This is the sum total of my tea life, at least in terms of stuff. The boxes in the far back are teaware of various sorts. Boxes of tea are here and there, and some have been unpacked already into the cupboard you see on the left.
Packing up your tea life is actually quite an interesting exercise. You rediscover pieces of teaware that have been relegated to the B-team, and haven’t been used for years. For example, I found my little tieguanyin pot that was sitting in the back of my cupboard, not having had a drink of tea for probably four or five years, at the very least. It was the first yixing pot I bought for myself, so in many ways it does hold some significance. It’s not something I would buy now, and I even debated whether or not I should let it go and sell it to someone where it will be used and loved, but I can’t quite get myself to do it, so into the back of the cupboard it may go again.
There are also teas that I forgot I bought, or that I haven’t tried for years because they have been difficult to access because of their storage location. The retaste project is meant to try to remedy that, but the progress on that is very slow, mostly because of the constant stream of stuff I have to drink. I will, however, get to every one of them, eventually.
I also learned a few things while packing my tea this time. For example, loose cakes are a real pain to pack, but they can be made considerably easier to deal with if you do this
A giant plastic bag or something similarly sturdy, and all of a sudden you’ve got a tong of tea. It has the added benefit of keeping all the loose tea that will inevitably fall out inside the bag, so that when you’re done, you’ve got fannings that you can grandpa easily. Similar arrangements can be done for bricks and tuos as well. They do make packing the tea much faster, and more importantly, there’s less bumping against each other, less crushing of leaves, less losses overall.
Now I’m trying to put together an inventory of teas that I have – something I’ve never actually done before, since I kid myself that I don’t have that much tea, when in fact I do. Likewise, for my burgeoning collection of yixing pots, I think I also need a list as well. Otherwise they all become undifferentiated and I can’t even tell you what I’ve got, which is probably a bad thing.