Wednesday, 24 August 2011

A True Beauty From The Orient


Da Steeps today had the pleasure of (excuse the pun) enjoying steeping the first of a selection of teas from the rather smart JING tea company.

Like Mick Jagger in Live With Me, I got overcome today by how deserted London was and alone in the quiet, “got nasty habits” and “took tea at three.”

 The JING Dong Fang Mei Ren Wu Long Cha (Oriental Beauty Supreme Oolong)

The first of the company’s extensive range I decided to test was one of their oolong teas. Oolongs are said to be teas that have a “complexity of flavour and richness of texture.” More precisely, they are those that “combine the freshness of green teas and the complexity of black teas in perfect balance.”

The Dong Fang Mei Ren Wu Long Cha (Oriental Beauty Supreme Oolong) tea I sampled today is produced in Ping-Lin, Taiwan and was calming yet indulgent. With a smooth taste that had hints of apple this was tea of a great quality and one that greatly improved my spirits.

JING's signature plungerless tea-iere

JING recommend serving teas in their signature plunger-less glass tea-iere as when tea leaves are pressed the resulting taste becomes bitter because of the tannins that are released. The JING tea-iere, instead, just has a filter that allows the woody tips and leaves to infuse freely with the water. This is a device that is simple, yet effective.

Following the instructions on the rather stylishly designed JING packaging is pretty simple but some customers do get awfully particular about how the tea I tried should be infused or brewed. On the company’s website one advises:

“[Make] this tea with just under boiling water, 208F should work. You want the water this hot because this tea has a lot of flavour to extract. But after infusing, allow it to cool a bit: The intense flavours emerge after a bit of a cool-down.”

 Edward Eisler, founder of JING

JING itself is a relatively new company based in London, SW9 operated by Edward Eisler, a true connoisseur of all things tea. Eisler and his team source the finest speciality teas from China, India, Sri Lanka, Japan and Taiwan and sell them through a website and to restaurants and hotels including Gordon Ramsay, Joel Robuchon, the Mandarin Oriental, the Rocco Forte Collection and at Ritz Carlton properties. 

C.S. Lewis once said: “Tea should be taken in solitude.” The JING oolong I tried today definitely made that solitude most welcome.

Oriental Beauty Oolong tea, £10 for 50g bag (50 cups) - http://jingtea.com/tea/type/oolong/oriental-beauty-supreme


For more information or to order JING teas go to http://www.jingtea.com

3 comments:

Dark Avenger said...

Matthew,

I am pleased to see that you have become interested in high quality tea. So many people spend their lives drinking builders' tea from a cheap tea bag, and while that is not necessarily bad, it lacks a certain refinement. In the same way that watches should be mechanical and not quartz, that ink flows better from fountain pens than from ball points, so fresh tea made in a pot (or a tea-iere) is preferable to tea from a bag.

Good quality fresh tea well made and correctly served is something to be truly savoured. Jing, the company that you selected, is indeed one such such company that sell fine tea. You chose well Matthew and that is something that does not surprise me. As you may know the company supplies luxury hotels such as Brown's and the Lanesborough with their teas. Indeed,that is how I got to know Jing. I regularly have a pot of silver needle, a particularly delicate but luxurious white tea, at Brown's. After a number of visits I asked a waiter who I had got to know which company was their tea supplier. Jing was the answer and the same question to many hotels where I enjoy the tea elicit the same answer. There are exceptions. As an example, I do enjoy the white peony at the Berkeley hotel and I understand that tea is supplied by Mighty Leaf. There are also a number of establishments that I have frequented and had a lovely pot of tea, such as the Dorchester, and I have not yet asked who is their supplier.

But what is true is about tea from many of London's top hotels is that they know how to serve it. Top hotels in other countries often lack this skill. Trying to get a decent pot of white tea in an American hotel is more wishful thinking than a likely possibility.

One thing that particularly annoys me are establishments where they do not even know at what temperature tea should be served. Nothing upsets me more than asking for green tea in an establishment and receiving a pot of boiling water with a green tea bag floating inside. Serving green tea in boiling water is a sin. It would be equivalent to serving the finest filet mignon very well done. Fortunately, top hotels in London, such as the hotels I have mentioned, and the Langham, another top hotel that serves tea from Jing, would never make such a mistake.

All this typing is making me thirsty so I had better jump. Happy drinking.

Gavin Tan said...

I shall definitely try this tea out at Brown's Hotel when I'm next there. Is it available in any stores?

Tea Urchin said...

Where can I buy this in Manchester?