Our Process

image-mountainsIt begins in the mountains of China…

Your favorite tea takes an interesting journey to reach your cup. And it begins in the mountains of China. Owner Davin Huang, along with his wife, travel twice a year to sample fifteen to thirty different kinds of tea, and begin selecting the teas that The Teahouse will serve.

The Tea Farms

The process of selecting teas begins where the plant is. Factors such as climate, elevation, and irrigation all play a pivotal role in the final product. The highest quality tea farms are in the mountains. The time of year also affects the selection. While some teas are available year round, others are only harvested in the winter or spring.
Each tea farm they visit specializes in one plant. From that plant, multiple teas can be made. For example, white tea is the first bud of green tea, only the harvesting time is different. The time a tea leaf takes to dry (referred to as welting) and ferment can also completely change the outcome. Take the black tea leaf we all know, and over oxidize (ferment) it, and you get Oolong tea. How light or strong the tea is depends on the time of fermenting.

Tasting the Teas

Next comes the tasting. Davin and his wife describe it as an educational, but social and familial experience. Opinions and stories alike are shared. First the host warms up the tea ware with hot water, because pouring brewed tea into a cold cup can affect the taste. After the tea has steeped, the tea is then poured into a tea server. This is to blend the pot of tea, to ensure the first cup is not lighter than the last. Tasters are instructed to judge the tea based on color, aroma, texture, and of course, taste.

Selecting the Perfect Teas

Finally, the selection process begins. Each year, Davin chooses 2 or 3 of each of the 5 categories of tea: Green, Black, White, Oolong and Roobios. Usually, a premium tea leaf and a mid quality tea leaf will be selected from each category. The raw tea leaves are then picked, fermented and packaged in Taiwan and put in individual tea bags specifically for The Teahouse. Tea is commonly packaged in “tea bags” for convenience. Among tea experts, this tea is known as “dust,” due to its poor quality. The tea in bags is considered a waste product left over from sorting the higher quality loose leaf teas. Furthermore, tea in bags may be prone to oxidation and not steep as well due to the restricted form of the bag. Tea bags at The Teahouse are an entirely different story. The Teahouse also chooses flavored teas that are flavored naturally- avoiding tea leaves that have been flavored with spray chemicals or flavored powders.

 

The next time you are enjoying a break at The Teahouse, know that little tea bag in your cup has taken a long, interesting journey to get there.

Tea Resources