Exhibitor Registration – Melbourne Tea Fair

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Exciting news regarding the 2014 Melbourne Tea Fair – Exhibitor Registration is now open! You can download your Exhibitor Registration Form and Exhibitor Information Package from our website, at http://australianteamasters.com.au/blog/melbourne-tea-fair

Don’t miss out on this wonderful opportunity! Exhibitor registration closes on July 18, 2014.

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The World Tea Expo

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The World Tea Expo is an annual event that no one in the North American tea world should miss. One of the largest tea expos in the world and with perhaps the largest range of tea exhibitors anywhere, this exhibition serves a tea industry that currently has a net worth of $8 billion – a number that is only expected to continue growing.

Exhibitors will include a wide range of tea suppliers and vendors, while many attendees themselves are looking to profit from the retail side of tea, and serve a large variety of different kinds of businesses. Even more exciting is the fact that many exhibitors – up to 30% – do not exhibit their teas in any other tea fair or exhibition in the world. Quite possibly the only time you will have to trial their newest and greatest blends will be at this expo.

You can find more information on this incredible event at http://www.worldteaexpo.com/

World Tea Expo - Pic 1

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The French and Their Tea

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An interesting article appeared on the BBC’s website in April; it was about France and French teas in comparison with Britain and their treatment of tea. As it turns out, France is reentering the tea market and is quickly becoming famous for their unique and beautiful blends.

The strange thing is, France once upon a time had a tea habit that seriously rivaled the English tea consumption rate. However, as time went on it eventually extinguished to the point where it was very difficult to find a good-quality cup. Only aristocrats and very unwell people drank it on any sort of regular basis, and good tea had to be almost exclusively self-imported.

You can read all about France’s tea story in the BBC article, here: http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-26962095

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The Story of Jhentea and its Family History

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Jhentea is a teashop in Taiwan that has a fascinating history, with four generations of tea experts and production in Taiwan, after their ancestors, Hon Chen’s offspring, escaped from Communist China. It began as a small family business cultivating tea in the Fujian Province, with great-great-grandfather Hon Chen – a very well-known and respected tea master within the local community. Chen’s offspring had already expanded small parts of this business in Taiwan when communist rule overcame China, and were fortunate enough to be able to escape there. Their main trade was Wu-Yi tea plants that grew to create beautiful oolong teas. This business grew such that it was able to trade with global customers.

The first tea garden to be owned in Taiwan by the family was bought by Li Chen, Hon Chen’s son. It cost 2 Dragon Dollars (a currency used in China long ago) and was on Taipei’s mountainside. Taiwan’s beautiful climate had made it renowned as a land of new opportunity, and its weather complimented the art of growing tea beautifully. In this tea garden, Wu-Yi and Oolong was cultivated, despite not being native to the region – the climate was still ideal.

Japanese rule became a big problem for many residents in Taiwan, bringing with it waves of hardship and fear. As a result, the family, led by Li’s son, Jeder Chen, moved their production of tea to a different side of Taipei Mountain. They settled in a mountainous region of Yi Lan, and began to plant. A small community had formed in an effort to hide out here, and much effort and community spirit went into helping each other through the hardship.

Jeder had fled to the mountainous region of Yi Lan with Dong Lai Chen, his second wife. It was there they raised 7 children together, however after the true hardship of Japanese rule was over, Jeder Chen returned with his first wife. Dong Lai Chen was left on the plantation and raised her children alone, each learning and doing what they could manage on the plantation. Through her experience and knowledge, Dong Lai became the first female tea master in the region – however as a female, she was forced to work hard to gain a reputation among other tea masters.

Full-production of tea was reassumed after 1942, when the Japanese occupation was nearly over and Chiang Kai-Shek assumed power. Tea had become a valuable trade commodity, and Taiwan’s oolong teas became some of the most highly-regarded all over the world.

Fu Chen, Dong Lai’s eldest daughter, became the major cultivator in the Chen family tea garden, while 4 out of the other 6 siblings became involved in the family’s legacy as well. Fu Chen became the second female tea master in the family, and opened the Chen family’s first shop. She married SeHo Fang, who had a vision for a retail store, as well as the branding of their crop. It was named Long Yuan, similar to “dragon dollar” in Chinese.

Fu Chen’s beautiful teas won many competitions, and was a regular entrant. Her daughter, Ai Fang, was brought up in the way of tea and became the family’s third female tea master, continuing four generations of valuable tea knowledge and exceptional cultivation.

Ai Fang is particularly concerned with educating her customers about everything related to tea, and has a modern view of the world. Her daughter, Kuei Fang, became an artist and travelled to New York – however she discovered that what her family created was quite rare, and so much effort was rarely put into a good cup of tea as her family had done. In response to this, she and Ai entered a rebranding project of Long Yuan into Jhentea, to bring the shop into the modern age. It is their wish for this to help bring Ai Chen’s story and knowledge of tea onto a worldwide platform, so that even more people can appreciate tea.

You can find out more about Jhentea at http://www.jhentea.com/our-story/

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The Big Red Robe

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Although oolong tea may not immediately be thought of as blue in colour, in China the humble oolong is a drink commonly referred to as “blue tea”, thanks to its (often, not always) tinged-blue colour. Due to an oxidation process that leaves them anywhere between 10 – 70% oxidised, their flavours are much less delicate than green and white teas, and it is possible for them to give off a roasted note.

Da Hong Pao, or “Big Red Robe” as it is known in many western countries, is an extremely famous Wu Yi rock tea which is renowned for its rich flavours. The tea’s history goes back to the Ming Dynasty, where supposedly its leaves cured an emperor’s mother from serious illness. In recognition of its apparent healing powers, the emperor ordered that the bush from whence the leaves came to be clothed in big red robes, thus giving it its name. It also sometimes goes by “Scarlet Robe”, however this is less common.

The leaves are very twisted-looking and brown in colour, which is uncommon among many oolongs. Floral notes adorn its beautiful, rich flavours.

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Afternoon Tea Cuisine

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Afternoon tea is a dainty practice, one that should be treated as more of a snack than a meal. It is most notably different from its commonly confused cousin, high tea, and has a complex set of rules and etiquette. However, it is a decadent event that can be enjoyed by people of all ages.

Thankfully, afternoon tea has been gaining popularity at an incredibly rapid pace as of late, so finding wonderful recipes and tantalising foods is much easier than with cooking a traditional high tea. Regardless, it is advised that while you keep the selection of food wide, keep the serving portions light. This is not a meal in and of itself; it is merely a stop-gap between lunch and dinner.

Food Ideas for Afternoon Tea

–          Tarts

–          Cakes

–          Macaroons

–          Finger Sandwiches

–          Slices

–          Yo-Yos

–          Scones with Clotted Cream and Jam

–          Sausage Rolls

–          Muffins

–          Biscuits / Cookies

–          Pavlova (not traditional, but a great asset to any teatime)

–          Crumpets

–          Crumbles

As with high tea, both tea and coffee are popular beverage choices. Black tea is by far the most popular variety; during the past few centuries black tea has been the most widely available tea variety. Drinks, again, should be served with a pitcher of milk for guests, as well as some lemon slices and sugar. Do not allow your guests to mix lemon and milk, however, as the citric acid in the lemon will cause the milk to curdle.

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It’s Tea’s Time: The World Tea Expo

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Many of you may not have heard of this, and I am aware that it’s not Australian, but as I’m betting that a lot of our viewership is from the US, I’m going to take the time to share this with you all.

The World Tea Expo is being held from May 29 to May 31 this year in Long Beach, California. It is a conference and tradeshow showcasing some of the best tea products out there, and is a must for any tea lover in the region. Plus, by supporting the Expo and going along, you’ll also be supporting tea growers, sellers and creators from all over the world!

If you’d like to find out more, you can at http://www.worldteaexpo.com/.

Happy drinking!

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