This week, while going through some old files on my lap top, I came upon these photos of my 'first real tea tasting'. Why not share, I thought! I'm listening to The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning these days as I begin a first round of retirement decluttering and will talk more about that fun another time.
In my last post, I talked a little about taking a more serious dive into teas.
What I'm talking about here though is taking notes and multiple brews with set timing and temperature ... and documenting each brew. About a month after receiving these fun 'tea-tasting' booklets from 33Books Co on Etsy, I gathered up enough false courage and audaciousness to set to and record my official opinion in the pristine new booklet.
I wrote about it on an old blog that never really got off the ground. I keep it open because it still holds meaning for me as documentation of my almost 5-year stumble, so far, through retirement following 25+ years of full-time teaching. I suppose I could also say 35+ years but I prefer to only count the years after Sheridan made a full-time commitment to me. Our first decade was filled with partial load and sessional teaching contracts even though these annual loads were considered full-time.
So yes - I am fast approaching the 5-year anniversary of retirement. So much has happened since then. Jewelry-making wasn't even a spark of an idea in my mind when I left teaching art to college foundation students. I have to laugh now about how I stumbled into jewelry-making - it had everything to do with just not wanting to get the inside of my winter coat covered in mud anymore. Of course, I'll share more about that, too, at some point. My shop site is so new and I've got so much more to upload besides these little gems to ritualistically wear whilst taking a moment to dress up and sip some special brews we have squirrelled away, aging gracefully in perfectly humidified tea collection cupboards increasing in depth of flavour as each day goes by.
I suppose, looking back, I did know a little something about tea, having come across a handful of YouTube videos of people showing off their stashes and storage systems back in the days when I experimented with kombucha brewing. I'd stumbled upon a FaceBook group of others making a Tibetan kombucha with pu'erh tea and broadedned my horizons with it, and more. And here's a post I wrote about making Jun, the champagne of kombuchas using green tea and honey. I got this 'mother' through another follower on FaceBook who had her son meet me on Bloor Street West near Dufferin, across from his high school where we made the exchange which would have looked a lot like an awkward drug swap with me handing him something to bring back to his Mom (I think it might have been some dried nettle from my garden so she could, too, to try in a batch).
I've grown Butterfly Pea Blue Flower tea on the roof deck, brewed and posted about it ... and I'd tried a few other types of loose leaf teas - green and jasmine - at Chinese and/or Japanese restaurants. And when I bought loose leaf tea in specialty stores, it was mostly black ... and I always had it with milk and sugar. I also confess to committing the sin of having pu'erh the same way.
Things really opened up to me though after I opened up the Vahdam Advent Calendar in December 2020. It became so much clearer to me just how serious tea tasting could be after watching videos mentioned in my last post.
I have to say, my first serious tasting didn't go all that well ... but it gave me the confidence I needed to fall further into surreal adventures of teas.
UPDATE: As a result of posts I made to Instragram, I received a request from umiteas to write review for them and was mailed a complimentary pouch of the well-known Dragon Well Lung Ching Green Tea. When asked to chose a type of tea I would like to do a tasting of, I put the ball back in their court and asked them to choose for me based on what they would think I might enjoy based on my Instagram posts. I don’t pretend to be an expert on tea by any stretch and I have not made even a small dent in the spectrum of teas to be tried – though I know what I like and that I like way too many teas for my budget.
The leaves of Dragon Well are broad and flat, no longer than the average finger nail, and it's said to be very similar to the Japanese green tea, "Sencha".
I had switched from black teas to drinking green by the time their package arrived. This decision had a lot to do with the weather. It’s getting hot here in Toronto. They choose well. I will start by saying I really like this tea.
It makes a refreshing Summer beverage both with and without ice, plain or blended with subtle additions like rose petals and/or orange. This is not to say, I feel it doesn’t stand on it’s own but rather it speaks to its versatility. After all, it is one of the top ten Great Teas of China.
I’ve written a couple of posts on Instagram about it. The first post went into a description and tasting notes I enjoyed and the second post introduced blending it with citrus. At some point, I will make a Jun kombucha with it as I fully expect it will complement it’s delicate flavours.