The cost is $4,999 per person, including all hotels, meals, transportation, and round-trip airfare to China from San Francisco. 

Space is limited, so email us if you're interested. A detailed itinerary is available on request. 
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Tea Tour Update: Nine Bend Stream!

Roy has just updated the tea tour itinerary with another once-in-a-lifetime experience, a leisurely bamboo raft ride down Jiu Qu Xi, the nine-bend stream in Wu Yi Shan celebrated for centuries by artists, poets, and tea lovers. Not surprisingly, it's also a Unesco World Heritage Site. As you drift down the famous river you can admire Wu Yi's signature steep cliffs, dotted with caves once occupied by a mysterious prehistoric culture, and smell the fragrant oolong bushes that line the waterway. A trip along Jiu Qu Xi will deepen your understanding of the unique Wu Yi environment that creates one of the world's most enchanting teas, and touch the heart of anyone moved by nature's extraordinary harmony.

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Roy's Plans for a 2011 Tea Tour Start to Firm Up

Roy has drafted an itinerary for a 2011 Tea Tour focusing on Zhejiang and Fujian Provinces, the home of some of China's most spectacular oolong and green tea producing regions. Traveling with Roy into increasingly rare pockets of traditional China and leveraging his almost 30 years of experiences and relationships, the tour offers tea lovers a view of China that cannot be duplicated, even with a private tour guide. Those who have accompanied Roy in the past agree that it's an extraordinary opportunity to expand your horizons and change your perceptions of the world.

While dates aren't final, the trip will be in the latter half of September. It will begin and end in major cities, but tea-oriented destinations include three days in the Hangzhou region, where we'll pick and process green tea and then enjoy the incomparable pleasure of drinking newly made tea while drifting in a Dragon Boat on tranquil West Lake, relaxing as musicians play Chinese classical music.

Next the scene will shift to Fujian where there will be a stopover in the capital, Fuzhou, to visit the province's premier Buddhist temple, Yongquan Si, and savor a vegetarian feast in the temple's fine restaurant. Then the trip will climax in Wu Yi Shan, home of the renowned oolong varieties known as yan cha. We'll take a long hike scrambling through tea fields and rice paddies to reach a rustic old tea farm whose homestead incorporates a centuries-old temple. There we'll drink farm-fresh oolong tea by the bowl and fortify with a home-cooked meal of just-harvested ingredients before climbing up to the tea fields to pick yan cha. Later we'll help bring our tea down the mountain to the processing facility, where Roy will give a tutorial in producing oolong.

More details will be available later this month. Send an email if you'd like to learn more.
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