Mike Ortiz and Tico Aran of JoJo Tea
At their just-completed tasting room, Ortiz and Aran demonstrate tea brewing techniques.
Aran uses a bamboo root scoop to measure loose tea, explaining that tradition calls for using a wooden, not metal, scoop for teas that come from the mountain. Unglazed pottery, made by Aran, has been heated by hot water poured inside and out to open up the clay. Pure spring water, rather than distilled water, is best. The specially designed tasting table catches hot water.
Ortiz savors the aroma of pu-er], a type of tea brewed with leaves from older trees that are aged, resulting in woodsy flavors.
Aran at a tea co-op on the Nepal-India border (Photo: Tico Aran)
Ortiz with a fourth-generation tea master in Taiwan. She's been making tea for more than 70 years (Photo: Mike Ortiz)