Sencha, gyokuro, matcha, hojicha, genmaicha... what do they all mean and what do they taste like? I often receive questions about various Japanese tea families, how they are made and what's their difference. Enough at least to justify putting up a quick reference guide as a form of general answer.
The nameshincha(from Japaneseshin- "new" andcha- "tea") does not refer to a specific tea or even a given style of tea. Rather, it designates teas made from the year's first harvests. Theshinchaappellation itself isn't regulated and its exact meaning often varies from one producer to another.
Specialized in the making of bowls, Manon Clouzeau developed a rare affinity for this form. Blessed with acute sensitivity and focus, she provokes playful variations in each and every piece to find unique points of balance between moments, gestures and emotions.
This article is the second of a two-part series on how to best describe the taste of tea. While I discussed in the first part how I like to present my teas and approach description in general, here I'll focus on tea vocabulary and how to build up your reference library.
Describing a tea's aromas can be quite challenging at times. From trying to illustrate a generic taste profile for someone who's unfamiliar with the beverage, to pinpointing every note and nuances developing over the course of a tasting session, words often seem to fall short at conveying the sensory experience a tea can produce. But they are nonetheless hardly avoidable if we're trying to make tea a shared experience.
There's something about texture in ceramics that is simply irresistible. Like beauty, texture brings depth to a piece. It reaches beyond functionality to dig deep in our sensory experience. A mere useful teapot becomes your favourite when you have pleasure holding it and using it. Because ceramic is such a tactile medium (and teaware especially), the feeling and visual appeal of a piece’s surface always ends up playing a major role in our appreciation.
Anton Filonov is a self-taught artist who dedicated his profession to the making of teaware. Specialized in handbuilt ceramics, his work is highly intuitive and unique.
" I started by making simple things. Tea cups and cha he, mostly. And although I was only beginning, I knew I was going to make nothing but teaware. I have no other source of livelihood. I only do this and develop in this direction. "
Storage conditions have a big impact on how tea changes over time. Especially when talking about old or semi-old pu-erh teas. Because the longer the storage time, the bigger it's influence on taste, and the more apparent the differences become. In this article, we review the three main styles of storage commonly found for aging pu-erh tea: traditional storage, wet storage and dry storage.