A great collection of tea photography with a bit of teaology & a wild dedication to all things tea.
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An absolute must have: Keyaki Wood Tea Cup Set. Per the description, each teacup is carved from a single block of wood and has a unique pattern. They are supposedly very light and wonderful to hold in your hands. Set of (4) $40 via the Rare Device website. $24 for (2) via Portland Japanese Garden & coming soon to pod.bigcartel for $9.50 each. A very unique design pictured above via Kong Lung Trading. These beautiful cups would be perfect with a round Keyaki Japanese Wood Serving Tray. Though I could find only the rectangle shaped tray priced at $42 via Gourmet of Olde City.

"Life is like a cup of tea…. it’s all in how you make it"

Tea Tasting Terminology: Terms Describing Dry Leaf -

Black: A black appearance is desirable.

Blackish: A satisfactory appearance.

Bold: Particles of leaf which are too large for the particular grade.

Brown: A brown appearance in teas that normally indicates overly harsh treatment of the leaf.

Clean: Leaf that is free from fiber, dust and all extraneous matter.

Curly: The leaf appearance of whole leaf grade teas such as O.P., as distinct from “wiry”.

Even: True to the grade, consisting of pieces of leaf of fairly even size.

Flaky: Flat, open and often light in texture.

Gray: Caused by too much abrasion during sorting.

Grainy: Describes primary grades of well-made CTC teas such as Pekoe Dust.

Leafy: A tea in which leaves tend to be on the large or long side.

Light: A tea light in weight, of poor density. Sometimes flaky.

Make: Well-made tea (or not), true to its grade.

Musty: A tea affected by mildew.

Neat: A grade having good “make” and size.

Powdery: Fine light dust.

Ragged: An uneven, badly manufactured and graded tea.

Stalk & Fibre: Should be minimal in superior grades, but is generally unavoidable in lower-grade teas.

Tip: A sign of fine plucking, apparent in top grades of orthodox “Low Grown Type Teas”.

Uneven & Mixed: ”Uneven” pieces of leaf usually indicative of poor sorting and not true to the particular grade.

Well Twisted: Used for describing whole-leaf grades, often referred to as “well-made” or “rolled”.

Wiry: Leaf appearance of a well-twisted, thin-leaf tea.

Tea Tasting Terminology:Terms Describing Infused Leaf

-Aroma: Smell or scent denoting “inherent character,” usually in tea grown at high altitudes.

Bright: A lively bright appearance. Usually indicates bright liquors.

Coppery: Bright leaf that indicates a well-manufactured tea.

Dull: Lacks brightness and usually denotes poor tea. Can be due to faulty manufacture and firing, or a high moisture content.

Dark: A dark or dull colour that usually indicates poorer leaf.

Green: When referring to black tea, refers to under-fermentation or to leaves from immature bushes (liquors often raw or light). Can also be caused by poor rolling.

Mixed or Uneven: Leaf of varying colour.

Tea Tasting Terminology: Terms Describing Liquors 

Bakey: An over-fired liquor. Tea in which too much moisture has been driven off.

Body: A liquor having both fullness and strength, as opposed to being thin.

Bright: Denotes a lively fresh tea with good keeping quality.

Brisk: The most “live” characteristic. Results from good manufacture.

Burnt: Extreme over-firing.

Character - An attractive taste, specific to origin, describing teas grown at high altitudes.

Coarse: Describes a harsh, undesirable liquor.

Coloury: Indicates useful depth of colour and strength.

Cream: A precipitate obtained after cooling.

Dry: Indicates slight over-firing.

Dull: Not clear, and lacking any brightness or briskness.

Earthy: Normally caused by damp storage, but can also describe a taste that is sometimes “climatically inherent” in teas from certain regions.

Empty: Describes a liquor lacking fullness. No substance.

Flat: Not fresh (usually due to age).

Flavour: A most desirable extension of “character,” caused by slow growth at high elevations. Relatively rare.

Fruity: Can be due to over-fermentation and/or bacterial infection before firing. An overripe taste.

Full: A good combination of strength and colour.

Gone off: A flat or old tea. Often denotes a high moisture content.

Green: An immature, “raw” character. Often due to underfermentation (Sometimes underwithering).

Harsh: A taste generally due to underwithered leaf. Very rough.

Heavy: A thick, strong and coloury liquor with limited briskness.

High-Fried: Over-fired but not bakey or burnt

Lacking: Describes a neutral liquor. No body or pronounced characteristics.

Light: Lacking strength and depth of colour.

Malty: A full, bright tea with a taste of malt.

Mature: Not bitter or flat.

Metallic: A sharp Metallic taste.

Muddy: A dull liquor.

Musty: Suspicion of mold.

Plain: A liquor that is “clean” but lacking in desirable characteristics.

Pungent: Astringent with a good combination of briskness, brightness and strength.

Quality: Refers to “cup quality” and denotes a combination of the most desirable liquoring qualities.

Raw: A bitter, unpleasant flavor.

Soft: The opposite of briskness. Lacking any “live” characteristic. Caused by inefficient fermentation and/or firing.

Strength: Substance in cup.

Taint: Characteristic or taste that is foreign to tea, such as oil, garlic, etc. Often due to being stored next to other commodities with strong characteristics of their own.

Thick: Liquor with good colour and strength.

Thin An insipid light liquor that lacks desirable characteristics.

(ViaThe Book of TEA by Antony Burgess)

Teaography’s Tea Lovers Christmas Gift Ideas for 2012

In compiling my gift giving ideas for this year, I realized that I have many tea lovers within my group of family and friends. I think this is influenced by my own great love of tea.  Many of my friends and family often have many wonderful teas on hand, because I’ve given them tea as gifts and this year is no exception. Here are some items that I’ve purchased or plan to buy, perhaps this list can help you with your “tea lovers” gift ideas as well. Most items are available via Amazon and are shipped via your Amazon Prime, but be sure to shop around locally and via the other websites listed for the best possible prices:

1) Love the idea of the Eva Solo Stainless Steel Tea Bag, which holds up to 10 grams of loose tea leaves. Reviews indicate that the holes are a little large and bits of tea often seep through, but it still gets my vote for it’s unique design. Available in both large (41mm L by 45mm W by 85mm H (1.6-inch by 1.8 inch by 3.3-inch) & small (5 cm by 7 cm (2 inches by 2.8 inches) $25+ for both sizes via Amazon with prime shipping.

2) Primula Flowering Tea Set with 40 oz Glass Tea Pot, which holds 5 cups of tea. This set also comes with 12 different green tea flowers with flavors of Jasmine. I personally have yet to try any these flowering teas, but several reviews indicate that they are weak in flavor. This however wouldn’t stop me from purchasing, I would simply toss in a flavorful tea bag for the opportunity to wow my guests. This is also one of the few sets with such an extra large glass tea pot. Nicely priced at $22.89 via Amazon with prime shipping (or) $29.99 +FREE ground shipping via the Primula website. Check out this Primula Flowering Tea video via YouTube

3) SA Japanese Green Tea Set. This set comes with 3 containers of flavorful green tea: A) “Sen Cha” Japan’s favorite green tea $17 B) “HOJI CHA” a low caffeine tea, which makes it appealing to tea drinkers of all ages $11 & C) “GENMAI CHA” an aromatic rich blend of tea leaves, roasted brown rice & Matcha $13.50. A total $41.50 if each 2.8 ounce tin were purchased separately. However, the gift pack would set you back $37.50 via Amazon with prime shipping. Check out the SA website for other gift options.

 4) Tea Buddy for easy tea bag handling. Made of 100% non-staining silicone. $8.38 via Amazon with prime shipping, $4.99 in store pick at The Container Store.

5) I’m really into Tea Forte this Christmas and have two of their items on my “tea lovers” gift giving shopping list. The first is the Winter Spice Gift Set which includes a deep red porcelain cafe cup and 10 signature teas. Two of each pyramid shaped tea bags: Sweet Orange Spice, Hazelnut Truffle,Harvest Apple Spice, Winter Chai & Sweet Ginger Plum wrapped in a cute Petite Ribbon Box. $22.40 via Amazon with prime shipping. $24 via Tea Forte + FREE S & H.

6) My second Tea Forte gift idea is the Sanctuary Solstice Ensemble which includes their sophisticated porcelain teapot, teacup and saucer presented on a sleek, ebonized wood tray (wood painted or stained to a black ebony finish) wrapped in a Sanctuary Ribbon Box. $49 via Amazon with prime S & H. $40.20 via Tea Forte with FREE S & H.

7)Tea Notes by Tenota. Select your choice of Black Tea, Rooibos, Green Tea, White Tea, or Herbal Tea then add a personalized message. A very unique idea! Note: “Every Tenota tea note costs just $4.99 CAD (plus shipping)” hmm, I don’t exactly love the idea of CAD (Cash Against Documents) shipping, especially for a Christmas gift, but I’m willing to try most things at least once. I think I’ll pay the CAD myself, then reship. Visit Tenota to place your order and allow 7 days for shipping with the US & 5 Days for Canada.

8) Bodum is on my list each year and has yet to fail me. This year’s pick is the Bodum 12-Ounce Tea for One, Double Wall Glass with Strainer. Great for brewing loose tea on the go. Your choice of colors are Black, Red & Lime Green. $17.99 via Amazon & Bodum with prime shipping (or) $18 + $7.95 FED EX ground via Bodum USA

9) I love the idea of loose tea this year and I’ve settled on Teatulia’s USDA Certified Organic Tea Gift Box. Includes a hand crafted chest with (6) 2oz tins of loose teas & herbal infusions. The teas selection includes: Teatulia’s Black Tea, Green Tea, White Tea, Earl of Bengal Tea, Peppermint Herbal Infusion, and their award winning Lemongrass Herbal Infusion. $75 + FREE ground shipping via Teatulia direct (or) $89 via Amazon.com & Teatulia with prime shipping. A nice second option is the Loose Leaf Presentation Box (Fruit & Flower) by Davidson’s Tea offers a felt lined wooden hinged box, filled with (6) clear-lid tins featuring their “fruit & flower” teas: Rose Congou, Tropical Flower, Herbal Garden Harvest, Herbal Chamomile & Fruit, Te de Hibiscus and Green Tea Garden. $65 via Amazon & Davidson’s Tea + $6.50 S&H (or) $52 via Davidsons Tea website.

10) The final item on my “tea lovers” gift giving list is the 13 oz Luminarc Hot 4-Piece Nordic Mug Set. I absolutely LOVE these mugs!! They are the perfect size, easy to hold, with the perfect thickness for holding hot liquids. Made of high quality heat-resistant borrosilicate glass, also known as soda lime. The price is great at only $25.08 via Amazon & Luminarc with prime shipping. Also available at Sears, listed as Libbey 13 oz. Robusta Classic Clear Coffee Mug, Set of 4 for a whopping $48. This Libbey set is also available on Amazon for $26.95 and they are identical to the Luminarc mugs. Be sure to also shop for these locally. I found a brand new Luminarc set for only $10. 

Happy Tea Lovers X-Mass Shopping!!

Teaography & All ThingsTea