Cup of Tea and a Blog

Welcome to my spot for musing about all things tea. Here you'll read reviews of quality teas, click through comments on tea rooms and shops I've visited, and see photos of leaves and cups. You’ll also find things I might talk about over a cup of tea, like philosophy, literature, current events, or fun ways to pass the time.

Location: Pacific Northwest, United States

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21 May 2005

Yixing, Puerh, and Dental Work

My New Yixing Pot

As some of you know from a previous post, I’ve just begun my exploration of puerh teas. I’ve now sampled a few more at tea shops, and I’ve been paying special attention to preparation methods. Finally, it was time to revisit puerh, and I wanted a special pot for this. There are many web sites that sell Yixing ware, from cheaper mass market produced pots to hand-crafted artware, to expensive antique pieces. However, for this first one I wanted to touch before buying, to see what it looked like and feel how fragile it was. Fragility scares me, since I tend towards clumsiness.

My first attempt to get to a teashop with a nice selection was a bust. Unfortunately, our trip to to Bremerton, WA didn't go well when we found the shop closed (time to update the web site information!). I’ll go back across the Puget Sound to Bremerton sometime soon, since I’m always looking for an excuse to take that gorgeous ferry ride. I’ll remember to call first, though.

Afterward, I continued to surf web sites and learned to recognize recurring patterns and themes. I tend to like the simple squat fat pots, but I also enjoy the stark geometric shapes of some. The pots with figures or fake wood gnarls seem too child-like to me, but I must admit that I want one with a lizard/salamander on the lid. If I ever find the perfect tea for that tiger-stripe salamander pot, I’ll buy one. Please post if you have any suggestions for teas that might match!

My next attempt to get my hands on some tiny pots was at the tea tasting by the owners of Floating Leaves. Luckily, they had some wonderful yixings, and I learned about subtle differences in weight and the type of filter to the spout. I was happy to purchase a small-but-stately pot that seemed to be just the right color for puerhs.

Forest Floor, a loose puerh
During the tea tasting, several attendees mentioned a favorite: Forest Floor Puerh. One person said that often when she brews it at work, someone will ask "is it raining outside?" That description made me smile, and it made me take some home. I waited a few days while Shiuwen seasoned the pot with the Forest Floor puerh (see the Teamaster's excellent blog on preparing new yixing teapots). Once my pot had arrived, I was ready to go. I have a makeshift gongfu setup, and I prepared water then began the brewings of this tea.

leaves before brewing

yes, that's my mac laptop behind it (needed something white)

As you can see, a very nice reddish-brown liquor is produced from this brewing. The tea is not aggressively fermented, but it has that characteristic flavor I’m beginning to appreciate. The flavor holds true even after several brewings. There are quiet notes that make me think of walking off the path and into the depth of a natural, untended forest floor. I like how this goes into the pleasant side of decay; the expanded brewed tea leaves are lacey and look like those you’d find months after the autumn fall. I suppose that’s how I think of this tea – like a winter forest.

What does this have to do with dental work?

The thing that has surprised me most about the Forest Floor puerh is that my husband loves it. Right now, he is especially fond of the comforting aspect to this tea. He’s in the middle of some tough dental work, taking lots of antibiotics and pain killers, and the puerh is calming his stomach and soothing his nerves. I don’t drink tea for the health benefits, but you can’t get any better than tea that tastes good while being good for you.

So, Floating Leaves’ Forest Floor puerh comes fully endorsed by my husband with his swollen cheek, antibiotic-gauze-stuffed tooth, and numbed-but-still-just-a-bit-painful jaw.


Blogger Knitty Cat said...

Cindy, I just love your blog! I've been blogging for a week now, and I was starting to lose hope of finding others like me :)
Anyway, how exciting to get your first yixing! Mine arrived today, and I felt the need to share.
Would you take a look at my blog?

12:01 PM  
Blogger Cindy W. said...

Lest anyone want to follow the link to tea master wanna-be's web site, here's the correct URL:

Glad you found me -- I'll post a note to your blog shortly. :)

12:39 PM  

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