Tuesday February 14, 2006

A trip to New York and a few days without proper tea. It’s rather brutal, but what can you do. I saw a friend whom I haven’t seen in a while, and we ate at a restaurant in Soho. Afterwards, while walking around, I found this place called Athélier that sells some reasonable teas. They are located inside the DKNY boutique. While they have some ok tea, they do, however, mislabel Biluochun as a white tea, and have the ever-annoying “Monkey Picked Oolong”, perpetuating the myth that it somehow is picked by monkey in their description. I ended up buying some, just for the hell of it and because I want some variety, but my place is really overflowing with tea and I ought to stop. Their specialty seems to be maté, as they have lots of variety of it, although that stuff is never fragrant like tea is.

We came back on Sunday when it was snowing like crazy. We were lucky we booked train tickets to come up, and so it worked out perfectly since we didn’t have to try to scramble for one last minute (as most flights and buses were cancelled). It’s a shame though that in the whole of Penn station the only place that sells teabags that is slightly better than Lipton is a café that’s attached to the LIRR station, selling Seattle’s Best coffee and Tazo teabags. Now, while Tazo is not exactly Earth shattering stuff, it’s way better than Lipton, which is positively nasty. I had a cup of their Awake (aka black tea blend that can be made at the cheapest cost while tasting generically black). It served its caffeine pumping purpose.

Monday was a busy day with a full schedule, and I didn’t get a chance to drink anything until I got home at 6, at which point I promptly made the Tieguanyin I got from Sunsing. It’s a semi-heavy fire Tieguanyin, but not so heavy as to make it only strong and bitter. In fact, it’s quite nice and does a good job of balancing the fragrance and the flavour. It’s not a qingxiang like a light, green Tieguanyin, but it is not so strong either. I really like it the more I drink it, and I should’ve bought a lot more — like triple what I got. It’s too bad. Incidentally, they also call it a “Monkey Picked” tea, but the thing is, they at least won’t tell you it’s actually (or even was once upon a time) picked by monkeys.

Today is another long day…. but ended with nice tea. It’s a Taiwan oolong, one that my girlfriend got from me from a place in Taipei called Wisteria House (where they filmed a scene for Eat Drink Man Woman). I think this is aged oolong, because you can’t smell anything and it tastes more mature than a fresh, “usual” Taiwanese oolong. It is still thin like they always are, and have no real aftertaste, but it is rather interesting. The tea leaves are darker than your usual Taiwanese oolong as well, reflecting the aged character of the tea. It’s fun to try new things 🙂


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