Sunday, October 26, 2008

Longjing, Dragon Well, Green Tea

This past summer Dan and I went to China. It has occurred to me that I have yet to absorb the impact of this wonderful journey. Basically, we returned to the States and hit the ground running, with China in our wake. Our intention in visiting China was to learn the culture behind this amazing country, especially the lovely history of tea, our favorite beverage. Well, at least its right up there with wine…This adventure turned into bits and pieces of experiences that are heartwarming to recall.
We traversed the country visiting Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong. However, a side trip to the tea region of Hangzhou, was really a stand out for us; especially after being amongst the hustle and bustle of lots of people, construction, noise, and pollution for almost two weeks. As new and exciting as those cities are, you can imagine this side trip was a true respite. We took a train from Shanghai to Hangzhou, and on this journey sat next to a young man in his thirties. He was from Taiwan, and an engineer who was about to spend two months in Beijing working with the Olympics. He was looking forward to getaway trip with his wife before he left for his work assignment. Hangzhou - deemed by the Chinese as a piece of heaven- fit the bill. Imagine our surprise, when we ran into this man while checking into the resort. He was curious how we knew about this far away place in the mountains- a place that most Westerners weren't aware of. One answer- the Internet! Hey, our mission was to drink the famous Longjing loose leaf green tea while relaxing at the Fuchun Resort in the mountains of Hangzhou. Mission accomplished.

Much like wine in our lives, tea is also connected with experiences. I truly got a kick out of watching my husband drink Longjing tea precisely from the source of where it was created- it is a memory that I will always cherish. We continued to drink Longjing, also more commonly known as Dragon Well, every day that we were in our little oasis. This green tea is reminiscent of fresh cut grass, and a depth of flavors.
We followed our dreams, and made it happen. Now back in our home land, each time I drink loose leaf green tea, I drift back to memories of our trip to China. Whether its tea, wine or food- remember to try and share it with someone, and you will indeed create a memory for life.

Make it an adventure!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Need to calm your mind?

What makes you feel tired, wiped out, dehydrated and headachy? Bikram Yoga. I know, you probably thought I was going to launch into the list of wines that I drank last night with dinner. Nope, -just tried Bikram Yoga for the first time this morning at a new studio in Napa, CA. With only DTL House Celyon and a piece of toast in my system, I headed out the door to tackle a new experience. If you have never tried this type of Yoga, please do yourself a favor, and give it a try at least once. It’s a combination of lots of sweat, 26 stretching postures, concentration, and a feeling of accomplishment. I was told “no experience necessary”….

To set the scene- the temperature in the studio is 105degrees with 40% humidity. Now, I love heat, but 90 minutes of this- I was dreaming of my hometown Buffalo, NY, and willing up memories of brushing heaps of snow off my car! The class room was filled with both men and women, scantly clad, (I really should’ve at least worn a short sleeved shirt!), working our bodies into different posture exercises. Each posture’s purpose is to move oxygenated blood to one hundred percent of the body- restoring each organ. The result: lean and toned muscles, calm mind, and a toxin-free system.

At the end of 90 minutes, you really do feel that you can accomplish anything, if you put your mind to it. That is until you get home, and you are so darn tired, the only thing you can do is a take a nap! Why was I so tired? Because my body was beginning to cleanse….headache?....because I was dehydrated. The instructor suggested that I drink a lot of water today. Just like the Tea Drinker’s motto at Drink the Leaf- “just add water!”.

I will go back. But, first I need to explain to my husband that I am taking Bikram Yoga, not “burping yoga” which is what he thought I said when I ran out the door this morning!

Just Go, Drink tea, and water!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Chamomile, not just for sleepy time!

Recently while dining at a local restaurant during lunch time, I asked for the tea list. I was surprised to see Chamomile listed- hey, its lunch time- I need a boost, not a nap, afterwards. At the time, I thought it was silly to offer this selection in a restaurant. Chamomile should be enjoyed while cuddled up in bed surrounded by great books- a perfect recipe for a good night’s sleep. I recant- I still believe the ideal setting is bed and books, but recently I opted for Chamomile because I had an upset stomach during the day. Immediately, I felt better. Could it be this wonderful herbal beverage can help with digestion? We have all heard about the health benefits of tea, and I personally feel that I may have found the perfect “stomach settler”!

I called to share this news with my Mom, and guess what? She had just ordered DTL Chamomile for the same reason. She told me to check out one of her favorite websites people’s pharmacy. Lo’ and behold- chamomile stimulates your appetite and helps with digestion!

So, enjoy Chamomile after you eat. There’s nothing wrong with being a little sleepy, full, and happy!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Blind Tasting Tea

Quite a few years ago, Tea Drinker, (aka my husband) told me he knew exactly what he wanted to do with his life: study tea and open an on-line loose leaf tea company. I warmed to the idea, mainly, because tea, beyond Lipton, was something that the both of us knew little about! Why go with something safe and obvious, and pursue winemaking in Napa Valley? Way too predictable for us!

As he dove into learning about tea, I continued my education with wine. We approached tea the same way we approached my wine studies- surround your self by all things tea/wine, and do lots of blind tastings. Blind tastings take away any preconceived notions about what you are sampling, and help you fine tune your palate. In case you’re wondering, we do not wear blind-folds, and spin each other around, nor do we stab at the air trying to find the tea cup. Sounds like a great game after a night of drinking wine, though.

We sample teas that are sent to us by our distributors and taste without knowledge of supplier, price, and grade. We have a basic scoring system giving points for color, aroma, flavor, and finish. We usually taste by variety- all green, black, or etc, and focus on a region. I can guarantee you that the Tea Drinker has personally selected all of your DTL teas, primarily as a result from these blind tastings. Recently, we tasted nine different Darjeeling teas. And Drink the Leaf Selimbong Estate came in first place. We also found another Darjeeling tea from a single estate that will be added soon. So, remember trust your palate- always look for balance in life, wine, and tea. It’s the key!