Tag Archives: chinese tea

What a difference a year makes

If you own pu’er tea, being stuck in a pandemic for over a year has its benefits, unless you were so stuck that you drank your entire stash. Your tea is now one year older, wiser, and worth that much more. What’s even better is having the house termite tented during the pandemic, forcing you to get out of the house, where our humble room at the Sofitel was upgraded to the penthouse suite and we ordered club sandwiches from Norm’s via smoke signal.

I decided to remove the green coffees and teas from the property for safe storage, resulting in a much needed inventory check, in which I found only five little bags of mystery tea, and dug up a few treasures that had been silently aging and were now ready to shine, just in time for Linda and I to resume our epic tea tastings in person.

Linda’s new silver kettle!

We started with something super fresh, a green tea called taiping houkui which I have never had before. The leaves are gorgeous, they have the imprint of the mesh fabric that they were pressed and rolled against. It tasted like an herbal tea without the herb flavor, just delicious and super thick without a hint of harshness. I thought the viscosity of the water was due to the silver kettle, so we tried a lower grade taiping houkui which tasted surprisingly bland and gritty and flat.

Looks almost like a makeshift silkscreening set up

Next we drank a raw pu’er from a single tree that Linda had “discovered” during her own inventory taking process. We had loved this tea after trying it right after it had been picked, in 2018, so we were happy to assess its incredible three year old development.

Finally we got to my army green metal box squirreled away since 2007. It’s a commemorative pu’er made for the 80th anniversary of the People’s Liberation Army.

There’s one brick of ripe and one brick of raw. A friend of ours has an uncle who’s a general in the army and neither of them wanted it. With teas like this it’s impossible without brewing it to know whether the taste will live up to the quality of the packaging, but when you can smell the aroma from a few feet away and the taste is close to honey in consistency, complex and spicy and quite possibly the best ripe pu’er you have ever had, you can thank the PLA for something other than the warm jackets that certain hotels in the mountains of China offer you when they drag you up at sunrise to see the fog.

We ended up just brewing this tea for the rest of the afternoon, losing count after twenty or thirty steepings. That’s how it goes sometimes.

In another ten years this tea will taste like syrup.


Due to some perverted Hollywood magic and/or karmic what-not, the wonderful folks at CBS asked our little tea company (blush blush) if they could use some of our pots and teaware for an episode of “Unforgettable,” a TV show involving murder, mystery and memory (very appropriate for Aged Pu’er). The tea will be the clue which sparks the protagonist’s memory, leading her to solve the crime. The episode is called Heartbreak, and we think it has something to do with a man being tossed from an airplane. Holy camellia sinensis!

Now we know our air date (this Tuesday. February 21—please check local listings for showtimes) so don’t miss it! But if you do, you can always watch the episode online, and pause the video at the appropriate times to see the clues.

During the process we got to talk to their prop master (and isn’t it a sign of quality that the prop master has an insane Brooklyn accent), insert a little authenticity into exactly how the hell the tea was going to be brewed, and, seeing as how the crime hinged on the tea being a rare Chinese Pu’er, we created a selection of special labels for them. This being a real TV show, however, the Brooklyn-accent told us we weren’t going to get very far with our real logo on the labels. Aw, we said, but you gotta have something on the labels… this being… ahem… rare Chinese Pu’er etc. etc. etc.

So the big hats at CBS had a discussion,

and after they realized how small we were, that we were actually as close to being a fake company as you can get, they agreed to let us use our labels. Yippee!

So here we have the total numbers of viewers of the show:

Separate out the chunk of viewers who are into high end Chinese tea:

Then extract the people that are into aged Pu’er,

Allow for the offshoot of people that have read 1000 Plateaus,

and you’re left with this, our dearly beloved fan base. <3 <3 <3.