Monthly Archives: July 2014

OSP: Tea #3 The Social and the Solitary

People put-tea-ing the word out there

I was honestly surprised by how many blogs there are out there, totally dedicated to tea! Tea reviews and tastings, how to brew each kind of tea properly, guides to knowing what tea to buy and where to get it. Blogmetrics has a list of the 25 top tea blogs out there! I didn’t look into how they determine who’s “top”, but they have a link on there to their 20 criteria.

A good idea

The last 2 weeks I’ve really enjoyed reading and even back-reading some articles. Here are my personal favourites in no particular order:

  • The Snooty Tea Blog I found fun – I enjoy her writing and how personal she makes her tea reviews. The photos on the Snootea blog are aesthetically very pleasing, satisfying my right-brain compulsions.
  • Tea Masters on Blogspot looks very professional and meticulous. It’s run by Stephane, a guy who lives in Taiwan and shares his tea knowledge & experiences, some of which he draws from his tea mentors (he mentions Teaparker, author and connoisseur). His photos reflect how much attention he pays to detail, and his tea reviews are quite literary 🙂
  • The Tea Addict’s Journal’s last couple of posts have been more practical and experience-based – it seems like he’s in China right now, in tea paradise – and he’s posting about how to buy good tea from local tea shop rather than heading for the supermarket, as well as the gems he’s found along the way.

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OSP Tea! #2 Weird and wonderful

Now for the interesting tangents… Tea is pretty cheap, as a commodity (according to indexmundi tea has sold for just over US$2 p/kg for the last couple of months), and depending on where you buy your tea, one cup could cost US$0.09![1] What?? Even if you pay US$10 for a 2oz bag of loose leaf tea, which is on the more upscale end, it only comes out to US$0.55.[2]

On the other hand, nothing special ever stays absolutely accessible. One of my first wanderings into the tea world, I had to search out the most expensive tea… and it coincided quite conveniently with the weird and bizarre things people do to set their tea-drinking apart from what may be considered plebian. First-off I do not consider it a special kind of tea experience when there are golden flakes brewed among the tea leaves! That’s just bizarre and says nothing about a love of tea, rather more about a personal lack of authenticity. With that mini rant out of the way… There is a tea that embodies both decadent indulgence as well as adventurous daring! 🙂 This is the kind of beverage that, were I to be blessed by its ingestion, I don’t know whether I would brag about drinking a US$200 cup of it, or to just keep to myself what it is I’ve spent that much cash on… It is o.O panda dung tea.[3]

Unlike the civet coffee where the animal actually eats and poops out the bean, in this case the tea fields are fertilized with panda dung. Actually, that’s not so bad… An Yanshi, the guy whose idea this is, calls it environmental, organic tea in the spirit of recycling and using waste in positive ways. Whatever floats your boat, man 🙂 Continue reading

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OSP Tea! #1 Basics

Aaah, tea… A good cup of tea always makes me feel like my soul (whatever that is), is taking a deep, relaxing sigh. Soothing, like a soft, deep blanket; the process of brewing and drinking tea is usually the chance I take to stop… breathe… and remember to slow down. Other than this enjoyment I get and a half-glanced label saying ‘China’ somewhere on the box, I know very little about something that gives me so much pleasure. This is where my eclectic explorations have brought me – to the mechanics (or organics;) of tea.

Designed by Nico Venter. Visit his blog: 189.wordpress.com

Designed by Nico Venter.
Visit his blog: 189.wordpress.com

Origin & context:
Much to my surprise all tea comes from the same plant – Camellia sinensis – so you get black tea, white tea, oolong, green & pu’erh tea from altering the myriad steps in between picking the tea leaves and shipping it out. Wikipedia has a nice article about tea processing that even has a diagram on how to get each kind of tea out of the Camellia sinensis leaves. This means that some of my favourite teas (rooibos, mint, ginger tea, etc) are strictly speaking not tea, but herbal infusions. Meh 🙂 Continue reading

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Filed under food & Drink, I want to know about..., Obsessions

Obsessive’s Starter Pack: Tea!

What in your starter pack are you digging into first?

OST #1: Basics
Click to explore what tea is and where it comes from. Is it super popular?

OST #2: Weird and Wonderful
Strange things put in their mouths and call tea! I need to try them all 🙂 From the really expensive, to the affordable and even something you can make at home.

OST #3: The social and the solitary
Tea blogs that I am impressed by and now read constantly, and my book wishlist.

OST #4: Tea Time Travel Bug
I have made a whole travel itinerary based on, but not limited to, visiting tea estates in Darjeeling, India.
(Not posted yet, coming soon)

Designed by Nico Venter. Visit his blog: 189.wordpress.com

Designed by Nico Venter.
Visit his blog: 189.wordpress.com

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Strangeness of language

Eclectic Explorations

People live consciously, in the context of their past (i.e. always aware of their past) and aware of the potential of their future… This is something fundamentally different from other creatures. There are definitely many things that separate us from the animal kingdom; most see this separation as a good thing – progressive – some see it as destructive, either way it’s inevitable.

All languages that I know of, have developed a way to express past & future. Most major languages have, anyway; certainly every language that is commonly used in more than one country. Why? Why is this concept, this perspective important to so many people? Ok… thinking about this on an individual level – we learn from our past and hope for our future, but why so profoundly? There are those absolutely slave to their past and those whose despair of their future is so devastating that it…

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Drinking with Men: A Memoir – Rosie Schaap

Eclectic Explorations

I am not a bar regular and I will probably never be one, though Rosie Schaap’s memoir has given me a yearning to find a tucked-away cozy joint somewhere, which could be a little getaway when I need it. In every chapter Rosie takes the reader to a different bar, where she spent a significant amount of time and which became the context for that part of her life. When I think of someone spending most of their free time in a bar, drinking, I do not picture something jovial and merry, but rather something wallowing in depression and stagnation, regretting misspent years and opportunities… This book tells an absolutely and pleasantly contradictory story!

Rosie’s book and her life may well be packed with bars (bright and dingy alike) and filled with drinking of all shapes and sizes (happy, celebratory drinking, desperate sorrowful drinking, drinking to cement friendships or to…

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