A Tea Addict's Journal

How fast do you drink your teas?

June 24, 2010 · 7 Comments

I just read a blog post about rating wines based on how fast they’re drunk.  It’s actually a pretty good idea, and I noticed the same about my tea drinking habits.  I bought, for example, a few cakes last month from Taobao.  I judged them completely by the cover and nothing else — just the listing, description, with some pictures, and that’s it.  It’s a risky way of buying tea, but when they are not expensive, it’s not bad.  I’ve already talked about the Dingxing, which is not bad at all.  This and this turned out to be quite nice.  This, however, was horrid.  It’s one of those cakes that is very bland, probably poorly processed and stored in a dry environment (Kunming) and just all around uninspiring.  You can’t tell from the looks, however, as all looked somewhat promising.

Now, a few weeks later, the first two cakes are almost all gone — I sent parts of them off, but I drank a fair bit too.  The last cake is almost entirely intact other than the two times I tried it, and honestly, I probably won’t try it anytime soon again.  It’ll stay around, probably for a few years, and I’ll hope and pray that by then, it might have done something, but generally speaking if a tea is weak, it’s going to stay weak.  “How fast do you drink it” seems to be a good metric for measuring a drink’s quality.  I do the same for my oolongs as well — the better stuff get drunk faster, and the worse ones stay around forever.

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7 responses so far ↓

  • ABx009 // June 24, 2010 at 11:17 am | Reply

    For me it’s almost the opposite. I will blast through a session of good tea very quickly, but then I’m afraid that I will blow through the leaf too fast if I drink it on my own so I save it for when I have company. I also can’t help but think: “if it’s this good now, then what will it be like further down the road?”

  • MarshalN // June 24, 2010 at 3:19 pm | Reply

    My solution these days tend to be “buy more of it before it runs out”

  • Anonymous // June 24, 2010 at 5:05 pm | Reply

    This method does not work for me. I have 70+ kinds of tea and I do not trust my own ability to choose things randomly enough so I actually do a lot work.

    I have a text file (a word doc) at home which has a list of the teas I have. When I use leaves from one of those teas I put a # beside it

    So my file looks like this:

    # Cooked Purech Tao Cha
    # That cheap green I bought
    ## Yerba Mate
    ### Ten Ren Ali Shan Oolong

    So when I choose a tea to drink, I drink something I haven’t drank in a long time (I choose from the lowest count teas). If I like a tea, I write it down.
    This is a bunch of work but if you can remember what you drank for the past 2 days then you can keep this tea histogram going. Of course it’ll bias new teas, but when you have more than 10 teas it won’t hurt as much.

    So I just count and randomly select from the lowest counts. If it is bad, remove it. This doesn’t tell me if I like it more, but that suggested method does not either. I tend to bias teas by where I put them so I felt I should be more fair about it. That said teas from a reputable vendor get consumed before the crappier teas, and I can always use my judgement and just never drink it again.

  • osososososos // June 24, 2010 at 8:15 pm | Reply

    Like ABx, I do the opposite. I drink lesser teas as “daily” teas and save the good stuff for occasional drinking. Except for shu–I tend to drink all the shu I have before I buy more.

    The newest addition to the “daily” pile is a soft, grainy, slightly fruity jingmai shengpu brick from Awazon. Summer harvest, it takes a lot of abuse in brewing and never becomes unpleasant–too boring and too soft to merit storing.

  • Maitre_Tea // June 24, 2010 at 11:36 pm | Reply

    +1 to what BBB and ABx said

    I like to “rotate” teas so I’m not drinking all good tea in one week straight; however, for young sheng though the really bad stuff gets shelved away and eventually shuffled into the “house blend.”

  • MarshalN // June 25, 2010 at 11:29 pm | Reply

    Hmmm, interesting. I think I used to do that more — save up the good stuff and drink the average things. These days, however, I don’t feel that anymore — or, as I said, the solution is buy enough so that I can go through the stuff without having to worry about not having enough when good friends come. Life’s too short to drink bad tea.

  • Anonymous // July 21, 2010 at 5:24 am | Reply

    @MarshalN – 

    I agree with you, if your teas are not good enough to serve to good friends when they visit without feeling bad, are they really good enough to be a good friend to yourself? I started out hunting out bargain shupu cakes only to realize within the last months that the good stuff is not that much more and is more than worth the extra enjoyment and pleasure that it brings.

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