I like a variety of tea, but I have streaks...


For general/other topics related to tea.

I like a variety of tea, but I have streaks...

Postby Noonie » Feb 16th, '14, 15:53

I've only been drinking quality loose leaf for a couple of years. I started with some taiwan/chinese oolong, dragonwell, and darjeeling; I didn't like green at the time. Lately I find myself reaching for sencha (Den's, O-Cha) and not enjoying tea that used to be my favourite (Rou Gui, TGY). Earlier on I tried a wide variety of tea buy ordering sample packs. I also find myself not enjoying coffee as much (though I still like a shot of espresso now and then).

Was wondering about others' experiences? I know Chip posts lots about sencha, and some other folks talking about pu, oolong, and sencha.

Interested in what factors (I know there are many!) play a role in what we like at the present, and why we move away (and sometimes back to) from certain teas.
Noonie
 
Posts: 117
Joined: Aug 28th, '

Re: I like a variety of tea, but I have streaks...

Postby 茶藝-TeaArt08 » Feb 17th, '14, 05:00

For me, tea started first with my mother making sun tea for my father in glass jars that sat outside in the hot sun during summers. Later in life I drank Good Earth teas and Celestial Seasonings teas and store bought green teas. I got a job at R.E.I. and started doing some mountain guiding. At that time I was spending a lot of time backpacking outside in the Sierra Nevada and began to really learn the ecosystems and plant life and often brought along tea. On trips into the mountains I started brewing wild teas from the Mint family (Mint, Lemon Balm, Pennyroyal, etc), White and Red Fir needle tea, Blackberry leaf teas, and other mt. herbal teas that I would harvest myself. At that time I was also really practicing indigenous skills so that I could get away from having to take a bunch of expensive gear with me to be outside. For awhile most of the teas I drank were experimentations with self-harvested teas.

It wasn't until I met my Taiwanese wife and she gave me Taiwan wulong teas as gift that a deeper tea vantage opened for me. Her father gave me my first Yixing pot as a gift from his collection when I first traveled to Taiwan to meet her family. We always had good tea around from friends and family bringing tea to us as they went back and forth from Taiwan. So for years, we never bought tea; we just always had good teas in the home and I took it for granted. After we began traveling to Taiwan together I was then exposed to better and better Taiwan teas since it's customary to offer guests tea and fruit when entering a Taiwanese home. I still recall the first time I tasted really good gao shan and how amazed I was at the flavors. Now 14 years later, I find myself nostalgically and primarily drawn to Taiwan teas, though I appreciate and drink all sorts of tea, from Nepalese, Korean, Japanese, and Indian to Chinese, etc. But primarily I brew wulong teas. I had a phase where I drank a lot of Jasmine Downy Pearls and I had a phase of drinking primarily Silver Needle tea. However, I always return to Taiwan teas as a root, primarily wulongs (green, oxidized, roasted, aged...什麼台灣烏龍茶都可以吧! :D ).

I went on to study East Asian Studies and Philosophy when I returned to the University. This gave me a further appreciation of the uniqueness of Taiwan. Later I studied a Tai Chi/Bagua system from Taiwan and the grandmaster of that system often stayed at our home when visiting (so that he could have access to good/authentic Taiwanese food :wink: ) and tea often accompanied those visits. Eventually I moved to Taiwan to study Mandarin and teach English. I met my tea and guqin teachers there on a subsequent trip, which of course included tea. Taiwan now feels more like home than the U.S. for me and I have come to really appreciate the uniqueness of Taiwan as a peculiar East Asian identity and that has lead me to deepen again my appreciation of the diversity of teas in Taiwan. If I never had any tea besides Taiwan teas, I would be quite happy, though there are teas I would eventually miss from other places. At this point my tea drinking is a part of larger set of cultural practices and cultivations (Tai Chi/Baguazhang, Taiwanese 茶藝/tea, guqin, East Asian Studies, Master Sheng Yen's teachings, etc.) that are rooted in an appreciation and love of Taiwanese, Chinese culture.

The proverbial conundrum about which one tea would you have with you if you were stranded on a tropical island is easy for me to answer: I would quite gladly choose my island to be Taiwan and have my tea be all Taiwanese tea. :mrgreen:

So, while I follow whatever tea inclinations arise for me, what governs/shapes my tea practice more than anything is the enigmatic presence of Taiwanese culture and custom that I now live with.

Blessings!
User avatar
茶藝-TeaArt08
 
Posts: 438
Joined: May 11th, '
Location: Sacramento, California

Re: I like a variety of tea, but I have streaks...

Postby sherubtse » Feb 17th, '14, 08:55

Many thanks for the detailed background, TeaArt08. It was fascinating to read. (Master Sheng Yen is one of the few Mahayana teachers whose writings I will read on occasion.)
Last edited by sherubtse on Feb 17th, '14, 09:58, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
sherubtse
 
Posts: 647
Joined: Jan 9th, '1
Location: Toronto, Canada

Re: I like a variety of tea, but I have streaks...

Postby sherubtse » Feb 17th, '14, 08:58

Noonie wrote:I've only been drinking quality loose leaf for a couple of years. I started with some taiwan/chinese oolong, dragonwell, and darjeeling; I didn't like green at the time. Lately I find myself reaching for sencha (Den's, O-Cha) and not enjoying tea that used to be my favourite (Rou Gui, TGY). Earlier on I tried a wide variety of tea buy ordering sample packs. I also find myself not enjoying coffee as much (though I still like a shot of espresso now and then).

Was wondering about others' experiences? I know Chip posts lots about sencha, and some other folks talking about pu, oolong, and sencha.

Interested in what factors (I know there are many!) play a role in what we like at the present, and why we move away (and sometimes back to) from certain teas.


I go through phases of tea drinking as well -- cravings really. Although I try to drink a variety of teas over the course of a month, I will gravitate towards (crave) certain ones, and those will get the majority of my "brew time".
User avatar
sherubtse
 
Posts: 647
Joined: Jan 9th, '1
Location: Toronto, Canada

Re: I like a variety of tea, but I have streaks...

Postby toasterburn » Feb 17th, '14, 13:11

I thought it was just me. Some days I'll brew a tea and I'll think it's the best thing I've ever had and deeply enjoy every sip. Next day the same tea might seem bland or just "ok". Since I'm using the same water, leaves, temp, and time, it must just be my tastes.
User avatar
toasterburn
 
Posts: 44
Joined: Nov 6th, '1

Re: I like a variety of tea, but I have streaks...

Postby Chip » Feb 17th, '14, 15:47

Presently and for quite some time (ever since I had my first truly good one), Sencha has been the one tea that truly always gives me the "crave factor."

I enjoy many other teas including Gyokuro, matcha, Chinese greens, oolong, etc., but these require some kind of reason or motivation to go to. And when I do, I find them to always be very good, enjoyable, and a welcome change. But then I always crave the Sencha even more being deprived of it for a session. :lol:

But dawg, sencha really gives me the cravings beginning the night before. :mrgreen:
User avatar
Chip
Mod/Admin
 
Posts: 22110
Joined: Apr 22nd, '
Location: Back in the TeaCave atop Mt. Fuji

Re: I like a variety of tea, but I have streaks...

Postby kikula » Feb 18th, '14, 01:40

Tea Art - Master Sheng Yen! He's wonderful - I've never met him but have read a number of his books, one of the best, his practical instruction is clear water. (Started to say no BS, funny in the context of our 'shit is beautiful' conversation in another thread.) Chan with little Rinzai bite. I still get the newsletter every season. You've been leading an interesting life!

I always keep a really broad range of teas at hand because things change throughout any day and different moods and circumstances seem to want different teas. I'm much more a beginner than many here, also - I don't know if I'll end up settling on a clear most-of-the-time preference eventually. I think that would be uncharacteristic, though. I've also been known to reach into my tea chest with my eyes closed, hand outstretched like a divining rod. That often works out very well. :)
User avatar
kikula
 
Posts: 180
Joined: Jun 30th, '
Location: Maryland

Re: I like a variety of tea, but I have streaks...

Postby PurplePotato » Mar 2nd, '14, 12:45

My changes have been less changing between certain kinds of tea and more a changing of how I appreciate tea.

I first started appreciating tea when I was studying Buddhism abroad in India. We had tea time built into our schedule, and I came to appreciate tea not as much for the flavor as much for the time and space made for it. And the best tasting tea was chai made by tailors - black tea, milk, and spices.

Coming back to the states, I decided that I wanted to continue to pursue drinking tea, though at the time I did not realize that it was not really the tea itself that I had enjoyed most. As it was close by, I went to Tao of Tea and got a mug-sized yixing tea pot (the internets said I had to have one!) and devoted it to tieguanyin. I had another mug sized pot to brew everything else in. I brewed Western style and was not looking for anything particular in my tea, and I rarely ‘just drank tea.’ Something else was often going on at the same time, so as long as the tea was pleasant, I was happy.

Then, I discovered from the internets that I was doing it all wrong :lol:. I needed to buy some really good tea, and I had to brew it gongfu style, else I wouldn't know what I was missing. So I treated myself to an order of tea from teamasters, along with a gaiwan. I began ‘just drinking tea,’ and was aware of a lot more while drinking, but I still wanted the ideal brew to be rather pleasant – no bitterness, astringency, ect. In fact, I thought that I an “ideal” tea would have no bitterness or astringency whatsoever.

But then, the internets told me I was wrong again – tea was naturally bitter and astringent, and I should enjoy it as such. So I tried my first Puerh, and found that by simply changing my expectations to allow bitter and astringent flavors to be pleasant, that I enjoyed them very much. This realization in hand, I began to brew many of my teas (in particular reds) in a sort of chazhou style – tiny pot, stuffed with leaves, flash brews.

Around this time, I began practicing qigong, and I started to notice the energy in tea with a much higher state of awareness. I can remember one later session, where I got immersed in the qi of a tea, and after a long session could remember almost nothing about the flavor of the tea, other than the fact that it was at least generally pleasant.

I next began to tap more into my intuition. I had been visiting it already for a time, but it was always the slave of my rational mind, and I tried to turn that relationship on its head. The result was that I followed my intuition and brewed some teas that I had formerly brewed quite strong very weakly in comparison. To the surprise of my rational mind, the tea tasted quite good this way. As a result, many expectations began to fall away (it’s a continuous battle), and sessions began to morph from trying to produce a certain experience with a certain method, to wondering what experience a certain method might produce today.

So in the beginning, I didn’t care what my tea tasted like, in the middle, I cared, and now, I’m beginning not to care so much anymore.
PurplePotato
 
Posts: 43
Joined: Dec 11th, '


Instant Messenger

Permissions
You cannot post new topics
You cannot reply to topics
You cannot edit your posts
You cannot delete your posts
You cannot post attachments
Navigation