95
drank Zijuan Hong by Daxue Jiadao
1575 tasting notes

As stated in a previous note, this a meditative tea.

I’m back from China. Rather than give a complete synopsis in one go, blurbs will find their way into future notes should a tea elicit the desire to write of my experiences. Here I will start with the end of my trip, as with all endings come beginnings.

On the first leg home, the China Southern flight attendant placed some floppy “old man brown” slippers on my first-class feet in Wuhan. As my ankles swelled by the hour, I figured why put my shoes back on. Those ugly, oversized slippers whisked with me through perfumed boutique shops in the Hong Kong airport, swept the (clean) floors of Taipei Taoyuan, shuffled me through U.S. customs in San Francisco and tripped me up as I boarded the bus that brought me back home. Sunday night around midnight I finally made it through the front door in a state of time-travel delirium and searched for my old girl Sophia.

I found Sophia after settling down for a bit, only to lose her less than 24 hours later. Monday was the end of our 22-year companionship. She waited for me to come home from my journey and passed in the comfort of my arms in her favorite chair and blanket. Now she rests under the lemon tree with the other kids, to feed the fruits that bring us happiness. I will be able to see her live on through my bedroom’s back door while I sit with tea. And these stupid China Southern slippers will be worn until they fall apart – little reminders of over half my life, arguably the most formative of my years, spent with a little warm body that made biscuits on my chest, sea foam eyes that softly spoke “You are mine and I am yours” and a vocabulary that always let me know what was on her mind. My little nugget, my little shoulder cat. So many feelings.

So yes, with all endings come beginnings. The end of Sophia’s life – full of patience, tenacity, wisdom and love – will be mirrored in my slippered steps as I stumble forward into this dream of farming tea.

Love you, baby.

StrangeButTrue

I’m so sorry for your loss. Cats stay with you in the heart.

derk

No sorry – no loss. I gained the world from her. But thank you :)

ashmanra

Oh, my heart! I wish I were near! Love to you.

Mastress Alita

My condolences, Derk. Here’s to twenty-two amazing years!

Shae

Oh goodness, my heart hurts for you. What a beautiful remembrance. Sending love and hugs.

Martin Bednář

Sending you a hug!

gmathis

So glad you made it home to be with your baby. I’m praying for you today. Rest and heal, friend.

Maddy Barone

We need a “hug” icon. I’m so sorry for your loss.

derk

Thank you all for the kind words.

Rosehips

Much rest and peace to you. I’m so sorry for your loss.

Leafhopper

My condolences for your loss. I’m glad you were able to be with her at the end.

tea-sipper

Oh Sophia! She waited for you!

beerandbeancurd

Sophia. Sleep sweetly, little one.

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Comments

StrangeButTrue

I’m so sorry for your loss. Cats stay with you in the heart.

derk

No sorry – no loss. I gained the world from her. But thank you :)

ashmanra

Oh, my heart! I wish I were near! Love to you.

Mastress Alita

My condolences, Derk. Here’s to twenty-two amazing years!

Shae

Oh goodness, my heart hurts for you. What a beautiful remembrance. Sending love and hugs.

Martin Bednář

Sending you a hug!

gmathis

So glad you made it home to be with your baby. I’m praying for you today. Rest and heal, friend.

Maddy Barone

We need a “hug” icon. I’m so sorry for your loss.

derk

Thank you all for the kind words.

Rosehips

Much rest and peace to you. I’m so sorry for your loss.

Leafhopper

My condolences for your loss. I’m glad you were able to be with her at the end.

tea-sipper

Oh Sophia! She waited for you!

beerandbeancurd

Sophia. Sleep sweetly, little one.

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Bio

This place, like the rest of the internet, is dead and overrun with bots. Yet I persist.

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.

Favorite teas generally come from China (all provinces), Taiwan, India (Nilgiri and Manipur). Frequently enjoyed though less sipped are teas from Georgia, Japan, and Nepal. 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, possesses off flavor/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 puerh, I likely think it needs more age.

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Sonoma County, California, USA

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