I met Corinne through the Mealthy Team whom I got a chance to work with a few months ago as their recipe editor. Corinne’s recipes caught my attention and I started following her on Instagram, and then there was a day that we needed her to resend some images, and the rest is history. I was thrilled to be invited to visit her in her home upstate. It was over an hour for me to drive there but worth the trip.
We had a traditional Chinese gong fu tea service that lasted approximately 2 and a half hours. There were four teas that we drank, each steeped several times. You start by pouring the hot water into a vessel called “gaiwan”—meaning cup and lid—and the tiny teacups to warm them up. Then you pour out the water into a large discard bowl. Then you add the tea leaves in the gaiwan and pour water on top, pouring out the water immediately into the discard bowl again. That step rinses and awakens the leaves. This is an essential step to serving oolongs and black teas, but green teas don’t generally need rinsing. Then you add water on the wet leaves again and steep for about 5 to 10 seconds (yes that little!), depending on the tea. The infusion, referred to as “soup,” is decanted into a glass “fairness” pitcher, insuring that each serving has the same balanced flavor. Corinne generously poured every single tea, offering several steeps for each type, as the leaves can be reused several times, about 7 to 9 times on average. The experience showed her beautiful humility, acquired over time from studying Hinduism, Buddhism, and The Way of Tea.
The first tea was green tea called “Mao Jian,” therefore not oxidized, and its 2nd and 3rd steeps were the most intense., the first just awakening the leaves. It was steeped in a gaiwan. The water used in steeping tea has a ph level of 6.5 to 7, ever so slightly acidic, like tea, to neutral.
She followed that with a semi-oxidized tea (about 40%), aka “oolong,” called “Chi Ye”. It is from the Phoenix Mountains in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong. Unlike the vibrant, grassy green tea, this one had a deep floral note. She steeped that one at 93°C. The first steep was 5 seconds. We steeped it 3 times, the flavor intensifying a little more with each steep. The third steep brought out the true characteristics of this tea at its peak. In the spiritual practice of tea, Cha Dao, steeping the tea until it returns to water allows you to experience the arc of the tea all the way to the end, appreciating the journey. Corinne carries this technique when selecting teas from the new harvest, in order to understand the tea fully, from aroma to taste and mouthfeel. Drinking tea this way also allows you to slowly release the energy of tea, which in turn allows you to maintain energy throughout the day. The experience is both stimulating and relaxing.
Corinne brought out some special fermented tea called “puerh,” at the end. She explained you can actually get “tea drunk” if you drink too much and especially if you are not used to it. Again, drinking it slowly over several very short steeps, will offer a pleasant journey. Some of these teas can be steeped at least 12 times and often more than 15.
The 4th tea we had was made in the year 2009. “Purple Tip” “shou,” or cooked, puerh. It was musty and sweet and very calming. We agreed to set a future date for another tea party event and I can’t wait to have tea with Corinne again! I was pretty high by the time I left.
Award-winning Author, Chef, Consultant, Holistic Health and Nutrition Counselor, Tea Purveyor
Corinne Trang is the award-winning author of several books including the most recently published “Switch It Up: A Fresh Take on Quick and Easy Diabetes-Friendly Recipes for a Balanced Life” (2017), “Asian Flavors Diabetes Cookbook” (ADA, 2012), “Noodles Every Day” (2009), “Curry Cuisine” (2007), “The Asian Grill” (2006), “A Food Lover’s Companion: Vietnamese” (2006),” “Essentials of Asian Cuisine” (2003), and “Authentic Vietnamese Cooking” (1999), and has contributed to many more including “The Encyclopedia of Food & Culture” (Scribners & Sons, 2006). She has served as spokesperson to various national brands and commodities such as Kame and Thai Kitchen. Dubbed the “Julia Child of Asian Cuisine” by the Washington Post, she is a frequent television and radio guest and has appeared on national, regional, and cable network including NBC’s Today Show, CBS’s Early Morning Show, PBS, FOX News, ABC, CNN, Lifetime, Discovery, Food Network, Sirius, Business Talk Radio, National Public Radio, and Bloomberg to name a few. She has written for numerous publications including Saveur, Food & Wine, Fine Cooking, Islands, Gourmet, Cooking Light, and Bon Appetit, and has taught and lectured internationally. She has worked as a food consultant to not-for-profits, developing mindful cooking workshops for children and adults alike. She maintains a holistic health and nutrition practice integrating yoga, meditation, and mindful food practices. Trang is also the founder of Liquid Gold Tea, a wholesale and retail source for handcrafted premium whole leaf tea, Gong Fu Cha tea service, Cha Dao meditation, private instruction and custom tea events.
Corinne Trang is a member of Les Dames d’Escoffier, NY Chapter.
Here is the 2018 Tea schedule for lessons and events with Corinne Trang:
Get in touch for details…
January 20 & 21 – Pop-up T-Bar & Shop
Northern Grade Barn Days, Bruceville Road, High Falls, NY 12440
from 11 AM to 6:00 PM – free tasting
January 27 – Healing with Tea
from 1 PM to 4 PM – workshop RSVP 718-230-8400
January 28 – Cha Dao, The Way of Tea
from 1 to 4 PM – workshop RSVP 845-706-3668
February 1 – The Power of Tea for Good Health
sponsored by The Roundout Valley Holistic Health Community
Stone Ridge, NY Free event
bluecashew kitchen homestead
37b North Front Street, Kingston, NY
for details, and to RSVP for workshops, call 845 514 2300
February 4 – In- store Tea Tasting, 11 AM to 6 PM – free tasting
🥑 February 17 – Oodles of Noodles, 1 PM to 4 PM – workshop
February 18 – Tea 101: History, Origins & Tasting, 1 PM to 4 PM – workshop
🥑 February 24 – Dumplings and Spring Rolls, 1 PM to 4 PM – workshop
🥑 March 3, 2018 – Wok This Way, 1 PM to 4 PM – workshop
🥑 March 10, 2018 – Yakitori & The Art of Japanese Grilling, 1 PM to 4 PM – workshop
🥑 March 18 – Cheese & Tea: A Farm To Table Tasting, 1 PM to 4 PM – workshop
🥑 March 24, 2018 – Congee: China to Japan, Vietnam to India, 1 PM to 4 PM – workshop
More events coming up!
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