The Angel’s Share

This is a borrowed concept from the world of aging spirits, but very applicable to tea. In making tea gong-fu style the Angel’s share is the tea that is consistently poured over the yixing pot. Today I was also sharing tea with someone who couldn’t be with me in the tea space, so their share was set aside each round and then released to the pot.

Today, the last episode of this season, included a beautiful, but actually unknown to me, puer cake from 2008. It is the favorite cake of my friend Anan whose sister gave it to me when she was visiting from China. This is steeped in the pixiu hongni pot and served in Japanese blue&white ware resting on seasonal tin chataku.

The Ska Polka of Tea

This little tuocha was brought to you by the year 1990. No brand affiliation. I can taste the dirty, green plaid and the wallet chains. Tastes like youth, but 30(!) years later. It tastes great, and even better shared. The fragrance of the cup after drinking is full of trombones and saxophones. I could have gone on recording for hours, but I shared what I could. Thanks for joining me for this one.

Steeped in the fully handmade pixiu yixing and served in blue and white Japanese cup from the 1940s.

Drunk, deeply

Today we’re sharing a kyusu of sencha made by the Ihara family and discovered at the little JA agricultural co-operative storefront in the Shimizu Ward of Shizuoka City, Japan. I recently lost a pot that I bought at this shop (and loved dearly) to a mishap, so this is a session is a celebration of discovery and the joys it reliably delivers.

The Last Taste of Last Spring

As tea is starting to be harvested and processed in Japan for 2020, we get to enjoy the last bit of fine tea in my collection from last year. Served in the spring cups and spring saucers that have just been put into service this week, and steeped in (possibly) my favorite pot: a houhin likely from Banko in the 1920s. A beautiful little pot with three little crabs crawling across its surface. This was a short, but very sweet, tea session.

It’s Alive

This is the time of year, at least here in Pacific Northwest America, that the climate begins to warm and well-kept puer tea begins to wake up. The winter temperatures are low, as is the relative humidity. As Spring presses forward the ambient temperature and humidity rise and the tea, though sequestered in it’s semi-controlled environment, reacts. The flavors and aromas of every sheng cake, old and new, are aroused and uninhibited.

We are enjoying a Midi sheng cake from 2007. This is served from my pixiu yixing pot through a woven silver strainer in the large kutani tea cup (still celebrating Spring~). I really need to switch to my spring saucers, but I am still using the autumn style. This episode went a little long, and it could have gone much longer. It is difficult to do an aged sheng justice in less than 90 minutes… Thanks for joining me.

Dancong Peaches, No Cream

A beautiful tea in a beautiful pot. This session was an ode to spring on many levels: An antique yixing pot that is the living incarnation of the spring of 1952; A 2019 spring dancong tea that is the embodiment of fresh fruit; A floral kutani cup; the poem 青山不老緑水長流.

Old, Stale TGY

This tea was a little treat waiting for me in a treasured tea container that I hadn’t seen in a while. I think the sounds of this container come through quite nicely, though briefly. The cup sound is also a highlight for me, if you can pick it out. Thanks for joining me.

Today we used a 90s gaiwan, 80s Mikasa creamer as the sharing pitcher, 80s Kutani cup with unfinished edge, and the hand-finished brass and tin tea tin from 2004 Japan. The tie guan yin is most likely from 2014ish.

Spring on Pear Mountain

Taiwanese teas are good. And sometimes they are great. I have what I thought was an example of good Li Shan, but in the course of this tea it turned out to be great. I love surprises.
Today we’re using the Hong Ni pot purchased to celebrate the birth of my son and a double walled Taiwanese fragrance cup set. The fragrance cup is essential, in my opinion, when drinking Taiwanese teas. They are sometimes more olfactory than gustatory.
Please enjoy this tea.

Knowing the Way of Tea

One of my favorite books is an old instructional book on how to prepare tea for the Japanese Tea Ceremony. It is called (roughly translated), Knowing the Way of Tea or お茶の道しるべ. Today I prepared some matcha with that book on my mind. I hope you enjoy the tea.

Rock on Tie Luo Han

No, there’s no musical soundtrack today. The soundtrack is a Tie Luo Han (鉄羅漢) oolong from 2018. Tie Luo Han is one of the famous open leaf oolongs from the Wuyi tea growing region in China. See if you can hear the moment that the largish leaves are poured from the small bag into the preparation tray and then from there into the pot. The pitch of this particular hongni (red yixing) pot is very high and musical, in my opinion. Lots of great aromas and flavors, so prepare yourselves.