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Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Get God on the Phone

Untitled 2 by white2tea
I did not intend to write today, and I did not intend to drink Untitled 2 on November 9, 2016. This season’s teas are still very green and I expect this tea is green also. Many of my friends are frightened and in despair today. I can’t stop it, one half of my friends or another half, one country or another country. And I don’t think I can Get God on the Phone but I can certainly leaf it heavy.


In my blog I do not address politics or other worldly issues because we all look to our tea hobby for something of a refuge. Our choice of tea and tea ware evokes an aesthetic that we surround ourselves with like a blanket, moments in a world beyond that which we deal with every day. I too have my reasons for losing myself in tea, in my tea rituals. If you look at the very first post of this blog, you should see utter despair. I started writing about tea just months after my mother died a horrific death, the details of which I am still unable to completely face. When my mother died, for many days all I could do was stand at the kitchen counter and grip my cup, and just keep drinking. The meaning for me in my tea ritual was not in the setting up, the pouring out nor even the slurping, but oddly in the rinsing out and cleaning up of my tea tray and cups. I think at that point I regained a kind of sanity, I had found a place of comfort. Rituals are ways to cope through their very repetition, like prayers on a string of beads, in familiar routine our mind can fly forth to another place and return refreshed to go on another day.


In Lamar’s Untitled 2 song, he tries to place himself in religion to find a place of goodness, only to hear of yet another friend who is killed. Spiritual comfort sought because of no other alternative, because there are two cups before us. We can choose one cup or the other. We can drink good tea or bad tea, and yet another’s good and bad teas are his wine just as mine are to me. I can go with a friend to drink his champagne which turns out to be California sparkling wine. I can share his enjoyment, or I can tell him it’s not really champagne. Does that help any, or is it better to enjoy inexpensive hongcha as well as a fine puerh and have a good day either way?
Hongcha in a tea cup with good, and bad painting.
Given a cup of good tea and bad tea, I know one truth. A full cup will always accept another drop, always. What do you fill your cup with? Will you fill it with fear and despair, because I can guarantee you that cup will always take one more drop just as the good tea cup will. Rudrananda said to consume all as fuel, the good fuel and bad fuel. But we choose our nourishment, don’t we? The important thing is the act of choosing, the person behind the choice, the one observing and seeing which cup s/he fills. If you hate platitudes, look at your cup again and tell me what is in it. I will drink it without a dare, your cup, as long as you know what you just served me. Those of you deleting the friend of your friend, think on this before you toss his leaves. The one who created this cake for us, and the songwriter too, feel very bad and yet then very good, but the bad still happens as does the good, so which will you pick? Who is so very fussy? 

I really don’t mind if you buy this type of puerh or not. In fact this year one of the best teas I drank is a cheap aged brick, thick as syrup, and probably cost only a few dollars nearly twenty years ago. Who knows what will come to be, in our tea and the world too? Brick tea is sometimes better than we think. I wish I had more time for bricks, but I don’t, so I got a cake of this Untitled a few months ago.

Some long leaves in this one.
I went 9 grams and compared my brew with that of other reviewers, and I’m getting a golden yellow so the tea is settled somewhat. Yes, I am drinking it thick. This is a very bassy tea with a solar plexus type of feel, radiating qi spots in the middle of the back and in the front stomach. James at TeaDB called it “diaphragmatic,” something like that, and I can echo this, meaning I feel my diaphragm. I also get the face melting that OolongOwl wrote about too, and visual acuity. The tea is bitter and somewhat spicy, like chewing on a peppered sumac stick beneath a floral top note. This tea coats the mouth with long returning sweetness and a mineral flavor in a soft texture. My heavy leaf ratio means the cup is probably unnecessarily bitter and I realize I’m wasting leaf, but today is a good day to waste leaf. And bake a pan of chocolate something.

A bit of green but settling down nicely.
I remember when my dream was to talk with people in countries around the world. I used to dream of the idea of chatting with people from China, Russia, Japan, Germany, Africa, Indonesia, or Chile. This was in the days before the internet when a pen pal meant hand writing on onion skin paper. Yet today and every day now I can look on my Instagram and see photos of tea with text in a dozen different languages. I never could have guessed that I might type characters in real time, and instantly speak with people around the world, day or night. I thought Captain Kirk’s flip top communicator calling the Enterprise was everything that could ever be and maybe not in my lifetime of two tin cans and a string and tea bags too. Now I can touch a screen with my finger to my friends in China and Japan at this very moment.

Eight Steeps and not even fully opened.
As long as I can I will keep making pictures of tea, and hopefully you will too. I don’t know how long steeping out nine grams of Untitled 2 will take, but I will keep at it. I think the teas this year are still a bit green, and this one is settling down nicely, we should really keep them a bit longer and withhold on our strong opinions. I can say the same thing about friends.





5 comments:

  1. Somehow touching and very well written text. I love your humor and puerh-people-wisdom. Please write as many more texts like this as possible :) Warm greetings from Germany.

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    1. Thank you so much for the kind words, and for reading.

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  2. I think all the teas from this year are still settling down , some friends too. Another good read Ms C.
    M

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  3. Yesterday I reckoned the best possible antidote to "it all" was to get my chores finished stupidly early, and then pull a random sheng out of the cupboard and retreat into Zenspace for the rest of the day under the guise of a mammoth 6-kettles session.

    I tried mind-control over seagulls (harder than it looks), and counting all the waves between our home and Denmark (I gave up somewhere after 11,564).

    Sure, I lost a day in a manner that might have had serious repercussions if I'd needed to have given an accurate account of my movements by an officer of the law, but I feel much better for it today...

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  4. It took eight cups of aged oolong, and another eight cups of heicha the next day to get me back to "centered" last week.

    Great write-up.

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