Archive for April, 2009

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Fu Dao Newsletter Spring 2009

April 29, 2009

Still looking for ideas for Mother’s day? Fu Dao Jasmin tea Mo Li Hua is certainly an appreciated gift.

Say thanks to your mum in a special way and send this high-quality tea including your message to her. Just by adding your message under comments during your order, we will be happy to send her your personalised card.

Furthermore, from now on until the 10th of May gift wrapping is free for all products of your choice.

Jasmin Mo Li Hua

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Fu Dao Spring-Summer Ice Tea Recipes

Sparkling Jasmin iced tea, flavoured with jasmine and brown sugar. A change from the ordinary, with a sweet and floral flavour.

Ingredients:
4 cups of water, 80°C
3 teaspoons of loose Jasmine tea Mo Li Hua
5 teaspoons of brown sugar
1 1/4 cups sparkling water
Preparation:

Dissolve sugar in the 4 cups of steeped (around 6 minutes) jasmin tea. Stir or whisk until fully blended. Strain out the tea, and let it cool slightly. Add sparkling water and cool thoroughly. Serve over ice. Can be served with cinnamon sticks or a slice of orange.

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Lime Mint Iced Tea
A simple iced tea, with a twang of lime and hint of mint. It’s both sweet and tart at the same time but note that the lime juice will be much better flavoured if freshly squeezed.

Ingredients:

1 quart water, 80°C
10g of Long Jing green tea
1 3/4 cups of fresh mint leaves
1/4 cup of sugar
1/4 cup of lime juice
Preparation:

Mix tea, mint and sugar in hot water (80°C), and let steep for 15 minutes. Strain out the tea and mint leaves. Chill and add lime juice before serving. Lemon can be used instead of lime for a mellower taste.

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Cranberry Honey Ice Tea
Very refreshing in the summer. This recipe is nicely flavoured without being too sweet. Make sure you use only honey, no sugar!

Ingredients:

2 cups of Fu Dao Black tea (Hong Cha)
2 cups cranberry juice
1/4 cup honey
Preparation:

Mix cranberry juice, tea and honey. Whisk until honey is dissolved. Serve cold over ice. You can substitute raspberry juice, instead of cranberry for a sweeter taste.

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Fu Dao Iced Teas can also be enjoyed at the restaurant Vis à Vis in Berlin

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Fu Dao Photo Gallery

April 17, 2009
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Back to Beijing

April 10, 2009

So, here am I back in Beijng after a wonderful time in Huang Shan! I had the pleasure to visit the teafields of theis fabulous region and to assist at the processing of making the famous Huang Shan Mao Feng. This was an unforgettable experience and I’m happy to have taken the opportunity to bring some of the new spring tea back home!

So the last few days I spent were “just” for teaware. This is also a complete world and I have had the chance to meet some of the artists of Yixing teapots who explained the art of making these teapots and the reasons of their quality differences. It’s very difficult to select a Yixing Teapot because prices vary between 10 and 1000 Euro. Usually, the price of most contemporary Yixing teapots are dependant on such factors such as age, clay, artist, style and production methods. There are some teapots that are even more expensive but these ones are so precious that they are put in special area of the shop or under seal and are only shown to connoisseurs. I’ve decided to enquire a little more about good quality Yixing Teapots that I’m intending to offer on Fudao. But for the moment, I’ve bgeen learning a lot about this fascinating culture which although has something to do with tea is not necessary going hand in hand. There are some people collecting Yixing Teapots having no clue about tea and also the other way around. On my hand, I’m just starting to learn about it and it’s probgably the beginning of a long process.

So what I learned about Yixing clay teapots is that first of all they are made from Yixing clay from the region of the town of Yixing and is dating back to the 15th century.

Secondly, when judging the quality of Yíxīng teapots the following can be done:

1. Tap the pots lightly together: the ceramic should make a distinctly metallic sound.
2. Look at the fit of the lid into the pot, it should be flush and appear seamless.
3. Fill the pot with water, place the lid on, and begin pouring the water. it should pour smoothly
4. While pouring, place your finger over the hole on the lid, this action should stop the flow of water immediately and completely if the lid is well fitted.

Yixing teapots are meant for use with black and oolong teas, as well as aged pǔ’ěr tea. They can also be used for green or white tea, but the water must be allowed to cool to around 85 degrees Celsius before pouring the water into the pot. With “Zisha” (a purple-sand clay found only in Yixing) teapots, a tiny amount of tea is absorbed into the pot during brewing. After prolonged use, the pot will develop a coating that retains the flavor and color of the tea. It is for this reason that soap should not be used to clean Yixing teapots. Instead, it should be rinsed with fresh water and allowed to air-dry.

These fine teapots are small by Western standards (about 100ml.) because they are generally designed for a single drinker. Originally, the Chinese would pour the tea from the spout directly into their mouths. It was not until the teapots were exported to the West that people started to use them in conjunction with a teacup.

So I hope that gave you a clear intruduction of Yixing Teapot and look forward to your comments and suggestions.

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The Yellow Mountain & its Huang Shan Mao Feng

April 4, 2009

Another step ahead! I’ve decided to go to Huang Shan region to rediscover the famous “Huang Shan Mao Feng” green tea as well as the Qi Men (Keemun) black tea. These well-known teas are growing in An Hui province so it means I’ll just have to travel 15 hours by train to get there, unlike the two times 21 hours it took me from Shi Men to Hangzhou. This will give me an opportunity to see a different way of processing tea as although “Huang Shan Mao Feng” is manually picked, some other means of processing are used to mildly roast and dry the tea. “Huang Shan Mao Feng” tea is famous for its slander, tender and even tealeaves which are covered with tiny white hair. After the tea is brewed the colour of the infusion is very limpid and its fragance mellow.

The time spent in this region gave me some time to learn more about tea and its culture. People are very patient and each step of tea making, brewing and drinking is thought and explained thoroughly.

I noticed however that Chinese people are according little value to the tea health benefits (or talk little about it) although tea was first used 5’000 years ago for its curative values. It’s become part of every day life so it’s become normal to drink tea on a daily basis. In chinese culture it’s said that “everything that can be eaten can be used as a medicine!” According to ancient texts, it was during the process of delving into detoxification and digestive functions of tea that people began to learn about teas thirst quenching and refreshing effects.

But the first key element to Chinese tea art is “distinguishing tea” – this means one should distinguish the difference between good tea and poor-quality tea. High-quality tea should not only be collected at the right time but also be processed with the proper methods. Since the Song dynasty, China has been very strict with the timing of tea collection. Generally speaking, the week before and after the Qing Ming Festival (4th of April this year) is the best period to pluck the tea. The time of plucking is also crutial! If it’s been too sunny or the collecting basket has been left in the sun, the tea leaves don’t have sufficient moisture and the essence will be lost. If it’s been raining, the quality of tea will also have been influenced – in fact, tea is never picked during rainy days. Therefore, it’s best to pluck the tea early in the morning so that tea leaves stil have a little dew on them.

Furthermore, plucking the tea should be made with the nails but not with fingers because the tealeaves might be affected by the temperature of the hands. The tenderer the buds are, the better the quality will be. Tea processing skills is the most important point in making high-quality tea.

Well, that was a small introduction about my tea experience but I hope I’ll have more to tell upon my return from Huang Shan.

Version Francaise