The Tea Enthusiast’s Handbook is Published !

Today is the day….our book is officially released for sale in bookstore and on online book vendors. We are so appreciative of the care and tendering that our publisher, Ten Speed Press, lavishes on our books. They really ‘get’ the importance of tea and are fully behind our efforts to spread tea knowledge with readers and tea enthusiasts. Autographed copies are available directly from us, either from our website or in the store. Enjoy !

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Mad Hatter Tea ®

Illustration by Angel Dominguez

Lewis Carroll would be pleased to know that his league of strange notables has come alive again via the creative genius of Tim Burton. In honor of the wonderful madness that is the story of Alice, and especially to pay tribute to the famous and nonsensical tea party scene with the Mad Hatter, March Hare and Dormouse, we have created our newest tea – Mad Hatter Tea ®

Would the Mad Hatter approve, you ask ? Most definitely, we say. With the utmost logic in mind ( to counter-balance the complete disregard of such by the namesake character ) we crafted this tea to be fun and fanciful. How so, you ask ? Elemental, we say. Set your own tea party table and see what we mean.

Fine black tea  establishes the base for a visually colorful and multi-textured blend of fruits, flowers and sensory wonderment. A lush, rejuvenating aroma demands to share the spotlight with the fine, intriguing appearance of the blend.

In other words, it is a madcap, celebratory mixture with a wealth of flavor and scent: fun and merriment in every cup. Eye candy that tastes good, too, and tea that really is, well, tea.

Click here to read more about our Mad Hatter Tea ®:   http://www.cooksshophere.com


Illustration by Gwynedd M. Hudson, 1922

 

2010 China Green Teas Arriving Now

Anticipation has turned to excitement and reality as large parcels of tea are beginning to arrive daily in our shop. This is the time that air-shipments of our Pre-Qing Ming teas cross our threshold, and we are intoxicated realizing that these teas were fresh leaf on the tea bushes just a few short weeks ago.

We are clamoring to open the packages, taste the tea, photo same, calculate price, write copy for our website, and get the tea out for sale. Preparing tea for sale once the new tea harvest begins is always a joyful but time consuming event. In the next few weeks our store will be awash in more Pre-Qing Ming green and black teas from Eastern China, 1st pluck Shincha from Japan and 1st Flush Darjeelings.

The first teas to arrive this year are our wonderful Yunnan greens: delicious, fresh, country-simple, straightforward, good-tasting teas. Our selection of teas are visually interesting in appearance as well, and educational, too.

We have chosen Yunnan greens that comprise different leaf plucks and represent several leaf manufacturing techniques and skills. Order a selection of these and invite your friends over for a celebratory tea tasting session with the first new teas of the year.

Our Yunnan teas are very reasonably priced ( for those who don’t know, we strive to make all of our tea reasonably priced )  so you may want to consider them as your everyday drinking greens.

Spring celebrates the beginning of a new tea season in tea producing countries around the world. We have written and posted an explanatory document on our homepage titled: A Year in a Tea Garden: A Calendar of Seasonal Plucks that explains why seasonality is important, and also outlines when during the year certain teas are made.

Please give it a read: it is located on our homepage under the listing for new 2010 New Teas.

Follow this link to our homepage to view our new Yunnan teas:

http://www.cooksshophere.com/

Sencha Sakura – natural Cherry Blossom Green Tea

Kawazu Zakura

Sakura , as they are known in Japan, or cherry blossoms, as they are affectionately called here, are the first harbinger of spring. Each year, legions of  ‘bloom watchers’ eagerly travel to various locations in Japan in the hopes of arriving at just the right time to enjoy a spectacular show of delicate pink and white colors and inhale the soft, subtle fragrance during the annual Cherry Blossom Festival.

File:Chidorigafuchi sakura.JPG

In North America, Washington DC, Philadelphia and Vancouver in British Columbia celebrate the flowering of their cherry trees, too, with annual Cherry Blossom Festivals. In 1912 Japan gave our nation’s capital a gift of 3,020 cherry trees, and another 3,800 trees in 1965. These graceful trees signal Washington’s right of spring with an explosion of white and pink color which is avidly witnessed by thousands of visitors from across the nation and around the world.  Each year the peak season of bloom in Washington DC varies with the weather – from mid-March to early April is the window of time.

The very idea of thousands of cherry trees all in blossom all the same time is, for me, the quintessence of spring fever.

To celebrate Mother Nature’s spectacular show, we are introducing our Sencha Sakura tea. This sweetly perfumed tea is a delicious and satisfying blend of green tea – Japanese Sencha – from Shizuoka Prefecture in Japan and tiny pink Sakura blossoms. The subtle fragrance of these tiny pink cherry blossoms makes a fragrant and alluring cup that is a perfect harbinger of the fresh new season.

Our Sencha Sakura tea is, like the cherry blossoms themselves, available for a fleeting time only once a year. Be sure to order now – Sencha Sakura is a lovely gift to tuck inside of an Easter basket for your favorite tea drinker !

 

A Win in the Bronze Category for Me

YOKOSO JAPAN VISIT 2010 FOLLOW YOUR IMAGINATION

No, I am not talking about an OLYMPIC win, but a win in the recent Japan National Tourism Organization ”Visit Japan” Contest

Entires were solicited in two categories: original composition and photography. In each category the prizes were:

3 Grand Prizes : airfare to Japan
4 Gold Prizes:hotel accommodations or day tours in Japan
5 Silver Prizes: discount travel voucher on air travel to Japan
10 Bronze Prizes: Visit Japan goodie bag with maps, regional Japan guides, a slick pair of chopsticks, etc.

I entered a photograph of a stunning 400 year-old Oribe tea bowl and supplied the required 201 character caption for the image.

This is the photograph and the caption that I entered.

This 400-year old Oribe tea bowl, still in the service of a Japanese tea master, is a powerful cultural image. It ’s confident bearing and full-presence fuels my desire to visit Japan to study traditional ceramics styles, shapes and technique.

I was told that over 6,000 people entered the contest. I am thrilled that my image of this oversized, slipper-shaped chawan owned by Master Sen So’Oku ( Sen Masayoshi ) Zuiensai, 15th Generation Heir to the Mushakoji-Senke School of Tea resonated so well with the judges.

Click here to visit the Japan National Tourism Organization webiste: http://www.japantravelinfo.com/2010

Arigato Gozaimasu