I was looking for a tea to break in my new gaiwan with, and was rummaging in my stash and found half a sample of this still left from, er, a month ago. But hey, it was still in the foil pack, rolled down on itself and clipped with a small wooden peg, and inside my Lock & Lock, so it still had to be okay, right? (It was!)

A quick note on the gaiwan: I already have, uh, three, but was considering buying a “cheap” one from ebay, those $3 ones (EXCLUDING shipping) to knock around. Last night I was at the home section in Landmark and saw— I could not believe it!— gaiwans! ON SALE! For something like (converted) $0.66! Of course, one doesn’t expect master craftsmanship at this point, so I examined each carefully from all angles and picked out one that looked alright. It took, I dunno, 20 minutes. Haha. So while I was at it, a woman who was passing by, probably piqued by the intensity of my selection process, paused by the display and picked one up.

“What are these for?” says she, lifting up the lid and squinting into the cup. “Are these sugar bowls?”

“Uh. Well…” How to explain. But then I brightened up at the thought of sharing with a random person the joys of a gaiwan. “They’re for tea! You put loose leaf tea in them, you see, and…” I demonstrated pouring it out and pointed how the imaginary leaves would get stuck…

She ‘hunh’-ed. Blinked. Then went away.

So much for spreading the tea gospel.

But: back to the Long Feng Xia. I can see why this is a favorite among the Feng Fu samples. I shook out only a bit of the leaves for a session of western brewing, probably not even half a teaspoon. But the leaves expanded to fill half the gaiwan. Pleased to find one leaf that seemed particularly large, about two inches long, and an inch across at the widest point. There’s something about finding large leaves that makes me want to pound my chest in a (confused, anachronistic) cavemanly fashion, and proclaim: “Yarrrrh! Yea, I am drinking TEA! From the LEAF. Take that, bitches!” (My caveman needs to watch less television.)

Now turns out the gaiwan is crap at pouring (is what I will maintain. yes.), but it brewed the tea up pretty well. The lid smell is amazing! The first whiff is floral, but let it air out for a bit, then breathe in deeper. I swear it was like… omg butterscotch brownies. Like the ones I buy from our cafeteria, that look dubious but still taste great, even after getting tossed around in my school bag. Sniffing deeply now at the lid of my gaiwan, I can imagine the crackled crunchy crust… the yummy, buttery grease oiling patterns on the wax paper… a hint of nuts sprinkled on top, perhaps… biting into that crunchy, crackley chewy goodness and just…. NOM.

Damn I want one now. But tea, yes. We were talking about tea. The tea liquor is light golden yellow, with a somewhat lemony aftertaste on the tongue, but still that lovely sweet oolong taste at the back of my tongue/in the throat. Mmm. Good stuff.

Oh and my pouring skills improved with the second brew, with minimal spillage on my trusty super-absorbent tea cloth. So here’s to an enjoyable tea session with cheap tea ware, good tea (might have to repurchase that Long Feng Xia. hmm) and drinking mid-morning oolong out of a pair of shot glasses*. Cheers!

*It’s almost been a month since I moved to the new apartment, but tea cups are still at home. ^^; Housewarming presents, anyone?

Annoying P.S.:
And while I was sitting back waiting for my third round to brew and sighing happily and thinking to myself self-satisfied thoughts like “Aaaahhh” and “Man, that’s good tea” and “I pledge allegiance to the teas of Formosa”… (what, does no one else do this?) I suddenly remembered that the boyfriend will be going on a trip to Taiwan next week! I wonder what I shall ask him to bring back for me. :D :D

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My favorite teas: Chinese greens, Formosa oolongs (especially Alishan), and Matcha.

I’m not fond of black or flavored teas.

I love tiny gaiwan.


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