Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Chah "Dragon Well" Longjing Tea: China's Finest?

            How many of you Tea Enthusiasts out there maintain that green tea is your favorite leaf of choice? Do you drink it every day or with a certain meal? Do you enjoy a particular type of green tea leaf only?

              These are the things I wondered as I taste tested Longjing green tea called "Dragon Well" by Chah out of the U.K. If you're a regular reader of the Darjeeling Darling blog, you know that green tea is not our....well, not our cup of tea. We typically stick to black, red, and white teas when it comes to reviewing a new brand. But if you're a regular reader, you also know that we are always game for trying something new. It really never hurts to try.

             Unless you're my Dad. His experience with any kind of tea is limited to the medicinal kind he drinks while battling a cold. For him, coffee is the only source of caffeine one needs because it's easily accessible and a machine makes it for you. But I've encouraged him to branch out. Unfortunately his attempts thus far have resulted in bad experiences that literally left a bad taste in his mouth. The first was our trip to the Tal-Y-Tara tea house in San Francisco....we all remember how poorly that turned out. The second occurred this past Monday and we met for our weekly lunch at our favorite sushi restaurant. It was a particularly wet, cold, and grey January day and yet Dad had walked to lunch from his office with just a rain coat on. (I'm convinced he does this so that I can give him a ride back to the office a couple blocks down and we can extend our lunchtime conversation). So, given the dreary weather conditions tea was a must with our food. However, being that this was a sushi restaurant they only served straight green tea in small porcelain "shot-like" glasses. Of course I knew what to expect with the light, grassy tea that I feel one must acquire a taste for, but dear Dad did not. The situation was only made worse by the absence of honey he wanted to sweeten the taste. But I can't say I didn't warn him. Now it is all too obvious that I need to start at the basics with him.

              The Chah tea company first began shopping tea leaves in Southeast Asia five years ago. They now carry some of England's favorite green tea leaves from Zhejiang, China. The "Dragon Well" in particular is low caffeine rolled tea leaf that is grown in the high elevations of the Chinese mountains. Speaking of which, did you know that expert tea tasters can distinguish the elevation tea leaves are grown at? They must have quite the set of taste buds. This Longjing green tea is actually said to the favorite among the people of China.

Antony Rogers, Director of Operations and Mandarin speaker, checking out tea leaves fresh on the farm

             That being said, I wish I could appreciate its taste more if it truly is the cream of the crop when it comes to green tea. I'm afraid I can't see paste the Alfalfa smell and light grass taste. However, there is a hint of a sweet aftertaste that I felt needed to be helped with the add-in of sugar and the smallest touch of honey. When drinking green tea, one has to keep in mind that even the longest brewing times of six to seven minutes will still only produce a light flavor matched by a light-colored liquor.
                 So, my conclusion is this: if you are a green tea fanatic and really know your green tea leaves, check out Chah's selection. You would probably find the "Dragon Well" blend to be of the finest quality and at least to your liking. If anything, we would love to have reader input to further our green tea education. However, if you are an occasional green tea drinker, I would stick to the brands and blends you already love. Unless of course you are looking to branch out-by all means, do branch out to the new and undiscovered!


Sunday, January 6, 2013

Downton Abbey


       One thing that I am pretty excited about in 2013 is season 3 of Downton Abbey! Today my mom and I went with some dear friends to a Downton Abbey Tea at Crest Hill Antiques and Tearoom to celebrate tonight's premier. I will post a review in the coming days but I did want to share the trivia that Crest Hill provided for us. So go ahead a test your memory from seasons 1 and 2!

1. In what part of England is Downton Abbey supposedly located?
a) Hampshire    b) London    c) Derbyshire    d) Yorkshire

2. Where are the Downton location scenes actually filmed?  
a) Crawley House   b) Highclere Castle   c) Blenheim Palace   d) Woburn Abbey   

3. What historical event first sets the series in motion?
a) Turn of the 20th century   b) Start of World War I    c) Sinking of the Titanic   d) The Irish Rebellion

4. What did Matthew Crawley do for a living before becoming the designated heir?
a) Solicitor    b) Engineer   c) Accountant     d) Architect  

5. What caused Lady Cora to suffer a miscarriage?
a) Hereditary illness    b) Fall down the stairs   c) Slipped on a soapy floor    d) Shock from bad news     

6. Which Crawley said the following: “Don’t be defeatist, dear; it’s very middle class.”
a) Lady Violet      b) Lady Mary      c) Lady Edith    d) Cousin Isabel           

7. Why does John Bates limp?
a) Birth defect   b) Shrapnel from the Boer War    c) Hunting accident   d) O’Brien tripped him

8. Thomas the Footman did all of the following, except:
a) Hide Robert’s dog   b) Steal wine from the cellar  c) Blackmail Bates  d) Dabble in black-market goods    

9. How did Vera Bates die?
a) A blow to the head    b) Drug overdose      c) Strangulation     d) Poison    

10. How did Lady Mary’s ex-fiance Sir Richard come by his fortune?
a) Family inheritance     b) Newspaper publishing      c) Political blackmail     d) Real estate investments

11. All of the following were stricken with Spanish Flu, except:
a) Carson    b) Lavinia          c) Mr. Mosely          d) Lady Cora

12. Who convinced Daisy to marry William on his deathbed?
a) Mrs. Patmore     b) Mrs. Hughes     c) William’s father   d) a, b & c

12. D

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- Jules