Tea Tastings

We’ve scheduled two new tea classes, on November 7th and 21st.

First, on November 7th, we will have a black tea class, Beyond Earl Grey: The World of Black Tea. “We’ll taste and compare fine black teas from India, Sri Lanka & China, including Assam, Darjeeling, Ceylon, Keemun, and Yunnan. We’ll learn how black tea is made, and how to brew fine tea in small pots to bring out the best flavors in multiple steepings.”

Then on November 21st is a green tea class, Japanese Teas. “Learn about the unique and wonderful world of fine Japanese teas with their fresh and well-defined flavors. We’ll sample sencha (fine green tea), gyokuro (beautiful shade-grown tea), genmaicha (toasted rice tea), kukicha (twig tea), hojicha (roasted tea), and matcha (powdered green tea), and learn about how tea is grown and processed in Japan.”

Descriptions are quoted from Seattle Tea School, the site kept up by our tea instructor, Christopher. New classes are posted there first, if you want to stay as up to date as possible!

Sign up for classes at the tea house, or call or email us. Classes are ten dollars per person, and limited to seven people per class, so be sure to sign up in advance. We hope to see you soon!


Darjeeling NamringDarjeelings! Called the “beauty teas of India” and the “champagne of teas,” these delicate and elegant teas have a mystique peculiar to them. They are technically classed as black teas, but are so light they seem almost like a green. Their flavor is fruity and astringent, with a delightful floral aroma.

As the names suggests, Darjeeling teas are all grown in the tiny Darjeeling region in India, but despite their Indian origin they are from the Chinese variety of the tea plant, rather than the Assam varietal more common in India. This contributes to their unique style.

Since we recently acquired several different Darjeelings, we will be having a tasting entirely of Darjeelings this Sunday at 5PM, so come along and experience these remarkable teas with us! Please e-mail teahousekuanyin@gmail.com or sign up at the store in person, as we have a limited number of spaces.

We will now be posting teahouse events regularly on the blog, so be sure to check back here to find out what’s happening at the shop. The events are a lot of fun, so come, hang out, drink tea with us!

Sunday Tea Tastings

October 25th at 11AM: Subtle Teas of Green and White

November 1st at 5PM: Darjeelings, the Beauty Teas of India

Wednesday Tea Classes

October 21st at 7PM: How to Choose and Buy an Oolong

October 28th at 7PM:How to Use a Gaiwan and Other Tea Tools

November 11th at 7PM: Health Benefits of Tea

Please sign up in advance via email (teahousekuanyin@gmail.com), phone (206-632-2055), or at the teahouse in person (1911 N 45th St., Seattle, WA). Tastings and classes are limited to six people, so do sign up to be sure you can get in! Cost is $10 per person and includes 10% off any bulk tea purchases the day of the event.

I cupped several of Teahouse Kuan Yin’s new teas at tonight’s tasting and we all fell in love all over again with green, darjeeling and black tea.  Goodwin, Elizabeth, Julia and the Teahouse’s new resident tea expert Becky, were knowledgeable, inspiring and wonderful company.  We satisfied our palates with the complex tastes of fine teas, snacked on delicious lavender shortbread and shared knowledge about everything related to tea!

We began with Wuyi Green, a green tea from Wuyi Mountain in Fujian Province, China.  Wuyi Mountain teas are grown at a high elevation amidst rocky limestone soil.  The region is best known for Rock Oolongs, though the Wuyi Green tea was surprisingly not reminiscent of oolong tea.  This green is light, slightly astringent, but smooth and delicate like many of the finest Chinese green teas.

Nepal Himalaya View, also a green tea, was smokey and similar to Green Pu’er, which is not surprising since this region grows the Assam variety of Camellia Sinensis (tea bush).  This tea looks like a 1st Flush Darjeeling, though vastly different in taste, it withstood several steepings and is ideal for those who prefer smokey, strong flavor, yet, prefer green tea.

Darjeeling, India

Soom Estate 1st Flush Darjeeling is perhaps the finest new tea at the teahouse and stood out for its sweet taste and smooth finish.  The Soom Estate Darjeeling withstood 4 steepings of continual bold, delicious flavor.

Sikkim Terri Estate, a black tea from Northeast India, would be classified as a Darjeeling if it were actually grown in that region.  Since it is from Sikkim, this tea cannot carry the Darjeeling name, and is instead relegated to a black tea.  The Terri Estate 1st Flush tea appears like a Darjeeling with light green and brown leaves, it tastes slightly sweet also with an incredibly smooth finish and provides multiple steepings.

Yunnan Golden Snail is a malty black tea from Yunnan Province.  The dry leaves are soft, curly and have golden tips, hence the name which describes the appearance.  The tea withstood several steepings and provided a sweet warmth on one of Seattle’s first cold nights of Fall.

Nilgiri Blue Mountain is an attempt by tea growers in that region to produce a high quality black tea, as opposed to their usual production of Cut Tear Curl (CTC) tea used in tea bags.  While this was a decent attempt it did not fulfill our expectations after tasting so many delicious teas prior.

Come by the teahouse to taste some of the teas described here or order samples on-line! www.TeaHouseKuanYin.com

To sign up for a tasting or tea class please email TeaHouseKuanYin@Gmail.com

Upcoming Tea Tastings!

Cool and refreshing Tea.  Tea is from the hottest parts of the world where it is enjoyed warm or iced.  Join Teahouse Kuan Yin this summer for our hot and cool tea tastings.  We will learn about tea production, history, culture, and service.  While comfortably relaxing in the air-conditioned teahouse we will sample six different cooling teas.  Join us for one or all of the tastings, bring a friend or family member, and give the gifts of tea. 

For those passionate about tea who cannot attend these tastings, please contact Rachel Newman to arrange a private tea event at your home or office. 


Hot China, Cool Tea June 14th 5pm

Six Chinese teas grown in China’s hot, southern climate, where summer temperatures reach 99º with 100% humidity.  Silver Needle, White Peony, Dong Ding Green, Three Roses Charcoal Baked, Pu’er Green, Pu’er Camel’s Breath are the flavors due to cross your palette.


Yin Teas for Keeping Cool June 28th 11am

Six Green teas that are Yin in nature, which help keep the body cool during hot summer months.  We will discuss the nature of Yin foods and how and why these work to cool our bodies.  We will taste Snow Bud, Green Snow Bud, Dragonwell (Longjing), Little Melon Seed, Formosa Green, Moroccan Mint.


Himalayan Tea July 12th 5pm

Grown in the foothills of the world’s highest mountain range, this Indian valley is hot and sunny all summer.  Still, the locals sip hot black tea.  Why?  We will explore this question first-hand with six different teas from the region.  Darjeeling 1st and 2nd flushes, Assams and Chai!


Healthy Tea including Herbals July 26th 11am

Come explore our selection of healthy teas including many of our house-blended herbals.  All tea is healthy, though some have more anti-oxidants while others may help lower cholesterol, fight fatigue, and aid in digestion.  We will sample pure herbals, blends – including our house blend World Peace – White, Green and Pu’er.  Bring your curiosity and questions about health and tea.


Ice-Teas August 2nd 5pm

Wonder what your favorite tea tastes like ”on ice”?  We will serve six different teas drizzled over ice so that you may choose how cool your tea needs to be. Teahouse employees love to make their own concoctions of ice-teas all summer long. Some house favorites include Yunnan Gold, Lychee Black, Jasmine, Dragonwell, Silver Needle and Bai Hao, all of which will be sampled.  Requests will be accepted for this tasting only.


Southeast Asian Teas August 16th 11am

How do you make Thai Iced Tea?  What is bubble tea?  We will not drink these, but we will learn more about what teas are used to make them and why.  We will sample six teas used as a base for milky, sweet drinks and try them on their own.  The tasting will include, Assams, Ceylon, Oolong and Green teas.


All teas listed are subject to change as we await Marcus’ return with some new wonderful teas from Taiwan and China. 

Please email or come into the teahouse to sign-up for tastings.  Tastings are $10 per person, which includes 20% off any tea purchases made that day.

Please feel free to distribute this flyer. 

Website: www.TeaHouseKuanYin.com

Our new blog: www.TeaHouseKuanYin.wordpress.com

At our most recent tasting we explored the vast world of Chinese teas, sampling three main types, White, Green and Black. China, considered the home of tea, was the first place to widely cultivate and create a culture for tea. Gaiwan (Lidded Bowl)
Green tea is most often associated with China, where it is grown, processed and exported more than any other type of tea. White Tea the most rare of teas just has a few varities to enjoy. The three most common, Silver Needle, White Peony and Shou Mei are each fine examples of delicious low caffeine, high antioxidant tea. Black teas are rarely enjoyed by the Chinese, despite the great care given to their cultivation and processing, this tea is mainly for export.

Our tea tasting group thoroughly enjoyed the Silver Needle and Shou Mei White tea, which we steeped for nearly 10 minutes. The long steeping produced no tannins at all and the brew was smooth, slightly grassy and earthy.

At Teahouse Kuan Yin we carry about fifteen Chinese Green Teas making the choice of just two very difficult. I choose Lu An Gua Pian (Little Melon Seed) and Morning Dew, both beautiful examples of Chinese Green tea. Little Melon Seed LuAnGuaPianThe Little Melon Seed, from Anhui Province, is named because of it’s appearance. The brew is light, taste only slightly astringent, and steeps two to three times. Morning Dew, as one taster noticed, is like Kale, or the Sea. It is an evergreen color with a strong green tea taste, as described above, like kale or seaweed, though not nearly as much as Japanese Green tea.

The Black teas truly surprised me since I am an avid Green tea drinker and, like the Chinese, not enthused with Black tea. We planned to try just two, but ended up tasting four, including Golden Monkey, Keemun, Fujian Ancient Tree, and Gold Yunnan. The Golden Monkey had few tannins, which are typical of Assam’s and the taste I don’t like in a black tea. The Keemun also lacked strong tannins and had a slightly smokey taste. The Fujian Ancient Tree amazed us all, the taste was reminiscent of cocoa butter, or more specifically, Hershey’s Chocolate. This beautiful tea when dry is golden in color with long, twisted leaves, appearance is similar to the Yunnan Black teas.
Yunnan Gold Yunnan Gold produced a fine malty flavor with hints of sweetness. These Chinese black teas didn’t have any  apparent tannins, steeped multiple times and had no need for milk or sugar.

All of these teas and merchandise can be found in our Seattle store, 1911 45th Street. We host regular tea tastings on Sundays, if you are interested please stop by, call or email us.
We also sell all of our wonderful teas around the world. Please visit http://www.TeaHouseKuanYin.com to order!

Most of the worlds best-known and most delicious black teas are made from Camellia Sinensis Assamica, the tea plant varietal native to India. Home to three growing regions, Assam, Darjeeling and Nilgiri, all have teas named after their place of origin. The Assam and Darjeeling regions lie at the foot of the Himalaya mountain range where the soil, climate and perhaps extraordinary scenery give rise to rich, bold, malty and floral teas. Nilgiri teas are grown in Southern India and reminiscent of Ceylons. Tea Plucker Originally, the British brought tea seeds from China to India before noticing the Indians picking and drinking the leaves of wild assam bushes. Once the native Assam bush was discovered the British quickly planted tea gardens and created a vibrant world tea market.

Throughout India, England and many other parts of the world, excluding China and Japan, black tea is consumed with milk, sugar, and in India with various other sweet and savory spices. As sam teas are best enjoyed with milk and sugar which lessen the tannin content and accentuate the malty flavor.

Darjeelings, perhaps the most unique of all black teas, are lightly floral, mildly tannic, sometimes earthy and light. These fine black teas are commonly enjoyed with out milk or sugar and can stand several good steepings, especially if each steeping is just one minute.
Darjeeling Tea RegionEach Darjeeling is named after the estate it is from, such as Margaret’s Hope, Pussingbing, Risheehat and Namring. Teahouse Kuan Yin carries at least two of each estate, usually a first and second flush, which refers to the time it is plucked. First flushes are plucked in early spring after the first rains, second flush are picked in June and Autumnal Flush is plucked in Autumn. darjeeling-tea-leaves
Nilgiri tea, often used for blends or tea bags, is best known as Orange Pekoe and despite its use in tea bags can still be considered one of the finest black teas when grown, plucked and processed with intention. The Nilgiri region is proximal to Ceylon so the teas have similar growing climates and therefore are closer in appearance, aroma and flavor.

During our tasting we talked about the history and culture surrounding India’s black teas and were carried away to a place and time that brought forth one of the worlds most consumed beverages.

All of these wonderful teas and many more can be found at http://www.TeaHouseKuanYin.com

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