Friday, November 10, 2006

Black Tea and Health

As you may have noticed, we did not send out an October edition of the tea newsletter. Busy upgrading the web site, we are pleased to unveil our new look with many added features and even easier navigation. Look for an upcoming e-mail inviting you to write online tea reviews for product discounts, another new feature of the web site.

In September, we looked at a published review of tea research conducted at Kings College in the UK. Of the numerous studies examined we selected hydration and caffeine as it relates to tea consumption. Those findings revealed that tea hydrates the body as effectively as water with added benefits despite the popular misconception that the caffeine content in tea is dehydrating.

To set the stage, reviewers took an in-depth look at epidemiological and clinical studies relevant to tea from 1990 - 2004; the various research methodologies utilized in the studies and the way in which the results were reported. The review's objective was to determine if consuming black tea has a positive or negative impact on health. Based on that, a strict criteria was created excluding vague studies making the review's results relevant. Important to note is the review's title "Black Tea - Harmful or Helpful?"

Here are some basic black tea facts - black teas;

  • Contain on average 200 mg of flavonoids per cup.
  • Represent 78% of the tea produced worldwide.
  • Is the most commonly consumed in Western populations.
  • Undergo oxidation in manufacture.

Reviewers determined that the beneficial properties in green teas, primarily EGCG polyphenols, are easier to identify than the flavonoid polyphenols in black teas, thearubigins and theaflavins. Polyphenols are components of the tea plant and the primary source of the health benefits in tea. Polyphenols undergo changes during the processing of the leaves. These changes result in the difference between black and green teas polyphenols and subsequent benefits.

  • Black teas contain more complex flavonoids then green teas; specifically thearubigins and theaflavins.
  • Thearubigins and theaflavins are powerful antioxidants.
  • Flavonoids, because of their complexity, do not absorb as quickly in the body and initially can be harder to identify.
  • Green teas differ from black teas because they are non-oxidized during manufacture/processing.

The review concluded;
  • Drinking three cups of black tea per day for two weeks increased the concentration of flavonoids in the blood by 25%.
  • The consumption of flavonoids can lower the risk of coronary heart disease through a number of mechanisms.
  • Tea flavonoids have also been shown to reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol by 11.1%.
  • In-vitro and animal studies reveal positive effects of flavonoids go beyond antioxidant capacity, stimulating anti-inflammatory response, another cause of disease.

The always controversial question, "does adding milk to your tea reduce the benefits?" was also part of the review. After examining four separate studies, reviewers concluded that the addition of milk in your tea is unlikely to reduce the antioxidant benefits, despite milks binding effects to flavonoids.

This review makes it clear that tea is good for your health and that black teas complex flavonoid polyohenols can play an important role in daily antioxidant consumption and disease prevention. While green teas continue to steal the "health limelight," black teas belong center stage right along side them. I am a firm believer in drinking the type of tea you like. If that's black tea, you haven't been left behind in the rush to achieve a healthy lifestyle, black tea is good for you too!

Friday, September 08, 2006

Tea and Hydration

Sorting out the Facts

Reinforcing the many potential health benefits of tea consumption, a recent review of black tea research, sponsored by the United Kingdom Tea Council, has gained a great deal of attention over the last few weeks.

The findings, published online in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2006), were reported by various national and international news outlets. Thorough readings of the published findings made it clear that what had been reported in the media were only bits and pieces of the review, a powerful and insightful analysis of more than a decade's worth of data compiled on black tea consumption.

The review's objective was to consider whether the consumption of black tea has a positive or negative impact on health. Despite the potential antioxidant power of black tea and the possibility that it may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) and cancer, media reports often imply that tea has adverse effects on; hydration, cognitive function, bone health, dental health and iron status. These implied adverse effects are frequently linked to the caffeine content in tea. This month's newsletter will dispel these myths focusing on the hydration and caffeine data that was reviewed.

Is Tea Dehydrating?

The hydration benefits of drinking tea is one of the most interesting aspects of the data reviewed. The researchers state that tea hydrates the body as effectively as water with the added antioxidant benefits. This is completely contrary to the popular belief that tea is dehydrating due to the caffeine content; a wives' tale often perpetuated in media reports and even by some health care professionals.

So What About Caffeine?

Caffeine, in extremely high doses, can dehydrate the body but even if you brew a cup strong enough to have that effect, which is almost impossible, it wouldn't be palatable. According to the review, even a really super strong cup of tea would have a net gain of fluid. The reviewers went on to suggest that any possible risk related to excess caffeine intake, if that is a concern for you, can be avoided by limiting your tea intake to 8 cups per day.

Dispelling Myths

Dispelling the myth that tea is dehydrating will take time so spread the word and remember you are what you drink. Over the next few months I will continue detailing the review including the criteria and results, dispelling various other myths. Look for those details in upcoming newsletters and on the tea blog.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Yixing Tea Pots

As I sat down to write this newsletter I thought about my first Yixing tea pot. I was leaving my job to open Teas Etc. and my co-workers bought me a Yixing pot as a farewell gift. Despite the question that they all asked "WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO?", it was obvious by their gift choice that they "got it" on some level. That beautifully shaped Buddha Yixing pot has been the source of inspiration and many a delicious cup of tea.

Personally, I have not acquired a tremendous amount of Yixing. As a matter of fact, Nathan, our web manager, has 10 times more than me! After my visit to Yixing while in China, I became more interested in this exquisite tea ware, which motivated me to dig a little deeper.

Yixing clay, as it is often referred to here in the U.S., is actually Zisha clay. Zisha translates to "purple sand" and is only found in China. Yixing, located west of Shanghai, is in central China's Jiangsu Province. The city itself dates back thousands of years and has long been associated with tea culture. The first Yixing tea pot, handcrafted by Jiangsu, a monk studying at nearby Jin Sha Temple, was functional and elegant. Utilitarian design and artistic expression found in those initial motifs are still present in pots made today.

Yixing pots made their appearance in Europe by way of Dutch traders who recognized the sturdy materials and practical shapes. Yixing pots, unlike Europe's Delft earthenware of the era, can withstand rapidly changing temperatures and can hold boiling water without cracking. The influence on western ceramic production is evident in the unglazed stoneware of European pioneers like Wedgwood who welcomed the classic and natural elements of the Yixing designs.

Purple clay is a product of weathering rock from mountains worn away by erosion. The disintegrated rock settles in estuaries, lakes and deltas where it is ground due to its interaction with water. Gradual geological upheaval lifts the clay for retrieval. Authentic purple clay possesses unique properties. These properties are best recognized in the very layers of the earth in which they are created.

Seventy five percent of the earth's surface layer is made up of Silica and Alumina, the essential elements of purple clay. Numerous trace minerals are also found in the surface layers of the earth and subsequently in Zisha clay tea pots. These all natural, wholesome brewing vessels aid in the purification and activation of water and contribute to our consumption of trace minerals, a critical, often overlooked, element of a healthy diet. True Zisha clay does not contain lead and is approved for consumable use by the FDA.

These high quality pots differ greatly from any other brewing vessel. The strong molecular bond created by carefully controlled temperatures while firing makes Yixing pots extremely durable. The fine texture and porous finish allows each vessel to absorb the essence of the teas brewed within creating a character and uniqueness to each individual pot.

This time honored art form, passed from one generation to the next, is alive and well in present day China. Skillful hands use thin plastic scalpels to create patterns both classic and stylized. Shapes like pumpkins, aged tree trunks and everyday items such as bamboo steamers and luggage represent some of the changing attitudes in design over the past two decades. The round, well balanced shapes are more traditional and provide a glimpse into classic variety of long ago.(View Yixing Tea Pot Styles)

I was intrigued while in Dingshan, the area just south of Yixing city where most of the actual potter's showrooms and workshops are housed, to discover that it's not necessarily the more elaborate pots that demand the highest price. The artists creating the pot, who they apprenticed with and the number of prestigious awards and recognitions they have received all help to determine the price of their works. Another important price factor is the authenticity in which the artist re-creates famous pot styles.

The unglazed pots are shaped by hand on a potter's wheel and fired in kilns. Although many pots are still created by hand, growing popularity and high demand has necessitated mass production of some Yixing tea pots. While still authentic Zisha clay, some of these lower priced pots may be made with molds as opposed to on a potter's wheel.

Zisha clay comes in 3 varieties;

  • Zini, the most common, ranges from rose to brown

  • Banshanlu, more rare, ranges from creamy white to light brown

  • Zhuni, also rare, are the rich red tones.

Blending of the clays is how some of the more attention-grabbing colors are created like blues and greens.

The longer you have a Zisha clay pot the more beautiful it becomes. Using these pots brings out a rich, shiny patina created by the oils and moisture of human hands. Because the clay is porous, it is best to utilize one pot for a particular tea or tea group, depending on your personal preference and intention. The legend is that over time these pots will brew tea without adding leaves revealing their own unique taste from the tea or teas previously brewed in them. I was also told that using Zisha clay will eliminate any stomach discomfort sometimes associated with green tea consumption, which I experience from time to time.

Pots range in price from a few dollars to thousands of dollars whether you are in Dingshan or the U.S.. One pot dating back to the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) that is currently on display in Beijing's Palace Museum has an estimated value exceeding $100,000.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Great Oolong Workshop

Tuesday night was another fun oolong workshop with some new and familar faces in attendance. We sampled everything we intended too and slipped in a couple of Indian oolongs samples that we had just received.

Brewing with a Gaiwan and Gung Fu style was new to most of the group but they quickly realized how different oolong teas taste in more traditional brewing methods.

It is always so amazing how many times you can brew the same tea and still get delicious character.

Besides the tea everyone enjoyed the raw veggie salad with soy dressing and the brownies.

Thanks to all who attended!

Until next time, Beth

Enjoying some conversation and something to eat before everyone arrives.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Iced Tea Follow Up

Here are some more great ideas to jazz up cold tea brews. I hope you will enjoy them.

Mix a hearty black tea, like organic Nilgiri, China OP or a breakfast tea, with lemonade for a refreshing summer beverage. Or get really creative and use a fat busting oolong tea, we are drinking tons of it after researching the last tea spot article! Try the combination below that uses honey instead of sugar for a sweet touch. You can substitute any tea you like for the Nilgiri.

Black Nilgiri Lemonade
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice, about 5 lemons plus wedges for garnish
1/2 cup honey
3 cups freshly brewed organic Nilgiri black tea, chilled
1 cup water, chilled
To make tea;
Bring 3 cups of filtered water to a boil. Remove from heat and add 3 heaping teaspoons of organic Nilgiri black tea leaves. Allow leaves to steep 5 minutes and use a strainer to remove leaves. Chill.
To make tea lemonade;
Combine honey and lemon juice and stir until honey has completely dissolved. Transfer to a pitcher, pour in chilled tea plus 1 cup cold water, stir well. Fill pitcher with ice, add garnish and serve.

Try this fruit juice, tea combination below to brew up a deliciously healthy white iced tea.

Peach White Iced Tea
4 cups peach nectar
1 bunch fresh mint
2 lemons
6 cups freshly brewed white tea, organic Bio Hao or organic Mountain Mist.

To make tea;
Bring 6 cups of filtered water to just under a boil. Remove the water from heat and add 8 heaping teaspoons of white tea leaves. Allow the leaves to steep 5 minutes and use a strainer to remove when done. Chill.

You can combine one or all of these, peach nectar, mint leaves and/or lemon with the chilled tea; stir and refrigerate 1 hour. Add ice to a pitcher, pour in tea and serve.

This combination can also be used with a hearty black tea like organic Nilgiri. Just substitute the 6 cups of freshly brewed white tea with 6 cups of freshly brewed black tea.

Try brewing up green tea and sweeten with the ginger simple syrup, see previous blog for recipe, for another tasty combination. Or just drink the green tea without any additions. I love the Kukicha, Japanese green tea, chilled without anything in it! Remember when brewing up tea for icing use a bit more tea leaves to strengthen the tea. It wont get lost in the ice or other flavors that way.

Stay cool and enjoy, Beth

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Simple Syrup, a sweet touch on Iced Tea.

Not to state the obvious, but boy it's been hot! Interestingly South Florida, when compared to the rest of the US, has been one of the cooler places to be.

A great way to quench your thirst in this sweltering heat is by drinking iced tea.
Unlike soda, which actually leaves you thirsty, iced tea, has healthy benefits. You can drink any tea cold whether its black, white, oolong or green, so try your favorite over ice.

I have been collecting some ideas for adding a sweet touch to summer teas and thought I would share them.

Anyone who sweetens their iced tea knows that trying to get sugar to dissolve in a cold brew is difficult. The solution, simple syrup. Easy to make, simple syrup will last in the refrigerator, in an air tight container, for about 2 months.

Simple Syrup;
2 1/4 cups sugar
4 3/4 cups water
Prepare ice bath, a bowl with both ice and water, and set aside.
Combine sugar and water in a saucepan; bring to a boil over medium high heat. Cook until the sugar has completely dissolved. Pour syrup into a bowl, one that will fit into the ice bath, and set in bath. Stir occasionally until the syrup is chilled.

For more interesting simple syrup try the combinations below.

Ginger Syrup
1 3/4 cups sugar
3 1/2 cups water
1 6 inch piece of peeled, thinly sliced ginger
Combine ginger, sugar and water; bring to a boil over medium high heat. Cook until sugar is dissolved and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook about 5 minutes more. Remove from heat and let stand 30 minutes. Remove the ginger. Use and store.

Mint or Lemon Syrup
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed, chopped fresh mint leaves
2 lemons, zest and juice from both
1 1/2 cups water
Combines sugar, water and mint or lemon (juice and zest) in a sauce pan over medium high heat. Bring to a boil and cook until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and let stand 30 minutes. Using a fine mesh strainer remove mint or lemon. Use and store.

Rosemary Syrup
3/4 cup sugar
6 sprig's fresh rosemary
1 1/2 cups water
Combine sugar, water and rosemary in a saucepan over medium high heat, bringing to a boil. Cook until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and let stand 20 minutes. Remove rosemary. Use and store.

All of these syrups can be added to tea, lemonade, limeade or just about any drink you wish. These syrup recipes came from Martha Stewart Living several years ago so I do not take credit for them.

Maybe you have a delicious way to brew up summer teas? If so share them with me and I will post them on this blog!

I will be posting some more tea recipes over the next few days so come back and visit!

Thanks, Beth

Monday, July 03, 2006

The Final Workshop in the Series

As we prepare for tonight's Oolong workshop, one of our most popular and certainly one of my favorites, I was thinking about the workshop series that ended in June. Here are some of the pictures and my thoughts from that awesome class.

I really enjoyed doing this workshop series! It's really the participants that make a class great and these girls are the best.

Pat #1 could not be more of a champion for Teas Etc. She encourages people to try tea, teaches them about quality and has them sign up for the basic workshops. I am wondering if Pat really should be in the tea business instead of working at the college?

Riza, who showed up early for every class to help me with the food, has become a real tea taster. At the open house I tried to slipper her a tea similar to one that the class had tried a week earlier and she knew immediately!

Brenda has to be the worlds best tea timer, always keeping me right on track.

I am going to miss seeing all of you for our once a month get together. You each brought something special to our group and I will smile when I think of the slurps, laughs and tea we shared.

Thank you for making this such a wonderful experience for me.

Fondly, Beth

Class Pictures from our oolong night.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

The Summer Solstice Open House

It was great to see so many friends at the openhouse!

Unlike the January openhouse, where we had a huge crowd, we were able to sit down and have tea with our guests. We had the laptop set up and shared some of the pictures from China. We had fun experimenting with different teas I brought back like the Tao Temple green tea and Bohea from Wuyishan. I always enjoy the opportunity to compare notes with other tea enthusiasts so this is an enjoyable way to spend a summer afternoon for me.

The food and conversation was light and the company delightful. We even managed to get a couple of usable photos from the event.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Wuyishan Spectacular Photos and Memories

When I was in China I so enjoyed taking time to sit down and write for the blog and promised myself that I would continue this new found ritual once I returned. As sometimes happens life dictated otherwise and I have not done as well as I had hoped.

It is hard to express to people my experiences sometimes. There is so much to tell and even more that I was not able to share while I still in China. So I have decided to back up a bit and share about some of the trip that may have been missed or only reviewed briefly. I am going to start with Wuyishan, one of the most beautiful senic spots we visited and this time I have pictures! To get me in the mood I have brewed up a terrific Jian Bian Qi Lan oolong, the perfect inspiration. (Gin Bin She Lawn, phonetic pronunciation).

Our first day in Wuyishan was a bit crazy. The energy in town was hectic and finding a hotel was challenging. But once settled we drove out of town to a very small factory and met Mr. Liu and his father, who both grew up producing the fantastic oolong teas of the Wuyishan region. I will never forget the humble surroundings, generous hospitality and warmth of Mr. Liu. The remarkable tea this small factory produces will also remain in my memory but was really just a bonus.

Here are some of the photos.

On our way to the factory.

Meeting Mr. Liu

The large leaves of Wuyi oolong tea.

The Factory, withering of the tea.

Sitting down to tea.

Selecting Tea

Another memorable part of that day was on our way back to the hotel from the factory. We encountered a spot along the road that was so beautiful that I just had to stop. Not realizing what was really going on I got out and started to walk when I noticed the tea, everywhere literally. The people who had been harvesting that day were bring the leaves to this square to spread them out for the initial drying. The longer we stood there the more tea appeared. It was transported in carts, on bicycles, in baskets on their backs and by wagons, every way possible. This was exhilarating, at least to me, this was the very beginnings of the processing that was to take place, resulting in the highly oxidized, deep amber leaves of Wuyi oolong that creates such a wonderful brew in our cups. Absolutely awesome.

Here are some pictures.

On first glance.

When I got out and looked to my left.

Getting it there.

Spreading out the tea.

This was a day etched in my memory forever and a place, Wuyishan, that I will visit again next year while in China.

The next part of our trip in Wuyishan was an incredible visit with a factory that has been in operation for some 400 years. It will be in a separate blog that you won't want to miss!

Until next time, Beth

Monday, May 22, 2006

The Tea Council of the USA responds to the FDA Decline of Green Tea Health Claim Petition

You may have read or seen on television that the FDA has recently rejected a petition for a qualified health claim for Green Tea. Unfortunately the media plays this up as if the FDA is saying that green tea does not have any health benefits, when in fact what it means is that the FDA will currently not allow a company to put health claims on a product label.

Please be assured that the body of scientific evidence linking tea consumption to a great many health benefits continues to build. I feel confident and have every reason to believe that in time, as more human clinical studies are conducted, that an official health claim will be granted.

On May 22, 2006 the Tea Council of the USA released this statement in response to the FDA's Decline of Green Tea Cardiovascular Health Claim Petition;

"Recently the FDA denied a health claim for green tea.

Government health claims communicate information about reduction of disease state. Therefore to qualify for such a claim, the research must show disease reduction through epidemiological and clinical studies on the disease state.

While there is a great deal of evidence suggesting that dietary flavonoids, including those found in both green and black tea, contribute to cardiovascular health, what is currently missing from the literature is epidemiological research on green tea consumption in the US population and clinical human studies showing that drinking green tea reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease by reducing risk of specific measurable endpoints associated with the disease, such as lowering cholesterol or blood pressure.

We anticipate that the research will evolve to support a health claim in this area in the future, since the anecdotal evidence certainly supports this position. Even thought the FDA has denied this health claim, we have no doubt that drinking tea contributes to overall health on a variety of levels. The research on this subject has been ongoing for decades. But as always, more research needs to be done and is being done now.

In the meantime, people should still feel good about drinking tea because it's an enjoyable beverage and the research to date certainly suggests that it may contribute to an overall healthy lifestyle".

Sorting out fact from fiction when it comes to tea can be very tricky. We welcome any questions you may have regarding tea. We will do our level best to answer your questions as long as we have the answer. If we dont have the answer and cant find acurate information we will say so. Thanks, Beth

Changsha, Hunan Province and Much More Tea

As our trip begins to wind down there is still a lot to see and experience. Today I had the pleasure of traveling to Changsha in Hunan Province to visit with one of the largest Chinese tea exporters in the country, Hunan Tea Company. I have known Linda and Hunan Tea for many years now and I look forward to finally meeting face to face.

Changsha is about an hour and a half from Nanjing by plane so I made the visit short traveling round trip in one, very long, day. If time had been available I would have visited the numerous gardens and factories that are run by this large company but this trip we visited only one medium sized garden and factory located about 2 hours outside of Changsha.

Linda picked me up at the airport and we were off to begin our very busy day at the main office located on one of the oldest streets in this modern city. I had the pleasure of meeting many Managers and staff at this large company including Mr. Zhou, General Manager who I chatted with briefly. My hosts for the day were Ms. Linda Wang, Mr. Wu and Mr. Xie who I sat with for a short presentation on the scope of the company which I found fascinating. This was my first look into a larger organization that recently became a public owned company converting from state ownership 2 years ago. This group was dramatically different then any other I had met with so I was eager to see more.

We set off to visit a couple of the companies tea shops, which total 50 throughout China. I was introduced to the rare, exquisite yellow tea named Junshan, pronounced June Shan, which to date has been sold only within the Chinese domestic market. This rare yellow tea is exclusively grown and processed in Junshan. The elegant needles are as intriguing to watch as the soup is to drink. As the tea brews the perfectly sized needles stand at attention as they float at the top eventually sinking beautifully to the bottom. Really quite a show.

It was time for lunch and we enjoyed the traditional Hunan lunch invitation of sounding the drums. We filled up rather quickly due to our short schedule with unique and spicy regional dishes. Then it was off to the garden and factory and the senic ride getting there.

Once we arrived we had a short stroll through the gardens and then on to the factory. The factory grounds were impeccably manicured with a lovely statue of Lu Yu in the center courtyard. Pictures were not allowed in the factory and our tour was rather short. We got back on the road to take care of the real business at hand cupping the enormous variety of teas!

I spent several hours cupping, cataloging and selecting teas. I sampled a couple of teas that were new to me, which is why sampling is always the highlight of my day. Including the Junshan a couple of these teas may be available for the first time in the United States, in limited quantities, when we publish our new tea menu.

Once I finished it was time to have a quick dinner and back to the Changsha airport for the trip back to Nanjing. I arrived back to the hotel in Nanjing sometime after midnight exhausted from the day but elated that I was able to make the journey, no matter how short, to experience Hunan and the many teas it has to offer. Tomorrow we are on the road again to Changzhou an unexpected stop on our tour of China and Yixing and a new adventure I am sure!

Until next time, Beth

Sampling Teas all Afternoon.

Visiting the Tea Farm and Factory.

A Ceremonial Invitation to Lunch.

Exploring a Temple in the Old City Area.

Enjoying the Beauty of this Rare Yellow Tea.

Hunan Tea Company is housed on the oldest street in Changsha.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Up Early to See the Qixia Temple and Lu Yu Teahouse

Up early and on our way to the Qixia Shan, the sacred Buddhist Mountain,the Qixia Si Temple and the Thousand Buddha Cliffs. About 9 miles northeast of Nanjing is one of the largest Buddhist seminaries in China, home to 200 Buddhist monks. As one of China's first monasteries, the Chinese Buddhist Association holds its collection of 7200 volumes of scripture in the temple's library.

The 1500 year old temple is surrounded by a dense blanket of maple trees and springs that trickle down the slopes. The name Qixia Si literally translates as "the temple where the dawn perches".

As you walk onto the grounds you are met by semicircular pond and a large statue of Kuan Yin the symbol of fertility and compassion. Beyond the pond lies two towers, the gong tower and the drum tower, both still in operation. Just past the towers is the main temple where prayers are offered daily by visitors and monks alike.

Behind the temple is the 1000 Buddha Cliffs were 700 carvings of the Buddha are tucked into niches of the mountain side. The first carvings date back to the Qi Dynasty while most were done during the Song and Tang Dynasties. Many of the carvings were defaced during the Taiping Rebellion and the Cultural Revolution but this very special place is still beautiful and very spiritual.

Along the path up the mountain I was completely taken by surprise to find a sign with Lu Yu Teahouse this way, or at least that was the English equivalent. So off we went to find the teahouse. Once there the doors were locked and it looked deserted. Eventually we found someone to let us in, a man who was living there to care for the property, and I got a picture with a statue of the founder of tea.

The temple was a wonderful place to visit but finding the Lu Yu Teahouse, even if not in operation, was the highlight of the day for me! Until next time, Beth

The Gateway to the Temple

Lilian and Amy Our Delightful Guides

Rounding the First Corner We Came Upon this Wonderful Statue of Kuan Yin Set in the Lake

Amy at the Stone Sign Meaning Rainbow Reflection

The Beauty of the Architecture and Grounds is Amazing

One of Many Ornate Statues in the Numerous Structures on the Grounds

Approaching the Main Temple to Pray

Lighting Incense in Preparation to Pray

Octagon Stone Pagoda with Carvings of Buddha's Life

Standing at the 1000 Buddha's Cliff

Buddha Cliffs

On Our Journey Up the Mountain We Discovered the Lu Yu Teahouse

Amy & I Trying to Get In


Lu Yu the Founder of Tea

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Nanjing China and More Tea

Let me point out that the blog is out of order. The download times can be long and as much as I enjoy sharing my trip and the wonderful world of Chinese teas it is sometimes difficult to sit and blog vs being out to see new sights!

Barb and I eventually met up in Nanjing late Friday evening. Her day had been much more stressful than mine so we decided to grab a bite to eat, chat and get to sleep in preparation for Saturday. One of the things that both of us really wanted to do is find a bookstore that stocked Chinese books in English so off we went to the Foreign Languages Bookstore. We ended up in the wrong store with limited titles in English and not what I was looking for. However while strolling around the store a young lady, Lilian, approached Barb and was excited to practice her English, like so many students we have met. Long story short she will accompany us tomorrow to the temple and get plenty of practice.

Eventually we arrived to the Foreign Language bookstore and much more of what I was looking for. So many interesting books how will we get them all home? Our luggage has already well exceeded the weight limits for flying! I picked up a couple of interesting books on tea written by Chinese Authors/Experts and have the young man in the store searching for another that was written as a follow up to the well known "Tea Classic". We spent a good part of the day wandering around the store reading.

We left and headed to an area called "1921" a young, hip hang out for students. Nanjing is not just beautiful but also heavily populated with young people and has a high energy that you can feel as you walk around. We stopped in for tea at the "Tea Station" and enjoyed a green oolong and a delicious dinner. I have to tell you ordering in a restaurant can be amusing if no one speaks English and you speak no Chinese. You can never be sure what you are going to get! Everywhere we go people notice us and this was no exception we met a group of young men who seemed really nice and cooperated, actually posed when I wanted to take their picture!

We strolled the city back to the hotel and called it a day. Tomorrow is the temple which we are really looking forward too, Beth

We Meet People Everywhere We Go

Having Tea in a Chinese Victorian Style Tea House

We Are Ready for Tea

The Beautiful Tree Lined Streets of Nanjing

Which Way Should We Go?
Just Read the Street Sign.