I've been a long time lurker on here, and finally thought I'd sit down and write up an introduction to say hi. I tend to travel often, but my frequent locations are China/HK and Thailand.
How long have you been drinking tea / What was your first Tea?
Parents were tea drinkers, and I first started drinking tea since the age of about 3 -- one of the first phrases I remember was shouting "tea leaves!" at the horror of any tea leaves floating in my cup. My first tea was probably those generic Jasmines that come in the yellow tins.
I didn't really get into tea until I was 18. I was visiting a Chinese friend, and was scoffed at for mentioning herbals and my dreaded yellow-tin Jasmines. She then proceeded to brew small cups of Jasmine pearls. I could smell the Jasmine. I could taste it. It was a beautiful pale yellow. It was transformative. I soon found Upton Teas, and began mail ordering, mostly jasmines and oolongs.
I didn’t drink as much while at the university, but after graduating I moved to EU, just a few blocks from Mariage Freres in Paris. I stepped in and immediately had my second awakening -- the sights of hundreds of tins lining the shelves, the scent of decades of leaves emanating from the wooden floors. It was love at first sight. Here I was able to sample teas from different countries, regions and even gardens. Since then, I don’t think I’ve gone much more than a day without a cup of tea.
What is your favorite Tea currently?
"Currently" is the key word here! My favorites tend to change with seasons, location and mood. As I write this, I'm having a cup of Okayti 2012 2nd flush Darjeeling Green. Current favorite is Rohini King 1st Flush 2013. All-time favorite would be a Dong Fang Mei Ren.
What is your next purchase?
Probably going to get some more 2013 Darjeelings.
Where is your favorite spot to brew up?
Anywhere. In an office with the infuser basket, late at night when the world is asleep, or sampling in a tea shop.
I’ve got a small collection of tea ware. I started first with a 4 cup Chatsford, then discovered Yixings, and more recently, Hagi ware. I try to plan my vacations around tea, working in trips to gardens and/or tea ware making.
Slowly but surely have been building up a tea library. On my shelf so far:
All About Tea, William H. Ukers
Mariage Freres French Tea, Alain Stella
Tea - History, Terroirs, Varieties, Gayscone & Marchand
The Tea Ceremony, Sen'O Tanaka
Wind in the Pines, Dennis Hirota
Rediscovering Rikyu, Herbert Plutschow
A Brief History of Tea, Roy Moxham
The French Art of Tea, Mariage Freres
Tea, Mariage Freres
Liquid Jade, Beatrice Hohenegger
The Classic of Tea, Lu Yu, Francis Ross Carpenter translation, 1974
Tea Basics, Wendy Rasmussen
For All The Tea In China, Sarah Rose
The New Tea Book, Sara Perry
The Book of Tea, Flammarion
The Tea Box, Gilles Brochard
Himalayan Tea Garden, David Wilson Fletcher
The Book of Korean Tea, Yang-Seok Yoo
The Way of Tea: Reflections on a Life with Tea: Aaron Fisher
The Book of Tea, Okakura Kakuzo
The Chinese Art of Tea, John Blofeld
Always on the lookout for more, I only wish I could read Chinese and Japanese!
I’ve been reading the “Show off your pots and cups” thread, which is finally giving me the kick in the pants to start photographing some of my tea ware.
Looking forward to joining the community!