OK, its in French, but it’s a fascinating watch!
Now making its way over the French airwaves, Nestle are certainly making an effort! Check it out:
Hong Kong’s love affair with milk teas and Taiwan’s modern take on regular tea continues with Taiwanese chain Gongcha now having several outlets in the city. Gongcha specialises in iced teas with a large dollop of thick cream on the top, an innovative take on creamy milk teas. They call these Milk Top teas (奶蓋茶).
I tried their green version of their signature Milk Top Teas which they can make with green, black or oolong tea. Ontop of the iced tea (with or without sugar) is a thick, almost double cream layer of creamy milk. The idea is that you drink your tea through the milk layer in the same way you’d drink a milky latte coffee. Milk Top teas, as you can see by the lunch time queue, are their number one selling tea!
Milk Top teas, it is advised, should be drunk as follows:
- Take of the lid and drink the tea through the milk
- Put the straw through the lid and drink the tea beneath the milk
- Mix the two together and let the taste overwhelm your senses!
After much ado (in France), Nestle has launched its “Special T” its tea version of the super coffee concept, N’Espresso. Costing about US$127 for the machine and looking pretty classy, it remains to be seen if it make a good cuppa…
Since women make up most of the world’s tea drinkers outside of Asia, bets on for which sexy Hollywood male super star will be the George Clooney of tea!
The Special T launches with 25 teas including 8 black teas, 6 six green, 1 white, 1 blue (oolong), several breakfast teas and some tisanes.
No surprise, the Chinese have drunk Pu’er tea for a while now. And with all that leaf brewed has come a certain, pickiness, a pickiness far beyond the focus on detail of all but the most refined of tea connoisseurs. The Chinese approach to tea quality has always seemed a bit of a mystery to me, so I decided to try to understand it. I finally found a fascinating approach to how they appreciate tea and I’ve done my best to outline it below!
Just in general, the Chinese have a fetish for leaf appearance. Leaf appearance, before brewing, during tea drinking and even after the cup is drained is an integral element of enjoying tea for many Chinese.
Here, applying the 5S approach (see right!) is how a typical Chinese tea bon-vivant would rate mature (shou) Pu’er tea.
1. (See) Appearance
First, examine shape of the leaves, see if leaves are whole or broken, if leaves are old or young, if leaves are large or small. Also smell the leaves and examine their colour. Superior Yunnan Pu’er (if aged) will have an obvious aged nose (some have mushroomy nose, some medicinal, some like dried longan or even camphor). Leaves should be a deep brown, reddy brown (liver brown). Leaves should be shiny and bright. Leaves should be whole and there should be little dust in Pu’er cakes. Lesser Pu’ers will have an aged nose alone, lacking other aromas; they may even be slightly stale. Leaves will also often be darker, lacking shine.
2. (See) Liquid Colour
Here, depth of colour and resonance are the main things to look for. Fine loose Pu’er tea is a deep, shiny red. The Chinese say the colour is close to a red, vermillion lacquer. Lesser Pu’er will be shallower in colour and less shiny. Lesser Pu’er will also have dust in brewed liquor, some of which may even be quite dark, almost black.
3. (Smell) Aroma
Finer Pu’er teas will have a rich, long-lasting aroma. Aromas are typically a dry sweet aged nose. Lesser Pu’ers will have a slight astringency and may even be slightly metallic or mouldy.
4. (Sample) Taste
Fine Pu’ers have a sweet echo to them which is silk smooth. Secondary Pu’ers are shallow, less smooth and lack a richness to any echo.
5. (Study) Spent Leaves
Examine colour and leaf quality here. Finer Pu’ers shall have soft, shiny, browny-red leaves. There will be almost no dust, or smaller particles and no stalks. Lesser Pu’ers will have a lot of dust and small particles among used leaves and are often darker. Among lesser spent leaves you will also find telltale hard stalks.
The most obvious difference between the grades is often the age of the quality/wholeness of the leaves. Also, often, the younger leaves are the higher the grade. But more important it is how tightly the leaves are rolled, if they are broken or whole, how smooth they are and if they have suffered any shrivelling or mould.
So give it a go… see if this makes your cup of Pu’er tea a whole new experience!