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




A bamboo wrapped tong of 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 the processes… // 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


A handful of Shi Feng Dragon Well

The Price of Long Jing

A Major Error In The Reporting of Longjing Prices and What the Real Prices Were in 2014. Every year there is much talk about the price of Longjing, 2014 being no exception. Most of the talk is hype, reporting the extraordinary prices that some Chinese businessman or government official has spent for Longjing. However, these… // MORE


Bai Ji Guan bush seen here growing

Field Notes – Wuyishan Wulong I

Bai Ji Guan   This is excerpt from a batch of Zhuping’s notes sent back from the Wuyi Mountains a few days ago. These notes are part of an effort to pair teas in our catalog with detailed pictures of their bush varieties. I thought they were an excellent explanation of not only a specific… // MORE


Zesty Orange Doughnuts with Black Tea Cream

Recipe – Zesty Orange Doughnuts with Black Tea Cream

Doughnuts are the type of pastry that seem daunting, but are in fact fairly easy to make. They do take time, however; this is a recipe that is easiest when started the night before, because the separate components need time to rest in the refrigerator. Brioche is a buttery, slightly sweet yeast dough that yields… // MORE


A picture of Tong Mu and Qimen

Charles Grey, Earl Grey – A Peculiar Tale of Black Tea

Earl Grey Tea Origins Tea is the most commonly consumed beverage in the world, and in the western hemisphere, the majority of the tea enjoyed is black tea. Perhaps the most popular and recognizable variation is Earl Grey tea, a slightly smokey blend infused with the essence of bergamot orange rind, probably in an attempt to… // MORE


Jun Shan Yin Zhen close up

The Niche of Yellow Tea

Rare and Elusive Yellow Tea: Now Less Rare (But Still Elusive) Years ago I had the good luck to hear a veteran tea maker give a lecture on processing techniques that bracket one category of tea from another. His talk passed through great detail on the chemical contours a tea leaf and how manipulating them… // MORE


Tea in a pint glass

How Tea is Consumed in Some Other Parts of China

Tea Drinking Habits of Ethnic Minorities in China A large part of launching our new website includes a brief (considering how intricate tea history is) scope through the history of Chinese tea.  I’ve been lucky to be presented with the opportunity to sit down with our tea master and owner, Zhuping and receive a one… // MORE



My Tea Blog is Ten Years Old

November 2013 was the tenth anniversary of my tea blog. When I first started the idea of blogging was relatively new. There were just a few political blogs, and many of these were focused on reporting.



Tea Trends 2013

I have been able to travel a lot this year, and talk to a lot of people, from consumers, to producers from a number of different countries, to tea educators, to small tea business owners, to tea journalists, to corporate tea executives. It is been a log time since I have written a blog because… // MORE


Lucky to be in the tea business

Since the middle of May I have been on the road, traveling in China, the US, and Europe, and for Zhuping it was three months in China. Finally we are enjoying our sanctuary in Tucson, with a lot of welcome home cooked meals.





Transparency In The Tea Industry

Transparency has been a core value for our company from it’s beginning. We remain the one of the very few companies in the world that has a completely transparent supply chain from producer to customer. It is an important value for the tea industry to adopt in the future, and provides for solutions to issues related to quality, safety, and fair trade.