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Our tour began in Taiwan with a refreshing Spring Lishan oolong paired with lightly flavored yam and pineapple cakes.

World of Tea Series: Traditional Teas & Sweets

Hosted by Crimson Lotus Tea

The September 5th World of Tea event offered a very special opportunity to taste 8 different puer teas, all made in the same facility in the same year. The eight teas were made as a series of experimental cakes by the China Puer Tea Research Institute in 2010. There were four grades of shou (cooked) puer, and four grades of sheng (raw) puer. Crimson Lotus Tea purchased these teas after a visit to the institute, and guided attendees through this interesting tasting of all eight of the teas, accompanied by information about the work done by the institute and what the facility was like when they visited.


The fourth tea was a 1990's Aged Tiguanyin from Taiwan.  Traditionally, this tea would be stored in ceramic containers and removed occasionally for roasting.  The taste shifted from smoky caramel to nutty caramel over three infusions.

World of Tea Series: A Flight of Aged Teas

Hosted by Cinnabar Wright (Phoenix Tea)

While most of the finest teas are at peak value shortly after their harvest and production dates, there are some teas that are produced and stored for years, utilizing traditional practices that enhance the depth and character of the tea. Aging is typically associated with the teas that are referred to as "post-fermented" in English. These are the teas from Yunnan, Hunan, and Anhui, China, which employ microbial agents as catalysts of change in the tea over time. These teas are most often formed into bricks, cakes, and other compressed forms, and they have a great deal of variation within those parameters, but all increase in quality as they become older. Producing a very different style, there is also a tradition in Taiwan of aging oolongs, which are taken out and re-roasted every so often, as they become richer, darker, and more complex.    

It is not difficult to find and taste unremarkable aged teas from Taiwan and China in the 2-5 year old range, so in this August 15th tasting we concentrated on teas that have been aged for at least 15 years, including some teas from the '80s and '90s. Teas of these older vintages are considerably more of a challenge to source, which is generally reflected in their price, but they are well worth the cost to the people who really understand and appreciate them. Some tea people attribute qualities above and beyond sensory experience to these aged teas, including high levels of "chi," the energy defined by Chinese medicine and martial arts, and many people experience a state of euphoria while drinking these venerable teas, known in the West by the term "tea drunk."    

We couldn't promise that attendees would experience an exalted mental state when you tasted these aged teas, but we can assure you that this was an enjoyable adventure with a flight of exceptional teas that you are unlikely to encounter anywhere else.

Hosted by Phoenix Tea

This was a really enjoyable and educational tasting on October 17th of 5 different pairings of traditional teas with traditional sweets, giving guests the opportunity to indulge in exquisite and unusual treats along with high caliber single origin teas. Guests experienced an array of aromas and flavors, including flowery, sugary, savory, and the teas and sweets were served in and on tea wares and accessories typical of the culture of each pairing.

Representative pairings came from Egypt, Japan, Russia, Taiwan, and Turkey.



Tatsuo explained how the behavior of steam in the yuzamashi (water cooling pitcher) can indicate temperature. Steam billows upward with near-boiling water temperatures, ideal for hojicha or bancha. Water at temperatures around 140°F will have little or no steam, ideal for gyokuro. Steam moving to the side at an approximate 45° angle indicates temperatures around 175°F - 185°F, ideal for sencha.

Red the rest of the post: World of Tea Series: New Harvest of Teas from Japan

Hosted by Tatsuo Tomeoka (Charaku Fine Japanese Tea)

Tatsuo Tomeoka, owner of Charaku Fine Japanese Tea, lead a tea tasting class on July 18th that explored the variety, history, and culture of Japanese green tea.  We tasted a wide variety of teas from various appellations around Japan from the 2015 new harvest (shincha) tea. Besides regional variations of Sencha, we also experienced the various processing styles that lead to Fukamushicha (Deep-Steamed Tea,) Tamaryokucha ("Coiled, or Ball-rolled" Tea,) Houjicha (Roasted GreenTea,) Genmaicha (Sencha plus Roasted Brown Rice,) and Kukicha (Stem Tea.) We concluded the tasting with Charaku's Premium Organic Matcha, which was accompanied by seasonal, hand-made wagashi sweets from Seattle-based Tokara, one of the few professional Japanese confectioneries in the U.S.


The presentation opened with Christopher Ezzell who shared with us his inspiration from and appreciation of the simplicity and thoughtful aesthetic of the Japanese tea room and how he has incorporated this into his own work.  

World of Tea Series: Contemporary Aesthetics & Traditional Tea Culture

Hosted by Christopher Ezzell and Christopher Shaw

On June 13th, artist/designers Christopher Ezzell (Architect, East West Chanoyu and Tankokai) and Christopher Shaw (Artist, Northwest Tea Collective) each provided guests with a tea experience inspired from their personal tea practice. Both hosts initiated a discussion of art, design and aesthetics. Guests experienced a journey through the hosts’ unique intersection of tea and art. This event provided a special opportunity to experience two contemporary tea practices inspired by different traditions.


On May 23rd, Northwest Tea Festival sponsored a benefit for Nepal Earthquake relief efforts as part of the World of Tea series. Since Nepal is nestled in the Himalayas among many world-renowned tea growing regions, and is itself a producer of fine teas, it seemed particularly appropriate that the tea community step up to provide some aid in Nepal’s time of suffering.

There was a tasting of teas from that general region, principally Darjeeling and Nepal. There were also tea items for sale contributed by local tea companies. 100% of the proceeds went to the relief efforts.