Tea


#101

Today: a $45/lb Chinese green from Rishi, called “Jade Cloud”, that I got at the grocery store. Steeped in a $20 fake yixing at 170degF, a few times.

Yesterday: My little brother called me up on the phone to see where a feller should get some green tea to try out. Obv: the internet, but first: just get a bunch of stuff from wherever, drink it, see if you like any of it - then: buy more expensive but similar cyber stuff. So he ended up getting every explicitly green tea they had, and I got this and some gyokuro I rang up as a less expensive # please don’t tell the cops.

Lil’ Vic’s verdict: respectable value drinker, keep it classy not so grassy


#102

got some lapsang souchong from an afro-hippie place in Shaw. tickled that they package this exactly like weed delivery. Will edit in post shortly.

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#103

Post a trip report! How was it?


#104

ok, so first let me say i’ve been sick, so my nose/taste buds might be off. i also didn’t really know anything about lapsang souchong other than that the name looked familiar, which is why i bought it. the guy said it came from “south asia, the foothill of the himalayas” which doesn’t really line up with what i googled about lapsang souchong but what do i know.

prep method: 3-4 tsp. leaves (i forget) in a normal sized cereal bowl, around 1/2 cup water straight off the boil. it’s lasted for 8 steeps thru time of writing. steeps 1-5 were around 30 secs, I left it for like a minute with steep 6 (i was trying to take a photo), then around 50-60 secs thru steep 8.

notes: i wasn’t quite expecting the smoky flavor! it came thru as a bit of spice for the first couple steepings, then i accidentally nuked it on the sixth steep. towards the end it’s gotten very pared down in flavors to just: smoke, acid, and warmth. but the smoke and acid are subtle now, so it works.

i like it a lot but wouldn’t make it an every day tea. i want to try some oolongs maybe, just to have a sort of rotation. i also will get a guywan and some traditional tea cups at some point, for the ceremony and routine of it


#105

I like lapsang souchong a lot too, though I agree that it’s not an every day tea. I really like a cup of lapsang as a pick-me-up between drinks when I’m at a party. The smokey flavor really complements booze. Unfortunately, I can only pull off this extremely cool maneuver when I’m the one hosting.


#106

In that case, you perform the alternative technique: Secret Thermos Nestled Among The Beers.


#107

I got the Taiwan Sourcing teas I ordered in the mail and they even sent me a little bonus 10g of tea and handwritten thank you note! But now I’m afraid to drink this fine imported tea like an uncultured mook so I’m breaking down and going gaiwan shopping tonight. Damn you @Victor, and your beautiful and corrupting influence!


#108

godspeed, friend. bro tip: some ppl recommend opening up vaccu-sealed tea and letting it air out for a couple hours before drinking it the first time.


#109

i also am about to break down and buy a gaiwan and some different teas sometime the next couple days. i’m thinking about getting into oolongs: either wuyi oolongs (yancha) like rou gui / jin xuan, or taiwanese (dong ding). i can’t seem to find a good entry-level da hong pao on the two vendors below.

does anyone know stuff about ethical sourcing? having the politics i do i’m super sketched out by what is likely awful working conditions for the tea pickers, processors, etc. i’d like to buy from Leafy Green Tea for my initial order, they at least make noises about ethical sourcing. unfortunately they don’t carry gaiwans. i wonder about the production of yunnan sourcing teas. they have good affordable gaiwans and seem like a solid one-stop shop if not for the ethics question.
i suppose asking for union-made tea is out of the question!?
also broadly speaking, if anyone has tea recommendations for the above vendors!


#110

i’m also learning i can handle about 5 gongfu steeps worth of caffeine before i have to take a break.
is it okay to let the leaves sit in a covered brewing vessel between steeps for, let’s say, a couple hours? in other words i want to split up my gongfu session so i dont feel compelled to rush thru.


#111

I’ve emailed both of these vendors and the owners replied to every question I had, so they’d probably be down to answer yours. I’ve seen Scott from YS invite people to his house in the youtube comments, seems like a chill dude.

dif. people have dif. tips+tricks for re-using semi-spent leaves later; my current opinion is take the leaves out, spread them on a paper towel & pat them dry.

But, keep it covered, open it up, spread it out, dry it down: in all cases not as good as before and I think doesn’t really make sense unless you gotta be drinking tea all the time forever or are like trying to completely exhaust some incredibly expensive super dank 'rill shit.

Plenty a feller will, say, steep it out all the way, then maybe even save up a couple sessions spent leaves and cold brew them for iced tea - but I mean come on dudes drink some soda pop or something live a little.

Real trick: use a smaller brewing vessel.


#112

hm, i suppose im not quite educated enough to even know what questions to be asking a vendor. thx for the info!


#113

indian teas (assam especially) are generally pretty fucked as far as ethics go (slave labor, child labor and poverty are endemic) but chinese teas you should probably try to research and focus on whether or not prison labor is used? There are other issues with chinese teas.

Single source teas are also typically more likely to be ethically produced than blended teas. The ethical tea partnership is supposed to indicate whether a tea was ethically produced but I’m pretty sure its as unreliable an indicator as fair trade is.


#114

this is based on nothing other than probably unfair bias but i would imagine teas grown in taiwan are less likely to come from companies with abject labor practices, if only because the operations tend to be a lot smaller. taiwan does use prison labor but i’ve never heard of them making prisoners work on tea plantations. that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen at all though, i’ve never sought more information about this. i think it must all be factory work, though.

if you do go deep into taiwan teas avoid anything to do with Global Tea Hut. it’s a weird expat personality cult.


#115

thank you @u_u for introducing me to this new world of incredible, powerful White People of The Leaf (white people so powerful they must insist other white people call them by adopted Chinese names all the time!)


#116

I had some smoky lapsang souchong-style tea in Darjeeling at a tea estate, not by that name though. I think they adopted it as a way to market the non-Finest Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe Lord of the Universe Nonpareil leaves without just selling them as dust. I got some weird teas on that trip though, like some pretty stanky masala chai that I guess was instant or something, it had granules of tea.

the real lesson there was don’t buy masala chai, buy chai ka masala


#117

This is why I follow all threads even when I have no interest in the ostensible subject matter


#118

grandpa style for a rainy Sunday


#119

iI think whole leaf teas will be a nice revelation


#120

I live in Asia and I can’t follow this conversation at all.