A Tea Addict's Journal

Entries from December 2008

Finding tea in Korea

December 27, 2008 · 4 Comments

I don’t know what Toki does, but I remember when I first came here in Korea quite a few years ago, the going was tough.  Finding tea in Korea is not as easy as it seems, given all the teaware that they make.  You do start wondering, after a while, where all the Korean tea is, because they seem few and far between, whereas you can find Korean teaware pretty easily.

For somebody who comes from Hong Kong, where caffeinated tea can be found everywhere and where the default is to wash your food down with a little infused camellia sinensis, Korea can be rough.  I remember when I could get a real cup of tea in a very decent restaurant.  That was in Seoul.  Here in Pusan, it seems like the situation hasn’t changed that much.  Mind you, this is not to say that you can’t find any tea in Korea… you can.  Much of the time, however, they are teabags, and they are only offered if you look for it.  Coffee is the preferred drink here, and finding a regular cup of tea that will scratch that itch when you’re addicted to the stuff is not easy.

There also seem to be those nice tea stores that dot the city, as I’ve passed by a few signs that advertise such establishments while riding a car, but until I’ve got some time to go roam the place, I’ll have to settle with darjeeling teabags.  Why didn’t I bring my own tea?

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Christmas shopping

December 24, 2008 · Leave a Comment

Between the myriad family activities and trying to recover from the jetlag, I did manage to pick up some tea — some aged oolong and some puerh, as well as a bit of bug shit tea. Anyway….. more later, gotta run again 🙂

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December 17, 2008 · 2 Comments

My last entry on this blog was December 5th. That’s almost two weeks ago, which is quite scandalous. I have been rather occupied with all sorts of things, not least pretending to try to write my dissertation and to look for (hopeful) employment as a pedagogical device in classrooms. Until then, however, there is much work to be done.

Work aside, however, I am heading to Hong Kong tomorrow for a bit more than a week to see family and such. So hopefully, I will be reporting again from there 🙂

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Making a dent in my stash

December 5, 2008 · 1 Comment

I literally haven’t had tea the “proper” way for almost a month now. It’s rather frightening, actually. I finally have cleaned out a few of the tasks I have to do, and hopefully starting tomorrow, will have at least a few days when I feel better about sitting down and enjoying some tea.

In the past month though I’ve managed to drink up most of the Menghai cooked brick I have (150g), as well as some loose raw wet stored puerh (50g). I also finished a big bag of aged baozhong (200g) and another half bag of an aged tieguanyin (75g). I don’t think I drank quite half a kilo of tea… since I might be overestimating the amount of tea, but it’s definitely in the range of 10g a day or potentially more.

Using a big pot to brew changes the kind of things you look for, and the traits you want in a tea. A tea that is great in a small pot with a small drinking cup is not necessarily good in a big pot with a big mug. My current aged tieguanyin is actually better in a small pot, but in a big cup, it also displays some things that I don’t find in the small pot version — for example, today when drinking the tea, I am reminded of “lemon tea” that I used to drink in Hong Kong during school recesses — really really nasty tea infused with some nasty unnatural lemon flavour, plus lots of sugar. It’s a very tart version of Snapple’s. Somehow this tea smells like that today. It’s very interesting.

One thing about these teas though — you need to have enough leaves in the pot to make it work. If you brew it too lightly, then they just become very bland and very boring…. a total waste of tea.

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Two usual pots

December 2, 2008 · Leave a Comment

As requested — These days I’m using mostly these two pots

Left — aged oolong. Right — cooked or heavily stored, cheap puerh. They’ve worked pretty well so far, and the aged oolong pot has seen a lot of action recently. They’ve definitely gotten a little more shine over time.

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