Tea (and Coffee)
I recently watched Les Blank's engrossing documentary, All In This Tea, which follows importer David Lee Hoffman into China in pursuit of fine teas. Shot in the late 1990s into the mid 2000s, it's clear that David was a pioneer, scouring the mountains of Anxi County. Throughout, he determinedly seeks direct relationship with farmers as well as focusing on chemical-free production. Now commonplace in coffee and tea circles, both practices were nearly unheard of at the time and actively discouraged by the government officials accompanying him. We also get a glimpse into the effort, the human scale and the artistry involved in tea production. Centuries of hand-harvesting, toasting teas over bamboo fired woks and leaves rolled by hand; the everyday made extraordinary.
Teas from Fujian Province in the southeast of China would form the foundation of David's import company, Silk Road Teas. He has since sold the company to our friends Catherine and Ned Heagerty, who continue to uphold David's vision for organic and direct trade teas. We are proud to feature them at nopa.
You can view the trailer for All In This Tea at Les Blank's site. The entire film is also currently available for instant viewing on Netflix.
Tasting notes for our Anxi County teas from Silk Road:
Tie Guan Yin "Monkey Picked" Oolong (Ma Liu Mie)
Rich, roasty nose, very aromatic, with floral, fruity and malty notes. Brewed light and bright, it shows a sweet and vegetal side, with creamy melon undertones. Re-brews nicely, showing more oxidative and spinach flavors.
Green Mist (Quing Wu)
New to us, this green tea is earthy and leafy on the nose, while the palate is all honeydew, mirabelles and tarragon with a nice tannic bite and warm woodsy spice.
In other beverage news, Blue Bottle, our coffee supplier, is now certified as an organic handler for their already organic beans. Congrats to the whole team!
Posted by Caleb Taft on
February 19, 2011
• Filed under
Still from All In This Tea, courtesy Flower Films
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Caleb Taft is a former manager of nopa.
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