Steep Stories

of the Lazy Literatus

A Fly on Tea Journey’s Wall

The idea for Tea Journey Magazine came about the way most great ideas do . . . at a party.

Image owned by Tea Journey Magazine. Front from left: Bob Krul, Susan, Si Chen, Katrina Munichiello. Back row from left: Andrew McNeilL, Austin Hodge, Kevin Gascoyne, Dan Bolton and Tony Gebely.

Image owned by Tea Journey Magazine. Front from left: Bob Krul, Susan, Si Chen, Katrina Munichiello. Back row from left: Andrew McNeilL, Austin Hodge, Kevin Gascoyne, Dan Bolton and Tony Gebely.

I wasn’t at this party, but I wish I’d been a fly on that wall.

fly me

Image ‘shopped by Rachel Carter.

Read More

Tea-Fueled Las Vegas Tourism

I needed a vacation.

rough week

And I needed it as soon as possible.

That was probably why—when I planned it—I decided to leave for Las Vegas four days earlier than I really needed to. The original intent was to go down just for the days of World Tea Expo. Well, I decided to tack on a few additional vacation days to that. And Naomi “Joy’s Teaspoon” Rosen was to put me up (and put up with me) for those extra days.

What occurred could best (and simply) be described as “tea-fueled tourism”.

Read More

When Life Gives You Shit, Drink Rummy Pu

I have no words for how shitty this weekend was.

manure

Okay, not true. I have 1,551 words. Geez, that’s a lot.

Read More

Keep Calm and Gaiwan On

In 1939, the United Kingdom officially declared war against Nazi Germany. Punctually early, as was the British way. In order to keep public morale high, the Ministry of Information designed and distributed posters to strengthen British resolve in advance of wartime peril. One of which was this:

Keep Calm and Carry On

It was a very British slogan.

Read More

Dark Tea from Taiwan

In late 2013, I thought I tried the rarest, weirdest, most unheard-of tea unicorn out there—a heicha (dark tea) from Taiwan.

dark tea

After three years of palatial growth, though, I’m now convinced that it was a Yunnan grown puerh that was merely stored in Taiwan. Still unique, but not quite the unicorn I thought it was. However, I learned of a group who might have created one.

Read More

Several Moments of Matcha Madness

I’ve gone on record as saying that Mizuba Tea‘s matcha line is one of my favorites.

Mizuba Matcha canister

Both for their quality . . . and convenience. Convenient, how? Well, “they” are located in my neck of the woods. That’s right, I have a local matcha (read: crack) dealer. If I need a fix, I know who to call/text/e-mail/smoke signal.

Read More

A Guy and His Gaiwan

Back in 2009, I didn’t like oolongs. In general, anyway. There were some specific ones I liked, but most of them were off limits. I even explained this to Tony Tellin, lead blender extraordinaire at Smith Teamaker, when he was working the tea bar one day.

He said, “You’re probably not brewing them right.”

He escaped into the back and brought out a gaiwan (lidded Chinese teacup), and then he gave me a quick primer on how to do gongfu cha (literally, “brew tea with skill”). I had seen it done before, but it always intimidated me—multiple steeps, multiple pours, and the equipment required. He assured me that all I would need was a gaiwan, and to remember, “Short, successive steeps”.

Then he gave me his gaiwan.

oldest gaiwan

It’s  . . . seen a lot of use. By me.

Read More

Da Hong Pao: My Old Nemesis

Seven Days of Seven Cups, Day 7 – “Da Hong Pao: My Old Nemesis”

Da Hong Pao (“Big Red Robe”) . . . my old nemesis . . . we meet again.

Now, I’ve gone on record several times over the years as saying that Da Hong Pao was one of my least favorite oolongs. Sure, I had a few I liked, but the amount I disliked far outweighed that. That all changed in November of last year when I had an original “mother bush” Qi Dan Da Hong Pao. And for some reason—as I stated in earlier entries—it forever changed my palate. Wuyi oolongs were now welcomed to my tea tray.

However, I still remained hesitant toward commodity Da Hong Pao. What’s the difference? Allow me to explain.

The six (allegedly) original Da Hong Pao (Big Red Robe) tea bushes; image owned by Seven Cups.

The six (allegedly) original Da Hong Pao (Big Red Robe) tea bushes; image owned by Seven Cups.

Read More

Lao Cong Shui Xian Oolong . . . or Wulong

Seven Days of Seven Cups, Day 6 – “Lao Cong Shui Xian Oolong . . . or Wulong”

A thought occurred to me while I was doing this Wuyi oolong-fueled, seven-blog stretch. I haven’t once referred to “oolong” as “wulong”. Granted, I never do, but it’s a particular sticking point here . . . because Seven Cups refers to them as wulongs. And, technically, they’re right? It is “wulong”, or rather . . . this, in Traditional Chinese (Mandarin) . . .

wulong characters

Basically “woolong cha” or “black dragon tea”, which is the coolest name, ever.

Read More

Searching for the Cinnamon in Rou Gui

Seven Days of Seven Cups, Day 5 – “Searching for the Cinnamon in Rou Gui”

Rou Gui holds the distinction of being the first—and a long time ago, only— Wuyi oolong I liked when I first got started. Of course, in the last year or so, my palate has since Stockholmed its way into acceptance of most Wuyi oolongs, but Rou Gui will always be the first that opened the floodgates. Part of that might be in the name; Rou Gui literally means “cassia” in Chinese, which is a type of local cinnamon—Cinnamomum cassia.

Cinnamomum cassia

This is the first Wuyi oolong I’ve sipped this week that didn’t have a name that sounded like a call-back to a piece of Hong Kong cinema. Curious that a bunch of folks in the Qing Dynasty would want to name a plant for . . . another plant, instead of tea drunk, kung fu monks or Taoist wizards. I wonder why that is? Let’s dig into the tea itself to find out.

Read More

Page 1 of 29

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén

Skysa App Bar
Skip to toolbar