2009 Liu Bao Heicha from Treasure Green – Tea Review

I’ve been exploring heicha more and more, discovering I like it if it doesn’t taste like a log of tea on fire. I purchased this tea at Vancouver Canada’s Treasure Green, located in China Town. In shop, I had their most expensive heicha and it was great with an excellent deep woodsyness, but I freaked out at the price. That said, I bought a bag of their cheaper heicha, the 2009 Liu Bao Heicha.

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Dry Leaf

The appearance of the 2009 Heicha is loose with matte dark sticks. The scent is moderately strong and of must and wood shavings.

2009 heicha

Steeping Instructions

I used 1gram to 15ml of heicha, steeped in boiling water using a gaiwan. I was using Seattle tap water without any filtration for this session.

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Tasting of Treasure Green’s Liu Bao Heicha

Wow, what a beautifully clear tea! It is a tint of brown with the scent of shelled peanuts and wood.

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First, Second, and Third Infusion: The heicha steeps up a light nutty sweet. It very much tastes how it smells, as it has a light roasted peanut and  musty wood taste – all in a good way. It is very smooth and woodsy. The body is light and there is no smokey, bitter or dryness.

Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh Infusion: The flavor is subtly shifting as it is more richer with a nice fragrance after sip. The finish is woodsy apricot, but still sips in like peanuts and musty wood with plenty of sweetness. I like the clean taste with a crisp texture with this heicha. The peanut notes remind me of that peanut taste in those dry peanut powders, like PB2.

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Eighth, Ninth, and Tenth Infusion: I did long steeps here to keep the flavor going, about 5, 10, and 15 minutes. The flavor has a humid tinge to it with lots of wood and sweet apricot. It is still on the light side and crisp.

Treasure Green’s Liu Bao Heicha Round 2

I wasn’t satisfied with my steepings for my first session, it was light and not much complexity, so I tried again with a more aggressive amount of tea – 1gram to 10ml flash steep. Let’s warrior this thang!

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The first four infusions, and right off the bat, the heicha is dark and full flavored. The flavor is sharp nutty with bittersweet cacao notes. The later steepings smooths out but still strong with peanut shell and breathy apricot finish. Despite leafing this hard, it is not bitter or smokey at all!

The higher leaf ratio is a lot less subtle in flavor notes, but you get a stronger flavor. However, I think the high ratio for this heicha is too sharp for some. I would split hairs and figure 1gram to 12ml would be best, especially if are used to shou puer and want something more rich.

Comments

2009 Liu Bao Heicha has a consistent flavor, not too powerful, smokey, bitter or dry. It is different as it has a musty, super woody flavor, so something a shou puer drinker would want to explore rather than a new drinker. It isn’t too complex or shifting in flavor so I wasn’t super wow’d, but made an excellent work drinker and did well extended steeped. Treasure Green’s 2001 Heicha was miles better for complexity and incredible woodsyness but it’s too steep in price for me.

Oolong Owl’s World Tea Expo 2016 Hooty Haul

Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3

This is it – the World Tea Expo 2016 HAUL! I flew down with a half empty (un-expanded) carry on suitcase. I got too much stuff that I had to mail a large flat rate home, plus smuggle in tea that didn’t fit in the box in my sweater as the airline were pretty firm on 2 bags only. I also bought something that TSA would of hated.

I shipped my box Friday afternoon at the Las Vegas airport. My box arrived Monday afternoon!

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Upon opening… sad owl… something exploded. Upon investigation, a puer pick went stabby and ripped holes in a packet of matcha, two green teas, and a white tea. I was a little mad at the white tea, as it is a good white, but I also own this white so it wasn’t too much of a loss. There is matcha EVERYWHERE. I spent awhile mopping up matcha off packets, and I got green dust in each page of the books. Anyways, time to haul!

Freebies

Books – they always give you a big World Tea Expo book, which has the write up of each vendor, maps, and classes. Tea Time and Fresh Cup was there giving away free copies of their magazine. I should really subscribe to Tea Time magazine, I really like their recipes.

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Mega samples – I had to stand on a ladder to get this photo!

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Enhance! The red tins are all TanYang black teas from a seller that only does Fuijian TanYangs.

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Samples this year were pretty generous. It seemed less “single tea bag” samples and more so little packets of loose. I think the loose packets are better – a tea bag isn’t a great tasting if you plan to buy the loose. Expect some reviews of Bitaco, Dethlefsen & Balk, Cameron Taiwan Tea, Joseph Wesley and more!

Generous Freebies and Tea ware

I missed out the on official World Tea Expo cup. I did get a ITI cup at one of their talks. I got a mug from Tea Source (hey Tea Source, bring the MEGA heicha log next year!). Summus Tea was very generous and gave me a couple brew bottles and a tin of their Oriental Beauty and Ruby Oolong.

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Damn you puer pick! This is the one that went stabby in my box! This one was from Denong Tea Company.

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Purchases

It is not surprising what I bought as I only got teaware, oolong, and puer.

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I can’t remember who I bought this from. It was on sample and it tasted so unique I bought a tin.

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Ruby 18… I’ve been on a now not-so-secret quest on buying lots of Ruby 18s. I snagged a tin of RB Ruby 18 from JT&Tea, as well as a sample of another Ruby from another seller.

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Of course, I bought puer. I snagged Ai Lao Shan, Bu Lang, and Nan Nuo Shan 2016 Spring 100g shengs from Royal Tea New York.

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These are from LongRun tea. I’m a little confused on the pressings. The small tuo was told to be a 2007 shou, but it is stamped at 2012. The 357g cake is a 2005 shou, but they said it is actually older. They had bought a factory and rewrapped it, but they had to date it at the time of wrapping, so it is likely a few years older.

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I got a couple Enchanting Beauty sheng cakes from Denong Tea Company. I went in looking for shou, came out with sheng. This little cake was good enough for me to buy more than one! If I didn’t buy that 2005 from LongRun, I would of splurged on their 30 year ripe, which was also great.

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Like I said in a few posts, I got The Wall tea infuser by Boreal Wildcraft. I bought it purely on it being left handed.World Tea Expo 2016 Haul - oolong owl (15)

I’ve used it a couple times already and love it!

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Oooh. What is in here?

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This is a carved puer pick. It is actually a part of a seasonal set of 4 – this one is Winter. The wood smells lovely and I love the twisting branches up the handle. I like how the tip is flat.

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If you are curious, here is the whole set together – I only bought the 1 pick, but I went back and took a photo of the whole set for a friend.

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Ambitious Owl bought a book to go with his photo session with James Norwood Pratt.

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Signed! Hoot!

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And right after I photographed everything I found 5 more tea samples. Oh well. That is certainly a haul! It is time to save up for 2017 World Tea Expo as well as the impending doom of me buying every puer branded “year of the cock”.

Sunday Tea Hoots 22 – Tea Binge and Withdrawal

I’ve recently come back from the World Tea Expo. I’ve now done three World Tea Expos and the days after seem to go the same.

For three days you drink (well at least I drink) an insane amount of tea – a true long weekend binge drinking of just tea. You got samples to taste at every booth and likely you will be trying more than one of their teas, or multiple steepings. The Expo ends at 5:30pm, and likely one just continues drinking tea to stay awake for the evening of checking out the strip, conquering Vegas buffets, or in my case of drinking matcha shots at 9pm while trying to get an article done. I drank more tea on the flight home so I don’t miss this great view of Seattle:

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Yesterday and today I’ve been having the weird tea binge and withdrawals symptoms just like previous years. Symptoms include:

Excessive thirst. I am so thirsty! All that tea and peeing had my system used to drinking so much. I likely drank more this year than last due to the crazy hot Vegas weather. I have been slamming down bottles of water just to keep my thirst in check.

Screwy sleep. I did not really sleep Wednesday night – I had one of those “I laid in bed for 8 hours awake, but yet time passed so it didn’t feel like I was awake the whole time.” I slept around 4-5 hours each night, and today I was up at 6am, twitching about looking for something to drink. Then I drink way too much caffeine during the day to function.

My skin looks great! All this water and tea has made my skin soft and bright, if it weren’t for the puffy eyes from lack of sleep. Thank you Kat Von D for your concealer so hardcore that it covers tattoos, which does more than enough for tea hangover eyes.

Extreme tea making laziness. I think this is the worst withdrawal from World Tea Expo from a non-exhibitor attendee. I have to actually make my own tea and pour it myself! I’ve been spoiled for days getting tea made for me and then poured into my cup – all I had to do was drink it. I’m sure I could of gotten even more lazy and got one of those booze helmets with straw that people wore on the Vegas Strip – that way I’d never have to move my cup to my mouth. I didn’t even have to think about what tea I want to drink, there is tea everywhere. Now that I’ve been back home, I have been just grabbing the closest leaf and dumping it in a cup and drinking.

However, I am super lucky as I got a nice The Wall Boreal Wildcraft cup which is perfect for lazy grandpa style. I am too lazy for a strainer and to spit out leaf.

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In a few days I will be weaned off excessive tea and recovered to normal tea drinking.

 

Oolong Owl Hoots the World Tea Expo 2016 – Day 3

Day 1 | Day 2 | Haul

Last day of WTE is usually a short and slow one. This year was different as there was still plenty of action going on. I did a couple walk throughs of the whole place to make sure I saw everything, but also wandering to see anything being sold and connecting with friends.

There was one booth, Royal Tea New York, that I must of walked by for two days and didn’t notice until the puer detection sensors went off when they where unwrapped a puer cake.

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This is a wholeseller, however it turns out they have pressed their own spring 2016 sheng cakes – new off the presses and drink now quality.

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They carried 3 regions – Nan Nuo, Bulang, and Ai Lao. I had my worries as these cakes are recent presses (might be too watery or smokey) but I sampled the Bulang and it was excellent bitterness with a good amount of flavor. I flagged down Lazy Literaus, and we came back to try the Nan Nuo which was also excellent! At around steeping 3 I lost my ability to count. I spent quite awhile here, the owner was well versed in puer and has traveled the area.

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Alas, again it is wholesale only but I am very happy to see a seller get some good puer out there instead of the standard loose fishy shou. Royal Tea New York also had some good looking pots, not for sale but to admire.

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I was back again at the flavoring booth, Flavor Dynamics, to try the Lamb Vindaloo puer. I am still really sad I never tried the Ribeye flavor puer. This flavor was actually really good, however not as a tea but as a food! It was like drinking a delicious curry broth with an earthy background. I wanted this on rice! It sounds very strange, but it worked!

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I passed a Japanese seller and saw they had ample amounts of sweet samples. You heard of matcha chocolates, but what about houjicha chocolates? Houjicha chocolates look a little funny, but taste amazing! It has that first bite of strong roast, then melts into a sweet smooth chocolate. DROOOL so good!

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I lurked at the Joseph Wesley booth again, but this time for awhile. They had a limited edition white tea for sample.

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The white is INCREDIBLE! The broth was crystal and the flavor was a beautiful crisp flavor. I thought this white tea was better than that $10 a gram white I had yesterday.

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What the, how is one of the best black tea sellers doing great white tea? He still has great black tea – check out the leaf quality in the new Qiumen!

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I had to leave the convention early to go to USPS. I have too much stuff!

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I was a mess at USPS as I tried to jam everything that didn’t fit in my suitcase into a large flat rate, that weighed 12 lbs. I had to tuck tea in my freaking sweater to get past the carry on 2 bag limit. That said, my haul will be next week once my stuff arrives!

World Tea Expo 2016 Summary

I found this year’s World Tea Expo to be super busy. It was well organized this year, though they did run out of World Tea Expo cups so I didn’t get one /sad owl. Vegas was bloody hot as it was well past 100F/38c most days, and in the evenings it didn’t cool all that much. The only times I got to enjoy Vegas was 11pm till bedtime, as prior to that I was at the Expo or working on blog things.

My favorite booths this year, not in any particular order were:

Joseph Wesley – Great tea line up and total cool cats!
Denong Tea Company – 30 year old shou!!!!
Nepali Tea Traders – tasty Annapurna Amber Oolong!
Summus Tea – amazing Ruby oolong! They also win for beautiful packaging!
Young Mountain Tea – Indi’s Gold black blew me away!
Royal Tea New York – best, last minute puer find!

My cup got a good start on staining. This ruyao has seen some really weird tea in it, I am surprised it is not stained to look like a tea rainbow.

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World Tea Expo 2016 Trends

The 2016 tea world is really into pod tea machines.

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Many sellers developed their own machine to answer the problem of “making tea is time consuming and difficult.” One hand, it is good as these machines catch people’s attention so they drink more tea, other hand it produces too much plastic waste. I had some tea pod machines make decent tea, but also the pricing on some…. well I could get some top shelf puer instead of buying the machine. I rather have 3.5 White2Tea Last Thoughts cakes than a tea machine.

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Sellers at the World Tea Expo also upper their packaging game – we saw some great packaging! I am so glad as I am tired of the same orange brown envelopes, boring puer wrappers, and round tins. Here is Laos Tea’s puer packaging.

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Thanks to World Tea Expo for letting this crazy owl back in! I look forward to next year!

 

Oolong Owl Hoots the World Tea Expo 2016 – Day 2

Day 1 | Day 3 | Haul

I barely slept last night – it might of been the insane amounts of caffeine I drank the day before, excited nervousness, or just the strangeness of staying at Circus Circus. When people ask me how this year’s World Tea Expo has been going, I’ve been saying it has been really busy for me. I’m struggling to get to each booth and I’ve noticed sellers have been doing a great effort as I’ve been at each booth much longer than previous years. Today I had some really unique teas and experiences that made this day one of the most memorable World Tea Expos to date!

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First booth today that caught my eye was Dethlefsen & Balk.

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I met this wholeseller last year and this year they got new tea blends and they are very trendy. Bourbon Praline is going to be a mega hit! I do love the energy of this seller, they are very inventive and enthusiastic about their creations.

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It seems there hasn’t been much teaware featured this year. Unfortunately, majority did not let anyone take photos. Peace Leaves Inc had this crazy spout tea pot that was such a hoot!

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Cameron Tea was here again this year! I have reviewed Cameron Tea before, a Taiwanese tea seller that carries some excellent quality teas, plus different grades so you can have fun comparing them. They have tastings every hour – I got in on the Pouchong tasting. Can you guess which one is the Premium grade and the Competition grade? Answer after the photo!

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By taste it was hard as my personal tasted set in fast today. The right has a stronger flavor I preferred on a personal level, but the left was buttery and delicate. The secret is the leaf, right away I figured Competition was left as the leaf was perfect! It was a lesson on following what you think tastes good.

Award for the WEIRDEST TEA tasted was from Flavor Dynamics, a company that sells flavoring to tea blenders.

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THIS IS SERIOUS. This seriously tasted like stuffing! It actually worked. To my sadness, I missed the Ribeye flavored puer yesterday. I will be sure to taste tomorrow’s creation!

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In the next more unique tea I dubbed “Sticky Tea.” as they have a wet mound of tea on display. Prana Chai sells a handmade chai mixed with honey. It is so sticky and thick, it is fun to watch it be scooped and move on its own as it slimes back in place. It is actually a really good chai, not too spicy or sweet, and the honey gives it a 1 year shelf life without refrigeration – how cool!

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At this point I was violently waved down by fellow tea blogger Lazy Literaus as I passed Nepali Tea Traders.

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He was in an excited ruffle and managed to grunt out, “OWL! TRY! SMOKED GREEN! AGNI MEANS FIRE!” I had a taste and it was strong smokey green, very different!

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The oolong they had? Amazing!

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World Green Tea Association had some really interesting teas that introduced me to new Japanese teas.

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I believe they had the Japanese puer, which was excellent and better than the only other Japanese puer I’ve had. They also had a Japanese white tea.

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You need a side by side to tell, but this is best described as an “Albino Green” as it is almost 100% shaded. The steep looks more obvious it is different as the colour is very light. The flavor is unexpected – it is insanely unami. I decided I didn’t like it, but I liked the idea of drinking something so different.

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They also had sweet owl posters!

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My pu detectors have been on high alert and I found this cool puer seller – Denong Tea Company. (at this time they do not have a website, just an Instagram)

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They had a small collection of some delicious puer and I tried them all. They had a 30 year ripe puer for sample and it tasted like a delicious basement! It was not in my price range (super sad owl). Great teas, beautiful puer wrappers, and fun staff – be sure to check them out!

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My pu detectors went off again at Brilliant Puerh Tea. This seller carries just Jingmai region puer, pulling out all the stops on modern packaging. From what I could find, their oldest tea was a 2013. I missed seeing their owner, the other person there was unable to answer my pu-headed questions. I tried coming back a few other times but always missed the owner, booo!

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The final puer alert was at Laos Tea. I met them last year and were a hit for a nice sheng. They also do incredible packaging that should be framed.

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This is a bag!

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However, what caught my eye wasn’t a puer – it was a white. A $10 per gram white. It tasted amazing and the leaf was breathtaking!

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The last two events (though happened in the middle of the day, but I’m saving the best for last) was a presentation with Thomas Shu, accompanied by James Norwood Pratt, on oolong grades. I’ve heard Thomas Shu speak a few times already and he is very fun (and sings!). We sampled oolongs at various oxidations.

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 The surprise was the final oolong tasted. IT IS A BRAND NEW TAIWANESE OOLONG – TaiTung Oolong, 70-80% oxidation! The flavor profile is very different than other Taiwanese oolongs that it is tricky to describe with just a single taste – a mellow woodsy? The colour, not pictured as I inhaled it, is a dark orange. Cool, eh?

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After the presentation, this happened:

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James Norwood Pratt! Of course, it had to be Ambitious Tea Owl. What an awesome day! 

Day 2 Sample Haul

I have thoroughly rectified my situation of flying to Vegas without any tea. This pile is bigger than yesterdays.
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Oolong Owl Hoots the World Tea Expo 2016 – Day 1

Day 2 | Day 3 | Haul

 Welcome to the Oolong Owl Hooty coverage of the World Tea Expo 2016! This year the World Tea Expo is held June 15 – 17 in the Las Vegas Convention Center!

I flew in Tuesday night and I’m staying at Circus Circus. I expect a few nights stumbling back here tea drunk, hopefully in better shape than Hunter S Thompson.

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I am here with ZERO tea, no tea in my suitcase, nor travel tea tumbler. I expect I will thoroughly rectify my lack of tea situation over the next few days.

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I decided this year to bring my own tea cup so I can do my part to reduce all the plastic/paper cup waste. I brought an unused ruyao cup I purchased in Seattle. Time to stain up this bad boy!

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First thing to catch my eye was this beautiful teaware set by a Korean seller Yunnan Zhenweihao Tea Corp. Very tiny tea set and artist made, thus not even close to my price range *cough* $200 *cough*. Such a beauty though!

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Tea Owl for scale!

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This first most interesting tea I tasted today was a houjicha matcha by Nodoka. It wasn’t pretty but the flavor was impressive like a full bodied houjicha! I really want more of it! They also had a genmaicha matcha – it had that grassy and rice taste.

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I had also tried some very impressive tea from Nepal. Kanchanjangha has a great ethic of fair trade and organic. They are also involved with the farmers’ families with schooling opportunities for their children.
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I came across a really interesting tea tumbler. There was a big language barrier so I could not ask about it. This tumbler has 2 chambers, so you can have two separate teas at once. There was no filter, but the concept was very interesting.

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I came across a seller that claims to be the originator of the white tea cake and aged white tea, Beijing Zhenluhao Tea Co. Ltd. FYI I could not find any online links other than their logo, nor nothing on Baidu. Edit (added June 20) They said they invented the white tea cake in 2007, and no other ones were on market even in 2009. They were surprised I even owned white tea cakes, then boldly said mine are fake. Holding my tongue until I get more information on them and my sources.

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They had gorgeous white tea cakes. This guy… $100. Ouch.

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This one is $1000, with just 5 years age on it, WUT?!?!?! Let us admire by photo only.

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Today was the Tea Bloggers RoundTable featuring fellow amazing bloggers – Tea For Me Please, The Tea Stylist, Steep Stories – The Lazy Literaus, iHeartTeas, My Japanese Green Tea, Joy’s Teaspoon, Tea Happiness, and facilitated by Scandalous Tea and The Tea Enthusiast’s Scrapbook.

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The discussion was great with a focus on negative reviews. The Tea Owls ate all the snacks.

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After the Tea Bloggers Roundtable I made way to re-meet my tea buddy, but got side tracked by Joseph Wesley Tea! I love their teas so it was a real treat to meet Joe in person, oogle the gaiwan, and try an excellent Da Hong Pao oolong.

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At this point I was very tea drunk and had the bright idea to start photoing waste buckets. Here is Joseph Wesley’s waste bucket.

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I was excited to see Summus Tea at this year’s World Tea Expo. Their cold brew bottle and exceptional Oriental Beauty stole my heart at WTE 2015. They featured NEW cold brew bottle designs, gorgeous tea tins, a tea maker machine, and an insanely good Ruby Oolong.

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The Summus tea machine is brand new and steeps with individual cups. It uses a very high pressure to steep a tea in a few seconds and can do multiple infusions. Admittedly I had my doubts – tea capsule tea hasn’t been that great (or insanely expensive). This was actually really good, especially with the Ruby Oolong and Oriental Beauty, as it managed to capture the complexity of the tea. The green oolong was great in the machine, but was cloudy. They use whole leaf in the capsules, so the pressure used did the magic.

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This new tea ware product by Boreal Wildcraft Tea Company caught my eye as I immediately saw “hey, this would not work for a left handed person boooo.” as it has a strainer built into the side. I went to talk to them and it appears they do a leftie model, popular at that! GO LEFT HANDERS! I was soooo happy I didn’t even see it in action and bought it just because it was left handed. We need more love!

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A highlight was also meeting Young Mountain Tea. They had a kickstarter last year for an amazing white tea, Kumaon White. I backed their kickstarter and got the white tea, however I do not have a review yet as it got caught up in my Seattle move busy time.

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I tried an amazing black tea from them that I need to acquire a large amount of.

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This was the best tea of the day for me – I didn’t catch the name of the booth when I was there as my taste buds took over and wanted me to move in. I came back, they are Anhua Lingfeng Mountain Tea Industrial Co. Ltd. Amazing Heicha! DROOOL! I had two different ones, one was a wonderful woodsy “woodshop floor” (as describe by my tea buddy) and the second one was so unique in flavor – it echo a bit of Oriental beauty, woodsy, yet with a dry lip. I will go back on Day 2 or 3 and get the name.. or move in with them.

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An interesting find was Lumbini Tea Factory. They had some teas I’ve never seen before.

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A hand rolled green.

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I didn’t get much information, but this black tea really looks like a fig.

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They also had an impressive looking black tea.

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After the showroom was the World Tea Awards 2016!

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The Tea Owls ate prime rib (their favorite) and watched the best of the best. Of course, what we were the most excited for was “Best Tea Blog”.

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Who won? Well I didn’t take a photo of the slide showing the winner. I was too busy sitting on the floor making squealing hoots while texting the 2016 Best Tea Blog T-Ching’s social media guy “OMG OMG OMG YOU WON!!!!” Congrats T-Ching!!!!!!

Sample Haul

My bag was heavy! Holy cow, I got a nice red shoulder. Zojirushi took pity on me and gave me one of their bags, which was big enough to hold everything. I bought some really cool things that you will all see in the Haul post after the World Tea Expo.

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A lot of samples. I cannot see the bottom of my table.

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The ruyao cup got some slight staining just after Day 1!

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Big PO Box Teaware haul for June 2016

Instead of flooding my Oolong Owl Instagram account of many pictures of this tea ware haul, I decided to post it here. I tend to post most of my tea mail on Instagram, however since I’ve been using a PO Box due to the move, I come back with a big bag full of packages. I get so many packages at the PO Box, the lady that works there knows my name just after 2 visits.

First up, Crimson Lotus Tea. They are in China at the moment, but if you watch their social media they will post new products shipped from China instead of the US. This set of handmade Jianshui Swirled cups appeared and I had to have them! (Derp, and looks like the cups are sold out now) While I was at it, I decided I needed this tea pot tea pet too!

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Jianshui cups ENHANCE!

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The yixing mini teapot teapets are super cute – they got a 5 different styles so you can match your yixing pot. I got the XiShi style one, it clocks in at 20ml capacity. It pours kinda messy but you can use it if you really want to. Once I can unpack my teapots, I’ll need to put my Xi Shi teapot next to my teapet, “It had a baby!”.

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As a bonus, I got some maocha of a new Crimson Lotus 2016 Jingmai LOVE puer, yes! SO PRETTY!

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Second item is a big purchase and blog related – this giant wad of excessive (yet appreciated) bubble wrap. This much bubble wrap you know this is likely from Yunnan Sourcing.us.

This took us awhile to unwrap as there was wrapping over the whole thing and inside each box.

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Inside, six gaiwans! Yunnan Sourcing’s Classic White Porcelain Small Gaiwan, 60ml size.

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Seems a little insane to buy six of the same gaiwan, but I wanted them for comparative tastings. I was using 120 ml gaiwans for comparing two teas and felt that was too much tea. However I just realized I only have 1 set of cups that adds up to six, so I’ll need to buy some more cups. I originally wanted four gaiwans, but then somehow talked myself up to six. My brain actually thought up to 12 as “backups” but I talked myself back down to six.

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I also purchased this lovely Ru Yao Large Lotus cup, 130ml. I’m a sucker for ru yao and thought it was pretty. In person, it looks like it would make a good jello mold.

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Yunnan Sourcing’s Classic White Porcelain Small Gaiwan, 60ml Review

Going into detail for this gaiwan – it is 60ml. TEENY gaiwan. It is true to 60ml if poured to the lid/start of flare, 80ml to the brim but you will burn yourself doing that.

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I quite like the flare of the bowl. My other similar sized gaiwan runs into problems with me burning myself since it is so narrow, but this wide and big flare gives you plenty of room to hold onto and not burn yourself when pouring.

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Action shots!

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The quality of these gaiwans look good, no funny shaped lids, chips, sharp bits, or other oddities. For the first use, I’m pretty happy with them. If you want a small gaiwan under 100ml, for $6.50 Yunnan Sourcing’s Classic White Porcelain Small Gaiwan is a good deal!

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I got two other packages, both tea, so be sure to check out the Oolong Owl Instagram, hoot!

Thai Iced Tea Ice Cream by Full Tilt Ice Cream

Besides checking out the local tea and yarn shops, when I’m in a new area I like to try the ice cream. I found it interesting how ice cream differs between countries and states – Utah being the most crazy with lots of great local ice cream and ice cream sections in the supermarket 2-3 times bigger than ones in Southern California! When checking out the Seattle ice cream, I discovered lots of coffee ice cream (bleh), Marionberry and how Tilliamok ice cream is crazy good. They also have lots of pint sized ice creams from smaller companies with really neat flavors.

I spotted Full Tilt Ice cream in 2 different grocery stores here in Seattle – PCC and Metropolitan. It caught my eye as I used to work for a poker company with the same name. I didn’t cave as my husband wouldn’t share the ice cream with me, nor did I have freezer access as I was staying at an airbnb. When I was visiting Phoenix Tea Shop the shop clerk mentioned that the Full Tile Thai Iced Tea ice cream is amazing and I need to try it. After that encounter, I decided to buy a pint and eat it for lunch.

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Yes, that looks good. Actual tea in this ice cream and not many ingredients!

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That colour – it’s so orange, just like Thai Iced tea. I can feel my lactose sensitivity stirring in my bowels.

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Tasting of Full Tilt’s Thai Iced Tea Ice Cream

Oh my! This ice cream tastes just like Thai Iced tea. I can even taste the black tea and spices (cardamon, anise) along with that thick condensed milk flavor. However, this is a bit more creamy as it is ice cream, however no doubt blind folded you would be able to identify this as Thai Iced tea! This ice cream is so delicious and amazing. How have I lived without this? All I need is some boba on top and life is complete – the ultimate dessert.

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If you are in Seattle or come across this ice cream – buy it! It appears they have retail locations too with vintage pinball machines. I might have to trek out to the one. I found another flavor, but that’ll be another post. Eating 2 pints of ice cream in a day would be pretty bad.

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Swoon. Hello lol fat.

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Unsmoked Lapsang Souchong from 3 Leaf

Today’s review is a newer offering from 3 Leaf – a seller that has expanded a loose leaf tea line. When I was introduced to them, they did pretty good flavored matchas.

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I was excited to see Unsmoked Lapsang Souchong. Unsmoked Lapsang Souchong is an uncommon find. “Regular” Lapsang Souchong is a very common find in most loose leaf tea shops here in North America as it is a very western taste bud friendly tea. I know many people who love the intense smokey flavor, plus Lapsang Souchong is one of the most common teas to cook with. If you go to a more traditional, Chinese tea seller, they likely carry both styles of Lapsang Souchong, smoked for western people and a more traditional, unsmoked. However, I cannot stand “regular” smoked Lapsang Souchong. It’s smokey, peaty and rich, but to me it tastes like I’m steeping a tire fire or liquid smoke.

Dry Leaf

A very uniform, long gentle twists of black leaves. The scent is low and a little grapey. It is very obvious here this is unsmoked lapsang souchong as it doesn’t smell like charcoal BBQ scrapings.

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Steeping Method

I went off the deep end. Since I’m stuck with one gaiwan, and when sent samples I’m often left with an awkward amount of tea unused if I use my usual ratio. I did what my tea buddies call “Warrior Style”, which is essentially very high leaf and flash steepings. I did 1 gram to 10ml. Actually, more like 1gram to 9ml, I had a bit more leftover tea and I should just use it.

I used boiling water, a rinse, and flash steeps. The fastest I could pour it. Way to follow steeping instructions Owl.

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Tasting of 3 Leaf Unsmoked Lapsang Souchong

First and Second Infusion: The Unsmoked Lapsang Souchong steeps up dark looking in my cup with a strong burnt caramel scent.

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It sips in strong with some great notes. It has an rich savory dark roux note, one I started to get tired of stirring so there’s some black flecks in it. The finish gets sweeter, like a burnt caramel. Mmmm burnt.

Third, Fourth, and Fifth Infusion: The Lapsang Souchong is getting sweeter, letting the burnt caramel take over. The flavor intensity is high, but not intense to grow hair on your chest. The finish has a bit of a tannic note, but still not dry or tart.

At the fifth steeping the gaiwan is just about full after the pour.

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Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, and Ninth Infusion: lightening here so i’m stopping flash steeps, going up around 30 seconds to 2 minutes. The tea has an interesting mix of caramel, malt, cinnamon spice, cream and tannic. The tea is actually pretty sweet. The texture is getting dry adding a chalky feel to the roof of my mouth. There is barely any burnt flavor and very little savory notes as with each steeping it gets sweeter. Despite the dryness, the sweetness and combination of flavors is pretty good.

What is funny is that this is around a 70ml gaiwan. The leaves are practically filling the gaiwan and when I pour I’m getting about 20ml of tea to drink, not even a full cup! usually when I go a standard 1g 15ml ratio I get a perfectly full cup.

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Tenth, Eleventh, and Twelfth Infusion: I did a 5, 10, and 20 minute steeping here. The Lapsang Souchong tastes minerally, malt and spun sugar, however is very dry. My cheeks and tongue feel like they lack moisture. I kept steeping longer and longer until the tea died.

Comments

3 Leaf‘s Unsmoked Lapsang Souchong  a pretty good unsmoked lapsang. I had fun with the complexity here and the later steepings were the best. If you like black teas and never tried an unsmoked Lapsang, or tried lapsang and hated the smoke, give this one a try and you’ll be sure to enjoy it. I should try this method with other unsmoked Lapsang Souchongs to compare better.

3 Leaf’s pricing is pretty good at $7 an ounce and there is samples available if you want to give it a try.

(tea provided for review)

Sunday Tea Hoots 21 – Unpacking

My stuff is in my new house! Since Tuesday I have been unpacking, meeting with maintenance people, and carrying groceries/supplies by foot as I have no car yet.

All my tea things are gathered in the family room, ready to unpack. I have not yet unpacked anything as my shelving isn’t put together yet.

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Yeah, that is a lot of tea stuff. That is almost 100% tea stuff in those 7 boxes, 3 under bed plastic tubs, assorted tins, bags, wrapped stuff, and puer in a jammed carry-on sized suitcase. This isn’t counting the Tea Owls of course, they are in the living room observing the new food dehydrator I got as a house warming gift.

So far I’ve been making do with a new tea pot I purchased, a beehouse one, the kettle I brought with me on the plane, whatever western style/tea bags I find on the top of one of the boxes, and drinking on the patio. The only place I can eat or drink sitting is on the patio, we have no chairs, and my kitchen is a cluttered small space.

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I got dreams of a tea bar in the family room (which is technically a second kitchen), but that will have to happen after the main kitchen remodel. I got a great walk in closet for my tea stash, I just need to clean it out and build the shelves. SOOON!