43 Tasting Notes

85

Usually when I add a tasting note, it’s got some stuff in there about music or life or something. Not this one.

Got some Da Hong Pao, Red Robe #55 from the Steepster tea of the month (which I’d recommend to anyone) and let me tell you what it smells like:

Marijuana.

Not like skunk bud that makes neighbors call the police and/or move, but garden variety. The sort that your skeevy neighbor’s van smells like. The flavor is the same as the smell too.

It’s not a bad thing, I was just really surprised to get a whiff of it and think, “Where do I know this very specific smell from? Ah. Yes. Now I know. Pot.”

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80
drank Dragonwell by Adagio Teas
43 tasting notes

Dragonwell or, 龙井茶, if you prefer, is my tea of choice. How could so many Chinese folks be wrong? Today is my day off. My wife is sick, so we’re not going out to eat or to the movies or the other things that I like to spend my money on with my wife. I’m doing some audio editing. I hear the dishwasher, it’s soothing. The sound of water from a dish washer, clothes washer, or shower, somewhere else in the house has been a calming noise ever since I was a child, as far back as I can remember.

I take a break from my work, and spend some time shopping for tea ware while I drink from the floral tea cups I claimed from my uncle’s room in the boarding house he spent the last days of his life. None of it seems like they’re things I want to spend my money on. My compulsion to spend is something I’ve caught from my American culture, but my refusal to do so… Where did that come from?

The cat has escaped the back yard. She’s only gone far enough to interrupt everything we’re doing, while she waits for us to drag her back inside.

A good first steep.

Flavors: Chocolate

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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80
drank Dragonwell by Adagio Teas
43 tasting notes

On my lunch break, I watch the snow decide to melt or persist while tapping my foot to Fall Out Boy. Patrick Stump still sings the songs he did to move my teenage mind, but we’re both fooling ourself and I’m fine with that for a few minutes. He can still be a hero to wasted youth and I can still be young.

In a few minutes, back to work.

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 2 min, 0 sec
TheTeaFairy

Haha! Love the music references!

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61
drank Pu Erh Spice by Adagio Teas
43 tasting notes

Purchased as part of a sampler from Adagio. I didn’t read close enough as I am not the biggest fan of flavored teas, but this was pretty enjoyable. The first steeping it puts out doesn’t taste like dirt, like so many pu-erhs do, so that was a bit of a surprise. The first steeping is colored like a weak coffee as well. The citrus notes in it are the most obvious.

Not a bad pick. I’d order it again.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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75
drank Matcha by Teavana
43 tasting notes

I mix this in a Pyrex bowl and listen to small links of sausage sizzle in a cast iron skillet while Virginia birds announce the spring. The morning sun seems as slow to start it’s day as I am with mine. The tiny bubbles on the surface of the green tea start to pop and pop quickly. I wonder about those bubbles and then all of creation.

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65

My girlfriend is sympathetic, texting me throughout the day. By the end of my work day I’m a bit grumpy, even irritable. My back still hurt, the boots I had worn had started to dig into one of my heels, now dead tired, and the six shots of espresso I had taken throughout the day to try to keep myself propped up had just added a strange bend to my reality which seemed to make things a bit further away than they really were.

She’s trying to be supportive, but she does it with “I’m sorry your back hurts,”, “I’m sorry you’re tired,” and I know she’s trying to be sympathetic, but “I’m sorry” comes off as an apology to me and it’s a mild irritation, and in present mindset, it’s a major irritation. I have to keep myself from re-addressing this because it’s appearing as a bigger issue than it actually is. I’m driving home and she texts me and there it is again, “I’m sorry this” “I’m sorry that” and I want to text back “You talk like your apologizing that you exist with how much you say that!”

She’s trying to help, but it bugs me, and I try to disengage from any communication with her that isn’t necessary, which probably doesn’t help her out emotionally, but I know myself and with such a internal stress, I feel like it’s only a matter of time until I let it out on her, if I keep up- that is.

I’m planning on marrying her, so I disengage and she doesn’t seem to notice, or at least doesn’t complain. I sleep, and the morning- my back still hurts, my heel is now sore from the boot, but I’m conscious and feel well rested. She sends me a picture of herself while I’m in line at the BMV waiting to get new plates and wondering why I’m the only person in line at the BMV that doesn’t look like they just got done working as an extra as a Morlock in a low-budget, made-for-TV adaptation of H. G. Wells’ The Time Machine. I want to be good to her, and sometimes that’s by doing nothing.

At home, I drink a bowl full of Teavana’s overpriced, but good matcha. My girlfriend had given me a matcha whisk for Christmas. I think she didn’t really know what it was for or what it was used for, but it was on my Amazon wishlist and carried a low price tag. I made matcha for her the last time she was visiting and she seemed to like it. I used her whisk and thought about her.

opi

Do your girlfriend a favor; let her go now so she can find someone nice and less self absorbed to spend her time with. Your story sounds too familiar.

Stephen

Okay. I’ll let her know that a stranger on the Internet judged our relationship based on one microcosm post about my back hurting and me being irritated.

opi

You sound like a decent guy and a good sport based on your response to my blunt remark but how you feel and respond within a relationship, when you are tired and hurting and irritated, is what will define your relationship. It is the 500 pound gorilla in the room. It’s easy to be nice, have a good attitude and do for others when you are feeling great. Your story painted a picture that I am familiar with and it still hurts to look at it but again, you do seem to be a decent and smart guy. Enjoy your tea. :-)

Stephen

I’d like to qualify that I wrote this post while in pretty bad back pain, and I can clearly see that I had some clarity issues that I ordinarily wouldn’t have let in… What I was trying to convey- my struggle to not let my back trouble bleed into the relationship. I want to treat my girlfriend right, and not treat her wrongly because of something that is not her fault at all. Most things I’m good at not doing the kick-the-dog kind of thing, but back trouble when it happens to me causes trouble in every physical action I have, and is hard to keep myself out of a bad mood.

I didn’t want my initial response to you to come off as too smart-ass, but it encourages something that is a terrifying idea to me, which is not being with her. The priority in my life has been to find a partner, and I’ve had lots of false starts that I had almost come to the “realization” that there is no such thing as someone who is “perfect” for me, and when things seemed to be at their absolute worst, I found her and I want to hold on to her and be the best I can for her.

Regularly, we talk about our approval ratings for each other and we seem to be doing very well. I feel like I came off as one of the people on Springer shouting, “You don’t know me!” with a bit of the neck work in there too, of course, and things are incredibly good across the board. I truly feel that I treat her well, and the point of my writing was to express that I have been trying very hard the past few days to not do her an injustice because of my current physical pain.

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I sip this same tea that my girlfriend gave me for Christmas. I re-steep and re-steep the tea. She’s in Haiti for the week.She’s doing missionary work. Years ago, I went to Haiti, I met her sister and father, then sort of Facebook stalked her, turned out we’re really compatible and I want to marry her. That’s the long story, shortened. Funny, why would I be shortening the story for tea drinkers? I should be shortening it for the coffee drinkers. Anyway-

She lives in Virginia, I live in Ohio, it’s a long distance relationship. One would expect that I wouldn’t mind her being in Haiti, where this whole crazy thing got started, but two problems-

1) I am used to being in contestant contact with her, and Haiti doesn’t have a lot of communication infrastructure. Some fellows might be put off by a female that texts or emails or calls at least once every two hours during waking hours. And I’m one of them. But not with her. Now I drink her tea, watch things on Netflix, and try not to transpose my own emotions with those of the fake people who do fake things in movies.

2) Haiti is hell. Haiti was Hell’s next door neighbor when I went. Then her earthquake ripped the country up. Imagine the worst bedroom you’ve ever been in… You know the kind that mom says “It looks like there was a hurricane in here,” then add a real hurricane. It’s a lot like that except with lots of human beings and their lives. The UN and the Red Cross and lots and lots of American money don’t solve the problem of evil people and educating people to stand on their own. This is what worries me. America has law and order because people are used to following law and order, and therefore generally do. Haitians are not used to following law and order, and now there is no law or no order, even if someone wanted to follow.

If she’s in Virginia and something bad happens, I can put the key in the ignition, drive there, and sort things out. Haiti’s problems that would come her way would be exponentially worse than what Virginia would bring her, and I can’t just drive over there and sort out her problems. I can’t be there to protect her. I want to go to Hell to make sure she doesn’t know she’s there.

I drink her tea, I watch Netflix, and I try my hardest not to think of her at all.

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I steep and re-steep this as I watch No Country for Old Men, my favorite example of American culture’s answer to the Zen koan. I use GChat to talk to my girlfriend and try not to tell her I’ve packed a bag and I’ll be driving the few hundred miles between us, and probably loosing my job in the process.

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Smooth, dark, re-steeps well.

My girlfriend, and the way things are going- future wife, gave this to me for Christmas. I made it for us a few times while she visited last week. She doesn’t know much of anything about loose leaf teas, but found, likely, the tea I’d enjoy the most from World Market. Maybe it’s one of those Connections that Karl Jung was talkin’ about.

I drank some tonight, and thought about her.

Cofftea

Liking this mainly for your 2nd sentence. Congrats! Wishing you nothing but happiness and joy as you continue your journey with tea and all things in life together.

Stephen

She says all the tea I make tastes better. I think she’s wrong, but I think she think’s I’m wrong about the food she cooks tastes better than mine.

Cofftea

Awww! I’m sure both are true:)

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75
drank Dragonwell by Teavana
43 tasting notes

The local Teavana has Dragonwell back in stock and I, well, stocked up. It’s good to have this back in my cupboard. I’ve been drinking lots of it to make up for the lost time that I haven’t had it available.

In life, I’ve found someone new and I think that this is it this time. She drinks tea, but without the disguised snobbery about it that I do. Maybe she’ll bring some balance to me.

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