When I am talking about tea to people, they ask me many of the questions that are listed below. Thanks to Nicole Martin from the TeaForMePlease blog, now I have a reason to post the answers. Now when people ask me the same questions, I can just hand them my card with my blog URL on it, and tell them to find this post! Just kidding. Anyway, thank you to Nicole for tagging me to do this confessions post. Let’s get started…
1) First, let’s start with how you were introduced & fell in love with the wonderful beverage of tea.
For the first twenty-six years of my life, tea was consumed mostly in the heavily sweetened form of canned or bottled tea (Brisk, Sobe, Arizona, etc). Arguments aside whether or not those products really count as “tea.” As for hot tea, it was only something that I drank when I was sick. That all turned around on one day. My wife had gone to the mall, and randomly decided to stop by Teavana. She purchased a bag of a flavored white tea blend (named below). I looked at the receipt. Once I regained consciousness and picked myself up off the floor, I asked her to brew a pot. For that price, this drink had better be the best liquid that ever hit my tongue. Well, I am not sure if I could give it that much credit (especially now), but I have to admit that I was surprised by how refreshing it was for a hot tea. By the time we hit the end of that bag, I was begging my wife to go to the mall. However, due to the bright and loud colors of that store, I had my wife do all the talking and purchasing, as I pretended to be the typical disinterested male who had been dragged in by his wife. Eventually, I got over that phobia, and became a regular there, spending way too much money on every visit. Thankfully for myself, I was only a Teavana nut for about eight months before seeking more exotic and interesting teas. Since then, I have not bought tea from Teavana.
2) What was the very first tea blend that you ever tried?
Teavana’s Golden Mojito White Tea. It was citrusy, minty, and light. Looking back, I still think it was my favorite product from Teavana.
3) When did you start your tea blog & what was your hope for creating it?
I started my tea blog only four months ago, in July of 2013. My initial purpose was the same as Nicole’s, I just wanted somewhere to have a record of all of the teas that I had been trying. I had began experimenting with importing teas from China, India, and Japan, so I decided to make my blog slightly different than others that I had seen. I wanted to make my blog strictly about straight, unflavored and unscented teas that I had imported. Since I was trying to find business partners to begin a tea company with, I wanted to create a more formal, objective review blog. Now that I have that business partner, I have toned down the formality ever so slightly, and tried to make the blog a little more personal.
4) List one thing most rewarding about your blog & one thing most discouraging.
I truly enjoy writing, and truly enjoy trying new styles of tea, so the blog really gives me the opportunity to do two things that I have a passion for. At the moment, just finding the time to post can be discouraging. When you have two full time jobs that you try to accomplish in the same nine hour work day window, you really just want to go home and enjoy a pot of tea, and not necessarily spend more time and energy analyzing the tea rather than feeling it and enjoying it. Having a blog, if you take it seriously, can take on the burden of feeling like a job.
5) What type of tea are you most likely to be caught sipping on?
Although it is difficult for me to pick a favorite, I would say that there are three teas that I currently drink more often than others. A Supreme Yunnan Golden Snail black tea, a Supreme Grade Ti Kwan Yin from Anxi, and an unflavored Jinxuan (milk) oolong from Alishan, Taiwan. I am also a huge fan of Nuwara Eliya black, but do not have a fresh supply at the moment, sadly. I am working on that problem, though. 🙂
6) Favourite tea latte to indulge in?
Boring answer here, none. Tea is my balance to the many bad decisions I make diet-wise.
7) Favourite treat to pair with your tea?
I usually do not eat while enjoying tea. In fact, I will not eat for a half hour or more when I plan on having tea. I like to fully appreciate the tea. If I have friends or family over, and everyone is munching while playing a game or otherwise socializing, then I will have whatever food is on the table, and accordingly will not bother brewing a pot of my better teas, for I know that no one will be fully able to enjoy it.
8) If there was one place in the World that you could explore the tea culture at, where would it be & why?
If this were a personal trip, my first stop would be Taiwan. Nothing makes me happier than getting packages of Taiwan oolong and black tea samples. I would walk into the TRES buildings and personally thank every single person who works at the place that has brought us so many awesome tea cultivars. Not to mention the mountains would be a great place to reflect on life while enjoying a true high mountain oolong. After Taiwan, based on tea culture alone, the list would be Southwest China, Japan, Southeast China, Darjeeling and Assam, Sri Lanka, and the list goes on.
9 ) Any tea time rituals you have that you’d like to share?
In one area of my basement, I have my tea area. This used to be my bar and alcohol area until my son was born. Since then, all the alcohol and related barware has been replaced with teas and teaware. When I find time, and sadly that is not as often as I would like, I will prepare a very good tea, usually a sheng puerh or the supreme grade ti kwan yin mentioned above, turn the lights down to a very low level, turn on the meditation radio channel on Pandora at a low volume, and just be still. The only movement being the lifting of my cup. It is easy to understand how the mountain mystics of China could live as they did when I feel the depth of serenity during these few moments.
10) Time of day you enjoy drinking tea the most: Morning, Noon, Night or Anytime?
All day, every day. Most enjoyably after my son has gone to bed for the night, and I can take a few minutes to relax and slowly enjoy a pot, without having to be on top of everything going on in the house.
11) What’s one thing you wish for tea in the future?
My wish for tea is that more people develop an appreciation for it. Tea is more than just another naturally occurring material that can be used to make water taste better. It is a tonic, an elixir, a magical potion that is capable of more and better effects than any other single plant on this planet. As many have said, there are no words to describe the energy that eminates from tea, but I feel it. I cannot describe it. To me, it is spiritual, and brings me peace and serenity when nothing else can.
Thank you again, Nicole, for giving me the opportunity to participate in this. It has given me a chance to reflect on my past, present, and future with tea. Cheers!
TAG! I select Brenna from Seattle Coffee Gear to participate in this chain. @seacoffeegear
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