Iced Tea Sessions – Yunnan Black Turtle

Tea keeps on giving with a good boil.

Iced Tea Boil – Yunnan Black Turtle Blend

With our first 100° days finally here in the desert, I spent most of the week drinking a new iced tea blend featuring black, shou, and oolong teas this week. I grew up on iced tea and for those warmer months its a refreshing way to stay cool and enjoy my favorite beverage – TEA!

Though formal tea reviews are now a thing of the past, I’m going to stick to a theme or topic of discussion for each session, and this week I found a freedom to try new combinations both in my art and tea cup rather than rush to get a structured review published along with my other art and writing projects.

Yunnan Sourcing Imperial Pure Gold Bil Luo Chun Black Tea of Feng Qing


Blending tea is a bit of a passion for me. I get an extra special thrill by saving up spent leaves and turning them into something special before they hit the compost pile – not to mention thrifty. Milking all the goodness I can out of my tea also feeds my creativity. While the weather is warm I’m saving as much of my used tea leaves as my refrigerator can handle.

The first place to start for a good iced tea boil is with a strong base. This is the flavor your building on. When enjoying hot tea sessions I’m always contemplating flavors and looking for good pairings

One of my go-to teas right now is a black tea in the Bi Luo Chun style from last autumns harvest out of Yunnan.  I love the caramel and cocoa notes that are indicative of teas from this part of China. They are also the perfect base to build on for a rich and brisk iced tea.

Yunnan Black Turtle Iced Tea Recipe

More of an experiment gone right, this blend uses three types of tea with each melding perfectly into the other for some thing unique. Since this was an experiment, I didn’t weigh out anything but used around 7grams for each part. The total tea used was from 4 gong-fu sessions and total about 28 grams of tea. The ratios are as follows.

  • 2 parts Yunnan Pure Gold (black),
  • 1 part Golden Water Turtle (oolong)
  • 1 Part White Milan (shou mei)
  • 7 cups water
  • 1/4 lemon
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • pinch of salt

To make combine 3 cups water with your tea leaves and bring to a boil. Once boiling cover and reduce to simmer for 10-15 minutes then remove from heat and steep for another 10-15 more.

Once steeped strain into pitcher with sugar and lemon, chill, and serve over ice. While this actually started out as a test, it turned out perfect on the first go. The woody notes of shou mei melded brilliantly behind the maple and caramel of the black while the oolong ads a some smokey mineral quality unexpected in an iced tea.

After a nice boil, these tea leaves are ready for their photo shoot and my Tea Art.  Having the darker oolong should make for some nice texture.


This week, like my tea recipe, was all about layering and I did it with abandon, loosing count of how many layers each piece ended up with. I’m calling this my Black Turtle series. I tried to show a progression, but wished I had saved those first layers of the tea leaves – I always save over those once the texture and color is set. Can you see how I moved from one to the other?

I’m also working on a few new glitch techniques to give objects a pixilated edge. I had great fun this week applying it to my teapots The effect was a bit subtle in Red Teapot & Bowl #001 but I loved how the colors turned out.

The hard edge in the Green Teaparty #002 and Golden Teatime #003 is what I was going for and will keep working on developing this style. I rather like it.

Well this post is late and I’m going to have to wrap it up. I’m still working on getting this new format worked out so bear with me if posts are not as consistent for the near future.


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