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Seasonal Tea

Using a Kyusu (Japanese Teapot)

Doug Palas brew guide green tea Japan sencha Tokoname

Using a Kyusu (Japanese Teapot)

Kyusu (\’kyü-(.)sü\): a teapot with a handle mounted on the side for ease and control over pouring. There is a screen at the base of the spout to strain the tea leaves. Kyusu are often made from iron-rich clay, such as those from Mie Prefecture (Banco ware) or Tokoname (Tokoname ware), Japan. They are primarily used for Japanese green tea requiring low steeping temperatures.  Instructions for Use Warm the kyusu by filling it with hot water. Pour off the water and add tea. Refill with the correct temperature water, and steep for the times listed on the chart based on...

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The Gaiwan

Doug Palas brew guide gaiwan porcelain teaware

The Gaiwan

One of the most elegant ways to steep tea is also one of the simplest. The gaiwan (lidded bowl) consists of three separate pieces, a bowl, a lid, and a saucer. It is the perfect tool for any Chinese or Taiwanese tea. The bowl holds the tea leaves. The lid retains heat, and acts a strainer. The saucer makes it easy to handle the hot bowl and lid.  Gaiwan are typically pretty small, but the intention is to steep the tea multiple times. This is done by steeping the tea and pouring it off, and then adding fresh water to...

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2017 Asabata Shincha

Doug Palas

2017 Asabata Shincha

Shincha is the seasonal expression of sencha. Sencha is blended from various lots of green tea, regardless of whether they were different harvests, vintages, or steaming processes. In total contrast, a shincha is sencha from the earliest spring harvest of one particular year. This year we found four different types of shincha that represent the varying flavors of different growing regions, cultivars, and processing. Asabata comes from a growing area located in Shizuoka Prefecture, the largest of the tea-producing prefectures in Japan. Located just outside of Tokyo, the mountains of Shizuoka provide a cool environment for tea to grow slowly...

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2017 Early Spring Green Needles

Doug Palas 2017 earlyspring greentea mingqian

2017 Early Spring Green Needles

China celebrates the Qing Ming festival on April 5th to honor the passing of friends and relatives. For tea growers it represents the deadline for the first harvest of the year.  Tea harvested before April 5th is called Ming Qian or Pre-Qing Ming tea. Kilogram designates the earliest harvested tea as “Early Spring” since some tea won’t make the April 5th harvest deadline, but will still have the Ming Qian quality. Harvesting early is important for several reasons- tea plants are harvested several times a year, but allowing the leaves a long layoff during the winter will create healthy, nutrient-rich...

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2017 Early Spring White Peony

Doug Palas 2017 earlyspring mingqian whitetea

2017 Early Spring White Peony

Drinking freshly harvested tea is a completely different experience than drinking tea even 6 months later.   Fresh tea is sweeter, less astringent, and has a subtle complexity.  Our commitment to offering a rare glimpse into the flavor of fresh tea is best exemplified by our Early Spring Collection.  Each year we select small lots of tea from the very first harvest of the year.  We choose a variety of small production China and Japan green teas, an occasional high elevation black tea, but the style of tea that benefits most from an early harvest is white tea. White peony, or...

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