What tastes good? Us and Them:

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Ethan Kurland
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Sat Mar 30, 2019 10:52 pm

With my older sister, Judith, today. 2 months ago she got tea from me. She had a packet of excellent gaoshan that I call Perfect rolled inside a cup, not closed tightly with clips nor bands. After I had expressed my dismay, Judith told me that she had not been drinking it because for weeks she had forgotten that she had the tea and then later when she remembered she had it, Judith had thought it might have gone bad she had not tried to store it well.

Anyway, I prepared it. It did not present sweetness with a touch of floral notes that it usually does, but it was not bad. Judith thought it was terrific, at least as good as when it was fresh. It tasted good to her; so, I decided not to mention what flavors were missing.

I was reminded that a cup of tea is not such a big deal to most people. Even when aware there is much more pleasure to be had, getting a little more from some good loose tea is great for them. Like someone who used to make instant coffee but now brews Maxwell House or whatever out of a can; decent tea leaves not in a bag is the main thing. One does need more.

I was also reminded that a lot of talk about preparation etc. just muddles the minds of people who don't care as much as those thinking they are kindly sharing some of what they have learned about tea.

Judith has been a part of lots that has gone on, helping on major acts of Congress, holding positions for Massachusetts, Boston, etc. She has been behind the scenes and up front, helping usually, but sometimes leading (as Commissioner of Health for Boston she ran 3 hospitals & 28 clinics employing 4000 people under her cutting this city's infant mortality rate in half). Yet, to prepare tea well etc. in addition to what she does with coffee (which she grinds herself etc.) is too much for her. But she is happy with tea that is a little flat, using leaves for only one infusion (most times) when the leaves are good for more.....She is not like me about tea. Most people aren't.

Anyway in the future, I will have all of my gaoshan in 40-gram packs as the dayuling that I am selling is. I don't like the idea of green fresh leaves losing some of what they offer in large quantities.

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mrmopu
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Sun Mar 31, 2019 7:16 am

A lot of people don't understand our habits with tea and our fascination and obsession with it.
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Bok
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Sun Mar 31, 2019 8:28 am

Thoughtful topic Ethan.

For me the moral of the story is: Drink the best tea you can get and afford, prepared in the way you like it. Take into consideration what others might suggest, yet abandon any rules or methods if they do not improve your personal cup.

Sharing is good, yet once you share, you pass the task of its enjoyment to that person. So share what you can afford and are willing to share, otherwise keep it!

In the end it is still a niche interest...
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Tillerman
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Sun Mar 31, 2019 8:52 am

Bok wrote:
Sun Mar 31, 2019 8:28 am
Thoughtful topic Ethan.

For me the moral of the story is: Drink the best tea you can get and afford, prepared in the way you like it. Take into consideration what others might suggest, yet abandon any rules or methods if they do not improve your personal cup.

Sharing is good, yet once you share, you pass the task of its enjoyment to that person. So share what you can afford and are willing to share, otherwise keep it!

In the end it is still a niche interest...
Amen!
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rdl
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Sun Mar 31, 2019 9:14 am

I saw a photograph. A group of village kids, the boy in front having taken off his sandal, holding it in front of him to take a photo. That selfie brought as much joy to those kids as someone in Bali with an iPhone and perfect sunset.
Whether it's a tea, a finely tailored garment, a hand made writing instrument, wood-burning oven baked craft pizza, there is always an "Us and Them"
I prefer to be neither an us nor them, but the "and" in your proposal.
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Victoria
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Sun Mar 31, 2019 3:27 pm

Yes, an esoteric interest for sure. My mother still asks “so are you still into ‘that tea thing’?” implying it’s silly and I should be spending my time on more serious pursuits. My brother recently let me know the oolong I’ve shared with him are ‘crap’. Honestly, I was surprised by that response. Then there are the westerners who associate tea with crumpets, milk, sugar, ladies and high tea. Sometimes I even wonder if it is merely a self indulgent pleasure. But then I remember what drew me into the wormhole of tea exploration is much more than a sensory experience, it is a state of calm focus and grace, while at the same time intellectually engaging cultural, aesthetic and historical aspects. An added plus for me is sharing this experience with other tea heads, I really enjoy those moments together.
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Baisao
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Sun Mar 31, 2019 6:48 pm

A nice meditation on what is needed, but perhaps with her stressful life what is needed is meditation.
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debunix
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Sat Apr 06, 2019 11:25 am

I send my sister care packages of various teas, and she loves to explore them, but I use the vacuum sealer to make single-pot packets for the greener oolongs and the senchas, because I know she won't use them up quickly. I think she enjoys the teas either way, but I feel better doing it this way for the sake of the tea.
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