I’ve become accustomed to drinking particular teas “grandpa style” (or “Laoshan style”?). I don’t think gs is an “official” term in the tea drinking world but I read it on a very well-written blog (whose author is also on Steepster, btw):


and decided to try it. I’ve found that I actually prefer drinking particular teas straight from my glass rather than steeping my tea in a separate infuser or my dinky little $12 ceramic yixing. Drinking good tea this way feels more natural, like I’m more connected to the process. Yes, the process of brewing the tea and focusing on the steps and being more “centered” and “in the now” but…also the connection to the farmers, the tea bushes/trees themselves. Drinking this way makes me feel like I’m the last link in the chain that started, literally, in the roots of a plant in the ground of another country on the other side of the planet. Does anyone else feel that way or think about that? Am I losing my mind? Contemplating metaphysical dualism after a few cups of good tea wreaks havoc on your existentialistic philosophy.

Anyway. I’m pretty sure this is a Wen Shan Bao Zhong (or Pouchong) Oolong. The leaves are not rolled up tightly into small, dark green and sometimes glossy nuggets like traditional Dong Ding. The tea is literal loose leaf, shards and thin twirls of dark, almost black pieces. Its an amalgamation of textures and colors that took me by surprise. Looks good, though, different than what I am used to. I’m always willing to try new things.

Little bit of peach fruitiness, the light sting of muted acidity. Then there’s that lingering sweetness on the lips, light and pleasant. Sometimes with Dong Dings, I get a thicker sweetness and less acidity. I like this better. There is more of a nuanced lightness. This is a delicate and simple tea and one I find myself passing over in my tea library because I always want to save it for later. I might have a new favorite.

Apparently, Empress Dowager’s story is pretty sad. Long story short: her decision and obligation to keep imperialism and ancient tradition active, rather than accepting the change knocking on the doors of the Forbidden City from the outside world, resulted in “not only the downfall of her dynasty, but of the entire tradition of imperial government” <http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/p/index.php?title=Empress_Dowager_Longyu&oldid=800342>.

Now she has a tea that breaks typical oolong tradition named after her.

Ironic, no?

175 °F / 79 °C

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Tea has changed my life. First it was Lipton green tea at work. That evolved into Stash, to Tazo, then to Steven Smith teas. I started wandering down the tea aisle in Wegmans and started picking things off the shelf. Went to Teavana and then picked up Silver Needle and Dragonwell teas. Bought a book called “The Tea Drinker’s Handbook”. Started looking at various tea distributor websites. Found Steepster. Life altered.

I bring tea to parties for a nice drink before a beer or the morning after, which is always a hit. I drink it with breakfast and in the late hours of the night. It wakes me up and calms me down. It feels like a friend who I want to tell everyone about yet keep them all to myself. I love the history of it, the intimacy of it, the entire world of it.

Favs: Love me some green and white tea. Blends are okay when sharing with people but when I’m alone or have the late night blues, then Silver Needle it is. Matcha for when I need to calm down while making it and to refocus after I drink it.

About me: I have two masters degrees (in Education and creative writing), write short stories, draw a comic strip and have ridden my bicycle across the country alone.


Rochester, NY



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