I decided to pursue fancy tea because it was the cheapest hobby that makes me an insufferable snob.
Seriously. For $20 you can pick up some 25 year aged Fengqing Shu Tuo Pu’erh that will make you feel like an emperor.
Despite my nefarious motivations, tea has brought me a surprising amount of joy and satisfaction (and even a roleplaying game!). Brewing tea forces me to slow down and indulge my senses; the look of the leaves, the smell of the brew, and the taste of the tea itself.
I’ve been a tea snob for years, but I haven’t really taken the plunge to discussing and reviewing tea on this site before. That changes today!
Thanks to colonialism tea is a surprisingly tricky subject to talk about. British tea is a corruption, racial marketing tries to sell “mystical asian blends”, and african teas are basically ignored.
I’m a pasty white guy who is NOT qualified to speak on the history or culture of the teas I enjoy. I’m hoping these reviews will encourage me to grow in my understanding.
I call these brewings “ceremonies” because I am a moron. I am not a tea master, I’m just enjoying the quiet experience of making tea with a gongfu tea set. If you’re curious I highly recommend looking up some official ceremonies online; they are beautiful!
My Goals for this series
- Enjoy myself. If I’m not having fun, then you’re not having fun.
- Share my favorite teas and try to explain why I enjoy them.
- Provide a calm listening experience to bring a little peace to your day. This video is my primary inspiration. I love his depth of knowledge, how well he features the teas, and sharing that experience with him!
- Learn more about the history and cultures of the teas I enjoy.
- Develop my gongfu brewing skills.
Here are some pictures of my setup; it’s a pretty sloppy combination of like 3 different tea sets I’ve scavenged from various sources.
The Six Types
For this first series we’ll be sampling three of the six categories of tea. There are, of course, hundreds of other varieties and sub-varieties, but these are a good place to start.
Quick caveat that my tea stash is starting to run low, so we’ll start by reviewing my hodgepodge of leftovers, and maybe in a few weeks we can shop for some new teas to try.
Listen to the tea tastings and check out some of the pictures and links below.
I was running low on Morrocan Mint so I threw it into the bag with some generic gunpowder green tea.
Morrocan Mint by itself is REALLY smooth with tons of mint in it.
I expect this frankenstein blend to have a much lighter mint flavor mixed with some slightly more bitter green tea.
ProTip: Green tea should be brewed at less than boiling. I take a pot of boiling water and add a dash of cold water as described here to modify the temperature.
Red Tea (Black Tea)
Now we’ll try some Assam Golden Tips.
The “golden” part means that there is a high content of the young, golden tips or buds. Tips are particularly rich in the substances that create the aroma, taste and flavour of the tea.
The only white tea I currently have is a generic blend that came in a gift package. I haven’t actually tried much of it, so we’ll go on this journey together.
I hope you enjoyed this peek into the world of tea. Next time I’ll be reviewing some of my favorite blends and will have more info about their histories (it’s hard to track the history of a generic tea blend).
Let me know if there are any varities of tea YOU would like to see in the future!