My tea world has been an embarrassment of riches for years. So presented with the task of writing under the topic “my favorite tea” as part of the Association of Tea Bloggers‘ lead-up to the “Bloggers’ Choice Awards” it was quite a challenge to sift through that immense history of deliciousness and try to extract just one particularly deserving tea. But I tried to think of one special tea that had both surprised and impressed me, and one immediately came to mind: the “Qiyuan Jin Jiang Da Hong Pao” that was sent to me by the people at Tea Valley.
One of the first things that hinted at the specialness of the tea was the small gold box that contained it. Packaging can be overly fancy or deceptive, but this looked simple and elegant. And the tea itself is absolutely fabulous. It was an award winner at the Wuyi Mountain People’s Choice Tea Competition in 2008, and although it is, of course, not leaf from the original TRUE Da Hong Pao bushes it certainly comes from bushes that have been very well cultivated and cared for. Rich and tangy, with a depth and complexity revealing its famous ancestry, it is a tea that I would bring out for a special occasion, and only if the other people who were going to drink with me were people I expected to appreciate the tea’s quality.
Unfortunately, Tea Valley’s website is offline right now, and I’m unable to find much detail about their company. They were located in Renton, Washington, just a few cities away from where I am. With teas this good, I want to see them continue to make them available!
The two runners-up for teas that I really, really like and recommend to other people quite often are Royal Golden Safari, one of the fine offerings by Royal Tea of Kenya, and Yulan Dancong, one of Canton Tea Company’s wonderful oolongs.
I want to know what YOUR favorite teas are. Let me know in the comments. More details on the “Bloggers’ Choice Awards” will be posted soon.
Please read the other posts by ATB members on this topic:
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As someone that has done a fair amount of content on tea, I have a lot of mixed thoughts on the way information is passed. With tea reviews or discussing a specific tea I have struggled with the question: how to talk about an individual tea or tea in general in an interesting or useful way.. Whether you like or dislike TeaDB episodes largely depends on whether you enjoy watching two particular people drink and binter. This is fine enough and it is certainly fun for Denny & I to create, but I’ll also agree with the sentiment that it’s not necessarily the most substantive way to review a tea in depth. There’s some signal but there’s also a lot of noise. Writing about a specific tea also isn’t easy and I think is actually very difficult to execute in a way that is actually consistently interesting or useful for people. Most people just want to know if you liked or didn’t like a specific tea. Making something that piques interest beyond that is a challenge and even if you don’t like them a place like Mei Leaf has succeeded in creating content that really does engage their viewers. You also have to consider that the majority of people have not had the tea or are even unfamiliar with the basic taste profile (i.e. Denny & I describing a traditionally stored pu’erh, when the audience has never had one).. Here are some phrases I dislike and hear frequently enough that I find them unhelpful and sometimes even counter-productive.
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