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Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Green Tea Forum is No More

I was sad to learn today that my suspicions as of yesterday have been confirmed.  The O-Cha green tea forum has had its plug pulled.  This prompted quite a bit of thinking, and some worrying, as while it was my secondary tea forum compared to Tea Chat.  Tea Chat is also owned by a company, and anyone that has been to Tea Chat knows it is not a big driver of sales for Adagio, at least not as much as a percentage of users, as it appeared The Green Tea Forum was for O-Cha.

This launched me into action, not really knowing of a great all around tea forum with a friendly atmosphere outside of Tea Chat that everyone could run to should Tea Chat ever meet the same end as the Green Tea Forum ( simply having the plug pulled without any real sign of notification).

As such I am launching the Tea Drinkers Forum, and I encourage all of my readers to join.

Jukro oojeon Leaves Banner

I am asking everyone to please pardon the dust, it seems to be in a stable state currently, but I may continue to tweek a few things, and work on the appearance these next few days.... This should have little to no effect on the actual forum functionability.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Predicting Desires

Tenjo Gyokko and Mashiko

I realize now after having almost nothing but Sencha and Balhyocha for about 2 weeks now, that it is always hard to predict what you want ahead of time.  The sencha and Balhyocha are both very good, but they have lost what normally makes them special.

What I really want now is a nice and roast-y high fired Yancha, but I will need to stall for another week for such a treasure.  Heck and even if I did have some, I do not really have anything appropriate to brew it it.

Though packing is actually a big tea issue for me these days.  Every time you move teaware you are introducing so many possibilities for damage.  Moreover in my mind I have dedicated certain teas, while this can certainly be broken, with unglazed teapots it is always a point of concern, and gaiwans are so fragile and hard to pack.

So when I packed to visit my parents for break I decide the box of tea I will bring is my box of Korean and Japanese teas, meaning I could get by with a rather minimal amount of teaware.  A Teabowl for Grandpa style brewing.  A small kyusu, and a appropriately sized yunomi for Japanese teas, and my Park Il teapot set which I am still madly in love with for my Korean Teas.

It's easy enough to pack and move, but I think I have learned my mistake about not nearly enough variety.  We live and we learn.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Tea for the Holidays

Yame Gyo white out three

I apologize for recycling photos, but I accidentally left the cord for my camera at my apartment so I have no way of getting photos onto my PC for now.  But the fact that it is break and I can breath deep and relax a little bit more now is finally sinking in.  Especially these past two days, as it was no longer the focus on getting ready for the holidays, now the big holidays are past and it is ride out break and [try to] enjoy time with the family.

The holidays are some of my favorite times to have tea, even though, I am away from my usual set up, and only brought home about 1/3rd of my tea, and a small, small fraction of my teaware. The holiday sessions are the tea sessions I can honestly really let my mind go blank and be 100% with the tea.  I know I should work more on meditation when I am in school to quite my mind more, but somehow in the day to day grind, there seems to always be a thousand things to do, and get done.

My holiday selection is a bunch of Japanese Teas ( mostly from the OTTI and NOTTI tasting initiatives put on over at teachat), and a good assortment of korean tea, nearly all of which is in the Balhyocha category, instead of the typical green tea.  I hope everyone is enjoying their holiday season, no matter what they celebrate, or even if they celebrate.   I look forward to spending a lot more time with Tea this upcoming semester and will work on finding things, or coming up with experiments to write about.

If I do not write before then.  Everyone have a Happy New Year!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Happy Holidays.

Forgotten Balhyocha in Chawan

I have been enjoying some much needed rest and relaxation after the sprint of the end of the semester.  I wish everyone good health and good luck these next few weeks.  I hope to have more posts lined up soon, but for now enjoy some simple leaves in a well used bowl.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Jeong Jae Yeun Hwang-Cha

Park Jong Il Teapot Staining

This Hwang-Cha has a rather interesting story behind it.  While this could be a little bit of marketing, I really enjoy Hwang Cha, the price was good, and I like supporting small business.  This tea, and the teaset I am brewing it in came by way of Morning Crane Tea.

Jeong Jae Yeun Hwang Cha

The dry leaves look great, slender twisted leaves, that are oh so dark. They also have a lovely soft scent of both pine, and chocolate. The taste of the brew is rather hard to explain, it is oddly satisfying, though not overly strong.  A hint of rice, and touches of some light and delicate fruits (though lacking the sweetness).

Jeong Jae Yeun Hwang Cha Brew

Excuse me while I go off and sip this tea in the relaxed focus it gives me. 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Less is More

Before I get skinned alive by the high fire Yancha and TGY crowd that love to turn 60ml or smaller pots into veritable clown cars by packing in 10 or more grams of tea.  I am not talking about that.  I am actually talking about other teas, especially when brewing them Grandpa style.

For some reason in the tea world, and perhaps even the coffee world, its not uncommon to want to push the limits when brewing.  As such, more and more leaf/ bean gets added trying to get something so incredibly flavor packed and delicious.  Well I have found that when brewing Grandpa style, that I have been adding more and more and more leaves.  On a few bad occasions ( often with more dense dry leaves), after they got wet the would be nearly up to the top of the bowl when swimming in water.  Not only when brewing Grandpa style can that produce something akin to battery acid, but you actually get more of the battery acid effect because it is rather hard to sip effectively when there are that many leaves.

So I am making a very conscious effort to use three-quarters, if not half the leaves I would normally use.  So far it has been working to great effect.  The flavor is more subtle, but it is often far more enjoyable.  It may lead me to re-evaluate certain other brewing procedures I have for various teas to find out where I can actually improve by cutting back.

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