Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Second Opinions

I find it infinitely fascinating and a little overwhelming how much variety and variance there is in the world of tea.  Not only are there many different types of tea, but there are also many different grades of tea.  On top of that there are many ways to enjoy tea.

I write this because I recently revisited the Xu Fu Long Ya that I reviewed on here, and had a much different experience with it.  I brewed it in a more casual way, just leaving the tea in my gaiwan and adding hot water as needed.  This is the way most Chinese enjoy their greens and I think there is something much more relaxing to it.  Rather than worrying about steeping times and whether or not infusion x was better than infusion y you just drink the tea.

I believe that sometimes I get so caught up in the process of making the tea I miss out on some of the enjoyment of drinking it.  There is a great deal of relaxation and even a sort of meditation present in making tea, but sometimes I focus too much on doing everything "just right" so I can get the "best flavor".  I do not think I am alone in this.  I am sure we teaheads all have moments where the enjoyment of the tea is lost in our scrutiny and research of it.

This isn't to say that research and scrutiny are bad things at all.  Evaluating and critiquing both the tea and our preparation is the only way to inform others of what works and what teas are worth buying.  I greatly appreciate all the reviews and shared experiences with tea that others allow me to read.  If it wasn't for such information I could potentially waste my entire (very small) tea budget on inferior tea.

Unrelated picture of a tea set I started using recently.

What I do think is a problem is when one doesn't allow themselves to just enjoy tea without the pressure of critiquing it or their preparation methods.  Do not forget what made you so interested in the world of tea in the first place; that first well brewed cup of tea.

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