Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Art of Tea Magazine No. 4


The latest issue of The Art of Tea magazine arrived last week, and as always I am enjoying learning about tea culture elsewhere in the world. One of the articles, "The Aromatic Cuppa," is about Taiwan's practice of enjoying the "aroma cup," or a small cup of tea poured strictly to be sniffed. I find this so intriguing because the scent is actually low on my "tea enjoyment" priority list, but perhaps my sense of smell isn't finely tuned enough to concentrate on tea's aroma. I do enjoy the scent of a nice Earl Grey and something cinnamony in the fall. It seems that the strongest tea scent for me, however, comes when I open the tea container, not once the tea is brewed, and I'm not sure I ever really smell the "base" tea.

As always there is information on vintage cakes of Puerh tea, those pretty round packages with Chinese lettering on the paper wrapper. This issue has a piece about the various tastes found in Puerh tea. Because it is translated from the Chinese, I continue to notice some language differences in this magazine, and I find them quite charming. Example: "In order to boost the standard of appreciation of tea, I experienced many Yunnan Puerh teas from different cultivation areas in the past years. I have the following comments to share with readers so that I hope this can help and bring more fun to the tea drinkers." (I love that this tea fan wants to "bring more fun to the tea drinkers" and totally agree!)

There is a wrap-up piece on the 2007 World Tea Expo in Atlanta and the author's impressions of it compared to such expos in Asia. And one of the most beautifully photographed pieces in this issue is of the Yixing teaware made by a master potter, Madam Zhou Guizen. The magazine is printed on nice, thick paper, it's 130 pages, and at $12.99 I think they charge a fair price for what amounts to a quick course in tea appreciation and culture. I get my issues from Hou De Asian Art and Fine Teas in Houston, Texas, and they give fast and reliable service every time.

7 comments:

parTea lady said...

That sounds like an interesting magazine. I really like the Yixing teapots and would enjoy that article. I have some Tetsubin pots, but have not added an Yixing pot to my collection yet. I bought some Puerh tea one time, but could not bring myself to try it. The very earthy aroma was a turn-off for me. Have you tried this tea? Thanks for all the great info.

Steph said...

Somehow, I missed the presence of this magazine. Interesting! The aroma of tea is one of my favorite things, especially a fresh green. Oh, it's just marvelous! Give it a try!

Carol said...

I enjoy the aroma of tea, but, like you--I haven't noticed too many of them to be all that strong. One exception though, is the Pomegranate Green Tea from "Republic of Tea." When I open the metal cannister I am immediately struck with an intense, slightly exotic,sweet aroma! And then, of course, I have to stand there, sniffing it in great pleasure, for quite some time. And a cup brewed with one bag of that tea is a treat for the nose as well as the rest of me!

Rosemary said...

Have you seen the August 2008 issue of Victorian Homes magazine? It is full of tea information - Top 10 Tea Rooms, Visit a Parisian Tea Salon, Favorite Tea Room Recipes, and the Final Words features A Welcome Spot of Tea. It's a fun issue!
Nancy

Angela McRae said...

ParTea Lady, I couldn't help smiling at your review of the Puerh! Yes, I have tried it and did in fact like it (in moderation; not as an "everyday tea"), but I've since learned that a lot of people really detest this tea! They feel about it like *I* feel about Lapsang Souchong, which is like that horrid Creomulsion for Children medicine I used to take as a child. Shudder, shudder, shudder. Carol, you've got me adding that Pomegranate Green Tea to my wish list, and Steph, I think I will indeed try to be more mindful of the aroma of my teas! Nancy, you can bet I'll be at the local magazine stands tomorrow looking for Victorian Homes. Thanks so much for the alert!

parTea lady said...

Well, I'm glad I made you smile, Angela. Actually I think the Puerh smells like moldy dirt, but I thought earthy aroma sounded better. I introduced a friend to Lapsang Souchong tea and now it is her favorite. I have to agree with you about this tea - it's aroma is like fresh tar on the road. Earl Grey would get my vote for pleasing fragrance.

Thanks for giving us such enjoyable and informative posts to look forward to each day. Your readers comments are also delightful. I'll be looking for the tea and magazine they mentioned.

Marilyn said...

Thanks for your review on The Art of Tea Magazine. I have looked at it several times, but haven't bought it. I guess I will have to do that, as you made it sound appealing. Nancy mentioned Victorian Homes, which is also enjoyable. It was fun to see a couple of the top tea rooms on their list that carry Marmalady's jams and jellies.