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Posts tagged 'heavenly teas'

Teas of Spring (pre-Qing Ming) and China’s Qing Ming Festival

By Jasmine Dilmanian (In-House Writer) 10 months ago 3667 Views No comments

Spring is celebrated in different ways in each part of the world as the flowers bloom and sun emerges. While we at Heavenly Tea Leaves kick off every season with new and climate-friendly teas, spring is especially dear to us because of the range of teas it welcomes. The teas we favor in this warm-up season can be hot or iced, bold or delicate, white or black, invigorating or calming. Regardless of your choice, this season is all about good moods and positive energy; no doubt, these feelings can always be channeled through tea.

In China, spring is celebrated with an entire festival called Qing Ming – or the Pure Brightness Festival. Starting this year on April 5th, this annual festival incorporates ritual sweeping of tombs (as well as pouring wine and tea around the tombs as an act of commemoration), kite flying, lighting of firecrackers, and of course, food and beverage offerings, which is where the tea comes into play.

As a major historical producer and consumer of tea, China has adopted the drink into the core of its culture. This holiday is ultimately about honoring one's ancestors through various customs meant to acknowledge both spring and Chinese history. Along with rice balls, cakes, porridge, and other traditional foods and snacks, those celebrating the festival consume various pre-Qing Ming teas.

What does pre-Qing Ming mean, anyway? The teas served at this time of year come from tea plants that are harvested earlier in the season, before the festival; this signifies drinking from the very first harvest of the year in accordance with the Chinese calendar. These early harvest teas, according to Fresh Cup magazine, are a super-valuable agricultural gift. "When the buds and leaves of the tea plant are harvested early and with care, they can constitute some of the highest prized, praised, and priced teas of the year. But each harvest of new growth—known as a 'flush'—has its own character," writes Fresh Cup's Liz Clayton.

She continues: "Teas harvested before Qingming... are rare due to the extremely short harvest window—which can range from a few weeks to around ten days—between bud readiness and the arrival of the fifth of April. Hallmarks of these teas are the tender buds which yield a range of complex and delicate flavors—from tea to tea these may be more vegetal, floral, or grassy than the later-harvest expressions of the same plants. They may contain a richer concentration of nutrients like amino acids and a lower concentration of astringent-tasting catechins than later pickings."


Early harvest Chinese teas are beloved by the Heavenly Tea Leaves team, too, as they are noted for their versatility and delicate nature. Here are some of the newest pre-Qing Ming teas we are featuring this spring:

Qing Shan Lu Shui hails from the Chinese Tashan Mountain region and is grown at an unusually high 800-meter altitude. Picked from the Anji white tea bush, this prized tea is noted for its mixture of bright green and yellow tea leaves, delivering a fresh flavor and a subtly sweet finish. Celebrated for its cooling properties, Qing Shan Lu Shui makes the perfect hot weather comfort beverage.

Gou Nao Gong is the most well-known of Hunan province's specialty pre-Qing Ming teas. This variety originates in Chenzhou City in the Mangshan Mountain region, which has become a popular tourist destination thanks to its warm and pleasant weather. The young Gou Nao Gong leaf is picked from the Fuding Da Bai tea bush, whose distinctive twisted shape and thick body yield a light and fruity taste.

Jin Jun Mei is harvested in the famous Fujian tea garden on the southeast coast of China, which is owned and run by a small and dedicated tea farming family along with expert tea masters. This black tea is processed with the whole leaf and the half-open bud of the Fuding Da Bai tea bush, resulting in a reddish brew and floral aftertaste. Jin Jun Mei is one of the rarest teas in our collection, as only 50 kilograms a year is available for distribution.

Drangonwell is a highly-prized green tea. The flat, long leaf is typical of this pan-fired tea, which is a result of highly skilled shaping techniques developed over centuries. This years harvest was plucked on March 19, 2018, containing notes of roasted nuts, with a smooth, crisp mouthfeel.

Silver Needle is a very mild white tea with woody notes. Although it is typically cultivated in Fujian, this pre-Qing Ming tea comes from Yunnan, China.


Above all, springtime is about coming together with friends and family to enjoy beautiful weather, happy occasions, and delicious meals. Mark any of these happy moments with a delicious cup of tea – and this spring, make it a pre-Qing Ming one from Heavenly Tea Leaves!

Matchmaker, Matchmaker, Make Me a Tea Pairing: Pairing Tea With Food

By Jasmine Dilmanian (In-House Writer) 2 years ago 7771 Views No comments

In 2015, NPR reported that tea sommeliers – that is, tea tasting experts – were the "hot new thing" in food pairing. Today, that trend shows no signs of slowing down. Sure, a nice glass of wine with dinner has traditionally been the gourmand's go-to. But what if we could reap the same joy from a pot of darjeeling tea with foie gras as we do from a glass of merlot with a filet mignon?

"The whole idea of pairing tea with food is that you should have a tea that's going to enhance the flavor of the food, or vice versa. What you want to happen in your mouth is to feel the different layers of taste and flavors... It's like a dine sommelier, giving you advice, depending on what kind of tea you want to drink, what time of the day it is, and what you're eating," says Aurelie Bessiere, a tea sommelier. - NPR

In the same vein, Forbes recently wrote of the merits of tea-and-cheese pairings, leaving wine by the wayside. "Similar to wine, tea's qualities can vary dramatically depending on where it's grown—the weather, the soil—as well as how it's processed," mentions writer Megy Karydes. Herbaceous green teas, for example, go well with super creamy cheeses like goat or triple-crème, while pu'erhs work best with bolder varieties like aged gouda. If you'd like to make a night out of it, you can even sign up for private tea-and-cheese tastings.

In order to pair properly, we must start with being able to distinguish common teas from one another. The International Tea Masters Association has come up with a nifty Tea Aroma Wheel to help us figure out whether the herbaceous taste in your cup is lavender, fennel, or sage. The wheel can also help you decipher the flavors that are opposite the one you're consuming, and therefore complementary. From there, sommeliers and casual tea enthusiasts alike can create optimal food pairings.

Tea sites like Teforia and Arbor Teas have great suggestions, and we threw some of our own into the mix, too. Here are a few basic pairings that will unveil the subtle and complex flavors of both the tea and the food you are enjoying:

White tea, such as Pai Mu Tan White – If a tea could be minimalist, this would be it. Pair this light beverage with neutral white cheeses like fresh mozzarella and oaxaca, as well as leafy salads and peaches.

Green tea has a distinct vegetal flavor. Try a pure variety like Hojicha green. Because it's kind of grassy, this tea goes best with flavors that aren't too strong, and sometimes slightly sweet, like mildly seasoned seafood, Basmati rice, chicken, or melon.

Oolong often has depth and complexity of flavor. Floral oolong is no exception, and finishes with a light, honey-like aroma. Duck and other poultry, grilled meats, and savory foods like lobster are strong enough to go head-to-head with most oolong teas – especially highly oxidized ones.

Black tea, like the strongly caffeinated Irish Breakfast, is a classic morning tea originating in India. It goes hand in hand with light breakfast foods, custard, cream, and lemon-flavored confections.

Pu'erh teas, like this one, have been shown to lend digestive benefits. Try it to aid your body's natural processes after eating savory meats, stir-fries, mushrooms, and beets.

Mint, too, is a digestive aid. A peppermint herbal tea is best consumed alongside legumes and nut-based sweets like almond cookies. Plus, it's caffeine free and won't keep you up at night.

If you're going with your gut instinct, just try to think of the basic flavors your tea evokes and pick a food that is equally strong or mild, but with a very different taste. And so, while tea is no replacement for wine, it certainly can serve as a delicious and sophisticated add-on at your next fabulous dinner party. Bon appétit!


Fun fact: Your tea simply isn't supposed to taste bitter. If it does, how did you go wrong? You've either brewed the tea for too long, used water that is too hot, or not used the proper ratio of tea to water. Remember that all of these rules are different based on the type of tea you are drinking. Consult the experts at Heavenly Tea Leaves for proper, custom brewing instructions!


New Heavenly Tea Leaves Website

By Noushin Ebrani 3 years ago 8569 Views 1 comment

Hello Tea Lovers,

We are proud to announce the launch of our new website http://www.heavenlytealeaves.com

Register on our site to get $5 off your first order!