Huajuchen: The Largest Tea Festivals in the World

The Huajuchen Tea Expos. Perhaps you've heard of it, or even been to one. Or perhaps, what's likely if you don't speak Chinese, you've never heard of it at all. Yet, it's the largest network of tea festivals in the world and naturally, they're in China. China is a big country with a lot of people and is responsible for the production of the world's most cotton, the top two largest beer brands in the world (shockingly), and of course, the most tea in the world. It then shouldn't come as a surprise that they host the world's largest tea festivals, fairs, and exhibitions, most of [...]

Huajuchen: The Largest Tea Festivals in the World 2018-06-07T22:05:18+00:00

The Results are In: 2017 Tea Masters Cup Finals

The 2017 Tea Master's Cup Finals took place September 25-27 in Enshi, Hubei China. 29 participants from 13 countries competed in 4 categories: Tea Preparation, Tea Pairing, Tea Mixology and Tea Tasting. The competition took place within the 7th International Tea Forum run by the CFNA (China Chamber of Commerce for Import/Export of Foodstuffs, Native Produce and Animal By-products). The finals were judged by a panel of tea experts from around the world: Denis Shumakov from Russia, Tony Gebely (yours truly) from the USA, He Jie from China, Sharyn Johnston from Australia, Gabriella Lombardi from Italy, William Lee from Korea and [...]

The Results are In: 2017 Tea Masters Cup Finals 2018-05-15T08:40:31+00:00

Women in Tea: Not Just a Gentlemen’s Business?

In China, the crafting and trading of tea is historically the domain of men. In contrast to the western stereotype of aristocratic ladies sipping afternoon tea from ornate cups, the Chinese tea drinking culture was mostly popularized by male scholars, who waxed poetic on the complex flavors and austere pleasures of their favorite teas. While women certainly brewed and drank tea as well, they escape mention in most discussions of tea history in China. So it probably comes as no surprise that when Alice Luong, owner of Red Blossom Tea Company, first started traveling to China and Taiwan to source teas [...]

Women in Tea: Not Just a Gentlemen’s Business? 2018-05-15T08:40:31+00:00

The Oolong Compendium

The word Wulong translates to black dragon. The proper pinyin is wūlóng (乌龙), but oolong (a haphazard transliteration) has become the most popular spelling in the West. Wulong leaves are semi-oxidized. This means that during production, oxidation is initiated, controlled and halted at some point before the leaves are considered fully oxidized. This is why you will often hear wulong described as being in between green tea and black tea. However, as with many things in the world of tea, it is more complicated than this. A distinct step in the processing of traditional wulong tea is the bruising step (also [...]

The Oolong Compendium 2018-05-15T08:40:32+00:00

“Tea Master” No Longer an Accredited Job in China

As reported on their official website last December, the Chinese government has voted to abolish 114 state-certified professions from its registry of nearly 1,800. These newly un-permitted jobs include vocations such as "power equipment assembler", "refrigerator custodian", "reflective therapist", and sadly among them, "tea master". There are problems inherent in calling anyone a "master" of anything, especially with something as broad and infinitely-faceted as tea. My complaint, detailed painstakingly in the epically long article on Tea Sommeliers, is that there is no unification or standardization in tea education and as such, certification does very little to help the certified. It seems the [...]

“Tea Master” No Longer an Accredited Job in China 2018-05-15T08:40:32+00:00

Is Chinese Tea Safe from Pollution?

China produces the most tea on Earth. It's also one of the most polluted countries on Earth. Yet, in my humble opinion and that of many other tea connoisseurs, specialty Chinese tea is some of the best. What you’re probably wondering is this: Are Chinese teas safe from pollution? Like the Chinese tea industry itself, the answer is multi-faceted and can be difficult to sort through, especially in a shorter article, but I’ll try my best to sum up the factors involved and what you need to consider when buying Chinese tea. Issue #1 The first cause for concern, the one most of you are [...]

Is Chinese Tea Safe from Pollution? 2018-05-15T08:40:33+00:00

Tea Authenticity and Geographical Indications

You may be wondering why teas named after their origin or teas that are unique to their origin are not protected by law. Such protection exists for France’s Champagne and Italy’s Parmigiano-Reggiano, but does origin-specific tea get the same protection? Counterfeit tea is a huge plague to the industry, in fact, there is much more Darjeeling tea on the market each year than is actually produced. Some protection for tea does exist, but the means for protection must be set up by an association or certifying body and once it is set up, it is difficult if not impossible to enforce. The [...]

Tea Authenticity and Geographical Indications 2018-05-15T08:40:33+00:00

Zhang Ping Shui Xian Production in Photos

Zhang Ping Shui Xian (漳平水仙) refers to a style of compressed oolong made from the Shui Xian cultivar of Camellia sinensis. The tea is produced in Zhang Ping, Fujian Province. Below is a gallery that outlines the production of this tea style in photos. Thanks to Chenggui Wang (王城贵)for providing these photos. Click any of the images below to open the gallery view.

Zhang Ping Shui Xian Production in Photos 2018-05-15T08:40:34+00:00

An Authentic Milk Oolong

Nai Xiang, literally "milk fragrance" is a characteristic of a Taiwanese high-mountain oolong made with the Jin Xuan cultivar of camellia sinensis. Jin Xuan is known not only for it's milk-like mouth-feel, but also for it's cream like flavor and aroma. Many so-called "milk oolongs" have popped up on the market having been artificially flavored. In 2010, Roy Fong, owner of the Imperial Tea Court traveled to Taiwan and  discovered several variants of it's production. From what he discovered, I am seeing three different things all being called "milk oolong" in order of legitimacy: True Jin Xuan oolong with natural creamy mouth-feel. Jin Xuan [...]

An Authentic Milk Oolong 2018-05-15T08:40:51+00:00

Interview: Yunnan Sourcing’s Scott Wilson

Scott Wilson is an American who settled in Kunming China and founded the tea export company Yunnan Sourcing. He spends his days working on the floor of one of the largest Pu-erh trading centers of the world. How did you come to love tea? It all started with Yunnan. I traveled for about 5 months in Yunnan province in 1998-1999. At that time I started to drink Pu-erh and other Yunnan teas. I had this idea that I would try and introduce it people in the USA. I purchased and shipped back more than 80 kilograms of Pu-erh tea at that [...]

Interview: Yunnan Sourcing’s Scott Wilson 2018-05-15T08:40:51+00:00