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.

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Location: Pacific Northwest, United States

Please see my current blog at http://www.meltingteapot.com

20 May 2006

Tea Poetry

I've been reading Drifting, a book of poetry by Dominic Cheung (Chang Ts'o). The book was awarded with Taiwan's prestigious literary award, the National Literature and Arts Prize in 1989. The poems have been translated to English by the author. The work is accessible, beautiful, and and filled with vivid imagery.

Tea is an important image in this book, and I'd like to share one of the more sensual poems with my fellow tea geeks.

**********

Love Poems of Tea

1
If I, the boiling water,
And you, the tea;
Then your fragrance
Has to depend solely upon my plainness.

2
Let your dryness inside me
Softly uncoil and stretch;
Let me dissolve
Imperceptibly, your tension.

3
I have to be hot, even boiled
Before we consume each other;
We have to hide, see and hold
each other in water
to decide
a tea color.

4
No matter how capriciously
you drift;
Gradually and slowly
(O' gently)
You will into me submerge--
Deep.

5
by that moment
the most bitter tear of yours
will become a best sip
of my fragrance.


Cheung, Dominic. Drifting. Green Integer: Los Angelos. 2000. p. 18.

25 Comments:

Blogger Katy said...

I just wanted to tell you I really adore your site. I LOVE tea and it is wonderful to find other people as enthusiastic as myself!

12:09 PM  
Anonymous erica said...

Thanks for recommending certain teas on your site! I came across your site when I put in a search for a review on Teavana. I guess I'm a beginner at tea and I thought it was "the good stuff" (this was after drinking The Republic of Tea's stuff for a few years). I found your entry on the WorldTeaExpo and I saw that you recommended Specialteas.com. I ordered the Assam Harmutty tea that you recommended and their Pina Colada just for kicks. I live in the NYC area and I was wondering if you would happen to know of any tea shops around here?

6:11 AM  
Blogger Cindy W. said...

Hi Erica -- I'm glad you tried some of SpecialTeas assams. They really are a great source for tea. UptonTea is another online vendor with a huge selection of good tea at decent prices.

It is nice, though, to take advantage of local shops. The owners of tea shops, and their employees, are usually lovers of tea who enjoy talking about the varieties and details of what they stock (if they're not, it's a sign that you should be at a different tea shop). Here in Seattle, I've attended tea tastings and classes offered at tea shops, sometimes for free, sometimes not -- always a fun time, and a great way to explore types of tea and ways of brewing.

That said, I'm afraid my knowledge of New York tea shops is pretty low. However, I do know of a coupld of resources that should help:

The TeaGuide lists several shops and tea rooms for New York, divided up into four categories (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens/Staten Island, Other).

Also, two well-known tea authors have a new book on tea in New York City. This is their description from an ad, "the first full color guide to all things tea in New York City. TEA IN THE CITY: NEW YORK is a 112-page guide containing 130 photographs and over 100 entries for tea rooms, salons, hotel teas, museum teas, cafes, tea shops and tea merchants in Manhanttan and the surrounding neighborhoods. " It's available from Benjamin Press, amazon.com, and probably local bookstores and teashops. It may even be at your local library.

Hope that helps! :)

8:33 AM  
Anonymous Erica said...

OH BOY! Does it ever! I can't wait to check out that book and I'm going to check out that site right now! Thanks for responding back!

10:08 AM  
Anonymous specialty teas said...

wow, tea poetry. lol. who would have thought. i need to go to that expo next year!

10:01 PM  
Anonymous erica said...

Hey Cindy,

I just wanted to say that the Assam Harmutty is a great tea! I got my order from Specialteas.com very quickly! Guess it's because they're in CT and I'm in NJ. I love drinking the Assam Harmutty in the morning, it's a great starter for the day. The Pina Colada is really great too, I like that for the afternoon and mixing with some Rooibos Peach (PS, I orginally got 2oz of Pina Colada from Teavana. When I compaired that to specialteas, I realized specialteas has much better quality!)

Barnes and Noble called me this morning and told me that the NYC Tea Gude book came in today, so I'll be reading that tonight. I also picked up The Tea Companion by Jane Pettigrew and The New Tea Book by Alison Miksch. Both of them have been pretty informative, and I love the photography that's in The New Tea Books.

I have another question for you. How do you feel about Adagio.com and Republic of Tea? Are they like Teavana? It seems that tea has become a bit mainstream and some places would like their customers to believe they are getting fine quality when they're getting duped. I have experience with Republic of Tea but Adagio has sparked some curiosity recently.

I have a request too... how about a picture of your tea collection? I'm sure you have a pretty big stash!

8:33 AM  
Blogger Steph said...

Thanks for sharing this great poem!

8:20 AM  
Blogger Cindy W. said...

Hi Erica -- sorry to take a few days to respond. I actually started typing an answer, got sidetracked by my own writing and 5 pages later realized it was probably time for a new post instead a of super huge response here. :)

Anyway, look for that post in the next day or two (on making choices, finding the right shops, and finding the good teas). I need to edit it up a bit and add some photos.

In the meantime, you asked about Adagio and Republic of Tea. I think quite highly of Adagio -- very good tea and nice products. They also provide great information and services for the online tea community, with their newsletter, reviews, and even a cool tea timer for download. They have fewer selections than places like SpecialTeas or Uptons. You're relying on the Adagio people to select great teas for reasonable prices, and to maintain consistency from one year to the next. They do a very good job of this.

Republic of Tea is okay, but you're paying more for the packaging than the quality of tea. I must admit they are the teas I started 15 years ago -- when first moving from bags to loose leaf. I have quite a soft spot for ROT, and I think it's a great place for people to start exploring tea (partly because it's so easy to find the canisters, at everyday stops like grocery stores). I no longer drink their tea, but I love their tea accessories catalogue. It's available via mail, or you can access it on their web site -- lots of neat things for tea lovers.

I don't have a photo of all of my tea, but there are some pictures of the IKEA cabinet I put together to house it all. I've already outgrown it, and I'm looking for a smaller cabinet just for oolongs and all of my gongfu tea supplies. :)

I'm so glad you liked SpecialTeas -- they really do have a superb collection of Assams. My husband is a big assam drinker, and the ones we go through fastest in our house are Majulighur and Hazelbank.

CW

12:40 PM  
Anonymous Centralitea said...

These poems are really neat! It's so great to find somebody who's so passionate about tea.

6:07 PM  
Blogger Polardin said...

I am a new convert at 42 years old I have just discovered tea is the answer! my blog is a little different but im gonna add tea now as a subject its fab. check out my ramblings at cheadle town fc nine below zero

12:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Teavana gets all its' teas from special teas. I know this because I work there. The only difference is that they change the names to a lot of things. For example, the mate vana is really the mate chino. The rooibos tropica is really rooibos oasis. I can go on forever about this stuff.

12:10 AM  
Anonymous ricardo said...

qu'il est rare de croiser des amanteurs de thé!
merci pour ce blog... sur le mien je fais aussi des dégustations de thé. A l'occasion, viens visiter.

merci

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2:25 AM  
Anonymous Stephanie Wolfe said...

I loved this poem...it's so sensusou and beautiful!

4:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Arricchire la vita con un thè di qualità ,da gustare "sorso dopo sorso", usando tutti i sensi, condividendo questi attimi con gli amici , rappresenta la sintesi del benessere del corpo e dell' anima. i the Meria tchaba sono raccolti a mano ed i giovani germogli usati per intero mantengono i loro oli essenziali , risultando squisitamente aromatici .
Eleganti e preziosi cofanetti sono il giusto contenitore per un prodotto di eccellente qualità.
Meria tchaba è la prima ad utilizzare un sacchetto in fibra di mais , completamente biodegradabile , cucito a mano senza colle e graffette di metallo,il tutto per lasciare intatto il gusto, gli aromi e i profumi del nostro the.
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7:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Cindy: I found your blog doing tea searches in Seattle and found it helpful and enjoyable. I have worked in the tea industry and am holding a free tasting of Japanese teas next weekend in Ballard. It will be a demo/focus group type of tasting. If you are interested, or know of anyone that may be, please reply and I'll forward you the full details (Ballard Community Center, 6/24, 10:15am-12:00pm.) Space is very limited, so RSVP is required. I just sent out notices yesterday and expect it to fill fast.
Here's my contact info:
Tatsuo Tomeoka, WaSabiDou
wa_sabi_dou@hotmail.com or 206-660-4189. Hope you don't mind this unsolicted message. Keep up the good work on the blog. Looks like it's been dormant for the past year, but hope your passion for tea is still strong. We need all we can get here in the land of coffee. Best regards, Tatsuo Tomeoka

12:51 PM  
Blogger Julian said...

Cindy

Thanks for these helpful posts. It is really helpful.

I would like to add your blog to my site. I think the visitors would love it.

Do you mind if we exchange links?

You can contact me at julian (at) amazing-green-tea.com.

Thanks again for your wonderful blogs and poetries!

3:28 PM  
Anonymous Jenna said...

http://youtube.com/watch?v=LLrbgVpPqaA

Thought you might enjoying watching this. :)

10:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


GoldFish Tea

8:21 AM  
Anonymous Love 4 Tea said...

hello, you have a really nice tea blog. Although I have been drinking and learning about tea for a while now, I am always finding interesting articles on your tea blog.

8:57 PM  
Anonymous Lily C said...

Beautiful Poem! Nice to see a blog like this!

1:55 PM  
Anonymous Shushana said...

This is the first time I have stumbled upon your blog and I absolutely love it! I'm an avid tea drinker and love reading about varieties of flavors.

Also, I really, really like that tea poem. So adorable.

I have a variety of tea cups I use for a better tea drinking enjoyment, be it alone and especially when I entertain. I just bought this colorful set at this site, and thought you may like it too: www.BrentwoodKitchen.com. The one I bought is the "Pretty in Pink" tea collection. Soooooo cute.

I look forward to reading more.

12:05 AM  
Blogger Blue People Tea said...

Love your poetry! I came across your site, I am loving it!

I wanted to let you know the http://www.BluePeopleTea.com is giving away free tea if you sign up for their mailing list!*

http://www.BluePeopleTea.com
http://www.BluePeopleTea.com/store

Thanks!

11:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who knows where to download XRumer 5.0 Palladium?
Help, please. All recommend this program to effectively advertise on the Internet, this is the best program!

5:52 AM  

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