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Wednesday, May 29, 2013


I do not often bring up the topic of water on my blog or even really in my tea drinking.  Although recent events have really made me understand it really does mater, more than I think I ever really thought.  I just have never quite gotten into digging into the down and dirty chemistry of drinking water, this despite my summer and winter job throughout my Undergraduate studies was actually working for the water (and waste water) provider for the small community where my parents lived.  So I oddly know a lot about what the water providers in the US do to their water, and I know certain things like that the water out of any tap from a municipal water provider is more highly regulated than what is in any bottled water from the store.

Though all this knowledge has never let me dig into what makes good or bad water for tea.  When I went to Lehigh University, and lived in Bethlehem, I thought tea tasted pretty darn good, even with just water from the tap, just simply filtered.  Then I moved out to Kalamazoo, and for the longest time I thought "tea just doesn't taste right"  I thought it had to be in my head, maybe pressure from grad school was distracting me and making me just think things were that way.

Cut to three years later.   I have now moved to Lansing and suddenly tea seems so much more alive again, more flavors, more body, better aroma.  I changed nothing from what I was doing to treat my water in Kalamazoo, but suddenly my tea tastes so much better.  Oddly it seems to be with almost every single tea, almost to the point that I feel I need to step back and relearn how to brew each and every single one of my teas, I am enjoying the challenge, and I love the great results I am getting.

I may just need to look up difference in mineral results from the water providers, and start getting into the "geeking" out about water for the purpose of brewing tea.  So in short, while I still do not think it is wise to go out and buy all of your water for tea, water certainly is a very important part of how your tea tastes in the end.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Out of the Tea Zone

Well I have been in my place a week, and I have really only had stuff in some semblance of an order long enough to only have tea a few times this past week.  I am not sure which of these are messing with my tea drinking it could be all or just some proper subset, but between the new schedule, new location,  change in tea routine (in a video I hope to do sometime soon you will see I am on a new table, and in part my entire tea routine seems to be messed up from what it was), or something I haven't quite put my finger on yet.

Needless to say I have felt incredibly out of the tea zone, but at the same time I seem to be enjoying my tea sessions far far more. I do not know if it has just been some special teas ( possible given that this is part of an Aged Baozhong tasting a tea friend put together), but when I do get to have tea it almost seems to have regained a lot of its magic that had seem to be fading while I was in grad school.

I think the thing that is going to disappoint me the most is tea in the office seems almost completely out of the question.  Besides what I can make from the water cooler with the hot water spigot (which is woefully inadequate for a black tea, teabag but might do decently with Japanese greens).  I think an adventure next week would be to take on of my Kyusu's to work and start brewing up some Sencha... wait, that needs me to have Sencha.  I guess that will be put on hold for the time being.

Does anyone have suggestions on how to incorporate tea into the office?

Monday, May 20, 2013


Wow I am really not sure where the past few weeks went, somewhere in there I hit the Quarter of a Century Club, but was so busy getting things ready for the new job, and the move to a new place that I didn't really get to sit back and enjoy it.  In fact I have a sample of The Mandarins Tearoom 1960s Shui Xian that I had hoped to crack open and enjoy on my birthday.  Needless to say that did not happen.

Possibly making it even more hectic is one of those days was the unbricking of the woodfire kiln for the pottery class I took this past winter/spring.   There are a few I really look forward to using and getting to know better than I already do.  For instance I think this rather volcanic/ earthy monster might be a great tall sided Chawan.

Pinchwork teabowl(1)

While I am just itching to take this little hand carved guy for a run with some Sencha.

Carved Yunomi (1)

For my birthday I also did purchase some teaware, which will be finding its way into photos, two of the three can be seen in this crappy cell phone picture on the patio of my new place.

Morning tea

My place is still a bit of  a construction zone, I have not fully set up where I will be displaying my teaware, ( I think that is on the agenda tonight).  So my tea sessions have been kept simple, and outside when I feel it is cool enough.   Good news that means the pair above has been getting a lot of testing and seasoning, the bad news is that means I am quickly running out of Sencha, and that has left all these baozhongs to try sitting and waiting their turn.

So that is a bit of an update, I hope to get back to more thoughtful posts soon once life seems to settle down slightly.  Happy sipping!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Sip Tip Moves to Lansing!

Michigan Capitol building

Assuming the background check and what not passes, I will walk past this site multiple times a day, on my way in and out of where I will be working.  This is because I got offered a job working in Lansing Michigan, and I hope to move up there rather soon, as they want me to start as soon as possible. All that being said posts might be fewer and farther apart for  a bit until I get situated.

If there are any tea drinkers that read my blog in the Lansing area, I am more than willing to get together for a few meet ups and possibly into starting  a "tea club."  But for the next few days I am finishing things up in Kalamazoo along with an anagama Kiln firing for a Ceramics class at the Kalamazoo Institute of Art.

Kalamazoo institute of arts Anagama kiln

In fact my first shift starts at midnight and goes to 6 am.  It is going to be a long night, but I hope I get some beautiful pieces out of it.

Kalamazoo institute of arts Anagama kiln

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