“This was a triumph. I’m making a note here: huge success.”
[Name the song and the reference will make more sense.]
Right. I’m going to skip the “I’M SO SORRY IT’S BEEN SO LONG”s because I feel like I’ve done that a lot and, you know what? I’m not sorry. I’m not sorry at all. I didn’t miss any of you, I hope you all over-steep your tea, and also, your mom sucks.
No, I’m kidding. I’ve missed you all and I’m sure your mom is a very sweet lady. I do feel badly about being so absent on Steepster. Small life update: I’ve been working and trying to do everything I’ve meant to do for the 26 years I’ve been in Virginia but haven’t gotten around to doing because there is a high possibility I will be moving across the country to San Diego at the end of this year.
I am currently visiting San Diego, which brings us to why I found myself sprinting through the rain [I picked the perfect, overcast, rainy four days to stay, apparently] to duck into Halcyon Tea. Yelp reviews had spoken extremely highly of it and I decided to check it out. Unfortunately, the rain that has been dousing San Diego has led to lots of hydroplaning and a nasty traffic jam on the way down [also apparently, it doesn’t rain much in San Diego]. By the time that I got there I only had time to buy a few different kinds of tea to try later, instead of sit down with a hot cup and a book, before I had to dash off to a prior commitment.
Later tonight, as I found myself sitting in my hotel room with the latest installment of Professor Layton and the new Linkin Park album in my ears, the shiny silver sealed bags glinted softly at me. Calling, as only bags filled with tea can call. You all understand, I trust. I had to crack one open and try it. Except…small problem.
No kettle. No proper cup. No gaiwan or straining utility. So, instead of packing the bags away and ignoring the whispering, whiny voice telling me that I needed to drink some tea [like a normal person], I decided that I did, in fact, need to drink some tea.
Some might say that my impatience is a problem. I say that the real problem is that is seems as though bags of tea speak to me.
I decided it was time to MacGyver the situation. Luckily, I have a microwave in the room, so I poured some filtered bottled water into one of those plastic-wrapped plastic cups the hotels always give you and heated it for about a minute. Once it was hot enough to cause physical pain, I let it cool a second or seven and tipped some tea into it, whirling it into the water with a coffee stirrer I found on the bathroom counter. [In a display of rampant drinkism, the hotel has provided a coffee maker, but no means to make a good cup of tea. That being said, it’s a decent enough hotel and the staff are very nice and accommodating, so yadda, yadda, yadda, pick your battles.] As the tea steeped, I searched wildly for a method to separate the leaves from the liquid. Taking the cup to the sink, I unwrapped two more plastic cups [the wastefulness of this situation is not lost on me, but in my defense, 1. I was desperate; 2. I used the cups two more times to resteep; and 3. I was desperate] and awkwardly used one to filter the tea whilst pouring the tea into the other.
Maybe it’s because it’s rainy and cold and I came back cold and tired, but regardless of the unconventional means it was made, this tea was lovely. Sweet with a little hint of that signature Yunnan kick of pepper, a mellow note of malt, rich in flavor, and absolutely delicious. I’d write more about it, but it’s been a long day, my brain thinks it’s 230 AM right now, and I have an indisputable need for a hot bath before I go to sleep. If nothing else, it has made me more excited to see what I can get out of this when I’m back home with all my tea paraphernalia. I’m leaving the rating off for now, but I can tell you it’s likely to be high.
On a related note, I have made tea with bottled water before with little success – it typically leaves a lot to be desired in the flavor department. However, I can now say that VOSS water does the trick, though it’s a bit expensive. [Yes, I will cop to being a water snob.]
Hey, Joey Roth, want to design a collapsible, travel-safe gaiwan? I would love you long time.
And now, it’s time for that bath. Peace out, Steepsterites!