A deep and abiding love of Oriental Beauty

A deep and abiding love of Oriental Beauty

'Autumn Moonlight Pavillion Pure-Bud Bi Luo Chun.' Have prettier words ever been spoken aside from 'The Dude Abides'?

Maybe so, but still, while sipping this delicate, lovely tea the words all dance through my noggin and are as charming as can be. The only 'word' I left out of the description is '2015' because no-one will accuse '2015' of being a lovely word, or even a lovely year. I think we are all ready for a fresh new start, am I wrong?
Yunnan Sourcing's MPPBBLCWAUT15, (a much less poetic way of saying 'this tea' without the hassle) is a wonderful varietal of two different kinds of Bi Luo Chun, and is the smallest pure-bud tea grown in the whole of Yunnan.
It is clean tasting, floral and has a light sweet and lingering aftertaste that I am finding thoroughly enjoyable.
I was told, (or did I just dream I was told? That happens a lot lately) that this is a most delicate tea and needs to be handled carefully but I did not do so, I simply put a small handful(maybe 4-5 grams?) into my 6 ounce celadon pot and used the Keurig machines' water (175f) to fill and refill the pot. Gasps? That is not very Gongfu Cha of me, I readily admit, but come on, man! It's a Saturday, it's raining( yes, in California!) and I am stuck in the house, the rather small bungalow if you will, with many more beating hearts than I am used to and nowhere to go. Everyone from the bearded dragons, snake, birds, husband and child have their own things going on and I needed to have something of my own to do but with so many other energies in the house I cannot create Gongfu Cha at my usual meditative pace. So instead of getting uptight I consciously chose to just take it easy and just brewed to brew, made at least three separate tray messes, with trays in every room beginning with a nice spicy new sheng and once I was high from that I moved on to this delicate sweet Bi Luo Chun. This tea abides, and today, so do I.

Mountain Tea's Heritage Honey Oolong, a perfect holiday tea for grinches like me not leaving the house for the next two weeks!

Mountain Tea's Heritage Honey Oolong is a perfect tea for on-the-go. Take it to the pedicure place, take it to the DimSum joint, even take it to the mall, where you can sit in the car and drink it out of a thermos while the kids are in that terrifying place spending their ill-gotten booty. (Or is that ill-booten gotty?) In any case, have tea will travel, but you are on your own if you leave your zipcode. Personally that's as far as I myself will go in regard to exotic destinations; the parking lot of the local mall especially the week before X-mas, a holiday I am thankful I do not participate in. (Love the lights though, keep on putting those lights up every year, folks! Love those lights!)
Heritage Honey Oolong is another of those tightly rolled, super easy to drink full-bodied floral teas that seem to do well in a variety of brewing vessels, with mixed parameters.
I will not, however, offend my tea by using microwaved water (hair salon, I'm talking to you,) even if it does come piping hot, just can't do it.
So how do you travel with your tea? Write me at buddhamom@outlook.com and tell me your outlook at tea-drinking on the go. Article to appear end of January on this topic, and in the meantime, it is back to my honey oolong, settling my fat-butt into the chaise-lounge in the spotty sunshine of a December afternoon in Los Angeles to imagine, only imagine, what kind of trouble you tea-drinking-travel-bug maniacs might be getting yourselves into next week! Be well and drink on!

You can take my 1980 Shou stash out of my cold, dead hands but until then...

My own personal stockpile in case of Armageddon.

You can take my oolongs, my bulangs, the shengs and (most of the) shous. You can hand out my sencha, the tencha, the matcha and the bancha to whoever is in need but do not touch, I say, do not touch my Mountain Tea 1980 Shou Puerh. 
As a reckless Shou shopping newbie I do take the time to ask myself these questions even while I am ranting;Where did it come from, why is it so special? How come you were able to afford it? Who cares what you, a newbie dumb-dumb wanna-be tea expert hoards or hides? Who? Anybody?
And I don't know, dear readers; I do not know if anyone cares and I do not know if this is an actual 1980 shou, but if Mountain Tea says its so, that's good enough for me. They are some of the good guys, I like them, and I am choosing the believe this shou was affordable simply because they are amazing human beings and chose to bless their part of the universe with it at an affordable price.
At $17 for two ounces, I was able to buy half a pound and am nestled into my bungalow ready for anything awful that comes my way. I got the shu-pu, I got the dogs, I got the ten zillion other amazing teas, but really one taste of this shou back when it was a sample, was enough to make me know I could live for EVER with this tea on my tongue, I could ride the waves of apocalypse and I can withstand all my own stupidities and mediocrities and those of the world at large, if only I can be at home with my darlings( human and otherwise) and this damn wonderful tea.
Regardless of my fixation, I am willing to share it, but dudes, you have to come to me!
And bring cookies.

Smacha's Da Jin High Mountain Oolong creates longing and desire for more and more steeps!

It's true I only write up the teas I love, or think I have the capacity to appreciate so if you, Dear Reader get tired of my praise, do look elsewhere for more true 'reviews'. However, if like me, you like to be just wow-ed, floored with pleasure and are indeed, as I am, a  light-hearted hedonistic creature of pleasure, always sought, quickly found, never sated and always ready for more, well, then, you belong right here reading this.
That being said, I am a Buddhist, and I work diligently at non-attachment. (Good luck with this one, Buddha-Mom, for when you run out, you will be feeling all kinds of attachment-related angst!)

I am only on the third steep of this tea, and for all I know it's about to get all astringent on me and end our little mutual appreciation society but right now, twenty minutes after finishing that third steep, I am still savoring the mouth-feel of this delightful little Oolong. So let's talk about what the heck I tried, shall we? This is a sample from Smacha whose tagline is 'Tea Makes A Happy Day' to which I can positively attest.

This is Da Jin High Mountain Oolong.

Here is what I know about this Da Jin Oolong from information provided by Smacha;
"Fugian, China.
20% fermentation.
Harvested from a 60 year old mountaintop tea garden, "above the clouds" and made in the style of the great Taiwan High Mountain Oolongs, Da Jin High Mountain has complex flowery aromas and a sweet, deep floral taste."

The tea coming out of the sealed bag smelled subtle and wonderful, the heated leaves in my hot gaiwan were intensely good, the lid of the gaiwan smelling even better than the cup itself. Two quick rinses at 195f, and then steeps one through three at around 190 were utter heaven.

Its now been twenty minutes since I finished the third steep and I can still feel it in my throat and in my chest cavity, a cooling tea, I am not sweating, yet my chest feels warm and my tea belch was like incense. Ok, ok, so maybe I am pushing it, but truly, not a bad belch.
This is a tea I am buying.
Like today.
Well, alright then! Clap-clap, moving right along! Time to go back into the Trenches Of Tea with this most suitable of companions! 

Greenwood Studio and the most soulful vessels on Earth.

If you like the look of these you simply must allow yourself the pleasure of going to Shawn McGuire's Greenwood Studio site on etsy.com to at least look upon the photos he takes with such care of his wonderful works. At the very least, for really what you should do is treat yourself, or someone you like a lot to one of his works.
And those pictures don't do the pieces justice. I can state that now, for now I am the holder of, ( I guess 'owner' is the right word but I am feeling a wee unworthy to claim ownership for I am only the caretaker and god-willing these cups will belong in the hands of many 'caretakers and appreciators' long after I am gone) four cups from Greenwood Studios as of today. It began with this one,
(These three pics from Greenwood Studio)

which awes me so much I can hardly stand it, It has so much going on, but I won't ramble about that again, the cup got its own post which can be read here, if you care to hear my initial exclamations of total happy freak-out-ment.
Two of the new pieces certainly 'go with' the cup I fell so hard for, they too remind me of an old quarry that we used to skinny-dip in when I was a teen. they too have the colors, and depths and wetness, mossiness and rockiness that so endeared the little cup to me. I also treated myself to this little delight...

His prices are more than fair, that's for sure. I am not a rich woman so buying things like this are careful decisions, and I truly feel that I am in lucky possession of some truly magical pieces of art.
Deep bows of gratitude to Mr. McGuire. I can feel, and even smell him as I unwrap these cups, and he feels and smells good, and decent, and kind and full of an energy that travels from his studio in New York all the way to my suburban bungalow in Los Angeles!

My first Gardenia Oolong, a magical brew.

As my dear readers know, I am not a fan of teas that have flavoring in them. Certainly would never touch anything with artificial flavoring, but really even a good quality tea tossed post-production with Jasmine flowers is not really my preference. I like the complexities of my steeps to be about discerning the different flavors of just the tea itself, no additional distractions required or desired. But now I have to change my stance on that because I just fell madly in love with a Gardenia oolong sample from The Santa Barbara Tea Club and it is rocking my tastebuds big time. I have a call out to James, the owner of this new tea club and am awaiting information on this tea. Not much to look at visually, a brown tightly rolled oolong but the heavenly, light scent, both dry in the bag, dry in the heated gaiwan and the gaiwan's steamed lid, cup and the tea leaves themselves EVERY STEEP are just delightful.
Gongfu style I brewed five grams in a 100 ml gaiwan. First rinse at 210f, second rinse was a flash-brew, which I did not waste on the tea-pet's head but drank with a great deal of pleasure. Third, fourth and fifth steeps I did a high pour from my goose-neck kettle, hitting the leaves with water at least ten degrees cooler than the initial steeps. What can I say? It's all good. Taking a break and will see what's left in those leaves for a second round, turning the heat back up to 210f. As the man says, 'If this isn't nice, I don't know what is'