I know I said I was going to write about Bai Hao and Darjeeling, but I’ve got to slip this one in there just for kicks…
This was a piece of Da Hong Pao brick that James brought back from China. I had been holding on to it (as I do with all my aged oolongs), hoarding it for a special occasion…Then I got over it and decided that the tea itself WAS the special occasion…

Nicotine. Dry sandy soil. Bitter, with only a suggestion of roundness. Both aroma and taste reminded me so strongly of tobacco—not smoked, but the dry leaves…although one could say there’s a hint of ash thrown in there. Feels earthy in quality and not so much head-y as heart-y…although I felt it in my 3rd chakra, too! An ancient hearth, charred bits of old sacred manuscripts…the royal secret safe.

200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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Tea combines the all sensual, earthly, sacred, social, philosophical, and artistic elements of this world. It is where culture meets nature gently, as in an offering to dance. It is part ritual, part impossible moment—“one meeting, one chance.”

I am a chaiwala because the tea experience is a way of sharing in a great reverence—for nature, for pleasure, for the present moment, for each other— a reverence that the busy world often forgets.


Burlington, VT



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