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I embarked on my tea journey when I studied abroad in China in 2008 and traveled around Taiwan that summer. I'm here to share my experiences and offer my own opinion, advice, and comments on tea.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

A Milestone

This is a fairly long post/rant, so it's broken up into sections:

A Milestone
Ever since installing SiteMeter a few months ago I have officially passed the 1,000 visitors mark. While I don't really care too much how many people read my ramblings on tea, but I am interested in the distribution of my readers. I'm often surprised at how "global" the tea drinking/blog reading community is. It's interesting to know that I have a sizable number of readers hailing from Sweden. If not for SiteMeter I would have thought there were few, if any, tea drinkers in that part of Europe. Somewhat surprisingly though is the lack of readers from the mainland, though I suspect that has more to do with the Great Firewall of China than anything else. Though you're welcome to stay quiet, please comment somewhere...I always relish the chance to interact more with readers and find out where they're from.

The Art of Tea Critique

I haven't been in the mood to talk about/review whatever teas I've been drinking. I've been taking notes, so it should be relatively easy for me to transcribe them...but somehow I'm not too eager to write/review tea. This frustration was only brought to the conscious part of my mind when I read some comments on Something Smuggled In. It's a topic that's been discussed before, but the art of reviewing tea, or anything, can be awfully dependent on so many variables. It's almost impossible to compare accurate tasting notes unless things such as water, brewing times, brewing vessel, etc. were kept the same. Also, our personal inclinations towards certain teas, flavors, aromas, etc. also impact our judgment as well. But despite realizing this, I still read through all the blogs for tea recommendations. I think it's important to find someone whose tastes are sort of aligned with your own (something that comes with trial & error experience), because even with a well-crafted tea, opinions can vary. The Half-Dipper tasting event really showed that, IMHO.

What Now?

Having reached this "mile-stone" of sorts, I'm been thinking about the direction that my blog has taken, and what its future is. Unlike Hobbes, I didn't have the foresight to create a "mission statement." Looking at it now, the little blurb from my profile might be the closest thing to a mission statement. Let's take a look at it, shall we?

"I'm here to share my experiences and offer my own opinion, advice, and comments on tea."

It appears that I've satisfied most of these conditions, though I don't think I'm in any sort of position to dispense advice (well, not advice that should be taken too seriously). But this seems awfully one-sided, and I think I've slowly come to view this blog as a way of communicating with my fellow tea heads. So it's about sharing our experience, opinions, advice and comments on tea, using this blog as a "constant tea meeting," a phrase coined by Corax and MarshalnN on the seminal Cha Dao blog.

Updates on the Tea Front

I recently received the samples I ordered a few weeks ago of the Jingmai/Manjin Awazon cakes. Having only tasted the Mangjin, it seems pretty solid IMHO, but further tasting will be needed to decide if I should purchase a cake somewhere down the line. My Tao Bao order is still processing, and I'm hopeful that it will arrive here by late December, giving me something to do in January. I also made a spur-of-the-moment purchase from Nadacha: 100 g of the 80s Wang Zi Loose Leaf, something that Nada threw in as a sample with my last order and I liked enough for it to be an "everyday" aged pu-erh tea, since I don't have the money to order 80s cakes. I also ordered the 90s (late) Grand Yellow Label. I've heard good things about it all-around, and though it's a bit wet (IIRC), the dryness here should give it some body.

Will post an "actual" post soon...

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sure, they might have to fight of one or two polar bears on the way, but China Mail usually manage to reach us up here in the north.

Ok, so Sweden might not be the top tea-scene of the world yet; lipton bags and stale supermarket varieties being what passes for good tea by most pepole. But interest in and knowledge of high-end teas are steadily on the rise and there are a few vendors now that can offer you pretty much the same as anywhere else outside Asia (dan cong from tea habitat being maybe one exception).

Anyway, thank you on behalf of all the tea-folks in sweden.

J

Bret said...

Howdy Maitre, Ive also noted the amount of hits from Sweden on my blog. I dont really check my site meter status often but it is suprising to see how many people from abroad follow our ramblings. Congratulations on your purchases, Ive still never bought anything from Nada yet, maybe after the holidays. Interesting that one of the items I sold on my last garage sale was a kyusu and cup set to a guy in Sweden. Oh well, congrats on your new milestone and keep up the good work.

Maitre_Tea said...

J,

I'm humbled by the fact that so many Swedes check my blog, and on a such a regular basis too. It really encourages me to blog more often knowing that there are people out there willing to write the notes we write.

Bret,

I've only ordered once from Nada before, but I really dig the prices on the stuff he has. Sure, the cost of an entire cake is really expensive; but if you compare the price per gram his stuff is on-par (and even cheaper, IIRC) than places like Hou De. Also helpful is the option to buy as large of a sample as you need. I'll be happy to send you samples of what I've ordered, along with some other stuff I might need your advice (my Tao Bao order), but my order from Nada isn't coming in for a while since I went cheap on the shipping.

Bret said...

Maitre, That would be great. If I remember correctly Salsero also is a fan of Nada,s maocha. Also Steve at jas-etea told me he was going to start offering some of Nada,s teas on his site. But as of yet Ive not seen any of them listed. I probably wont be ordering very many new teas untill after the holidays. I do need to get a couple of the 2008 Xiaguan Exquisite Elegance cakes before their gone though. That teas a real winner in a number of peoples eyes. Thanks, Bret

Maitre_Tea said...

wow, if Steve did that he would occupy a nice middle-ground between the young, cheap stuff, and the expensive, old stuff; something that no other vendor (in my knowledge) really pulls off.