Finally got everything set up at least tentatively working in the living room so I can start drinking gongfu-friendly teas (mm oolong) in the evening after dinner while watching my favorite shows or reading, yay. Involved playing the “how to rearrange the living room such that a) couches are not right next to drafty doors and windows b) couches don’t set on fire over heating old vents c) walkways between rooms aren’t blocked d) the electronics are situated such that they’re close enough to the only two outlets in the entire room, one of which by the way is only two pronged and the other which, the only three pronged/grounded one, is crazily wired such that if I run the dishwasher off in the kitchen (which I always do after dinner right when I want to drink oolong) and try using a water heater or kettle in here at the same time it shorts everything—the kicker, because now i have a water heater along with an area lamp and the TV” tetris puzzle game (fun times in midtown rentland). But anyway. It’s a little odd as it stands now but the comfy couch is a decent distance and angle away from the TV and all that, with an end table with my new water heater, a tea tray, and everything else I need to make tea (measuring spoon, timer, etc.) in a container that slides beneath. My gongfu-y and evening tea-friendly teaware (prized gaiwan, kyusu, cupping set, glass teapots with glass infusers, etc.) are all in the living room now too on the mantel, which is conveniently now right near the couch too. And my pull-out drawer of oolong and green tea is right in here as well. Yeah, that’s right: I’ve got it so that when I settle in for the evening, I don’t have to go to the kitchen for pretty much anything until it’s time to clean up and go to bed. Whee!

…that was a long intro to trying this tea, sorry. This is unlike any other oolong I’ve tried so far. The dry scent immediately made me go “whoa!” because it’s so sweet and straight up caramelized sugar. Steeped it’s not quite as intense, but it is incredibly sweet. There’s a floral lightness to it, and upon resteep a mysterious perfumed element grows strong, but there’s also that ever present toasty, nutty sugar. It was a surprise. I keep saying that this week about the teas I’m trying, eh? But it is! I would drink it again. Oh, and it takes a while to unfurl; I got 4 solid steeps of this, maybe more (I lost track).

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec
scribbles

This sounds amazing

K S

Under the heading of you might be addicted… when your tea station takes over the living room :) Love it. I have a small station in the corner of the living room, mostly for decaf evening tea. My bigger station has taken over my den. How are you handling water? I have a Brita pitcher that I refill from an empty milk jug.

mrmopar

+1 on tea station intrusion. I am banned to the back room for the tea area.

Nxtdoor

Question about the brita. I have been wondering if I want filtered water devoid of oxygen (in the case of brita) ur unfiltered but oxygenated water. Anyone research inclined tried to detect differences in flavour?

TeaExplorer

My tea station has been banished to my office where it takes almost half of my desk, but at least I can leave it set up all the time.

Nxtdoor: No idea about water differences. We’re on a well with iron and sulfur content, so I buy bottled spring water for tea. Haven’t tried a Brita.

K S

The Brita I am using is just a carbon filter to remove floating stuff in our municipal water and to try and reduce the chlorine taste. Using it is an improvement over not using. As for oxygen, I don’t believe this filter affects it but you could always just pour water from up high to splash more oxygen into your pot.

ifjuly

K S, I’ve got a 4L Zoji heater so refilling at night is never an issue, whee. I’ve had it less than a week and I already love it to pieces. Honestly, I like it more—much more—than the Breville. I really wasn’t expecting that!

Nxtdoor, K S’s suggestion that if filtered water is important because your water source is very hard or otherwise affects flavor aversely too much (I’m lucky enough to live in a city with tap water for artesian wells, very sweet and clean tasting…I miss it whenever we go out of town!) you still filter it but pour from high to oxygenate makes sense to me and is the most hassle-free troubleshooting solution I can think of. Of course, with anything like this the best thing to do is sit down sometime and do a fairly controlled taste test—make a tea you’re familiar with, three different cups (one using filtered water, one using unfiltered, and one using filtered and poured from high above).

ifjuly

*FROM artesian wells, not for. sleepy brain!

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Comments

scribbles

This sounds amazing

K S

Under the heading of you might be addicted… when your tea station takes over the living room :) Love it. I have a small station in the corner of the living room, mostly for decaf evening tea. My bigger station has taken over my den. How are you handling water? I have a Brita pitcher that I refill from an empty milk jug.

mrmopar

+1 on tea station intrusion. I am banned to the back room for the tea area.

Nxtdoor

Question about the brita. I have been wondering if I want filtered water devoid of oxygen (in the case of brita) ur unfiltered but oxygenated water. Anyone research inclined tried to detect differences in flavour?

TeaExplorer

My tea station has been banished to my office where it takes almost half of my desk, but at least I can leave it set up all the time.

Nxtdoor: No idea about water differences. We’re on a well with iron and sulfur content, so I buy bottled spring water for tea. Haven’t tried a Brita.

K S

The Brita I am using is just a carbon filter to remove floating stuff in our municipal water and to try and reduce the chlorine taste. Using it is an improvement over not using. As for oxygen, I don’t believe this filter affects it but you could always just pour water from up high to splash more oxygen into your pot.

ifjuly

K S, I’ve got a 4L Zoji heater so refilling at night is never an issue, whee. I’ve had it less than a week and I already love it to pieces. Honestly, I like it more—much more—than the Breville. I really wasn’t expecting that!

Nxtdoor, K S’s suggestion that if filtered water is important because your water source is very hard or otherwise affects flavor aversely too much (I’m lucky enough to live in a city with tap water for artesian wells, very sweet and clean tasting…I miss it whenever we go out of town!) you still filter it but pour from high to oxygenate makes sense to me and is the most hassle-free troubleshooting solution I can think of. Of course, with anything like this the best thing to do is sit down sometime and do a fairly controlled taste test—make a tea you’re familiar with, three different cups (one using filtered water, one using unfiltered, and one using filtered and poured from high above).

ifjuly

*FROM artesian wells, not for. sleepy brain!

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Bio

“…you can never know everything about anything, especially something you love.”
-Julia Child on food and cooking, and I think it applies to tea as well!

note: i am currently taking a break from swapping/mail of any kind as money is rather tight. i apologize! i do love to swap but i can’t afford to right now. hopefully in a month things will change.

my cupboard includes any tea i’ve ever owned, including things i’ve sipped down, in order to facilitate swaps with people and keep a record—this way i don’t get redundant samples/order duplicates to try. if you are interested in swapping, i have a separate ever-updated list of teas i actually have on hand i can PM.

i like strong, rich blacks (including some choice old skool CTCs); juicy-fruity flavored green blends; buttery chinese greens; light floral oolongs; flavored oolongs (how sacrilegious!); earl greys; smoky blends; second flush muscatel darjeelings; verdant’s straight oolongs steeped in a gaiwan (mind altering!); anything from laoshan village it seems.

favorite notes include lavender, bergamot, violet, fennel, cardamom, melon, honey, sandalwood, smoke, nuts, roasty/toasty stuff, malt, wood, leather, creamy lemon, steamed rice, artichoke, garden-sweet snap veggies, earth/soil, forest and wet bark, and mushroom.

notes i generally can’t stand (at least in tea) include jasmine, rose (ok in small doses but i often find it overpowering and then everything just smells like musty old lady perfume), astringent apple (and general fruitiness really unless it’s with green tea), and chamomile (unless i’m congested or tired).

my current favorite tea vendors are butiki and harney and sons. i’ve also found some delicious teas and/or had good customer service experiences with the following companies: capital tea ltd., the devotea, verdant, mandala, golden moon, teavivre, lupicia, taiwan tea crafts, yezi tea, den’s tea, the tea merchant, norbu, fauchon paris, tao tea leaf, zen tea, fortnum and mason, townshend’s tea, joy’s teaspoon, new mexico tea company, persimmon tree, teajo teas, whispering pines, della terra, upton imports, mariage freres, samovar, justea, teabox, american tea room, steven smith, steap shoppe, utopia tea, and andrews and dunham damn fine tea. when i’m at the grocery store my “you could do worse” brands include stash, bigelow, tazo, taylors of harrogate, whittard of chelsea, and pg tips. and it’s a fact: you can’t make classic southern sweet tea without luzianne.

top picks, fall 2013

black:
verdant zhu rong yunnan black
verdant laoshan black
thepuriTea hong jing luo (no longer available :( )
thepuriTea red dragon pearl (no longer available :( )
mandala morning sun
golden moon honey orchid
verdant golden fleece
taiwan tea crafts red jade
yezi tea zheng shan xiao zhong “scotch” tea
capital tea borsapori estate assam tgfop1 (spl)
butiki khongea golden tippy assam
butiki giddahapar darjeeling extra special
upton imports fikkal estate
golden moon sinharaja
harney and sons new vithanakande
persimmon tree vintage black
teajo teas black manas
justea kenyan black
harney and sons kangaita op

morning blends:
butiki the black lotus
harney and sons queen catherine
harney and sons eight at the fort
harney and sons big red sun
harney and sons scottish morn
golden moon irish breakfast
harney and sons irish breakfast
utopia tea english breakfast
fortnum and mason breakfast blend (needs milk!)
andrews and dunham double knit blend
steven smith no. 25 morning light
butiki irish cream cheesecake

earl greys and scented afternoon blends:
teajo teas silky earl grey
harney and sons viennese earl grey
upton imports lavender earl grey
american tea room victoria
lupicia earl grey grand classic
harney and sons tower of london
tao tea leaf cream earl grey
zen tea earl grey cream
della terra earl grey creme
upton imports season’s pick earl grey creme vanilla
upton imports baker street afternoon blend
harney and sons russian country
della terra professor grey
verdant earl of anxi

flavored black:
herbal infusions moose tracks
american tea room brioche
steap shoppe cinnamon swirl bread
della terra oatmeal raisin cookie
butiki nutmeg cream
kusmi caramel
david’s tea brazillionaire
lupicia banane chocolat
butiki hello sweetie
fauchon paris raspberry macaron
butiki blueberry purple tea
herbal infusions marshmallow snowflake earl grey
herbal infusions creme brulee chai

pu erh:
mandala loose and luscious lincang 2007 shu/ripe pu erh
mandala special dark 2006 shu/ripe pu erh

oolong:
verdant shui jin gui wuyi oolong
verdant hand-picked early spring tieguanyin
butiki 2003 reserve four season oolong
harney and sons formosa oolong
tea merchant silk dragon
golden moon coconut pouchong
zen tea coconut oolong
american tea room coconut oolong
teavivre taiwan jin xuan milk oolong
butiki flowery pineapple oolong
butiki lychee oolong
lupicia momo oolong supergrade
butiki strawberry oolong
butiki pumpkin milkshake darjeeling oolong
52teas tiramisu oolong

green:
verdant laoshan bilochun green
verdant autumn harvest laoshan green
tao tea leaf hou kui
harney and sons tencha
harney and sons gyokuro
new mexico casablanca
butiki with open eyes
american tea room nirvana
joy’s teaspoon mahalo
den’s tea pineapple sencha
harney and sons tokyo
butiki potato pancakes and applesauce
butiki holiday eggnog and pralines
den’s tea organic genmaicha with matcha
golden moon hojicha

white:
butiki cantaloupe and cream
butiki champagne and rose cream

no caf:
harney and sons soba buckwheat
butiki birthday cake
della terra lemon chiffon
52teas strawberry pie honeybush
butiki mango lassi
joy’s teaspoon italian dream
butiki coconut cream pie rooibos
butiki peppermint patty
persimmon tree mint chocolate chip rooibos
art of tea velvet tea
fusion teas chocolate cake honeybush
american tea room choco-late
steven smith no. 40 bon bon
townshend’s tea dark forest chai
utopia tea decaffeinated earl grey cream

sleep aid/medicinal/therapeutic:
new mexico extra sleepy bear
stash white christmas
verdant ginger sage winter spa blend
samovar turmeric spice
butiki the killer’s vanilla guayusa

coldsteeped wonders:
whispering pines manistee moonrise
harney and sons fruits d’alsace
utopia tea berkshire apple and fig
culinary teas peaches and cream
butiki peach hoppiTea
butiki ruby pie
whispering pines gingerade

besides tea

born in seoul, raised in new england and upstate new york, went to college in pittsburgh, currently in memphis with an eye toward philadelphia, portland, or asheville eventually.

i like cats, most beverages really (i also like good freshly roasted coffee, craft beer, wine, whiskey and gin-based cocktails, and soda/soft drinks like agua fresca), art (mainly writing but also visual and music) and critical theory, feminism/genderqueer politics, historiography, statistics, children’s literature and librarianship, travel, and food/cooking. also have recently gotten into weightlifting (mark rippetoe and stumptuous!) and sprint training (HIIT, plyometrics) and i love it.

Location

Memphis, TN

Website

http://facebook.com/ifjuly

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