Steep Stories

of the Lazy Literatus

Month: November 2015 (Page 1 of 3)

The White Forest Oolong Finish Line

NaNoTeaMo, Day 30: “The White Forest Oolong Finish Line”

Holy heck . . . I made it.

finish line

This is it, Day 30. The final post in my self-inflicted NaNoTeaMo challenge. No one put me up to it; I wasn’t trying to prove anything. The only reason I did it was to see if I had any ounce of writing discipline in me. Apparently, I do. And then some.

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A Forward Foreword to a Fermented Puerh

NaNoTeaMo, Day 29: “A Forward Foreword to a Fermented Puerh

I have a confession to make, but I’m going to do it in the most roundabout way possible. Don’t worry, I’ll get to a point (eventually), and I’ll somehow try to segue into tea. But I warn you, it won’t be pretty. And neither is my confession. It involves a spelling error, a really public spelling error that no one seemed to pick up on.

Earlier this week, I received this in the mail.

Myths and Legends of Tea

Myths & Legends of Tea by Gary Robson.

And I was psyched. Actually, I’ve received a few tea books recently, and I will get to all of them in due time. Including this one; but that’s not why I was so psyched. I immediately turned to the introduction. Why? Because . . . I WAS the introduction!!!

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A Bug-Bitten Beauty of a Black Tea

NaNoTeaMo, Day 28: “A Bug-Bitten Black Beipu Beauty of a Tea”

If you’ve spent any time around hardcore Taiwanese tea drinkers, you probably ran into the term “bug-bitten”. And probably thought of this.

big bug bite

No? Just me? Anyway . . .

“Bug-bitten” refers to teas that come from tea plants where pest involvement is encouraged. In Taiwan, there is a common pest called a leafhopper (Jacobiasca formosana). The bug species is common throughout much of Asia. They are especially drawn to the phloem found in stems, leaves and buds of tea plants.

leafhopper

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A Different Dark Tea on Black Friday

NaNoTeaMo, Day 27: “A Different Dark Tea on Black Friday”

As I’m writing this, it’s the night of Black Friday. To most tea people with a pun gland, though, it’s Black Tea Friday. So, in honor of that, will I be talking about another unique black tea?

NOPE

Forget it, I’m going to talk about dark tea, instead. That’s right, heicha! And not from China, either. This time? We’re going to look at a little known tea growing country called Laos.

Don’t tell me you’ve never heard of Laos. Ever watch The King and I? That’s Laos!

The King and I

Well, Siam to the time period it was portraying and . . . y’know what? Bad example.

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Obligatorily Weird Thanksgiving Tea Post

NaNoTeaMo, Day 26: “Obligatorily Weird Thanksgiving Tea Post”

I think it’s mandatory that if one is going to post a blog on Thanksgiving Day, they actually have to give thanks to something or someone. And, trust me, I will do just that. But not right this second. You see, I have a weird Camellia species to talk about first.

Photo owned by Seven Cups

Photo owned by Seven Cups

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Cáscara Té Amo

NaNoTeaMo, Day 25: “Cáscara Té Amo”

When I first started doing “NaNoTeaMo” at the beginning of this month (i.e. a tea blog every day in November), I also chose use it as a hashtag. What I didn’t know was . . . the hashtag was already in use for something else. And I had no clue what it meant.

The hashtag in question was “#NaNoTeAmo” – the “A” was capitalized. It was Spanish for something. I asked my sister – who was fluent – what it stood for.

She said, “Um . . . Nano Loves You (?).”

I dunno who “Nano” is, or who he presumes to love, but I chose to stick with the “NaNoTeaMo” moniker for this little self-challenge, anyway. It was too late to change it up, now. Regardless of how confusing the Spanish derivative of it was. And speaking of confusing Spanish things, that makes a great (if awkward) segue into my next topic.

Cáscara.

Coffee Berry

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Three Words: Puerh Tea Paste

NaNoTeaMo, Day 24: “Three Words: Puerh Tea Paste”

Cha Gao is weird.

weird al

No . . . weirder.

The concept behind it is weird. The backstory is weird. The whole damn experience is just . . . weird. And this is coming from a guy that thrives on all teas weird. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

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My Love/Hate Relationship with Wuyi Oolongs

NaNoTeaMo, Day 23: “My Love/Hate Relationship with Wuyi Oolongs”

I remember the first time I heard the word “yancha”. In an unlikely move, I was attending a local gathering of fellow tea folks. I was nowhere near as knowledgeable as I am now (which – admittedly – still isn’t much). In order to be social, I approached one random guy who was standing by himself, surveying the crowd, teacup hand.

“So,” I started. “What do you usually drink?” Typical tea-ish ice-breaker.

“Mostly yancha,” he said curtly.

My mind instantly went, Isn’t that a Dragon Ball Z character?

yamcha

Nah . . .

“What’s that?” I asked, trying hard not to sound ig’nant.

He rolled his eyes, and let out a sigh. “It’s Wuyi. Rock. Oolong.”

“Ah,” I simply said. Why didn’t you just say THAT?!

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AKA Spike My Ceylons with Jessica Jones

NaNoTeaMo, Day 22: “AKA Spike My Ceylons with Jessica Jones”

Before reading the ramblings below, it’ll probably help you to visualize it being read by Humphrey Bogart. To set the proper mood.

Bogie

If that’s too difficult, or way to serious a voice . . . then picture Garrison Keillor as Guy Noir reading this aloud.

Garrison noir

Both are applicable.

*****

It was a chilly Fall evening, and I just finished a rather grueling work weekend. One that made me yearn for food that was bad for me . . . and women that were worse. Luckily, both were in great supply and very nearby. Fast food was easily found and consumed, and now it was time to binge on a fast woman. Faster than me, anyway.

For you see . . . Jessica Jones premiered on Netflix last Friday.

Jessica Jones (2)

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Getting Tea Drunk on Giddapahar

NaNoTeaMo, Day 21: “Getting Tea Drunk on Giddapahar”

The Giddapahar tea estate rests near the center of the Kurseong Valley. The name translates to “Eagle’s Cliff”. While still considered high altitude in most respects, it represents one of the lower altitude gardens in that region. One of the most unique aspects of the estate is its size. Compared to many other Darjeeling ops, it’s rather small – 110 hectares total, 90% of which are covered in tea plants. Most of the bushes they use are small leaf Chinese cultivars.

Giddapahar

Luckily, the garden had a website for me to look all this up. How many tea estates actually have a website? Not many, I’ve found – unless they’re huge. Granted, the site needs a lot of work. It was apparently made in 2013, but looks like it was rendered in 2003. Plus, there’s weird New Age music playing in the background. It’s eerily soothing. Those nitpicks aside, though, “A” for effort.

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