It is with much excitement that I share that PDX TEA has re-opened in a welcoming and tranquil new space in Portland! David Galli hosts tastings and educational events, as well as curating high-quality teas (for sale). Many of these teas have come from his travels. David is a good friend, and I know first-hand how lucky Portland is to have someone with his level of knowledge and tasting abilities to be part of our tea journeys.
Last Sunday, several tea lovers gathered to taste charcoal roasted Dong Ding. We were able to enjoy three different roasting levels. We noticed how the tea shifted not only by roasting level, but also within the consecutive brews of the same tea.
Roasting tea is a specialized skill. Often the tea roaster is a different person from the grower and also the tea maker. Roasting involves science (temperature, moisture levels), as well as sensory arts (the smell of the leaf, the feel of it in your fingers, the control of the heat). After a tea is roasted, sometimes the roasters let the tea rest for awhile to mellow before selling it.
There are different kinds of roasting. Below, David is showing an electric roaster. The Dong Ding tea we drank is a very special type, roasted over charcoals (they are banked with various levels of ash to manage the amount of heat). People who enjoy this type of tea have concerns that the knowledge and skills of charcoal roasting are dwindling. To that end, this tasting was a fundraiser for a project to make a Taiwan Tea Documentary, including charcoal roasting. Shiuwen Tai of Floating Leaves Tea is trying to raise funds for this project. It's a very worth cause, and I have donated! (Also note - Shiuwen is offering a 30% discount to my blog readers on the High Mountain Tea Sampler - see here.)
I look forward to many wonderful tea tastings at PDX Tea, and I wish all the best to the Taiwan Tea Documentary project!