Thursday, December 11, 2008

New Yixing Teapot and Chinese Porcelain Carp Design Teapot

Yixing Teapots

Good well-priced Yixing teapots are hard to find, but when I come across interesting items I'll advertise them on the site. Here's a little background on Yixing.

Yixing teapots are very special teapots made from zisha clay, a rare type of purplish clay made of iron, quartz and mica. It is found only in Yixing, China; a town located roughly 120 miles north west of Shanghai amidst rolling hills. Zisha clay is so unique in fact, that Yixing is the only place in the world where it can be found. This very rare material gives the Yixing teapot special properties that make it one of the most sought after teapots in the world, for both collectors and tea enthusiasts alike.

Besides the Yixing teapot's beauty, it is also considered to be one of the finest tea brewing pots in the world. It is said that if you pour hot water into an empty Yixing teapot that has been in use for many years, you can brew tea without any tea leaves. Zisha clay is extremely porous and will absorb the flavor of tea, making each brew better and more flavorful every time it is used. Another special quality of zisha clay is its ability to retain heat. It has a low shrinkage rate when the clay is fired in a kiln, and potters can create a tightly fitting lid that will decrease oxidization and further increase tea flavor. What's more, zisha clay comes free of any toxic materials like lead, arsenic and cadmium, which can found in some other types of clay.

Yixing teapots are arguably among the finest teapots in the world. When evaluating a teapot's brewing quality, four factors are taken into consideration: The color of the tea produced, and the levels of phenol, caffeine and aminophylline. The Yixing teapot's performance has been found to be superior to that of standard teapots in all four areas of testing.

Not only are Yixing teapots an important part of Asian culture and sought after by tea enthusiasts and collectors across the world, but they are unique and valuable works of art. Each one is a simplistically beautiful tribute to the Asian arts, and each one brews a healthier, superior, more flavorful cup of tea as well.

Chinese Porcelain Carp Design Teapot

Not only is the price exceptional but the quality is excellent too. It's obviously a highly subsidized product.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Get Loose Christmas Promo!

Get Loose Christmas Promo!

Our Christmas tea is a rich and spicy leaf blend of fine teas with added orange peel, marigold petals and cinnamon bark to give a rich festive flavour. Great for a cold winter's evening. Makes a great gift or part of a gift for the festive season. With our compliments we'll enclose 50g on us for every order in excess of £10.00, or you can buy on the Traditional Blend page. It's fabulous!.

You can also get our best seller Funky Infuser a an extraordinary price, Just 1£!

Offers end 30 December 2008

Friday, November 28, 2008

Teapots, Infusers, Teabags and Teastick!

With the renaissance of loose leaf teas has come a new interest and inventiveness about the ways of brewing up.


Teapots have always been there but to accommodate loose leaf teas they now can be bought with built in filters. From Asia there are now glass tea brewing systems that purport to deliver a perfect cup of tea every time.


Do-it-yourself teabags have become very popular, available in sizes for the individual tea mug, teacup or tea glass, and larger ones have capacity enough for a six-cup teapot.

Tea Infusers

But most popular of all are the personal and portable tea infusers, in all shapes and sizes. Tea infusers are made in stainless steel, silicone and other materials. All three of our tea infusers sell well with the Teastick having the slight advantage.

Tea Mugs

Last but not least are the individual tea mugs with built in filters. Many of these come from China and carry beautiful traditional designs.

One way or another all these methods have helped popularise the use of loose leaf tea. It's all so easy now to drink the real thing.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Tea types

How many Tea Types do exist?

I am always being asked about the types of teas that exist, and the meaning of tea flushes.

From the Camellia Sinensis bush, leaves and buds are picked and follow a lengthy production process to produce a variety of tea types called White tea, Green tea, Oolong tea, and Black tea.

White tea

White tea is produced from buds that are well hydrated. During the production process, white tea is not fermented, which results in a very delicate flavour and pale appearance. This variety of tea is common in China.

Green tea

Young leaves are picked for Green tea, and the fermentation process is minimal. This results in a fresh and slightly "grassy" flavour when the tea has been steeped, and a light to dark green appearance. You will find China and Japan to be the main producers of Green tea.

Oolong tea

Oolong tea is common in Taiwan and southern China. Leaves and buds from the Camellia Sinensis plant are picked and fermented partially, resulting in a dark brown appearance after steeping.

Black tea

Finally, the most common type of tea in the West is Black tea. The name comes from the appearance of the steeped tea. Because the leaves undergo a lengthy fermentation process, the steeped tea looks black, hence the name. India is the main producer of Black tea, but you will also find it in other countries such as Kenya and Turkey.

Tea Flushes

First Flush Teas

In some regions such as Darjeeling, often the first flush of growth after winter is more subtle and delicate in its flavour. Since the first flush is the first tea of the year and produced in very small quantities, the tea tends to be quite expensive and rare.

Second Flush and Autumnal Teas

While first flush teas are undoubtedly great teas, the later flushes are not necessarily inferior teas. In fact, the later flushes often tend to carry more body and colour and are often as exceptional if not better, as the first flush teas. And, in the plains where it gets exceedingly hot in May, June, the bushes produce the best and most fragrant growth after the July/August rains have cooled the temperatures down a bit. As a result, Autumnal teas tend to be outstanding in the lower altitude regions such as Assam.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Top Five Finalists in 2008 World Tea Championships

Two of our Darjeelings were voted in Top Five Finalists in 2008 World Tea Championships

Lingia Estate was described as a small garden recognised for doing big things. The tea is a perfect combination of rich flavours and Muscatel overtones with customary briskness.

Avongrove Estate, quickly catapulted up the short list of Premier Estates. This Organic selection merits the description 'gentle Darjeeling character in an easy-going format with resounding fruit harmony and light astringency.

We're very excited by two new additions to our list

Ceylon – Uva Adwatte BOP

A bold-leaf selection from Uva, which produces a full-flavored, dark cup. The finish is sweet, with notes of raisin and ripe fruit. A superb tea.

In complete contrast:

Nepal – Kanchanjungha Estate First Flush FTGFOP1 Organic

Grown in the Ilam district of Nepal neighbouring Darjeeling. This is a delicate tea of excellent quality similar in style to a good Darjeeling tea. Would make a lovely afternoon tea.

Friday, November 14, 2008

New Assam and Darjeeling teas and more.

Since our decision to abandon Chinese teas and concentrate on Indian and Ceylon teas, we've had to redouble our efforts to seek out and offer only good quality, appealing and characterful teas.

Difficult to choose a good quality Assam tea

Assam has always been a difficult area with masses of indistinguishable mediocre offerings at all kinds of prices. Even some of the priciest teas not having a lot going for them, whereas there are many little treasures delivering beyond expectations at sensible prices. After several tastings with our panel , we've made a complete revision of our listings, and hope you agree that our hard work has paid off.
In spite of its price the Sewpur is our best selling Assam, closely followed by Halmari Estate. Personally, I love the Banaspaty, which really has the maltiness claimed by all good Assam teas but rarely found. Newly listed are Corramore and Borengajuli scoring very high with our tasting panel.

Darjeeling tea an everyday drink as well as something special?

For everyday drinking it's hard to beat Makaibari and Jogmaya. I carry large stocks of each and enjoy both daily. There's not a tea on our list I'm not enthusiastic about, but Avongrove 'Euphoria' and Tumsong are my choice to bring about a sense of calm and 'euphoria' after a busy day.

To brew a good cup use 3/5g per person steeped for 4/5 minutes in boiling water. No extras for the pot please.The stronger Assam teas will tolerate a little milk, but not the Darjeeling.

Teastick infuser

Our newly listed Teastick is a great way to brew tea for one person. It measures the amount of tea needed and creates little mess. A teapot with a built-in filter is ideal for making two cups or more, or a normal teapot using a large Teeli bag. What is your everyday tea? We welcome your comments, suggestions and feedback. :)