Thursday, January 27, 2011

Events and Flight of teas! January 29th & 30th!

James Norwood Pratt is visiting Soho, NY

James Norwood Pratt with
John Harney & Michael Harney

Saturday, January 29th
Guided tasting at noon
General tastings all day long

James Norwood Pratt was one of the seminal people in the Tea Revolution (different than the current Tea Party) back in the 1980s. Another one was our founder John Harney. We're mixing these two gents together and expect great results.

Michael and John Harney will join James Norwood Pratt behind the tasting bar to drink and discuss and answer questions about the world of tea. Since all three are authors, they will be signing books as well.

The New Tea Lover's Treasury is "... probably the best single book on tea available on the market. It is a slim volume that instructs both novice and connoisseur alike. Written in an entertaining, discussive style with enough common sense knowledge and practicality to be a beginner's guide, it is filled with anecdotes and history enough to make a connoisseur proud. Norwood Pratt's New Treasury is probably the only book on tea you need, if you want only one." -Darrell Corti, A Tea Book for Your Library, in Corti Bros. Catalog (Winter 2001)

This weekend we will be featuring a flight of three Chinese Green teas. Gunpowder, Chun Mee and Lung Ching.

Gunpowder is a summer harvest green tea. The leaves are fixed and then fired for an extended period in a hot oven until they become shiny and slightly burnt. This tea packs a punch with its smoky and robust flavors from. China's Zhejiang Province, Gunpowder is a good everyday green tea. The tea takes its name from the rolled leaf balls that are leaden in color. Like spent gunpowder, it has a slight smoky flavor.

Chun Mee is a traditional Chinese green tea with a rich and smoky flavor, but less burnt than the Gunpowder. Our organic Chun Mee is similarly rolled and fired but with a sweeter and nuttier taste than the Gunpowder.

Lung Ching is an early picked green tea and is one of China's most famous. It is made around Hangzhou City early in the Spring. The full, green leaves make for a brew that has a mild and sweet. It emits clean vegetal notes and an almost nut-like flavor of toasted walnuts, it pours a very smooth cup

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Flight of teas! January 22nd & 23rd!

This weekend we are presenting a flight of our freshest Assam teas. These are some of the finest black teas from northeast India, the high rainfall and Brahmaputra river give this region a very wet growing season known for their larger leaves and fuller bodied flavor, slight maltiness (similar of a good beer) and wonderful sweeter notes of honey. .  The Region has increased the quality of production dramatically over the past thirty years. We are very pleased with these fresh additions to our collection of pure estate teas.  Assams exemplify the truest forms of the Maillard reaction, a chemical reaction between amino acids and sugars that require heat, similar to caramelization These strong black teas are delicious alone or with milk and sugar!

Golden Tip Assam is a the lightest and sweetness of the flight this weekend with golden tips (or in the case of this Assam, purely the tips). 
Nahorabi Full Leaf Assam has a slightly lighter body than the Mangalam broken, with some more toasted malt and cooked honey notes.

Mangalam Broken Assam is a vibrant broken leaf tea. Robust and perfect for mornings, this tea has both briskness and body, slightly more astringent that the golden tips and Nahorabi full. A sophisticated mixture of strength and dark honey flavors.  The more a leaf gets broken apart, the more intense and robust the flavors can be.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Flight of teas! January 15th & 16th!

This weekend we are presenting a flight (or Safari) of African teas. Stay warm with a cup of of our teas from Africa and explore the wide range of flavors inherent to this emerging tea producing continent The British brought tea to Southwestern Kenya while it was still a colony in the early 19oo's and since, the industry has grown to be the fourth largest tea producing nation after China, India, and Sri Lanka. Africa also has its own native “tea” called Rooibos or red bush. The leaves are harvested in the summer only, as compared to the multiple seasonal pickings of "Camellia Sinensis,"  what we call tea.  

Organic Rooibos is a delicious, caffeine free, herbal tea. Rooibos is from South Africa and translates to mean "red bush" While infused like tea, this herbal brews a slightly sweet beverage with a deep red color.

NEW! Livingstonia GFOP is a Tanzanian black tea named for the explorer David Livingstone. This is a full leaf tea that is reminiscent of a high-grown Ceylon. The brew is light and lively with great brisk flavors.

Kenya Milima is one of Africa's finest black teas. The leaves are big and loaded with golden tips, reminiscent of Assam teas, yielding a mellow, almost sweet brew that is medium to full in body. "Milima" is Swahili for "In a high place" Grown in the Kenyan Highlands, more than six thousand feet above sea level. This tea is a classic strong "wake up" tea. 

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Flight of teas! January 8th & 9th

This weekend we will be doing a flight of Darjeeling teas, a favorite of temporarily departing Tea Consultant Adam, who will be going to India with Alex Harney to teach hockey in the Himalayas through The Hockey Foundation to help improve the quality of life in the local communities.

Darjeeling, sometimes referred to as the "Queen of the Hills" that produces the "Champagne of Teas" is a Himalayan region in the Indian state of West Bengal (the same state as Calcutta/Kolkata, where the Indian Tea Market is based).  With over 10,000 miles of rivers, and the development of the paddle steamer, the interior of the state became accessible for agricultural production and shipping. Darjeeling is both a region and a town, in an area known as Gorkhaland that frequently deals with separatist movements, sometimes as a state level, sometimes at a national level.  This is not quite as intense as the situation in Assam, which frequently can be violent, but it is nonetheless a region with tension.

Mike Harney refers to Darjeeling as one of the "British Legacy Teas", along with Assam & Ceylon, as the British Empire introduced tea to Darjeeling in the mid 19th Century to find a way to produce cheaper tea than what was being purchased from China.   The varietal of tea is the same as those found in China, as opposed to a larger-leaf varietal found in Assam, and is harvested in three seasons: Spring (1st Flush), Summer (2nd Flush), Autumn (Autmunal Flush).  

Rolling Hills of Darjeeling Region

Harney & Sons Darjeeling teas to be featured as our flight for the weekend of January 8-9 are:

Okayti First Flush is a light and brisk tea with aromas of tropical fruit that was a bit of a surprise considering the drought that hit Darjeeling prior to picking season.  This is the type of Darjeeling tea that feels subtle at first, but lingers in the mouth and keeps you coming back for more.

Sungma Second Flush, First Flush Darjeelings, harvested in the Spring, are known for the brisk tastes and light tropical fruit flavors. Later in the year, the Second Flush Darjeelings are darker and more lush with muscatel flavors.

Darjeeling, a blend of First and Autumnal Flush Darjeelings. It has the fruitiness of the first flush with the body of the autumnal, a well balanced tea for any time of day.