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5 Questions with...Charlene Wang

This month we met Charlene, founder of Tranquil Tuesdays, who's dedication is to reveal and showcase China’s revered tea tradition and inspired tea culture with the rest of the world.

1. Where does the name « Tranquil Tuesdays » come from?

Tuesdays have always been my favorite day because Monday is over and you still have the whole week to look forward to.  I began treating Tuesdays like a special day and then I started noticing that lots of good things happen to me on Tuesdays—which is still the case! As a Chinese social enterprise based in Beijing, China, of course we needed a Chinese name too.  So when it came time to translate “Tranquil Tuesdays” into Chinese we found another cool reason it was the perfect name for the company: in Chinese “tranquil” translates into 宁静 ning jing and my Chinese name has a 宁ning in it (commonly Chinese names are either two or three characters).  Many of our Chinese customers think I named the company after myself because of this coincidence—but as you now know, that is not how we came upon the name!

2.Where are some of the more interesting places you've traveled in pursuit of tea?

I have been fortunate enough to taste and experience tea all over the world.  And yet, no teas have made as deep of an impact on me as those of China. The first time I had a sip of a tea that caused me to pause was when I was working as a diplomat and attended a meeting at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing. The ministry served a green tea, a Longjing 龙井 (also known as Dragon Well tea), from near West Lake that was so revelatory, so nutty and creamy, with an elegant softness that stood out so sharply from all the tea drinking I had ever done before it, that it became distracting. All I could think was: What is this tea? Why is it so good? Where can I find more of it?For more interesting places read the article Charlene wrote about her tea travels.

3. How can we brew the perfect cup of tea at home?

Sometimes people make brewing a great cup of tea harder than it really is. You don’t need a fancy or complicated ceremony to brew tea optimally.  You don’t even need a teapot.  You just need to respect these basic principles for brewing the perfect cup of tea: 

Brew loose whole-leaf tea & Use good water: Try to use your favorite filtered or spring water. 

Get the temperature of the water right:  Boiling water actually burns and ruins green teas and makes your white teas lose that nice soft edge.  The ideal temperature for green and white teas is below boiling.  

No over-steeping: I actually think this is the number one problem people make.  Show your tea leaves some love and attention, decant the water in a timely fashion, and your tea will have the nice round and smooth mouth feel you hope for.  

Give your tea enough space to release its flavor: Give your tea leaves the space they need to fully open up and release their flavor so you can enjoy everything your tea leaves have to offer.

But all of this means nothing if you aren’t using great tea!  I can’t do much for you if you are trying to make the most sublime cup of tea with sub-par quality or past its prime tea.

4. Of all the types of tea (red, black, green, white), which offers the most health benefits?

To begin with, when people talk about tea and health they are usually talking about antioxidants found in tea. I want to remind everyone that all true tea is from the same plant (albeit often different cultivars of the same plant) cameilia sinesis, so whatever type of tea you like, the chemical and structural composition of the tea leaf isn’t that radically different.  Thus, each tea offers different health benefits. You can visit our website, where we explain the latest scientific research that supports the role of tea improving health.

5. Is there a region known for producing the best tea?I think one of the most exciting things about Chinese teas is there are many different regions throughout China known for producing a variety of high quality teas.  Similar to wine, certain regions are known for specific types of tea and produce the best examples of that type of tea.  For example, Fuding, Fujian is the origin of white tea, so the best white teas come from that region.  If you want to learn more about what makes Chinese teas so exciting and unique, make sure to head over to www.tranquiltuesdays.com and sign-up for our newsletter!

Charlene 

About Tranquil Tuesdays
Tran­quil Tues­days is a dis­tinctly Chi­nese social enter­prise devoted to dis­tract­ingly good Chi­nese tea and beau­ti­fully authen­tic teaware. Tran­quil Tues­days is ded­i­cated to reveal­ing and show­cas­ing China’s revered tea tra­di­tion and inspired tea cul­ture with the rest of the world.Visit Tran­quil Tuesday’s website

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