; Cwyn's Death By Tea: 2015 Last Thoughts and Bitter Things ;

Saturday, June 20, 2015

2015 Last Thoughts and Bitter Things

There's bitter feelings, bitter thoughts of you.
Oh, bitter things in life that have come true,
With never ending heartaches, never ending tears,
Bitter feelings and bitter thoughts of you.

"Bitter Feelings," Larry Lee Phillipson, 1959. On Cinch Records 3858 
and on
No Welcome Home, Live at Green Bay, Wisconsin May 24, 2010 NLT Records
2014 Last Thoughts is the tea I discussed on the very opening post of this blog. The tea fit with the theme of this tea drinker at the end of her life, drinking her way to the grave. I wonder if I'm tempting fate just a little bit by drinking the new 2015 Last Thoughts and then writing about it again this year. But then I thought no, the tea doesn't have to be entirely about me, only a little bit, and in truth the tea isn't about anyone except maybe clues in the writing by a madman on the wrapper. This is the top tier effort by white2tea and that madman who sent me a sample. Readers have been searching my blog already for a review so I should write about the tea.

Pretty baggie.
I think understanding the tea tier is important. This tier of tea is not something which can be picked fresh upon request. It isn't sold by the roadside along with a bottle of water. You can't get it from the farmer or anyone else by asking. In fact, you can't even buy it. At all. The tea is acquired, as opposed to simply purchased. God only knows what Twodog or any other vendor these days goes through in order to acquire this tier of tea, because really all of it has been essentially spoken for and locked down by other investors for years now. So what happens is a little bit gets held somewhere, by someone, and you have to not only find it, but convince the person holding to part with it and pay the premium. And I'm certain the price is more than money, but about something else, and we won't be told. Tweets during the time period stamped on the neifei are a bit about relationships, single malt scotch and bourbon, but these hints are vague at best. Bitter things, no doubt.

Photo white2tea.com
My point here is that when approaching the tea, you'll notice some browning already which suggests that the date on the neifei is the pressing date and the picking date is unknown. This tier of tea is harvested and then hidden away, as opposed to picked fresh the day of sale. Maybe it changed hands already a couple times. And word of mouth saying "I know someone who knows someone who has got what you're looking for." Information is a premium, and you pay a big price for bitter thoughts too.

A sniff session is a must.
So you're darned right I'm gonna spend an entire evening just sniffing the tea in my cha he. In fact I'm not ready to drink it until I'm sure I've got rid of the people in the house, and the cat and everything demanding my attention. If you own this tea, you've paid a premium yourself with hard work, hard-earned pay  and the full treat is to sit down and enjoy without interruption. All these little bits are how I tune into this tier of tea, and I must have snorted when sniffing the cha he because a few bits fly out onto the floor and I quickly scramble to pick them up. So I'm probably brewing cat hair anyway. More bitter things.

First steep on boiling water over about 5 grams. And I drank the rinses, or should I say, I skipped the rinse. A bit of dry storage in the rinses, the tea appears to be a mix of fresher buds and some stored tea. Last year was all gushu, and this year seems to be a blend of gushu with something else far older and more sinister. TwoDog seems to flavor blended gushu more and more from what I read by him on forums, and I have to agree. For I can pick up a fresh gushu like Chawangpu's fruity Hekai and call it a day, but for top tier I want a bit more of an unknown experience.

After getting down the two rinses plus what would normally be a first steeping for me, I broke out in a sweat. I noticed some heart palpitations going on which I haven't experienced on a tea since Camellia Sinensis' Hong Jing Tian shou with the rhodiola herb in it. Need to slow down a little. 200 ml or less and I'm easing back already, this tea has a kick of something going, caffeine plus...? dunno yet but I need a lie-down.

First steep after I drank two rinses.
Two hours later I have some yogurt and nuts and I'm back at it. Two more cups, about 175-200 ml total together. And again, the increased heart rate, sweating and something foggy about my head. I feel the tea in my stomach. The huigan is a real creeper, 10 minutes after the cups I am tasting nothing in particular but then a flower opens in my mouth of sweetness. I am looking around the room to try and find explanations for the sensations, ruling out things like food or meds. But I feel like how my cat looks after I give him wild catnip, he sniffs and starts playing with it and then he stops and stares with a wide-eyed look, as if he is not himself and suddenly realizes it. I feel a bit like I've taken half a tab of hydrocodone, which for some of you might be paracetamol with codeine and an aspirin in there too. And I feel it in my head, my throat and my stomach.

I keep thinking this cannot be possible, that I'm feeling like a lightweight with this tea. I know I haven't had as much time to drink tea lately, but I'm still drinking things like Korean sejak and black tea, and keeping up the caffeine with diet colas on hotter days too, and coffee in the morning. In fact, I drink caffeine all day. And it's only been five days since I finished off that Poundcake, a total of more than 10,000 ml in a 3 or 4 day session. I drank two of those Bonjour 920 ml pitchers back to back. Twice. There is no way tea should be affecting me like this. Listen, 200 ml should not be more than a slurp to Old Cwyn.

On Steepster, I see one of my Friends has tried the 2015 Last Thoughts, and I ask about parameters because this person has a rather short note with no mention of any particular effects. Turns out a rather healthy amount of tea was consumed. So maybe it is just me. But I need another lie-down.

Two hours later I have a protein shake with fresh fruit and veggies blended in. And then two more cups. 10 minutes later those two cups hit me again like a truck as before, the same symptoms. And the creeper huigan, no taste in my mouth and then the explosion of fruit and flowers. My head is disconnected and my heart rate up. I'm going into herbalist mode, thinking not of parameters but of dosages. This is Chinese medicine somehow. I usually need less medicine than most people because the effects of all medicines are strong, and my parameter on this tea means a smaller dosage here. I'm thinking 3g/100 ml for me rather than 5g/75ml. Regardless, I'm gonna push it on myself just a bit more and go for two more cups just 20 minutes after the last two.

At about 10 steepings.
This isn't the post I had planned. I was going to talk about the profile, the thick motor oil etc. etc. based on last year's Last Thoughts. I get the Yiwu top note, and hints of a Menghai flavor base just like last year, but I also get deeper flavors like aspirin and apple vinegar, what I mean is medicine. The tea isn't as thick as last year's, the buds are here but some other leaf has been blended this time. Huigan has that delay but is explosive. I just cannot understand how I can drink all that Poundcake and this Last Thoughts is now kicking my ass, like Dong Quai in vodka. I'm gonna grow a stubby nub sixth finger at the base of my pinkies and turn into Anne Boleyn and she was one bitter thang.

Next morning I start up again, two, well three cups this time. Same effects, I'm zombie-fied. Flavor now is stone fruits, still decent astringency and hot chili oil into the gullet. The tea is staring me down, saying "you're the girl who drank all that Poundcake, now we're gonna give you the what-for."

I might be hallucinating, but I think I see a cross.
The truth is, as an herbalist I focused more on tonics and a few womanly herbs, but I'm out of my depth with the effects this tea has. It would take a real Chinese medicine doctor to sort this one out, and anyone who is a doctor needs to order this tea for their patients...in tongs. Nevertheless I'm determined to steep this one out and hoard the rest. Of course the leaves are still going after 15 steeps. I just can't believe it, I don't remember last year's cake doing this to me. 3g/100ml is probably the ideal dose for me, and not a smidgen more. The tea that knocks out even Old Cwyn.

Around 15 steeps.
Naturally a few more cups in the afternoon at tea time. Ten minutes later of course I'm back to a wild-eyed stare and my mother-in-law asks what's wrong with me. I tell her about high-end, old arbor tea.

"Do you tell your doctor about this tea you're drinking?" she asks.

"If I did that she'd fire me as a patient."

"You should drink tea bags from the grocery store."

And there we have it. See, this here is why I started out with the photo of Larry Lee Phillipson. Phillipson is an old-timer Wisconsin rockabilly lead singer who lives in my home town. Like TwoDog, Phillipson spent his youth jumping on the back of trains and hopping off at farms looking for work. In between that, Larry pressed his musical vinyl discs, just as today when TwoDog presses musical tea discs. You can rely on one thing from your family here in Wisconsin when you come home with Achievements, like Larry from Nashville with "Bitter Feelings" and Twodog from Yunnan with "Last Thoughts." You can count on "No Welcome Home" and someone always acknowledging greatness with "yah okay, now sit down and eat yer peas."

train tracks...oh, bitter things and bitter thoughts of you.

Note: the video poster spelled the name wrong. And the song is original.


  1. Stumbling back to my computer after finishing round three with this tea (9 grams in a 120ml gaiwan, waaaaaaaay too much for a tea like this) and I feel like someone slipped me a couple of pain killers I was prescribed after my neck surgery. This is the first tea that I couldn't even come close to finishing in a single session never mind three and there is still plenty of strength left in the leaves. Love the blog and your drawings btw, reminds me of ones in a Vonnegut book.

    1. Okay so I'm not the only one finding this painkiller type feeling to the tea. Thanks so much, the Vonnegut is a real compliment. In all my years doing comedy in the theatre, the ONE play I could not keep a straight face on stage was Vonnegut's "Happy Birthday, Wanda June."

  2. I think I need to try this...for science of course...

    1. You might feel a bit more Soggy than ever before.

  3. O__O Oh man, I need some of this. My White2tea doomcart is just getting worse and worse.