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Welcome to August Moon Tea

August Moon Tea aims to bring the fresh air and sunshine from the tea field to our tea ceremony and create a peaceful and exquisite ambience for all of you.

Tea not only brings people closer but also helps us to reconnect with ourselves. It’s a natural elixir for our souls.

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2011 Chenyun Aged White Tea Cake 350g
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White Dew Tea Ceremony–Aged White Tea from 2011

The gentle nature of aged white tea is neutral, not too warm or too cold. It settles down the heat we accumulated during the Summer joy. It also settles down an overly exciting mind for us to be ready for the colder weather.

2020 has been an unpredictable year for all of us. Time quietly disappears in our fingers. Before we realize, it is already White Dew (白露), one of the 24 solar terms when you notice that in the morning the dews on the grass are turning to white. The gentle nature of aged white tea is neutral, not too warm or too cold. It settles down the heat we accumulated during the Summer joy. It also settles down an overly exciting mind for us to be ready for the colder weather.

2011 Chenyun Aged White Tea Cake

For this special occasion, I decided to open a new tea cake, an aged white tea cake coming from 2011. The tea cake is carefully hand-wrapped with paper and foil by our supplier. Working with them helps us to understand how precious high mountain teas are.


By the look of the cake, it falls into the Shoumei grade. Tea leaves come from a later time of the year are always full of surprises. The 9-years maturing gives the leaves a dark brown colour. You can still see some cream coloured buds. The size of the leaves is much bigger than white peony or silver needles. It almost doesn’t smell anything from the tea cake. But some hidden fruity and woody smell vaguely touches my nose. I always appreciate a less aromatic tea because they are quiet with their little stories.

2011 Chenyun Aged White Tea Cake

To brew the tea, I broke a fair amount of tea leaves without weighing it. The water was 100 °C. The first brew was light and subtle. But from the second brew, more colour, flavour and aroma came out of the tea as water completely soaked the leaves in my Jun porcelain teapot. It was a delightful experience with this aged white tea. There was an obvious woody taste with a fruity note. It has such a gentle flavour, yet a strong Chaqi to warm me up. Once the tea got colder, the taste became sweet. It was smooth and moisturizing, leaving my throat relaxed. The tea kept going. I paused to feel the honey after-taste that mingled in my mouth for a long time. After a few cups, there was a calm and restored feeling in my heart.

2011 Chenyun Aged White Tea Cake

As we always say, tea brings nature to our modern life. A cup of tea witnesses the change of time with us, like an old friend. This session might have finished. But what about the moment, the memory and the White Dew of 2020?

If you are interested in this aged white tea from 2011, we have a sample pack of 50g and a full 350g tea cake for sale. You can find more details from https://www.augustmoontea.com/product/2011-chenyun-aged-white-tea-cake-350g/.

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2004 Banzhang Raw Puer Tea Tasting (24/07/2020)

Tea Table Setup

Today, I treated myself with some luxury tea that I received a few years ago. It was from my Buddhist teacher who is also passionate about tea and tea culture. The tea is a well-aged raw puer tea from 2004 from Banzhang village in Yunnan Province. Banzhang has been famous for its ancient tea trees deep in their beautiful forests as well as the most exquisite and finest flavours of the tea. So it is always a special treat to open the slowly getting old wrapping paper, break off a little bit of the tea and have an amazing experience. 

The tea cake is not green anymore. The darker brown colour shows its maturity. Today I used 4 grams of the tea to get a decent session. So below are my notes for the session. 

Tea wares

Three Jun Porcelain Teacups

 A blue & white gaiwan, 

 A glass serving jug, 

 Three Jun porcelain teacups

  – a red Jun porcelain teacup, 

  – a vintage Jun porcelain teacup from the ’80s 

  – and a Jun porcelain tight waist teacup. 

 A glass kettle on the stove is to boil water. 

Details of the tea 

 Dry tea leaf: dark, long and brown tea leaves. It doesn’t smell much with a woody note

2004 Banzhang Raw Puer Tea

Dry tea leaf in heated Gaiwan: Woody smell gets stronger with a noticeable honey smell underneath. 

Wet tea leaf after rinsing: woody smell becomes soft and sweet with a date note. The aroma seems to expand. 

Infusions

The 1st one: 

1st Infusion

brewing time: 7 seconds

Colour of the tea soup: golden colour.

Taste of the tea: still a bit light, but sweet and smooth

The leaf smells sweet from the Gaiwan

The three cups give similar experience in this infusion at the beginning. But after a short period, the ’80s teacup has more honey sweetness than other ones. The red cup cools down very slowly. I feel nice in my dry throat. After swallowing the tea, there is a lovely gentle floral after taste in my mouth. 

The 2nd infusion:

brewing time: 7 seconds

The 2nd Infusion

Colour of the tea soup: golden colour, but a little darker. 

The infusion is stronger than the first one. It is very sweet with a dry wood taste which stays quite long. There is a plum aftertaste. Although the taste is light, it has a very strong Qi from this round which warms me up. The ’80s teacup seems to win this round again with its sweetness and woodiness. The tight waist one is close, followed by the red cup which cools down slowly. 

The 3rd infusion:

3rd Infusion

brewing time: 7 seconds

Colour of the tea soup: golden colour as the 2nd round. 

For this infusion, I paid more attention to the serving jug. It gives you some interesting changes within a short time, from a strong date sweetness to a gentle honey sweetness then slowly disappears. In the tight waist teacup, it has a woody aroma. The Qi of the tea is still very strong, maybe getting stronger. 

The 4th infusion to 7th infusion

Brewing time

4th infusion: 10 seconds

5th infusion: 10 seconds

6th infusion: 15 seconds

7th infusion: 15 seconds

For these 4 infusions, the tea doesn’t seem to change much. It is still smooth with a soft taste but very strong Chaqi. It’s very moisturizing, sweet and smooth with a plum aftertaste. The leaf smells like dates. 

The 8th to 10 infusion

8th Infusion

Brewing time 

8th infusion: 20 seconds

9th infusion: 30 seconds

10th infusion: 30 seconds

The tea seems to stay in the same taste for a long time. It doesn’t change much. So I stopped the session after the 10th infusion. Because of its strong Chaqi, I feel it’s time to take a break. I know the tea can keep going. So I will save it for later. The tea at this point is completely opened and soaked. You can see how strong and fresh the leaves are. Even after 10 infusions, the leaves still smell like the first infusion. 

Conclusion

The Used Tea Leaf

I always enjoy this Banzhang Raw Puer tea. It reminds me that ageing is beautiful. In general, the tea is very sweet with a woody note. The aroma changes a lot. Although the taste is quite gentle and soft, the Chaqi is very strong. Trying the tea with 3 cups at the same time is an interesting experience. The tight waist gives you the best result for this tea, followed by the ’80s teacup. The red teacup is good for winter because it cools down slowly. 

We have some lovely puer tea in our store. If you would like to try some of them, please visit https://www.augustmoontea.com/shop/tea/puer-tea/.

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What Does Tea Have?

As we know, tea is a popular healthy drink around the world. We would like to discuss what makes tea healthy and what health properties it has in general.

1 Tea polyphenols
Tea polyphenols are a major chemical component in tea. It is the general name of more than 30 kinds of phenolic substances in tea, with an astringent taste. Southern tea, summer tea, tender tea leaf and green tea have the highest content of tea polyphenols. Tea polyphenols have anti-ageing and anti-radiation effects.

2 Amino Acid
L-theanine is a type of amino acid which our human body doesn’t produce. It’s rich in tea. Amino acid occupies about 1-4% of the dry tea leaves. The amino acids in tea are highly soluble in water and have a fresh sweet taste, similar to the fresh and refreshing taste of MSG. It’s rare in plants. L-theanine may affect the levels of serotonin and dopamine, which influence mood, sleep, and emotion, and cortisol, which helps the body deal with stress. Generally speaking, it is one of the reasons we feel relaxed when having tea.

3 Alkaloids
The alkaloid in tea is mainly caffeine. The content of caffeine in tea is between 2% and 5%. After the tea is brewed, about 80% of the caffeine can be dissolved in boiling water. It can boost your energy and make you excited. Also, caffeine has diuretic effects. Therefore, tea is a good stimulant and diuretic.

4 Vitamins
Tea contains a variety of vitamins, mainly vitamin C, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, folic acid, niacin, vitamin E, etc., are indispensable nutrients for the human body. They cooperate with caffeine and tea polyphenols to produce a pharmacological effect, which can play a more important role than simple ingredients.

These are only a few common healthy properties. Tea does not only brings us a variety of flavours and aromas but also improves our health and wellbeing. It’s a lifestyle we all can benefit from.

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Tea of May: Peony King White Tea

As the weather warms up, the humid atmosphere makes me drowsy and tired, not only during the day but also in the morning. The daylight is almost too bright for the eyes. The wind is wrestling with the trees that just turned green. Lockdown life isn’t the worst, most of the time. But when the day is like this, you will need some nice tea to cheer yourself up.

My choice is a slightly aged peony king white tea. It’s a higher grade white peony than the normal ones. Ageing gives it the smoothness, calmness and sweetness that comfort us. Coming from the far east mountain in China, it smells fresh and mellow. The tiny hair quietly lies on the buds of the tea cake. The rest of the cake shows some good signs of 4-year storage, the colour is much darker than the new cakes.

I picked smaller teacups for the tea, some very thin, hand-painted blue and white porcelain teacups with a bit of red decoration. A small amount of tea was enough for a morning session. The water was boiling. You could listen to it.

The first round was light in both colour and taste. Some people would say it doesn’t taste much. I think this is the beauty of tea tasting. You get to witness the full circle of change. As the session went on, more flavour came out, as well as colour. It had a light yellow colour, clear. It tasted sweet like honey, clean like spring water. A long exhale at the end just made the whole morning experience perfect.

(If you are a fan of fasting, it helps to deal with hunger in the morning without hurting your digestion. )

If you’d like to try this tea, please visit https://www.augustmoontea.com/product/peony-king-white-tea-cake-100g/

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Wuyi Rock Tea Production Processes

Wuyi Rock Tea (武夷岩茶) or roasted oolong tea is widely consumed and enjoyed by people in China and outside China. It is famous for its outstanding aromas and complex flavours, as well as the history of Wuyi Mountain (武夷山) in Fujian Province (福建省). The mineral-rich environment of Wuyi Mountain breeds the extinguish characteristics of Wuyi Rock tea. On the other hand, human touch just gives the tea a second life to serve our tea appreciation. In this article, we are going to discuss where the unique taste and aroma of Wuyi Rock tea comes from.

1 Picking (采摘)
When the farmers pick the tea leaves, their palms need to face the sky, with the index finger hooking the fresh leaves and the thumb gently cutting off the tea leaves with strength. It is essential to keep the harvested fresh leaves fresh and try to avoid breakage, loose leaves, and heat change which could result in a lower quality.

2 Drying (晒青)
Drying requires that the temperature under 30 °C; the thickness of the leaves depends on the strength of the sun. the length of time depends on the age of the tea leaves and the strength of the sun and the variety of tea. For example, the principle of making Rougui (cinnamon, 肉桂) is to spread the tea leaves evenly and thinly. The weather has to be perfect, not too warm, not rainy otherwise the tea leaves will be damaged. The length of time shouldn’t be too long or too short. It has to be perfect. A true master knows when it’s right and when to stop.

3 Shaking to Fermentate (做青)
As the very essential step, if not the most, shaking the leaves differentiates oolong tea from all the other varieties. It takes strength and endurance to shake the tea leaves by holding the round bamboo trays with two hands and wisdom to know when is the best time to stop. This process bruises the tea leaves and prepares for the fermentation. You’d see the green tea leaves become dark with a bruised reddish edge. Widely, this step has been done by machines to make it more accurate. However, our tea farmers still believe in the warm human touch. So the art of shaking leaves is still serving the cup of tea we are holding.
Once the shaking is finished, tea leaves will be placed on the trays evenly again and let them rest. After a while, the tea farmers will repeat the shaking until the leaves are oxidized enough to entre the nest step.

4 Frying (炒青)
Frying stops the activity of certain enzymes, arrests the fermentation process and stabilizes the quality from shaking. It is important to stop the fermentation from going further once it’s finished. Otherwise, the tea would smell or taste nothing. Some enzymes make the tea taste bitter. Frying can destroy them to give us a soothing and sweet taste. Find the perfect place between the two extremes isn’t easy. But a true mastership is all we need.

5 Rolling & Kneading (揉捻)
Tea leaves have to be shaped right after the frying. The temperature can’t drop at all. Rolling the leaves on the bamboo trays bruises the cellular structure of the leaves, which makes leaves to slowly release their essential oils, flavours and aromas when they are steeped. The further bruising prevents the tea from more fermentation.
The double-fry & double-knead technique is a unique method in the production process of Wuyi Rock Tea. Re-frying can make up for the lack of the first frying. Reheating can enhance the aromas, flavours and rhyme of rock tea and make them last longer. The double kneading makes the tea leaves tighter and more beautiful. The double-fry & double-knead technique forms Wuyi Rock Tea’s unique “dragonfly head”, “frog skin”, “three knots colour’ characteristics.

6 Initial Roasting (初焙)
Initial roasting, commonly known as ‘water roasting’, is to use heat to transform some substances in tea. After the green leaves are double fried and double kneaded, they are sent to the roasting room for the next step. Only the best teas will be roasted start to finish on the same day. So more teas will go through the initial roasting to get more stable. After this, the tea will be stored. The windows are all closed. The humidity can only be released from the gap on the ceiling. The temperature remains between 100℃~110℃.

7 Complete Roasting (足焙)
Under the close supervision of the rock tea masters, complete roasting is carried out. It takes a longer time than the initial roasting. It can happen once or twice judged by the tea masters. After this, rock tea has a rich caramel aroma and lasts long. But if the tea has gone through three roastings, the aromatic properties can decrease a lot, even disappear.

High quality takes time. Nature has given us the best ingredients. We just need the magic of hard work and wisdom to master it. If you are interested in trying some authentic Wuyi Rock tea (roasted oolong tea), we have a wide selection of choices for you. Just check out here
https://www.augustmoontea.com/shop/tea/oolong-tea/

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