You Think You Know Yunnan?

Oh, hi.

You’re still here. Damn…have you been waiting long? Two months? Really?! Ummm…

Yeah, I had…uh…Carpal-depress-‘o-flu. It’s contagious. I’d stay back if I were you. Now where were we…January? Ah, yes.

To say it’s been a rough Winter is an understatement. I spent three weeks of it on my second bout with “Le Plague”. This put an even greater delay on my tea reviewing schedule – even well beyond the usual procrastination. One can’t really judge a drink when they can neither taste or smell. However, there were some strong contenders that braved the challenge.

Along with my usual morning matcha routine, I also attempted to drink copious amounts of white tea. I figured, if I couldn’t taste anything anyway, a good white tea won’t really matter. Most people can’t taste the stuff anyway unless they over-brew it. I can…but I’m “sensitive”.

There were three Yunnan white teas I had at my disposal. One was a rougher white known as Yue Guang Bai. Loosely translated, it means “Moonlight White”. The process for making it is slightly different than other white teas. Instead of being dried like other teas, it instead goes through a process (I’ve heard) that is similar to maocha (proto-pu-erh). It shows in the initial taste – rough, leafy and slightly earthy.

The second on hand was a favorite of mine – sun-dried buds from the Ya Bao (Arbor) varietal. The stuff reminded me of a Greek Mountain herbal infusion on smell and sip. As for the buds, they always looked very un-tea-like, but – man! – could they take a beating! I could boil the heck out of ‘em and still get three infusions-worth.

And speaking of boiling. Good ol’ Chuck – the husband half of The Jasmine Pearl Tea Merchants – corrected me on an assumption I held that only Fujian-produced Silver Needles were the best. He brought forth one that was produced in Yunnan, looked exactly like the Fuding/Fujian stuff, and smelled five times better. As in, the leaves actually had a smell. Citrus, as a matter of fact.

So what is an indecisive sick boy to do when he can barely taste anything through his congestion? How does he choose which white tea to go for? Answer: He doesn’t. He mixes the three together.

The result was…well…I couldn’t tell you exactly what it tasted like because I couldn’t really discern much past my clogged palate. What I can tell ya was that I did taste it? Quite a bit! That says something about the strength of these Yunnan whites. What’s even better? When I brewed ‘em up in a pot, I used boiling water. This doubled their taste output.

I only did a pot of all three once, and I’m not entirely sure why I didn’t try it again. Perhaps, now that my nasals are clear, I’ll revisit the unprofessional blend. As it stands, though, Yunnan whites are quite the powerhouse to the palate. Even a sickly one.

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Wednesday, March 21st, 2012 Steep Stories No Comments

O.D. (Original Dumbass)

So, I made a boo boo.

I knew I probably caught a bug. My sister’s boyfriend passed his lovely plague onto me. (What a thoughtful guy, eh?…Actually, it’s not his fault. He couldn’t help it.) However, I forgot to pick up some Airborne at the first signs of “the tingle”.

You know “the tingle” – that little itch in the back of your throat that rings like a tiny li’l bell. It warns you that something is amiss, slightly askew, not as it should be. I got that early indicator the following day, but didn’t act on it. I figured my usual powerhouse of supplements and uber-teas would protect me from any boyfriend-in-law cooties.

I was wrong.

Before my last day of work for the week, the head-clogging commenced. Boys in my family have the unfortunate side-effect of getting really stupid once the head swells with gunk. I noticed this as I was grocery shopping and forgot to pick up sammich meat. The clogginess reared its retarded head again when I made a second stop to pick up medicine. I forgot the stuff…twice.

Finally, I got home and armed myself before that night’s workshift. I made my usual Power Pomegranate White Warrior tea, doused with some DayQuil, and popped a couple of Mucinex.
Let’s stop there for a moment.

Normal Mucinex DM’s dosage instructions are as follows: one or two tablets every 12 hours, no more than four in a 24 hour period. That is for normal Mucinex DM.

The shit I got was Maximum Strength Mucinex DM. Information on the website indicates that if the recommended dosage is exceeded, possible side-effects include: nervousness, irritability, anxiety, hallucinations, and dizziness. The product shouldn’t be taken if other stimulants are consumed. My dumbass read the label without glasses on, and I assumed the dosage was that of the normal brand.

This means I went to work on two DayQuil (which were caffeinated), two cups of tea (which were caffeinated), two Maximum Strength Mucinex DM tablets, and had two more cups of caffeinated tea while at work. I’ll just say the shift went by really quickly, given that I only remember about half of it. It was like being drunk without the booze and on speed – wandering around the lobby talking to myself, checking the mirror to see if my teeth were straight, having intellectual debates with pair of scissors.

You know, the usual.

This continued throughout all of that Thursday. To any of you who had conversations with me during this bout, my sincerest apologies. I blamed the NyQuil, but it wasn’t Big Q’s fault.

I woke up that following Friday around 4AM, took out the trash, made tea, made oatmeal (for me and my brother/roommate), made a bagel with cream cheese and jelly…

It was 8AM, and there I sat writing this damn blog.

But my nose was clear…um..if that counts for anything.

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Friday, December 5th, 2008 Musings No Comments

I work for tea money.


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