Lazy Tea Prep (with Video)

The art of tea blending is one that has always eluded me. I know of people that consider themselves experts in the field, but I often wondered how much skill it really took to create a blend. Playing with different herbs and teas wasn’t a new thing to me. I did it all the time at home to varying degrees of success and failure. The one I had yet to try to mimic was English Breakfast.

I read somewhere that there was no set recipe for English Breakfast. Typically, there was an Assam base, and other like-flavored burly black teas rounded it out. Sometimes they included low-altitude Ceylon or earthy Yunnan Dian Hong. But I found a snippet that mentioned a truly good blend was done with equal parts Assam and Keemun. Seemed easy enough.

At a par”tea” thrown by a friend of mine, I decided to demonstrate the ease of English Breakfast blending. I went up to the host and said, “Wanna see how easy blending is?”

He nodded slowly.

I took a helping of Keemun Gongfu and another of Rani estate Assam, put them in a bag together and shook it vigorously.

“There,” I said. “I just blended.”

My friend sniffed the contents of the bag. “That smells awful.”

I cocked an eyebrow, whiffed…and came up with little discernible aroma.

Perhaps I needed to rethink my approach. When I got home I looked through my stash of teas to see what would work for a second English try-out. I figured that both ingredients had to have a similar aromatic and visual profile. As luck would have it, I was in possession of a very tippy Keemun Mao Feng as well as some gold-tipped Assam from Glenburn’s Khongea estate. Both had a similar malty profile – albeit the Keemun was sweeter.

The results were…well…how about I just show you.

Now that I’ve been (understandably) exiled to my room, I can reflect upon it. The liquor brewed as I expected it would, very crimson-to-copper. The aroma had the subtlety of a bitter battering ram – very dry on the nostrils followed by something bordering on malt. To the taste, it was extremely tannic on the forefront but eventually settled nicely into a malty echo.

Verdict: If I’m in a pinch, it’s good to know I can shake up something drinkable. As to the art of blending itself…I’ll leave that to the professionals. The ingredients I used were of exceptional quality on their own, but I had little regard for how to portion them correctly. Clearly, I have a lot to learn.

Credits and Acknowledgements

Directed and Edited by:

Robert Norman (my brother). Without his help, I wouldn’t have been able to put together this little “tutorial” video. Sometimes living with a film grad is useful.

You can find more stuff by him HERE.

Our other collabs can be found HERE.

“Written” and “Starring”:

Me, of course. Honestly, other than coming up with the idea for this, writing a one-page script, and doing copious amounts of begging, my contributions were minor by comparison.

Special Guest Star:

Thanks to Robert “The Devotea” Godden for lending me his blender disapproval.

You can find his tea videos HERE.

You can find his blog HERE.

You can purchase his blends HERE.


06-June Khongea Golden Tips Second Flush Assam TGFOP1 provided by KTeas.

My thoughts on it – by itself – can be found HERE.

Gift Keemun Hong Mao Feng provided by Vicony Teas

My thoughts HERE.

Tea Props:

Eight Cranes Perfect Steeper

Adagio UtiliTea


“Pot Head” shirt purchased at The Jasmine Pearl Tea Merchants

Pet Cameos:

Abacus St. Bernard

Georgia Poopybottom

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Sunday, January 1st, 2012 Steep Stories, Vids 2 Comments

The Horrifying Dark Beach of the Slain Dragon

Here’s the long and the short of it. We were stuck watching our niece one night, and she was stricken with flu. It was our duty to entertain her. During dinner, she told us of a short story she wrote for a class entitled: The Horrifying Dark Beach of the Slain Dragon.

She tried her darnedest to explain the plot to us, but it was to no avail. Somewhere in the passage of the conversation, the idea emerged to film the story for better comprehension. And…well…here’s the result.

This is what happens when you let a nine-year-old “write” the script. Awesomeness and randomness ensues.

All the music, editing, and camera-nifty-ness were made possible by my bruddah-from-our-biological-muddah, Robert Norman. I…uh…provided the terrible English accents. Our niece, Bella, brought the sass.

Note: No actual dragons or people were harmed in the making of this movie.

Well, ‘cept a wine merchant or two.

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Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009 Vids 1 Comment

The Brothers Norman Review “Indiana Jones IV”

At around 5:45PM on a Friday afternoon in June, my brother and I existed the Bridgeport Theater in a state of bewilderment.

We finished an economy priced viewing of the long-in-the-tooth-titled Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. While driving home, we pondered how the movie made us feel. Our dialogue slowly slipped into metaphor. Sometimes poetic. Did we like it? Did we not? All we could do was find comparisons.

I said aloud, “I think I’ll write a review like that.”

“I have a better idea,” my brother said. “Let’s make a video.”

The rest of that night was spent hammering this baby out.

Click the very large…uh…”me” head.

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Friday, November 21st, 2008 Vids 1 Comment

I work for tea money.


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