Bit of a bittersweet sipdown for me.

I had a large amount of the Spring 2018 harvest and put off drinking it because sometimes ye sheng can mess with me. Last summer, I was in the backseat of a taxi hurtling along the Caribbean coastline in Colombia, heading to the city of Barranquilla to fly back home the next day. I didn’t have cell reception the whole time I was there but suddenly on a fairly deserted stretch of road, I got a voicemail from an unknown number. I called them several times before I could connect for more than a few seconds. And when I was finally able to figure out who it was that kept cutting in and out, I heard from the cat sitter that the twin sister of my good old Sophia was found unconscious and breathing behind the bathroom door. She was on life support and I had to make an instant heartbreaking decision to let her go. I never saw Nyx again.

I felt terrible for the cat sitter having come across my girl in that state. As a token of appreciation for rushing Nyx to the vet, after finding out the cat sitter was a loose leaf black tea drinker, I bagged up most of what I had of this tea for her. I hadn’t tried it yet but based on the great reviews I was hoping she’d like it!

I can say I did. Though it does get me amped up in different ways depending on when I last ate and my mood. I had some earlier this week that I brewed western and poured in my thermos. I had slept restlessly the night before and didn’t eat breakfast. This tea saved my day. And at one point it had me really appreciating the view on my way home from class, like some weak psychedelics. Hm, yes.

Then I made a pot for me and the mechanic. It got me so physically amped up I spent hours tearing down an English ivy tree that had no business growing in the corner of the back yard. Once I clear out all that debris, I get to hack away at its subterranean remnants. Curse you, ivy.

I brewed the last of this tea today in my small gaiwan, 4g for 60mL. I’m amped up. And the flavor and aroma are just wonderful. Cherry wood, malt, black cherries, blueberries, blackberries, concord grapes, red grapes, musk, something herbaceous… cannabis? Later some chocolate comes in. Smooth and sweet. The muskiness is more animal based than a Darjeeling grapey muscatel. Whew. This tea is magical. I wonder what the cat sitter thought of it.

A farewell to Feng Qing, San Francisco and Nyx.

Flavors: Blackberry, Blueberry, Cannabis, Cherry, Cherry Wood, Chocolate, Fruity, Grapes, Herbaceous, Malt, Muscatel, Smooth, Sweet, Wood

200 °F / 93 °C 4 g 2 OZ / 60 ML

Your story breaks my heart <3

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Your story breaks my heart <3

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Eventual tea farmer. If you are a tea grower, want to grow your own plants or are simply curious, please follow me so we can chat.

I most enjoy loose-leaf, unflavored teas and tisanes. Teabags have their place. Some of my favorite teas have a profound effect on mind and body rather than having a specific flavor profile. Terpene fiend.

Favorite teas generally come from China (all provinces), Taiwan, India (Nilgiri and Manipur). Frequently enjoyed though less sipped are teas from Japan, Nepal and Darjeeling. While I’m not actively on the hunt, a goal of mine is to try tea from every country that makes it available to the North American market. This is to gain a vague understanding of how Camellia sinensis performs in different climates. I realize that borders are arbitrary and some countries are huge with many climates and tea-growing regions.

I’m convinced European countries make the best herbal teas.

Personal Rating Scale:

100-90: A tea I can lose myself into. Something about it makes me slow down and appreciate not only the tea but all of life or a moment in time. If it’s a bagged or herbal tea, it’s of standout quality in comparison to similar items.

89-80: Fits my profile well enough to buy again.

79-70: Not a preferred tea. I might buy more or try a different harvest. Would gladly have a cup if offered.

69-60: Not necessarily a bad tea but one that I won’t buy again. Would have a cup if offered.

59-1: Lacking several elements, strangely clunky, possess off flavors/aroma/texture or something about it makes me not want to finish.

Unrated: Haven’t made up my mind or some other reason. If it’s pu’er, I likely think it needs more age.

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Sonoma County, CA

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