Reflecting on my first several weeks of my new tea life adventure

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Wed Jan 15, 2020 8:40 pm

You wrote:
"Sometimes I want my tea a little stronger, so I might use hotter water or steep for a few minutes. Sometimes, I want to taste the mellow sweetness of the tea and really appreciate all of its vegetal notes. I'll use lower temperature and steep for only one minute to achieve to extract the flavors I'm seeking."
How elegantly put. You seem to have it down extremely well. That's a good position to go off and experiment and try new things.
To stick with your Buddhist analogy, the story of the man who spent 30 long years to master the ability to cross above the river on his own volition. The Buddha walked up to the boatman, paid a coin, went back and forth, and told the man he did in 10 minutes what took the man 30 years.
How long does it take to learn to prepare tea just right?
My ruminations weren't directed towards any of us who posted, following your lead, on how enticing and life altering the world of tea can be.
I do truly appreciate how individual it is. Maybe my ruminations are like a swatting fly swatter, never actually hitting its target.
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Wed Jan 15, 2020 9:28 pm

Interesting, I had not heard that story before. Perhaps the question was rhetorical, but who knows...maybe it would take more than one lifetime to master preparing the perfect cup of tea. But then again, what's a perfect cup of tea? To you, what might taste like perfection, might be a harsh and bitter for me. That's what I love about drinking tea. Although there are "guidelines" for how to brew various teas, and many of them have merit, sometimes it's nice to just wing it and not try to force anything. Just pour a cup of tea and sit and drink, without having to control the brew all the time.
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Wed Jan 15, 2020 10:38 pm

rdl wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 2:01 pm
I recall occasions where a dog owner would proudly demonstrate the tricks their dog could do. That pet/owner relationship was none of my business, but I always felt an unease, of control that the dog had no say in; it was acted upon, not acting.

So it is with my tea journey. I never sought to train the tea to perform, neither by water, teapot nor temperature. I looked for nothing more than to let the tea express itself. Meaning there were parameters, pairings, things of that sort, but to the extreme of having a circus dog perform for me, I never chose that preparation.
I just finished reading "The Other End of the Leash", by Patricia McConnell, Ph.D., a certified Applied Animal Behaviorist. The book focuses on the intersection of primate and canid behaviors in a way that helps dog owners better understand how they communicate with their dogs. Patricia trains her dogs to herd sheep and competes with them.

With that fresh in my mind, I can extend your dog/tea analogy. Rather than overbearing control, gently coaxing the best qualities from a tea or dog is the best route.

Like dogs, some teas don't have the best pedigrees. They need help to express their very best qualities. GFC is historically rooted in taking problematic teas and coaxing the best from them while minimizing the worst.

I can say I've never felt I had a controlling relationship with tea. I "listen" to what a tea needs and sometimes make small changes that will give me what I want. For example, most very good gaoshan have gardenia fragrance in the leaf if you attenuate the parameters just right. Gardenia is my favorite fragrance. If I detect that the components are there for this fragrance I will coax it out with as that is what I like. It doesn't feel forced. It feels like I am bringing a beautiful fragrance to the surface, a fragrance that's often hidden behind honeysuckle and orchid fragrances.

No shock collars or abuse, just persuasion by playing to the character of each tea.
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Wed Jan 15, 2020 11:54 pm

Bok wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 6:33 pm
bentz98125 wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 12:19 pm
Bok wrote:
Sun Jan 12, 2020 6:34 pm
bentz98125 I’m not worried about that too much... good tea is already too expensive in the East, so that it wouldn’t sell in the West with the added import/etc. costs even now. Let alone even more expensive if demand would rise. It is and always has been a niche and luxury item for the wealthy.
Does "good" tea for you qualify for the "affordable luxury" category like artisanal coffee, beer and wine? Such consummables thrive so much where I live that any shred of confidence I used to have about guessing their future demand died a long time ago. Also, I was told the truly unaffordable teas in asia rarely escape the grasp of influencial people who exchange them as gifts on formal occaisions. Does that ring any bells or was someone playing with my gullible provincial imagination?
I am talking about the tea just above affordable luxury and before the premium sector.
Does that correspond to different types of tea or grades of quality within the same types?
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Wed Jan 15, 2020 11:59 pm

bentz98125 wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 11:54 pm

Does that correspond to different types of tea or grades of quality within the same types?
Grades within same type (Chinese and Taiwanese teas).
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