Trading grapevines for tea leaves, wine tastings for tea ceremonies, and Bordeaux, France, for Daba Mountain, China, noted sommelier Joe Muscaglione knows a thing or two about providing rare beverages to an emerging market.
Having spent the past 30 years developing beverage programs at Babbo NYC, where he worked closely with owner Joe Bastianch; Winebow, a premier Italian wine importer; and TAO, Las Vegas, one of the most successful restaurants in the United States, Muscaglione surmised a unique parallel: low-yield harvests produced not only sought after wines but teas as well.
“The flavors and health benefits of teas, like wines, are based upon the climate and soils within which they are grown,” said Muscaglione, who recently launched Cha Gardens, an online and offline tea company.
“The Daba Mountain area is extremely rugged and has been that way for centuries where plants are left to grow in their natural environment. As in wine, the more stress the grapes, or in this case the tea plant goes through, the more selective and controlled the yield will be. Our tea is hand-picked from an eco-region protected by the World Wildlife Federation (WWF) providing aspiring gourmands and tea connoisseurs a new beverage experience.”
Last year, Cha Gardens obtained an exclusive North American license to sell rare, low-yield, high-end teas from the Daba Mountain region of China.
“The extraordinarily rich flavors of these teas are also high in selenium, a proven antioxidant with medicinal qualities. It tastes great and it’s good for you,” Muscaglione said.
Cha Gardens top tea offering includes Qinba Wu Hao, hand-picked at 2,100-2,300 meter elevation in Daba Mountain, located in the ancient province of Shaanxi near the birthplace of Chinese legend, Shennong, the legendary emperor who discovered tea.
Cha Gardens are importers and exclusive agents of Qinba Tea brand from the pristine Daba Mountain in China, as well as other low-yield, rare, high-end Chinese teas. The company is based in Xi’an, China, with an office in Las Vegas.