Tea Monday – An Ji Bai Cha

An Ji Bai Cha is needle-like a green tea and the name actually means white tea but it refers to the unprocessed white tea leave colour.
Apparently there was a legend in a 900 year old Chinese book about a a tea plant with white leaves and only in the 1980s did they discovered this legendary white tea bush.

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It is not just a really cool story, the taste is nothing compared to a “regular” green tea.
For me it has a fruity taste with a hint of lychee. The second brew is sweeter with no hint of tartness and very smooth.

You can infuse the tea for 1-2 minutes with 70-75°C. I prefer 2 minutes steeping time because the taste is a lot stronger.

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Since my parents brought me a pack of An Ji Bai Cha from Paper&Tea, I was sold on it and searched for it in Vienna after finishing it. I wasn’t that lucky because I discovered that it is quite a rare tea. The harvesting season is very short, only about 30 days in spring since the leaves eventually turn green when temperatures rise. Probably a factor on why they did not discover this tea sooner ;)

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I bought mine at this lovely tea shop in Bratislava and can only recommend you (if you have the time) to visit the shop. It has lots of great rare quality teas for a fair price because the owner is in personal contact with the tea farmers in Asia.

Have a nice week ahead of you!

 

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Tea Shop in Bratislava

There is a special tea shop in Bratislava at Radlinského 24C that is specialised in high grade tea, with a lovely tea house joined to the tea shop.

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After aimlessly looking around for 5 minutes (since we did not have accurate directions) we stumbled over it and thankfully rested our feet in their garden while browsing their extensive menu card which is only written in Slovak but there are helpful pictures and the friendly waitress can speak English.

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We both instantly decided on the matcha and aloe vera drink to refresh ourselves and fruity cheesecakes.

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Luckily for us, the owner was in the house and had time for us to browse the tea shop.
The shop is closed on Fridays and always during the week-end so coming by to buy some tea must be done during the week, which is not possible for most Viennese. You could call him in advance though and ask him if he has the time to sell tea for you which he offered us.

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I was so excited in this tea shop and darted from one corner to the next, eyeing all those beautiful tea pots.
We do already have quite a collection and we settled on two teacups which you will be seeing soon :)

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Beautiful and handmade tea pots in all kinds of sizes and colours.

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The owner was very friendly and could explain and recommend lots of Chinese teas to us in English. I was so happy when he opened a fresh bag of An Ji Bai Cha for me to smell. It is really such a huge difference how you store your tea and how fresh and intense the scent can be compared to old samples.

We spend more than 100€ and got a rare first flush rohini exotic 50g bag for free, which I was a very nice gesture and is really appreciated!

Sadly I can’t think of a tea shop here in Vienna that can compare with this jewel but I am glad that we found it and we have enough tea for at least end of this year if not longer. I can’t wait to try them out and since the temperatures in Vienna are normal again there will be some tea posts coming up soon.

Tea Monday – Løv Tea

Have you heard of Løv tea? It is being sold at Donauzentrum in the Kusmi tea shop (but probably also in some other locations).

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The tea I decided on getting is ginger-lemon, with all ingredients being from organic cultivation.
I think it is really crucial what you eat and it is important to avoid pesticides since they are absorbed by our bodies, especially when we use the skin of fruits and don’t peel them.

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The fun thing with Løv tea is, that it comes in a closed metal tin, keeping all of the aroma inside and protecting the tea from sunlight.

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I prefer this kind of flavour combination when I have throat ache or feel sick but I also really enjoy it in the evening to relax.
The lemon and ginger flavour is not overpowering and in balance with the green tea.

The instructions say that you should brew it for 3 minutes with 75° but I prefer the steeping time to be a bit shorter.
Just experiment with the time until you are satisfied with the result :)

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Teastories – Tea

Last Monday you got to know the new tea shop Teastories and I will present you some of their teas I tested at home.
Three black teas, one oolong and one fruit tea, so it is a nice mixture and overview!

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I just love quotes and that you can find them on nearly every package of teastories :)

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Three activating black teas and one calming fruit tea are up next.

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I don’t know why I am such a sucker for metal cans but I just love tea cans and they are so tiny and cute.
When I am finished with the tea I will probably use them for a DIY.

The advantage with black tea is that it is not as delicate as green tea and especially in the morning saves time, when you can brew your tea with boiling water instead of waiting an additional 5minutes for it to cool. Black tea is activating but it is actually never a problem for me and even when the Mister and me had the matcha seminar, I slept one hour later like a stone. So you have to find out for yourself how the caffeine affects your body and mind and adjust to that :)

 

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The Cha Cha Chai is a solid chai blend but the taste was not too strong when I made it with 3 minutes so I recommend it for 5 minutes, if you also like a strong chai taste. I enjoy chai a lot more with milk and am drinking it with vanilla soy milk at the moment ;)

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This Hollywood mixture smelled very intriguing with the popcorn, raspberries and pineapple pieces but I enjoyed it the least because it was too sweet for my taste. If you enjoy a sweetish and fruity black tea it might me for you though :)

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When I smelled Almond Amour, I instantly thought of an appelstrudel. The smell is just so addictive and slightly christmasy because of the cinnamon. Despite it being named almond amour, I think you taste the apples a lot more and it even tastes like a bratapfel. I also really liked this tea even though it can be very sweet as well.

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And my favourite tea, to my surprise is this, London calling. I am normally not really into lavender or roses in my tea because they are often just too overpowering but I somehow just loved this mixture. It is my go-to tea now in the morning and I love the citrusy lavender taste, which has a relaxing feeling for me.

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I just had to pick the “live forever” oolong since I am really into oolong at the moment.
I brewed it for 2 minutes with 80°C and was surprised by the sweetish smell of the tea, reminding me of milky oolong.
After checking the package, I discovered that lactose was added so for lactose intolerant people it might not be that ideal but I loved the smooth and sweet taste, reminding me of a much lighter milky oolong.

Have a nice week ahead :)

Teastories

Vienna has been lacking modern tea places, especially for young people and I am glad that Teastories opened end of March at Westbahnhof in the Westbahnhof shopping area.

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Karina and Davy are not only siblings but the two co-founders of Teastories and I got the chance to get to know Teastories better, through an interview with her. Both have an international background, having lived in different cities and wanting to retail something international in Vienna. Nothing better than opening a tea shop, with tea being grown and harvested all over the world!

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Karina explained that the quotes that are listed on the teas, mostly come from friends and families and have a very special meaning to them.
I think it is really cute that their tea with the containing stories are in a shelf, which is titled tea library.

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Karina mentioned that their concept is really important to them and how closely they worked with their Mexican graphic designers, Anagrama. If you look at their logo below, you notice that the quotation mark can also be seen as two tea leaves. How clever!
All those small details show, how much thoughts both have put into this tea shop.

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The foundation is the puristic look, letting the products be in the spotlight and carefully implementing their tea stories. Their declared goal is to reach everybody, not just the classic tea drinkers and I am very positive that they will succeed.

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Not only do they offer tea but also lots of tea accessories and best of all, cute cups. You can never have enough tea cups! The “Yours” and “Mine” tea mugs are so cute!

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I enjoyed this matcha latte during our conversation. I loved that the matcha was not overly sweet but the matcha taste could have been a bit stronger in my opinion.
Matcha latte and Thai tea are their best-selling drinks, with the matcha being biological from a Japanese supplier.

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This man enjoyed listening to our conversation and offered to pose for a picture. So thank you, unknown stranger!
Karina was so nice and gave me a lot of teas to try at home, which I will tell you all about in my next post, to not make this one super long.
So stay tuned :)

PS: If you drop by, don’t forget to get yourself a loyalty card!

Siki – Tea Room and Tea Shop

Siki is a newly opened Japanese tea shop at Währingerstraße 153 near Aumannpark.
In a separate room they even offer the traditional Japanese tea ceremony, chado.

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As you may know I love green tea and think that it is really great that more Japanese tea shops are opening in Vienna!
The first was Cha no ma (they offer the best matcha lattes in town!), then came Metcha Matcha and now Siki.
Those Japanese shops offer different products, teas and dishes so there is a right place for every green tea lover out there!

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After scanning the menu card I was really impressed by the Japanese green tea selection and other Japanese teas that are not available everywhere. There is also a small selection of Japanese food (curry, ochazuke and miso soup) and lots of sweet goods that fit to tea.

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After quite a while I finally decided on a green tea and picked Shoshun which I have never tried before. This tea is harvested in spring and has a sweet and mellow taste.
The price of 4,2€ includes a second infusion which is great and sadly not common to be offered.
The second infusion even tasted better than the first because of the intensified sweetness. I loved it and was really happy with my choice!

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Yatsubashi are traditional mochis and originate from Kyoto. The mochi dough is flavoured with sugar and cinnamon and red beans are the filling.
I paid 3,5€ for three pieces of yatsubashi, which I thought was a pretty good deal. Generally the prices are really decent!

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The shop owner was very friendly and even gave me a small matcha chocolate as a present and lots of business cards for my friends.
I can’t wait to be go back again and enjoy a nice cup of green tea with somebody dear to me.

Karigane Tea – Paper & Tea

If you haven’t noticed yet, I am a huge tea lover! I drink tea everyday and especially love green tea.

Online I stumbled over the tea shop which is located in Berlin named Paper & Tea. The shipping costs where quite high but luckily my parents were going to Berlin anyway and agreed on stopping by for me. Yay! I gave them a list but somehow they did not have anything in stock what I wanted but with the advice of the sales woman they got me an interesting selection.  They ended up bringing me An Ji Bai Cha, Karigane and Sakura No.

I love the website and presentation of the different teas, all the details on how the aroma will be and also the colour of the tea when brewed.

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Karigane is not mainly made up by tea leaves but stems from the tea plants and if the only component is sencha the tea is actually called Kukicha. In my case the tea is made up by Sencha and Gyokura First Flush, thus a true Karigane ;)

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The tea is very low in caffeine and is a  good source for minerals and trace elements.

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For me the taste of the first brew slightly flowery in the beginning but ends with a long lasting umami flavour.

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The second brew is more earthy, the flower component is gone and the tea as a more solid taste with a sweet finish.

I mostly forget to make more brews but Karigane can be brewed several times.

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Have you tried Karigane or Kukicha? Do you like it as well or prefer some other tea like Sencha?

 

Tea Seminar at Demmers Teehaus Headquarters

This tea seminar which I attended with the Mister was the special event I mentioned in my previous blog post! Bet you did not see that coming ;)
As most of you know, I love tea especially green tea and this seminar was about japanese green teas and matcha.

The seminar took place at the headquarters near the U6 station Siebenhirten and lasted from 6 – 8pm.
The welcome drink we got was an Indian green tea, supposedly to taste the difference between this and the Japanese green teas.

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I loved the room we were in, it was like an old tea tin museum. I love old metal tins especially tea tins and have my own small collection I must confess.

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The tea tasting was the more exciting part since the Mister and me already knew most of the theoretical stuff.
All in all we tasted 11 teas and I discovered the lovely flavour of the tamaryokucha (also known as guricha), which has a more fruity flavour due to the leaves being steamed.

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After the normal green teas we had matcha made in 4 different ways. I loved the matcha banana smoothie but really disliked matcha Sevilla which was matcha with orange juice.
The drink was really unbalanced and somehow the flavours did not fit. Did you ever try matcha with orange juice? If not, do you think it fits or would you try it out?

I sadly did not make many pictures of the tasting itself since my camera was low on battery.. I seriously need to check it more often for important events. Next time then!
Although we drank all those green teas the Mister and I went to sleep very fast and were not affected by the theine. Matcha does help me to stay focus and more concentrated while studying though :)

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To sum it up: The teas seminar is more for green tea beginners and people who are new to Japanese green teas. They give a general overview but do not go too much into detail.
Also since it was called a green tea and matcha seminar I thought we would get more in-depth information about the different matcha grades etc. which sadly was not mentioned.
I did learn that the quality of sencha varies widely and can be similar to gyokuro or bancha, depending on the harvesting time. I think it is a bit weird that there can be a huge quality difference and that the date of the harvest is not mentioned on the package. At least I can’t recall ever seeing that information. The price of 25€ is not bad for a two hour seminar since you also get a 10€ voucher for every Demmer Teehaus Shop which is a nice offer I shall use for another tea pot! :)
They have lots of different seminars which you can check out on their page here.

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November 10 Photo Challenge – I do this everyday

Photo Challenge: I do this everyday

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My interpretation: I first of all thought of all the mundane things one does all day, sleeping, brushing teeth, eating etc. but I wanted to be a bit more personal and decided to shoot my daily tea and newly bought tea can. I always was a tea person but recently I got more into it and now drink daily green tea. I like Sencha a lot :)

Random info: I bought the tea can at Demmers Teehaus and the brand is Zero Japan.

And yes I had to skip the challenge yesterday because I was super busy the whole day and then when I was home it was already so late and the light sucked and since I held up quite well I thought it wouldn’t be too bad if I would skip this one. The challenge was technology.

Demmer’s Tea Workshop

Demmer’s Teehaus is a teashop existing since 1981 and is specialised on loose tea and tea-accessories.
When I saw that they offer various tea workshops for only 25€, I knew I had to attend!
With max. 16 people attending and 4 people not showing up, we were about 10, which was a very comfortable group size.
We first learned the basics of tea (where it grows, what kinds there are etc.) and finally it was time for the tea tasting.

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7 black teas on one table and 8 green/oolong/white teas on the other one. I am not really a huge black tea fan but was surprised how tasty the First Flush Darjeeling was. First Flush stands for the first picking and is also related to the quality of the tea, making the First Flush of high quality (and thus more expensive). I think I liked it the most of the black teas because it is similar to a green tea, being somewhat flowery and subtle.
I really disliked the black tea Keemun (China) it had a very pungent smell of something smoked, similar to smoked ham. Not something I would like to have in my tea.
The green teas I liked were: Lung Ching Chun An (China), Gyokuro Asahi (Japan), Genmaicha (Japan), Jasmin Dragon Phoenix Pearls (China).

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I know I liked those because we all got a folder with lots of flyers and a list of the teas we would sample, so I always drew an x when I liked a tea. There is also a description of how the tea tastes, making it easier for beginners to taste those flavours. (Well it did help me when I could not describe the flavour.)

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After the workshop was over we were allowed to take samples home of the teas we had and I immediately chose Gyokuro Asahi and the Darjeeling First Flush. My sister gave me some of her Jasmin Dragon Phoenix Pearl tea and my Babe took Genmaicha for me so I really had most of my favourites :D

I learned quite a lot and starting with the basics is never a bad idea. The next workshop I will attend is the one for matcha and green tea.

If you want to sign up for a tea workshop aswell, here is the link: http://www.tee.at/tee-magazin/tee-workshop