; Cwyn's Death By Tea: January 2019 ;

The Very Limited T-Shirt for Cwyn's Tea Fund

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Personal Puerh Aesthetic: Considering the Where in Drinking Puerh Tea

In considering the “Where” behind my tea drinking, I think about all aspects of my environment. While I do drink tea in the presence of others occasionally at a tea shop, the vast majority of my tea consumption is alone or with family consuming beverages other than tea. As a blogger, I spend much of my time testing teas that are either samples provided by others or my own collection to check storage. I constantly ask myself whether the tea I am drinking is worthy of writing about. These issues are obvious, but the “Where” is more about specifics.

While tea might lend itself to a meditation setting, I find my tea drinking setting is far more spare than a prayer type space. I had to give up incense and even body perfumes because scents go right up my nose and down the back of my throat. Do you find that you “taste” scents? Because strong essential oil products like incense and perfume just wreck my palate, worse than food. Constipation and indigestion also produce vapors that make their way up my palate. If I plan to enjoy a cigar, it must be after the tea and not before. I don’t smoke marijuana anymore, but I find that people who do often report an inability to experience chaqi.

One does not need to be terribly strict with any of these issues, especially with casual tea drinking, but I feel it’s only fair if I’m blogging to give a tea my best tasting. I should at least reserve some judgment and not say “this tea has no qi” if I’m a person smoking doobies every day. In that case, tea is an adjunct, not a main drug. I think for most bloggers tea is the main drug, or should be if they are reviewing, not all bloggers do reviews.

The “where” is also about storage, where is the tea stored? Storage encompasses all of my storage as well as all the many places around the world my tea comes from. Weather too affects my tea, and while I don’t need to dwell on the weather most of the year, I am aware of it and certainly weather impacts the teas I choose to drink, whether more warming or more cooling types of puerh. I find I cannot tolerate warming teas in the summer unless I want to lie awake all night sweating.

Even though I have several tea tables, numerous tea pillows and trays, most of my tea is prepared and consumed in my kitchen. I feel I am “working” or paying attention to food and beverages in my kitchen more so than anywhere else. I might enjoy tea outdoors in the summer, or on the patio, or in my sun room, but mostly I like to be near my hot water source and, well, the bathroom as needed. Tea gets all things moving along nicely.

In the kitchen I can get my head into the tea because I am not fussing with the tea setting as I would outdoors or somewhere fancy. My crocks are extensions of food preservation intrinsic to the farm community in which I live. I feel more local, and less odd or exotic drinking a beverage from the other side of the world. The tea is mine in my kitchen, and I carry my crocks from the next room to the countertop and check the progress. I usually make a mess when breaking tea off a beeng, and my tea mess is just easier to clean up in the kitchen. I get water everywhere too.

Many of my photos show a red laminated table, this is a 1950s cafĂ© table on a metal pedestal that is secured to the wall, the type of table you would see in a soda fountain shop sixty years ago. Think “Grease” the musical. I have an old 78 record on the wall above a yellow vintage hurricane mushroom lamp.

Then my bedroom is just off the kitchen and so if I overdose on tea, bed is just a few steps away. One never knows with a new tea how to judge the leafing until that first try. When the tea inspires a monologue I carry the cup to the computer and start typing. Everyone I live with ignores my tea drunk giggles and tea habit in general. I usually do not get sheng gut aches, but if I feel a little bit dodgy in the tummy I like products such as Life Saver’s Pep-o-Mints (the large ones), Nabisco Zesta soda crackers, and Icelandic Skyr. These products contain tummy soothing ingredients like peppermint, baking soda, milk and cultures.

So, the “where” is all about the conditions as well as the places of drinking tea. I can understand why some bloggers stop after awhile and just focus on enjoying tea because blogging does affect the entire process of drinking even when the tea is quite nice. In the next few weeks I hope to attend a tea tasting and enjoy tea with others and get outside my blogosphere for a day.