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Talking Tea

Conversations about tea and tea culture

Nov 25, 2015


This week on Talking Tea we return to Tea Drunk in New York City to chat with Shunan Teng, founder and owner of Tea Drunk, about tips and tricks for identifying quality teas. As an example of what to look for in choosing tea, Shunan selects a Gua Pian, a historically famous green tea from China. 

Shunan uses our exploration of Gua Pian to break some myths about tea quality, and tells us what to look for in appearance, aroma and taste. We chat about how different methods of plucking, shaping and firing tea affect the taste, what to look for in the appearance of the dry and infused leaf, and what the dry leaves' aroma can tell us about the quality of the tea. (The Gua Pian leaves Shunan shared with us in our chat are pictured above.) Shunan also chats with us about what makes Gua Pian unique among green teas, and the qualities which, in Shunan's view, define a truly artisanal tea.


In our next episode, we continue our chat with Shunan by looking at a classic white tea from China to further explore the elements of a quality tea.


More info on Tea Drunk, including its online store, shop hours and events, can be found at its website, The website also has links to Shunan's fantastic videos of her sourcing trips in China. The direct link to the videos is


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Talking Tea is produced and hosted by Ken Cohen. You can follow Ken on Twitter @Kensvoiceken. 




This podcast features music from "Japanese Flowers" ( by mpgiiiBEATS ( available under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license ( Adapted from original.


Michael R.
almost eight years ago

Just re-listened to this one and wow, I could listen to Shunan talk about Chinese teas for days! Such a wealth of experience and knowledge comes from these talks and it's a privilege to be able to eavesdrop on them. I'd tried a Gua Pian before but this episode definitely has me needing to go hunt it down again to give it a fresh evaluation.

Thanks for putting out such interesting episodes, I look forward to each new one!

Ken Cohen
over eight years ago

---Bryan, Thanks for your comment. I'm guessing that you're hearing me mostly out of one of your headphones and the guest mostly out of the other? The files are actually in mono - we record in stereo but then mix down to mono. We've found this results in overall better audio quality than recording in mono. But we'll look into the issue again and see what we can do.

Bryan Goodwin
over eight years ago

Quick suggestions on the quality of your show. If you could change to Mono instead of Stereo. you are all on one side of my headphones and it is a bit annoying.Keep up the great work!