A group of people around a table with a dozen teas set out for tasting.

Trade War, Tariffs, and Tea

Trade War With China From the beginning of American history China has been an important trading partner. One of the causes of the American Revolution was the monopoly of the East India Company that made it illegal for us to trade with China directly. Tea was the key element in that trade, helping to make… // MORE



The deep red-purple new leaves of the Zi Juan purple tea cultivar growing on top of the bushes.

What Is Purple Leaf Tea, Really?

An old tea plant turns over a colorful new leaf Though “purple tea” is sometimes marketed as a whole new type of tea in the vein of black or green tea, this name actually refers to the cultivar of tea plant used to make it. There are many purple tea cultivars out there, even just… // MORE



Spring Teas Arrive In The Desert

Shi Feng Long Jing Spring teas arriving brings a lot of joy to our little warehouse in the desert. It is bittersweet this year because of the passing of Weng Shang Yi, the maker of our Shifeng Longjing. He lived to be 90 years old. He started making Longjing when he was fourteen, 1943. During… // MORE



The Tea Tour Moves Through Yunnan

This year’s tea tour marks 11 years of Seven Cups providing professional-level education on the ground in China. Every year is different, and every detail gets planned by our own Zhuping Hodge.  So, after months of planning, it’s exciting to see the trip take off. 2018’s tea tour has just passed its first leg, traveling… // MORE


Puer tea producer's storage area.

How Are Puer Cakes Made?

Where the Indentation in a Puer Cake Comes From This brief under-two-minute educational video is packed with information. If you’ve ever wondered how puer tea cakes are made or just where that funny indentation comes from, then take a couple minutes to watch this video. The video takes off from the point where mao cha… // MORE



Tasting Chinese Tea At TRA

Can I Judge the Quality of My Tea by Taste Alone?

Paradoxically, taste is both the least important and most important elementwhen it comes to establishing the quality of a specialty tea. Taste is the least important element in that taste is, after all, dependent on the individual. What tastes bad to some tastes good to others.


A woman evaluating tea aroma by smelling a gaiwan full of tea.

What Does the Aroma of My Tea Say About Its Quality?

Tea Aroma as a Standard for Specialty Tea This post is part of a continuing series of writings by Seven Cups founder, Austin Hodge, for the International Specialty Tea Association. The aim of this series is to detail twelve elements that can be used to authenticate and value specialty tea. The previous post on tea color as a… // MORE


What Does the Color of My Tea Say About Its Quality?

Tea Color as a Standard for Specialty Tea This post is part of a continuing series of writings by Seven Cups founder, Austin Hodge, for the International Specialty Tea Association. The aim of this series is to detail twelve elements that can be used to authenticate and value specialty tea. The previous post, the impact the percentage… // MORE


Silver Needle drying naturally in the sun.

Why Does the Moisture Content of My Tea Leaves Matter?

The Percentage of Moisture Remaining as a Standard For Specialty Tea This post is part of a continuing series of writings by Seven Cups founder, Austin Hodge, for the International Specialty Tea Association. The aim of this series is to detail twelve elements that can be used to authenticate and value specialty tea. The previous post on how… // MORE


How Does the Way Tea Is Processed Impact Its Quality?

Processing as a Standard For Specialty Tea This post is part of a continuing series of writings by Seven Cups founder, Austin Hodge, for the International Specialty Tea Association. The aim of this series is to detail twelve elements that can be used to authenticate and value specialty tea. The previous post on the tea master as… // MORE


Yancha Tea maker in the roasting room

How Does the Tea Maker Impact My Tea’s Quality?

Tea Maker as a Standard For Specialty Tea This post is part of a continuing series of writings by Seven Cups founder, Austin Hodge, for the International Specialty Tea Association. The aim of this series is to detail twelve elements that can be used to authenticate and value specialty tea. The previous post on the impact of the… // MORE


Leaves from a Qi Lan Wulong Tea Cultivar with notes

What Do the Genes of a Tea Bush Say About Quality Tea?

Tea Cultivar as a Standard For Specialty Tea This post is part of a continuing series of writings by Seven Cups founder, Austin Hodge, for the International Specialty Tea Association. The aim of this series is to detail twelve elements that can be used to authenticate and value specialty tea. The previous post on the impact of the… // MORE


Plucking young tea leaves in China

How Does the Timing of a Harvest Impact a Tea’s Quality?

 Harvest Date as a Standard For Specialty Tea This post is part of a continuing series of writings by Seven Cups founder, Austin Hodge, for the International Specialty Tea Association. The aim of this series is to detail twelve elements that can be used to authenticate and value specialty tea. The previous post on how the environmental conditions… // MORE


Tea Bushes in Wuyishan National Park

How Does Origin Contribute to the Authentication of Tea?

The Origin as a Standard For Specialty Tea  This post is part of a continuing series of writings by Seven Cups founder, Austin Hodge, for the International Specialty Tea Association. The aim of this series is to detail twelve elements that can be used to authenticate and value specialty tea. The previous post, on plucking and leaf… // MORE



The condition of the leaf is one of the standards for specialty tea. Here is a picture of Anji Bai Cha Tea Bush leaves.

How Does the Condition of the Leaf Impact My Tea’s Quality?

The Leaf As a Standard for Specialty Tea The first element in evaluating quality in specialty tea is the finished tea leaf. The examination of the leaf tells many stories. With few exceptions, a well-processed tea leaf should be completely intact, unbroken, pristine, with wulongs being one of the exceptions. This element is the first to… // MORE






The picking standard of Shui Xian Wuong tea leaves. Zhong Kai Mian and Xiao Kai Mian.

A Short and Handy Guide to Wulong Processing

Harvesting & Picking Standards If there was ever a sign of how sophisticated the western tea-drinker has become, it’s the large number of technical questions we now receive from our customers. Wulong tea is frequently the subject of these questions, and so to help our customers, we’ve written a short guide to its harvesting seasons… // MORE




Stored puer cakes

The “Raw” Appeal of Puer Tea

A few weeks back, Austin clunked a pint glass down on my desk. The glass was loaded to its rim with steeping leaves – thick, stemmy, Yunnan tea tree leaves. He told me it was young sheng puer and he demanded I have a sip. I had an empty stomach, but as an employee I… // MORE


The Radical Tea For the Anti-Establishment

Lu An Gua Pian – Punk Rock Green Tea While some sources allege that Lu An Gua Pian green tea was designed for political elite, and once a favorite of PRC premiere Zhou Enlai, I can’t help but feel there is something seriously anti-establishment about this tea – both in terms of its flavor and… // MORE


Mechanical harvesting of Shui Xian

Field Notes – Wuyishan Wulong II

WuYi Cultivar #105 “Huang Guan Yin” | Shui Xian The following are excerpts taken from a collection of notes authored by Zhuping on April 22nd 2014 in Wuyishan. I picked out two sections of notes that focus on two Wuyi cultivars, one very well known and celebrated, and one widely used but rarely discussed.  My own… // MORE