Friday, 30 September 2011

drink it to the last leaf

A few days ago, I read about Nicole Schwartz's plan to rid herself of some excess tea in the blogpost The tea pound.  (You might know her as @AmazonV over on twitter).  I liked the idea, but I've continued to blame my distance from most of the rest of you as a reason not to get into direct tea trading.

But it just so happened that I went digging into the back of my tea depot, and I have much more of a Choice Formosa Oolong than I realised.  My solution today was to just drink as much of it as I can.  This isn't a burden, as I really like this tea.  It was my introduction to Oolong, and for a long time it was the tea I turned to much more readily than any other.  Here's an autumn photo that makes me think of this Formosa Choice Oolong's dark brown leaves:

autumn in Bavaria
So I regularly order little 100g or 200g packages of as many teas as possible, but if I really like a tea, I'll order as much as a kilogram.  This is exactly one of those situations.  But the next time I ordered, I forgot that I'd already ordered it, so I had another 500g sent along with my selection of other tea.

What's my point here exactly?  Well I have a question for you.

When you have a lot of a specific tea you like, do you go overboard drinking it like I do?  You don't always meticulously ship it off to others, do you?

I assure you that I'm not trying to sell off this tea.  Am genuinely curious whether you ever order too much of a tea you like and, like I do, power through to use every last tea leaf.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

the first steeping of The Tea Reader

A Tea Reader by Katrina Ávila Munichiello 
I've taken a while to mention this because I wanted it to be closer to the publishing date, but I've since been informed that it can already be ordered.  So here's my announcement of a book I'm really excited about.

The Tea Reader is by a writer called Katrina Ávila Munichiello (She's also known as @TeaPages over on twitter) and she's really put together a gem of a book.  It's not only essays and readings by a varied assortment of authors, but she's added her own introduction explaining how she got into tea, as well as an essay for each of the five sections of the book.  

The Sections are cleverly called steepings, and the first steeping is 'Tea Reveries'.  If you've read this blog for even the shortest of time, you know I'm one drawn to anything with reverie in the title.  So many of my blogposts began with me staring off into space and pondering what I'd write about.

This is actually why I'm most thrilled about this book.  I add material to this blog rather regularly, and sometimes I'm really at a loss for ideas.  One of the reasons I'm not going to go into much more detail about this book now is that I'm sure I'll be coming back to it repeatedly.

The entries are short, for the most part, and I can already see myself dipping into one of the many readings for not only enjoyment but inspiration, as well.  Am sure for those of you who like where my mind wanders, you'll appreciate where The Tea Reader is going to take me.

Monday, 26 September 2011

Margaret hoping and hoping

Have been in a contrary mood all day and while I was deliberating what I wanted to blog about, I happened upon Robert Godden's most recent post

Where there’s life, there’s Margaret’s Hope.

He calls Margaret's Hope a gateway drug...ok, he doesn't say drug, but it is in a way.  His point is that you can get this tea almost anywhere.  Even if one doesn't know much about Darjeeling, they can probably name this estate.  And once you've tried it and got accustomed to the taste of this Darjeeling, you'll be more likely to appreciate the subtleties of an even better one.  

I like the story he tells about the origin of the name.  I wrote about it when I was relatively early on my teablogging path, and still in the throes of said gateway drug. Here's what I had to say:

I've wondered more about this little tale, and I'm glad The_Devotea has reminded me of it.  There's been a lot of talk lately in my circle of tea obsessive friends about inexperienced/unknowledgeable teashop assistants.   Not just the way some of them are lacking the most rudimentary facts about tea, but that they're willing to recklessly make stuff up in order to sell more tea.

So I'm going to play the part of the completely dumfounded teashop assistant answering the question: Where does the name Margaret's Hope come from?

See, this is the story of a girl called Margaret, who desperately waits and waits to no avail.  She's says to herself, 'Why do I have to wait?'  But there's no answer.  No matter how often she asks or for how long she waits.

Many years go by and she gets so busy with her daily life that she forgets she's even waiting.  She enjoys the small joys in her life, as well as the big milestones.  Every once in a while she has a quiet moment where she remembers that gnawing feeling that used to be so strong.

But only after decades have passed and she's sitting quietly with her tea, does she look back and realise she's had her answer all along.  She'd hoped that she made a difference, but it was when she wasn't trying so hard that she had the most impact.

She'd tried to say the right things in her life, but it was when she said as little as possible and let her actions speak loudest that she was most effective.  

Margaret's Hope was that it had all meant something.  That it wasn't yet another story of yearning and reaching that was never resolved.

The customer looks at the teashop assistant and sighs.  'What on earth are you talking about?,' he asks.  'I just wanted to buy some tea.  I didn't want some metaphysical journey.  I thought it'd be some simple story.'

Yeah, ok.  Here's the real story:

The plantation owner had two daughters. One of them, Margaret, loved it there so much and hoped to one day return. Sadly, she died and the plantation owner was understandably devastated. To honour her, he named the plantation and the tea that was grown there after her and her dreams of returning to their land. To this day, Margaret's Hope tea is associated with high quality tea from Darjeeling.

'Perfect,' says the customer, 'I'll take that.'

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Five More Things To Do with Tea

Please don't ask me how I found this, but I was perusing the Canadian version of Reader's Digest, and stumbled upon Five More Things To Do with Tea.

1. Enhance Your Compost Pile

I don't have one of these.  Although this is city living, I guess I could consider doing some composting on the terrace.  But I'd only be willing to compost the leaves.  Pour tea out onto the pile of decaying matter?  I'm not sure I'm willing to do that.  Even when a cup goes cold, I still drink it.

2. Cool Sunburned Skin

This I might be willing to try, but I rarely get sunburned.  It's not as if my skin's immune to sunlight.  I just don't stay out in the sun for too long.  Even when I hike or take the dogs for a long walk, I'm either mostly covered up or protected by sunscreen.

3. Condition Dry Hair

Really?  I've tried washing my hair in beer.  It did give it a nice shine.  But tea?  Although I'm dubious, I'll really give this one a go.  Why not?  I wonder which tea'd be best for this one.  Assuming I haven't already poured it on the compost pile or slathered my reddish hide with it.

4. Dry Poison Ivy Rash

I like the idea of all of these, and I'm sure they all came from trial and error.  Somebody encountered poison ivy, had some tea left over from breakfast.  The teapot was the nearest thing when the person walked in the door with fiery skin.  The most natural response when you think about it.  And although any cool liquid would probably be a relief, I wonder if there's anything in the tea that'd actually heal the skin.

5. Clean Wood Furniture and Floors

Again, this one might've been discovered accidentally.  You have a nice wooden table, spill some tea on it, and as you wipe it up, you realise it hasn't damaged the wood in the least.  Maybe it even looks better.  So you take a rag and wipe tea over the entire surface.  Or the same thing with your floors.

I spent quite a bit of time today on household chores.  I brewed a pot of tea, swept a bit, had a sip of tea, mopped the whole place, took a little bit longer break with tea and a few biscuits, then cleared some clutter I'd let get out of get the idea.  Had I known I could be using my tea for more than just the drinking.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

tea before I'm fully conscious

tea on the train
Sometimes I wake up on the train.  Not because I fell asleep there the night before. Instead it's because I got up, got dressed, made tea and somehow made my way to the train before I was fully conscious.

But when I consider what I've done on automatic pilot, it's really quite remarkable.  I preheated the flask, somehow measured out a reasonable amount of tea leaves.  Then I steeped the tea while staring out the window. There was either the still dark sky or the coming sunrise to behold while I waited for the tea timer to bleat out that my dark brown nectar was ready.

Not to mention that I made it out the door and all the way to the train station without stopping somewhere and laying my head against a wall or down on the pavement.  To say nothing of manoeuvring my way through the main train station with one foot still planted firmly in dreamland.

But suddenly there I am on the train with my trusty orange flask of tea.  It's just tea, right?  The most convenient way I've found to distribute caffeine to my blood stream.

I'm a relatively tolerant person and try to stay open to opinions and perspectives that I may otherwise disagree with, but this is anything but just tea.


I think I might be awake by now.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

he can't even review tea, can he?

I am drinking Green Pu-Erh Tuo Cha and relaxing a bit after a long day.

along the green Nymphenburger canal

Recently I responded to an offer to write tea reviews for a site.  It looks like an interesting opportunity, but I don't want to say any more about it until it's a done deal. 

I was asked what sort of tea I liked...the site was explained to me and like I say, it looks promising.  So I wrote back saying I was interested, and I mentioned this tea blog.  You know.  As in, 'You want to see how I write?  Go check out the teablog.'  

Despite how informal and slipshod it might appear, I put quite a lot of thought and care into this teablogging lark.

Here's the thing, though.  I don't do many tea reviews.  I do some (I used to write many more), but for the most part I start reviewing a tea and I go off on a tangent.  It's not that I can't simply review a tea.  But one of the ways I like to set this blog apart from others is to make it otherwise entertaining.  It's certainly a blog about tea, but I like to see how far away from tea I can get without completely losing my readers.

If I've done my job well here, you'll periodically say to yourself, 'I wonder what ridiculous nonsense that Lahikmajoe  has been writing about lately.'  That non-teadrinkers regularly come here is something that continues to please me to no end.

But I like to try new tea and despite all the evidence to the contrary, I enjoy reviewing tea.  That's actually why I think it'd be a good thing for me to write tea reviews in a more organised setting.  

A place where I'm not trying to be clever and distracting and boundary pushing.  Because as much as I'd love to tell you about how this Green Pu-Erh Tuo Cha tastes, I've already exhausted myself.  I am curious if the folk at the tea reviewing site took one look over here and said to themselves, 'Who is this guy?  What the hell is he talking about?'

Sunday, 18 September 2011

with or without hallucination

Had vast and far-reaching plans for this teablog this weekend, but the Oktoberfest got in the way.  Actually, I didn't have anything so terribly riveting to talk about, but I did intend to cover the next chapter of The Empire of Tea by Alan and Iris MacFarlane.

It's all terribly interesting, but you know that if you've already read my earlier posts on this. I started out with contemplating The Empire of Tea, then moved on to devouring the Memoirs of a Memsahib and most recently I asked is tea drinking an addiction? due to something that jumped out at me as I was reading the next chapter.

And exactly the same thing has happened again.  In this case, I'd planned to introduce you to the main points of the next chapter or two, but got hung up on one little thing.  Here goes:

'Tea became like the hallucinogenic drugs that have helped shamans in many other parts of the world to enter or communicate with the spirit world.  It constituted the mystical centre of the rites of withdrawal, self-abnegation and the attainment of nothingness of the new sects...' (Source: The Empire of Tea p 54)

He's talking about what he calls the Japanese cult of tea and specifically how tea influenced the religion and society of the Land of the Rising Sun.  I don't know specifically what new sects he's referring to here, but the idea that tea became such an integral part of the culture due to its hallucinogenic properties is not something you read in most tea advertising.

Well, not yet anyway.

Now, please don't take this literally.  I don't steep a pot of Japanese Sencha and start seeing spiders crawling out of the cracks in the wall.  But at the same time, I can see how drinking tea might provide a monk a bit of hallucinogenic-like thoughts.

Earlier in this chapter, which is called Froth of the Liquid Jade, he says that tea drinking is one of the 'four ways of concentrating the mind'.  The other three are walking, feeding fish, and sitting quietly in thought(Source: The Empire of Tea p 54)

At different times, I could definitely enjoy all of these things, but I've just drained my teapot and it's time to brew up again.  With or without hallucination.

a Bavarian mountain that reminded me of Mt Fuji

Friday, 16 September 2011

Must one study tea to really appreciate it?

Have been up on the mountain most of the day, and here's a photo of my trusty orange flask as proof:

As much as I enjoy drinking tea at the top of the mountain after the most strenuous part of the hike, one of the things I like most is the time I have up there to ponder things.

Today I had exactly just such an opportunity, and some of that time I spent considering how to answer a question that was posed to me by a relatively new reader to this blog. I've mentioned Cara in Cleveland before, but in reference to what tea would best to mask the anti-allergy medication she wanted to give a phlegmy coworker.  My regular readers will concede that this topic is exactly the sort of contribution we need to the world of teablogging.

Now to be pedantic about this, we can't call Cara in Cleveland a newcomer to tea.  She's drunk tea for years and has a favourite brand that her grandmother drinks.  This Red Rose tea is one I'd not heard of, but supposedly it's rather well-known and widely available.  So this isn't someone who's never had tea.  She's not approaching tea drinking for the first time.  

I'm not going to quote her question directly, but essentially she asked if one really needed to become a tea obsessive to enjoy tea.  Do you need to learn about leaves, flavours, steepings, and whatever else to fully get the experience?  Must one practically study tea to really appreciate it?

I think it's a fair question, and I'll tell you exactly how I responded.  I said, 'Not at all. I know tons of Brits who'd rather not think about it at all. Depends on what you want to do.'

What I meant was that many people simply want to drink the tea that they've always drunk and not over-think it.  They don't want fancy tea gear. They're not interested in Asian tea ceremony.  Tea is tea.  It's a daily enjoyment but it needn't be anything more.

And you might think that a teablogger would be against that.  Would have some sort of snotty elitest position on such people.  Other teabloggers might, but not this one.  If you want to enjoy your tea and not be bothered with all the other stuff, then you have my support and even my blessing.

But that begs the question:  What are you doing here Mr Lahikmajoe?  Why all the Sturm und Drang?  Why the obsessive questions and contemplations and strongly-held opinions?

Those are questions for another time.  They too are quite interesting and deserve my full attention.  For now though, I'm going to brew a pot of Choice Formosa Oolong and rest my well-hiked legs.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

all the same teablogger

Jo Johnson suggested in a blogpost that Robert Godden and I were the same person.  Here's the whole post: World Tea East - Finale.  She was joking with VL Hamilton, as she describes it, and VL assured her that there was no way that we were the same.  Like I say, I'm sure that this was an offhand joke, but what better place to start off a blogpost.

First of all, Robert and Geoff Norman and I have joked that we're the Beasts of Brewdom.  We not only interact with one another on twitter, but we find ourselves blogging in tandem and doing what little we're able to for the sake of masculine tea drinking.

But I've taken the funny off-hand comment and wondered to myself what sets us apart.

Robert's blog which is called The Devotea's Tea Spouts is a collection of musings and curiosities that he's written and he's particularly good when he's somehow riled up and/or got a score to settle.  One of my favourite of these is Carry On Up the Spout.  Try it you'll like it.

And Geoff has included his explorations with tea, as well as cultural ponderings.  One of his better recent posts was Iran So Far for...Tea.  All about tea in a part of the world about which we get such murky information.  Periodically, he'll go on a tear and write a piece of tea-fuelled prose that is immensely entertaining.  Watch for just such a piece of fiction.  It's worth the wait.

What am I doing here?  What's the purpose of a teablog?  Partly, it's a documentation about my love affair with tea.  It's a place I like to record the minutiae and the tangentially tea-related.  I've also purposely tried to make this blog as accesible as possible for tea newcomers.  I joke about bringing people over to the leaf-side, but it really has been a pleasurable avocation of mine to attract curious people to try good tea.

More on that soon.  Much more.  But in the meantime I'll simply say that to be confused with the likes of The_Devotea or even Lazy Literatus is not such a bad predicament to be in at all.

Monday, 12 September 2011

autumn song

Some people associate tea drinking with autumn (as well as winter even) and the shortened days and inclement weather.  Sure there's all that, but the air is fantastic and the colours are divine.

Have been waxing poetic over on twitter about this time of year and referring to myself as an Autumnalist.  Sure enough I've begun receiving autumn-related mentions and comments, but today I was sent a song.  Didn't know the song.  Although it's borderline annoying, it's also rather catchy.  Thanks @_amusebouche_.  Now I can't get it out of my head.

Since I drink it year-round, this season isn't particularly connected to tea for me.  Regardless, I'm sure you'll hear plenty more from me about this turn of the seasons.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

you pay more for appearance

I'm imagining someone shopping for tea in an excellent tea shop.  The customer is relatively new to tea, and has only recently gotten up the nerve to actually ask to smell the tea leaves before he decides which tea he'll take home.

Although he has a selection of quite a few different sorts of tea, he's been on a bit of an Assam kick lately.  He even forces himself to drink the other tea in his tea cabinet, but he's a bit concerned that he'd actually reach for the Assam every single time (day and night) if he thought it would be ok.  He's not at all sure it's ok.  

This customer's still quite uncertain when it comes to all of this tea and its paraphernalia. He loves so much about what he's learned about loose-leaf tea, but he has to force himself not to bolt out of the tea shop when there are too many other customers present or even worse when the tea seller asks him even the simplest questions.  

So he goes into the shop at times when he hopes no-one else is there.  Today's just such a day, and the nice thing is that the tea seller is the only other person in the shop.  He asks for 100g of his latest favourite Assam, and asks about several others.  The guy behind the counter happily opens each canister for the tea to be smelled.  And then the question.  This question comes eventually.  Every tea seller knows it'll appear sooner or later.

'Why's this tea more expensive than the others?'

Well, the easiest answer is that this tea demanded more at the tea auction.

Really?  Is that it?  That's the only reason?

Actually, no.  There're so many things that go into the pricing of tea, and it's quite byzantine all the rules and machinations that are involved.  When it comes to this Assam, people seem willing to pay more if there are little golden tips on the leaves.

Don't the little golden tips on the leaves make the tea taste better?

Not necessarily.  Interestingly, how they process the tea to create the golden colour might not even be the best way to process tea for the best taste.

Hm, that's a bit odd.  This tea that's entirely black might actually taste better than the more expensive one that's black with little golden-tipped leaves.  Is that right?

It might.  It's not as if all golden tea tastes bad.  And some tea with golden-tipped leaves can be really quite exquisite.

Well for the time being, I intend to buy my tea based upon how it smells and tastes not how it looks.


This blogpost began when I considered a conversation I overheard on twitter between Geoff Norman (@lazy_literatus) & Michael J Coffey (@michaeljcoffey) about this very topic of whether the golden colour in the leaves actually made the tea taste better.  Here's exactly what Michael said over on twitter:

'Short answer: "best" flavor may require wide range of processing req's, gold color req very specific processes....Therefore, if you process for gold color, you limit what you can do with flavor...BUT people pay $$$ for color.'

Wanted to bring up the topic partially because I'm fascinated with the way tea is priced and also because I like explanations that are quirky and counter intuitive.  This one has plenty of both of these things.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

is tea drinking an addiction?

Certainly appears to be something addictive at play if you listen to us tea obsessives go on about the stuff.  As I go through The Empire of Tea (a book by Alan and Iris MacFarlane), I feel compelled to tell you about what's grabbed my attention the most.  Have already glowingly gone on about how much I liked the Introduction in contemplating The Empire of Tea and then the first chapter was covered in devouring the Memoirs of a Memsahib.

But here we are in Chapter 2 and I assume it's Alan MacFarlane (Iris's son) who's asking how and why tea managed to conquer the world.  This short chapter explains how tea became the world's most popular drink (only behind water).  It goes through the advantages/disadvantages of the other world's most popular drink candidates, but not before mentioning some impressive facts about proliferation of tea drinking around the world.

More than a few thousand years ago, there was some tea leaf chewing by scattered tribes in south-east Asia, but nothing resembling what we know as tea drinking, then two thousand years ago there were some religious groups who were brewing tea.  Millions of Chinese drank it a thousand years ago, and five hundred years later it was already the world's most popular drink (second only to water) for more than half of the earth's population.

Over the last five hundred years, tea has somehow overtaken the world (sounds ominous, doesn't it?).  As the author states, 'Tea is now more ubiquitous than any type of food or any drink apart from water.'  He goes on to say, 'Its world consumption easily equals all the other manufactured drinks in the world put together - that is, coffee, chocolate, cocoa, sweet fizzy artificial drinks and all alcoholic drinks.'

Really? Unbelievable.  Now, I'm careful to bandy about statistics.  But just to be clear, Alan MacFarlane is a Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Cambridge. I really can't fathom him making this claim if it weren't properly researched.  I still think that's a surprising statistic.  People drink more tea than all other beverages combined (I don't have to keep saying 'aside from water', do I?).

Rather than go through the list of other drinks, which is exactly what he does, I'd rather leave you with the way he opens this chapter.  I want to do this because I suspect it's a topic that might encourage some discussion and I'd love to see some of that happen here in the comments.  He answers the question I opened with, and here's how he does it:

'Tea is an addiction, but an addiction different from all others.  It is milder, a habit relatively easily broken.  It is more universal.  Most unusually, it is good for the addict.  And it is largely unnoticed both to those addicted and others.  Indeed, the conquest of the world by tea has been so successful that we've forgotten that it has happened at all.  Tea has become like water or air, something that many of us take for granted.'

(Source: The Empire of Tea pp 31-39)

Monday, 5 September 2011

my shingle's been hung

Read an article in a spa magazine recently that went through the different types of tea and explained the differences between them.  For the 4 types of tea mentioned (I know there are to the spa magazine people, will you?), there's a column in which is answered:

Good for you because

Reach for it

It tastes

I could easily go through and talk about the very practical information that was imparted by the article, but  I've decided not to do that.  There are plenty of places you could go for exactly this sort of thing.  Most days I'd be more than eager to delve deep into it.  But not today.

Today, I've resolved to do two different things.  One is to hang out my shingle and offer a therapeutic service regarding tea.  What tea fits your particular situation/emergency?  This is a shameless attempt to deal with the second thing.

In the past, I've had tons of discussion here on my blog.  I continue to get more over on my mirrored blog (lahikmajoedrinkstea) at Tea Trade (their main site), but I really like a bit of lively back and forth at both places.  So here's my shameless attempt to get some of you who like to come here and gawk to actually speak up.

Everyone loves an advice column.  Ok, not everyone.  Most people like advice columns.  As a result, I'm offering to answer non tea-related catastrophe with very tea-related solutions.  Either in the comments themselves or in an additional blogpost, I'll hopelessly and even recklessly make your problems a thing of the distant past.

And to kick it all off I've decided to answer a question I've received from Larry in Dayton, Ohio.  Let's hear it Larry.

Larry in Dayton:

Yeah, uh...ok.  See, I really hate my brother-in-law.  I hate him so much I want to kill him.  So my question is What sort of tea is best for me to deal with that?

My answer:

Oh gosh.  Ok Larry in Dayton.  Not a very light-hearted question to kick this off, is it?  But I promised I'd do my best.

I'm going to assume you don't want a tea to help you get up the nerve to actually off the guy, right?  I can't do that.  That'd be unconscionable.  (*whispers* Assam by the way...a dark, strong, malty Assam)

No, I'll just take it for granted you want a tea that'll help you calm down and not go through with these murderous thoughts.  So my gut feeling is that you need a good strong Oolong.  And not one of those lightly-oxidised sorts of Oolong.  I'd go with a nice flavourful Choice Formosa Oolong.  This tea won't let you down.

It's Good for you won't be committing murder.  You can enjoy your freedom and actually choose when and where you go and what you can do.

Reach for it...Brew some up any time of the day, but especially right before you're forced to have any contact with this brother-in-law of yours.  I'm sure it'll do the trick.

It tastes...nothing like a black tea, but packs a strong full punch.  It's got something nutty and earthy about it.  There's even a hint of caramel.

You're probably feeling an undeniable sense of peace now that you've followed my simple instructions Larry in Dayton.  Enjoy this photo from a balcony looking out over the Mediterranean.

After that expert advice above, I'm sure the questions will now come flooding in.  My proverbial shingle has been hung and I'm awaiting your queries.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

what's oxidation?

Had an enjoyable chat with tea people on Google+ Hangout the other night. There was discussion about Oolong that I won't even attempt to go into here, but one of the things I was curious about was how the others explained what Oolong was to people new to tea.

That's a fair question, right? I get it all the time.

People know black tea and green tea, but mention of Oolong leaves many people looking a bit befuddled.
So how to explain it?

And as you know, I'm normally looking for the most concise description. That's ridiculous of me to even say, isn't it? Would I really be looking for the most intricate and detailed description? Not here I wouldn't.

Simply put, green tea is not oxidised and black tea is fully-oxidised. Oolong falls somewhere in the middle between the two. Some Oolong is lightly oxidised, some is allowed to oxidise much more but not fully. Next question for someone who's curious and whose eyes haven't glazed over already:
Uh...what's oxidation?
Well, here's an article you probably won't even bother clicking over to: Oxidation & Fermentation in Tea Manufacture

And the article uses the same very simple example of oxidation that the above-mentioned tea people did. If you cut an apple in half and let it go brown, that's exactly the same chemical process that tea goes through when it oxidises.

The specifics of the process of letting tea oxidise is certainly very complicated and the most sought after Oolong was very likely tended by a highly experienced tea master.

Although this is rather basic information when it comes to tea, I am asked this question often. Do you have any other ways that you explain oxidation? I'd love to hear them.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

promise of enlightenment

(The tea Buddha)

One of my pet peeves is people ascribing to tea qualities that it doesn't have. If I were to believe every claim made by tea advocates/marketers, I'd blindly accept that this plant was able to cure most any disease as well as cure a few geopolitical disturbances. The problem with many of these claims of tea's powerful properties is that they're just not quantifiably provable.

These preposterous statements sell tea and (more importantly) magazines, but they're disingenuous and irritating. To be clear, I'm aware there've been scientific studies to support some of these miracle claims. Nevertheless, I still question the validity of many attempts to extoll the health benefits of drinking tea.

A Promise

But there is one thing I can without any reservation promise that tea will do for you. Drinking good tea will ultimately bring you true and sustained enlightenment.

I'm sure you saying to yourself, 'He can't prove that.'

Oh, do you really believe I can't?

I'm sitting here in an ocean of fully-evolved enlightenment-type thoughts, and have come to the simple and lazy conclusion that trying to explain them would only lessen my own personal enlightenment.

To get here today, I chose to brew some Pu-erh fannings, and it's doing the job quite nicely. I doubt that you drinking the exact same tea is going to bring you anything even resembling enlightenment, but it certainly couldn't hurt.