Hello. I've been enjoying reviewing your past and recent posts here on teaforum, and thought I would introduce myself. I really like forums, because unlike Instagram and some other forms of social media/chat/messaging, a forum becomes a great knowledge-base and resource over time that can help others. I've already learned a lot from things you've shared. I'm also older and cut my teeth with forums and BBS and developed lifelong friendships from them.
I've posted some on Steepster, lurked on Teachat, lurked on Reddit. I wanted an Instagram account to match, but it was taken, so I'm @birdeggtea on Instagram. It's a new account I just setup, so nothing to see there, yet. I'm Hachachacha on Steepster. My real name is John.
How long have you been drinking tea?
Like most Southerners, I grew up drinking sweet iced tea, so from that perspective, 50 years. When I was in my teens, I asked a Chinese friend why the iced tea in her family's restaurant tasted different. She told me it was oolong and even gave me some loose leaf tea leaves to try. What a missed opportunity! I didn't know what I had been given. I tried to brew it, didn't have much luck, and went on my way. There was no widely available internet back then, so it was harder to learn new things. Fast forward to around 2014, and I once again had some oolong in a Chinese restaurant and I remembered the tea I had been given many years before. I did some searching, and began drinking loose leaf oolongs about that time. Then sometime around 2016, curiosity about other teas had me placing orders with various vendors for green tea, oolongs, ripe and raw puerhs, black teas, white teas, and purple teas. I wanted to try it all. I found oolongs to be my favorite and mostly settled into oolongs until 2019. Then, I began trying more raw puerh tea. That has been my focus this year, and from all indications, it looks like I'm on a deep dive now. In 2019, I've gone from a couple of cakes I purchased in 2017 and 50+ samples to 20+ cakes.
What kind of tea do you drink?
Oolongs and raw puerh primarily. All other types occasionally.
How do you prepare your tea?
For oolongs and puerhs, almost exclusively gongfu style. Until this year, I had always just used a bowl or the sink, but I finally bought a tea tray. Wow, I had been missing out. They make sessions so much more enjoyable. I also found an extra base for my electric kettle, so I can have one in the kitchen and one in the bedroom. I often do gongfu tea in bed with the tea tray. For green teas, I will also do cold brew.
What tea knowledge are you interested in exploring right now?
How much time do you have?
I'm mainly interested in learning more about raw puerh teas. I am trying to get my mind around all of the different regions, different storage and how that affects the tea, different producers, different formulas, etc. I'm interested in storage. I have a mini fridge pumidor I just started (THANKS for all your posts on making humidity packs and the cool tech). I am really interested in learning more about how to navigate Taobao, learning which vendors I can trust and those I should avoid. I'm about to place my first order using an agent. Babelcarp has been a big help. I would like to learn some Chinese. I am also enjoying getting to know those in the tea community, getting involved with more intimate group buys, and sharing knowledge and history.
What factors lead you to delve into the world of tea, and what is keeping you there?
Answered above, but I wanted to know why Chinese oolong tasted so different from my Luzianne tea. That was the original spark. Now, I find the extraordinary diversity of tea interesting and want to become more knowledgable about it. I also enjoy the camaraderie in the still small tea community. The aspect of collecting aged teas and finding bargain treasures also appeals to me. I am involved in some other niche hobbies from bygone eras, and it is always fun collecting. And the idea of aging my own tea, though I wish I had gotten an earlier start, appeals to me.
What is your location?
I'm surrounded by 360 degrees of trees on a little patch of land that most would still call "the country" about 10 miles from Charlotte, NC. We are not in any city or town limits. Our area is experiencing massive growth, and I imagine in the coming years, we will hardly recognize the area, but I'll still have my sanctuary as long as I can afford the property taxes.
I look forward to getting to know everyone. I want to give a special shoutout to MrMopar/MrMopu. You couldn't ask for a nicer friend in the tea community, and he has helped me so much. I look forward to meeting him face to face. I wish you all the best on your tea journeys.