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  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Juke_spin
    Hey, JGNI, how do you like your teas and teaware from Hibiki-an?
    HI Juke, sorry for the delay I had not seen your message. The teaware is really nice, convenient and cute. The teas, from my limited experience, seem to be of very good quality and very fresh.

    - Genmaicha Matcha-iri: quite interesting with the roasted rice giving it that "pop corn" hint.
    - Sencha Premium: my prefered one, mildly sweet with a nice bright yellow-green color
    - Sencha Fukamushi Superior: good but too flavorful to me, fluo-green color

    Now, the problem I have with Japanese green teas is what is a quality to them, the marine taste (seaweed), I am not a fan of that (macha is a no no for me) even though I still like the grassy taste, the marine part needs not to be too present. For example, I can't smell the leaves directly because it turns me off, but I can still appreciate the tea.

    Today I went to a tea salon here in Montreal where I tasted some Pu-erh, wulong, chinese green, and some chinese smoked type of tea. I ended up buying two types of wulong (those teas are incredible) since I really prefer the floral/vegetal accents of those to the grassy/marine ones of the japanese green teas (a matter of preferences). Both are from Taiwan, one is a "cooked" preparation, they also gave me some Pu-erh to try. As for the Pu-erh, they have this after taste of "medication" (can't put my finger on what it reminds me of yet) that I find hard to get used to. I also bought another teapot, those are just too cute, this one is from China this time.

    The place I went has a website where you can also buy online. Their teas are of very good quality and staff really know what they are talking about. Members of their team are travelling every year around the world to select the teas they are selling.

    The address: https://camellia-sinensis.com/
    Pharmacist, C4-5 injury but functional C6 (no triceps/flexors)

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by JGNI
    HI Juke, sorry for the delay I had not seen your message. The teaware is really nice, convenient and cute. The teas, from my limited experience, seem to be of very good quality and very fresh.

    - Genmaicha Matcha-iri: quite interesting with the roasted rice giving it that "pop corn" hint.
    - Sencha Premium: my prefered one, mildly sweet with a nice bright yellow-green color
    - Sencha Fukamushi Superior: good but too flavorful to me, fluo-green color

    Now, the problem I have with Japanese green teas is what is a quality to them, the marine taste (seaweed), I am not a fan of that (macha is a no no for me) even though I still like the grassy taste, the marine part needs not to be too present. For example, I can't smell the leaves directly because it turns me off, but I can still appreciate the tea.

    Today I went to a tea salon here in Montreal where I tasted some Pu-erh, wulong, chinese green, and some chinese smoked type of tea. I ended up buying two types of wulong (those teas are incredible) since I really prefer the floral/vegetal accents of those to the grassy/marine ones of the japanese green teas (a matter of preferences). Both are from Taiwan, one is a "cooked" preparation, they also gave me some Pu-erh to try. As for the Pu-erh, they have this after taste of "medication" (can't put my finger on what it reminds me of yet) that I find hard to get used to. I also bought another teapot, those are just too cute, this one is from China this time.

    The place I went has a website where you can also buy online. Their teas are of very good quality and staff really know what they are talking about. Members of their team are travelling every year around the world to select the teas they are selling.

    The address: https://camellia-sinensis.com/
    JGNI, when it comes to working folks like yourself, I don't anticipate anything like an immediate reply; you'll notice that I waited over a week before posting an inquiry about how you liked the items you'd ordered from Hibiki-an.

    I sort of anticipated the lukewarm response on the teas; I was surprised at the macha in your order as, IMO, it's an acquired taste and something of a Japanese native specialty. I didn't anticipate raves on the senchas because my own impression had been that they were of about average Japan fresh sencha quality. I don't find a "marine" flavor to the senchas but rather an intense "fresh grass" fragrance and complimentary taste that works very well for me. With the really intense, high quality senchas I actually like to place small amounts of the leaves in my mouth and slowly chew and savor them.

    I completely agree about the wulongs, or lightly oxidized green oolongs of (mostly or exclusively, I forget which) Formosa/Taiwan. I love these teas and have just overshot my finances for March to secure the order of the last cake of a special Superior Grade Phoenix Dancong Tea Cake from The Puerh Shop http://www.puerhshop.com/
    It's a lightly oxidized wulong and my experience with this company, which has supplied pu-erh teas that are both the finest I've ever tasted and are very reasonable, instills anticipation that this wulong has every prospect of being the finest I'll have ever had, although its price, which works out at about a hundred bucks a pound for the 12 ounces of its weight, is far from the top price range of the oolongs they stock.

    I'm curious about the HOHRYU you ordered from Hibiki-an. The description makes it seem that the body (at least) of the "pot" is turned from wood. Is that so? What do you do with it / how do you use it? And how do you like it?
    "The world will not perish for want of wonders but for want of wonder."
    J.B.S.Haldane

  3. #23
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    No, I think they are using the term woodturning in the sense that this piece of pottery is done with a turning technique on a turning table (wheelwork). It is very thin and surprisingly light, very nice. We use it to prepare green tea, pouring the hot water in the tea cups and then in the kyusu, infusing for about a minute and then back in the tea cups. I really like it both for its usefulness and because it is a pleasure for my eyes.
    Pharmacist, C4-5 injury but functional C6 (no triceps/flexors)

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Juke_spin
    I sort of anticipated the lukewarm response on the teas; I was surprised at the macha in your order as, IMO, it's an acquired taste and something of a Japanese native specialty.
    BTW, the matcha-iri in my order was not macha (powdered tea) but this:

    http://www.hibiki-an.com/product_inf...f3bb0f9bf6f684
    Pharmacist, C4-5 injury but functional C6 (no triceps/flexors)

  5. #25
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    Tea Quotes

    Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. ~Henry Fielding, "Love in Several Masques"

    Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves - slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future. ~Thich Nat Hahn

    The best quality tea must have creases like the leathern boot of Tartar horsemen, curl like the dewlap of a mighty bullock, unfold like a mist rising out of a ravine, gleam like a lake touched by a zephyr, and be wet and soft like a fine earth newly swept by rain. ~Lu Yu

    If you are cold, tea will warm you. If you are too heated, it will cool you. If you are depressed, it will cheer you. If you are excited, it will calm you. ~Gladstone, 1865

    Tea is drunk to forget the din of the world. ~T'ien Yiheng

    There is a great deal of poetry and fine sentiment in a chest of tea. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson, Letters and Social Aims

    I got nasty habits; I take tea at three. ~Mick Jagger

    We had a kettle; we let it leak:
    Our not repairing made it worse.
    We haven't had any tea for a week...
    The bottom is out of the Universe.

    ~Rudyard Kipling

    "Take some more tea," the March Hare said to Alice very earnestly.
    "I've had nothing yet," Alice replied in an offended tone, "so I can't take more." ~Lewis Carroll,Alice in Wonderland


    Strange how a teapot can represent at the same time the comforts of solitude and the pleasures of company. ~Author Unknown

    Tea, though ridiculed by those who are naturally coarse in their nervouse sensibilities...will always be the favored beverage of the intellectual. ~Thomas DeQuincy (1875-1959) Confession of an English Opium Eater

    Each cup of tea represents an imaginary voyage. ~Catherine Douzel

    Drinking a daily cup of tea will surely starve the apothecary. ~Chinese Proverb

    There is no trouble so great or grave that cannot be much diminished by a nice cup of tea. ~Bernard-Paul Heroux



    My experience...convinced me that tea was better than brandy, and during the last six months in Africa I took no brandy, even when sick taking tea instead. ~Theodore Roosevelt



    If man has no tea in him, he is incapable of understanding truth and beauty. ~Japanese Proverb
    Tea...is a religion of the art of life. ~Okakura


    Another novelty is the tea-party, an extraordinary meal in that, being offered to persons that have already dined well, it supposes neither appetite nor thirst, and has no object but distraction, no basis but delicate enjoyment. ~Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, The Physiology of Taste

    The mere chink of cups and saucers tunes the mind to happy repose. ~George Gissing, The Private Papers of Henry Ryecroft


    ...She had that brand of pragmatism that would find her the first brewing tea after Armageddon. ~ Clive Barker

    Polly put the kettle on, we'll all have tea. ~Charles Dickens

    Tea's proper use is to amuse the idle, and relax the studious, and dilute the full meals of those who cannot use exercise, and will not use abstinence. ~Samuel Johnson

    Find yourself a cup of tea; the teapot is behind you. Now tell me about hundreds of things. ~Saki

    Tea to the English is really a picnic indoors. ~Alice Walker

    Tea does our fancy aid,
    Repress those vapours which the head invade
    And keeps that palace of the soul serene.
    ~Edmund Waller

    Never trust a man who, when left alone in a room with a tea cozy, doesn't try it on. ~Billy Connolly

    You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me. ~C.S. Lewis

    Great love affairs start with Champagne and end with tisane. ~Honoré de Balzac

    A Proper Tea is much nicer than a Very Nearly Tea, which is one you forget about afterwards. ~A.A. Milne

    "Poor Mrs. Benefer," Heather murmured. "Well, a nice cup of tea and she'll be right as rain."" ~C.C. Benison, Death at Sandringham House


    http://www.boulderdushanbeteahouse.com/teaquotes.html
    "The world will not perish for want of wonders but for want of wonder."
    J.B.S.Haldane

  6. #26
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    On Blending Some Fancy Oolongs

    In the wee hours today I tried blending two oolongs and produced a great tea experience. The teas I blended are my two best oolongs and two of the best teas in my now fairly extensive collection.

    The oolongs I had been considering and finally did blend were an award winning Organic Formosa High Mountian Oolong and an aged Superior Grade Phoenix Dancong. I had already steeped two infusions from the organic High Mountian so blending the Dancong (from Yunnan in China) into it was a bit problematical. I had broken up the original cake the Dancong came in and placed a generous amount of the leaves in a gaiwan, which is a covered cup. I boiled fresh filtered water and covered the leaves with it, swished it around and poured it off for discarding.

    I then boiled enough water to fill the small teapot with the Orgainc High Mountain leaves in it and, after perheating the whole yixing clay pot in a larger pot of boiling water, filled, covered and let it steep for 70 seconds. Then I uncovered the teapot and added the wet Dancong leaves to the brew and allowed the mixed leaves another 70 seconds further steeping.

    The resultant brewed tea, which I drank from tiny tasting cups just an hour ago, was one of the finest I've ever tasted.

    Now I've got to accept that all further infusions I draw from the blended leaves will be much more strongly influenced by the Phoenix Dancong flavors as this tea is a more delicate leaf and will surrender them more rapidly to the hot water. Que sera. sera.

    Edit: The fine e-shop Wise linked, Source has good connections with Yunnan tea sources and they stock some of the best Pu-erh and oolong teas both findable and afordable on the ww web.
    Last edited by Juke_spin; 04-19-2007 at 11:54 AM.
    "The world will not perish for want of wonders but for want of wonder."
    J.B.S.Haldane

  7. #27
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    Nice site with some...

    ..priceless translations from the Chinese and Japanese of history, culture, tea traditions and discriptions.

    Like this little gem:

    Gyokuro has been referred to as “history, philosophy and art in a single cup.” This is the best green tea of Japan. Usually brewed in a kyusu (special Japanese teapot) and served in handless cups. The Japanese take the tea drinking very seriously, the better it is the more they are willing to pay for it. It is not uncommon the some Gyokuro’s sell for more that $1000.00 per pound - arguably the most expensive tea in the world*. Why is Gyokuro so expensive?? ......... Old Tea trees are shaded to reduce the effect of photosynthesis and there is almost an insane cachet that seems to be unique to Japan about drinking rare green teas.
    http://niftea.com/index.php?main_pag...roducts_id=127

    The product they're describing and offering is priced at $86 for a half kilo or 1.1 lbs.; while their Sencha goes for a mere $19 for the same quantity, an indication that it is a far-from-superior Sencha.

    Then there's this little pearl of a description for another green tea, this one from China:

    This tea is a particularly good jasmine - hence the moniker Gold Dragon, (gold means wealth, prosperity, money and dragon means long life and strength). The jasmine tree comes into bloom only during May and June. The blossom only lasts for about 12 hours and only comes out at night after the sun goes down. About half way through the night the fragrance is at it’s peak and it is at this time the blossoms need to be picked and layer into the tea. By the morning most of the fragrance has disappeared from the blossom, but if the tea maker has done his job correctly, this heavenly scent has been transferred to the tea and captured in time. This process is carried out on 5 successive evenings to impart the superior flavor of specially selected tea and jasmine flowers.
    ..and more:

    In China during the Sung Dynasty (960 to 1127) tea drinking rose to an art form. The harvesting of tea became closely regulated. Drum and cymbal signals were used to coordinate the tea pluckers during chilly dark pre-dawn hours. The tea pickers (always young virgins) received special training and even wore identification labels on the clothing so that tea thieves could be readily identified if they entered the estates. The girls were required to keep finger nails at a precise length, since nails, never the finger, were used to pluck the highest quality tea leaves.
    http://niftea.com/index.php?main_pag...roducts_id=158

    *The writer doesn't seem to be aware of the prices that some aged Pu-erhs are going for, since cakes weighing less than a pound have recently been going for thirty-five to forty thousand bucks a pop in sets of seven and more (that's $245,000 to 320,000 per set) at auction.
    Last edited by Juke_spin; 04-28-2007 at 08:53 PM. Reason: ..more from the site.
    "The world will not perish for want of wonders but for want of wonder."
    J.B.S.Haldane

  8. #28
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    Muzi

    Once in a while you come across an enterprise that seems to stand out as something singular and fine. This is the case with the MUZI tea site. Judge for yourself.






    Tip: Click both the logo and the "about muzi" links.

    Starting at home the site's history is offered after the graphics:




    If you've come this far you're at the site and can navigate on your own. You don't need me. The prices are average-high but the indications are that the quality of the teas is high.

    Happy viewing.
    Last edited by Juke_spin; 05-10-2007 at 02:24 AM.
    "The world will not perish for want of wonders but for want of wonder."
    J.B.S.Haldane

  9. #29
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    Talking Won a Copper Kettle

    I just won a real nice German made copper kettle. OK, so it's got little to do with providing information about green or any other tea, but I've been pouring boiling water into teapots on a lapboard from saucepans for months now and it's tricky, to say the least. I've got scars to prove it. So getting this setup for twenty bucks all told has made my day.

    Last edited by Juke_spin; 05-09-2007 at 04:44 PM.
    "The world will not perish for want of wonders but for want of wonder."
    J.B.S.Haldane

  10. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by Juke_spin
    Wise, this Professor Kwok-Fai So?


    I'd more or less blown off the claims of profound medicinal properties for Pu-erh tea. Can you reference any articles on the subject?

    When I had cable, I used to watch the China Central Networks output and loved the travel adventures with that elderly British gentleman and others. How I'd love to be able to travel to someplace like Yunnan.
    Juke,

    Yup, that is my friend. Every time I am in his office, he serves me a cup of very hot black pu'erh. He drinks it all the time and all day. He says that is has powerful medicinal effects, antioxidants...

    He did publish this study recently:
    • Chan HC, Chang RC, Koon-Ching Ip A, Chiu K, Yuen WH, Zee SY and So KF (2007). Neuroprotective effects of Lycium barbarum Lynn on protecting retinal ganglion cells in an ocular hypertension model of glaucoma. Exp Neurol. 203: 269-73. Department of Anatomy, Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Glaucoma is one of the major neurological disorders in eye leading to irreversible blindness in elderly. Increase in intraocular pressure (IOP) has been considered to be the major risk factor for the progressive loss of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) in retina. While attenuation of IOP has been a major pharmaceutical target, reduction of IOP cannot prevent progressive loss of RGCs. In this regard, urgent need for alternative treatment has to be investigated. Anti-aging medicinal herb Lycium barbarum L. has been used for centuries in Eastern World to protect the eyes and maintain good health. Using an ocular hypertension (OH) model in rat by laser photocoagulation of episcleral and limbal veins, we attempted to investigate whether L. barbarum can promote RGCs survival against elevated IOP. Oral administration of L. barbarum in Sprague-Dawley rats (250-280 g) significantly reduced the loss of RGCs, although elevated IOP was not significantly altered. Rats fed with the 1 mg/kg extract could nearly totally escape from pressure-induced loss of RGCs. In conclusion, this is the first in vivo report showing the therapeutic function of L. barbarum against neurodegeneration in the retina of rat OH model. The results demonstrate that this extract may be a potential candidate for the development of neuroprotective drug against the loss of RGCs in glaucoma.

    1. Yu MS, Ho YS, So KF, Yuen WH and Chang RC (2006). Cytoprotective effects of Lycium barbarum against reducing stress on endoplasmic reticulum. Int J Mol Med. 17: 1157-61. Laboratory of Neurodegenerative Diseases, Department of Anatomy, The University of Hong Kong, SAR. Chinese medicinal herbs have been consumed for thousands of years for the purpose of healthy aging. Lycium barbarum is valued in Chinese culture for its benefits to anti-aging, vision, kidney and liver. Recent studies showed that extracts from L. barbarum possess biological activities including anti-aging, anti-tumor, immune-stimulatory and cytoprotection. Most of these studies emphasized that the protective function of L. barbarum is due to its anti-oxidative effects. We have previously demonstrated that extract from L. barbarum can protect neurons against beta-amyloid (Abeta) peptide-induced apoptosis. Since Abeta toxicity may be mediated via oxidative stress, it is still unclear whether the extract from L. barbarum is a simple anti-oxidant exhibiting cytoprotective effects. We hypothesized that extract from L. barbarum is not simply an anti-oxidant in order to function as a neuroprotective agent. The aim of this study is to investigate whether the extract from L. barbarum (LBG) protect neurons via mechanisms independent of anti-oxidative effects. Using a reducing agent, dithiothreitol (DTT), we found that LBG exhibits cytoprotective effects against reducing stress by lowering the DTT-induced LDH release and caspase-3 activity. DTT can trigger endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress leading to PKR-like ER kinase (PERK) activation. We also showed that LBG attenuates DTT-induced PERK phosphorylation. The extract from L. barbarum is not simply an anti-oxidant; it can also exhibit cytoprotective effects against reducing stress by DTT.

    I wasn't able to find many articles about pu'er in the medical literature. Only the following:

    • Cao J, Zhao Y and Liu JW (1998). Safety evaluation and fluorine concentration of Pu'er brick tea and Bianxiao brick tea. Food Chem Toxicol. 36: 1061-3. Tea and Health Laboratory, Human Medical University, Changsha, China. Pu'er brick tea and Bianxiao brick tea are both compressed types of tea. Fluorine analysis was carried out on samples of Pu'er brick tea produced at different times in Yunnan Province and on samples of Bianxiao brick tea made in Hunan and Sichuan Province for supply especially to minority ethnic groups in border areas of China. The levels of water-soluble and water-insoluble fluorine were measured in the tea samples using an ion-specific electrode potentiometer. The concentration of water-soluble fluorine was much greater in Bianxiao brick tea than in Pu'er brick tea (mean levels 441 and 77 mg/kg, respectively). According to these figures, the fluorine intake associated with consuming an infusion of 30 g Pu'er brick tea/person/day is safe because it does not exceed the maximum recommended daily allowance (RDA) of up to 4.0 mg for adults. In contrast, the almost six times higher intake of fluorine from Bianxiao brick tea greatly exceeds the 4 mg RDA and is unsafe. The difference in the fluorine levels of the two types of brick tea can be attributed to differences in the materials used to make them: Pu'er brick tea is made from tender leaves whereas Bianxiao brick tea is made from old tough leaves in which fluorine has accumulated. We conclude that consumption of Pu'er brick tea is unlikely to induce fluorosis, which has been associated with consumption of Bianxiao brick tea.
    • Chen CN, Lin CP, Huang KK, Chen WC, Hsieh HP, Liang PH and Hsu JT (2005). Inhibition of SARS-CoV 3C-like Protease Activity by Theaflavin-3,3'-digallate (TF3). Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2: 209-215. SARS-CoV is the causative agent of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). The virally encoded 3C-like protease (3CL(Pro)) has been presumed critical for the viral replication of SARS-CoV in infected host cells. In this study, we screened a natural product library consisting of 720 compounds for inhibitory activity against 3CL(Pro). Two compounds in the library were found to be inhibitive: tannic acid (IC(50) = 3 microM) and 3-isotheaflavin-3-gallate (TF2B) (IC(50) = 7 microM). These two compounds belong to a group of natural polyphenols found in tea. We further investigated the 3CL(Pro)-inhibitory activity of extracts from several different types of teas, including green tea, oolong tea, Puer tea and black tea. Our results indicated that extracts from Puer and black tea were more potent than that from green or oolong teas in their inhibitory activities against 3CL(Pro). Several other known compositions in teas were also evaluated for their activities in inhibiting 3CL(Pro). We found that caffeine, (-)-epigallocatechin gallte (EGCg), epicatechin (EC), theophylline (TP), catechin (C), epicatechin gallate (ECg) and epigallocatechin (EGC) did not inhibit 3CL(Pro) activity. Only theaflavin-3,3'-digallate (TF3) was found to be a 3CL(Pro) inhibitor. This study has resulted in the identification of new compounds that are effective 3CL(Pro) inhibitors.


    I guess the literature is mostly in chinese.

    Wise.

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