1) First, let’s start with how you were introduced & fell in love with the wonderful beverage of tea.
Growing up in Hong Kong, I don’t think anyone is actually “introduced” to tea. You just drink it as a matter of course, because it’s everywhere, whether it’s the diluted tea water you get at local crap restaurants or the stuff you get when you go out for dim sum, you encounter tea every single day, in all shapes and sizes. So tea, as it were, was always a part of my life. My grandfather was never far from his tea – in fact, he almost never drinks plain water. So some of my earliest memories are people just sipping their cups when they come to visit, etc.
As for falling in love with it, I suppose it took place during college, when I bought a little bit of mingqian Longjing, wondering why this particular Longjing cost 5x the regular stuff. Well, turns out it was indeed a lot better than the regular stuff, and it’s been a one way street since.
2) What was the very first tea blend that you ever tried?
This is when you know the questions were written by someone who drinks mostly Western style tea, if we can call it that. Blends? I don’t know, probably some Lipton tea they use in restaurants here in Hong Kong. What else? I’ll be surprised if this isn’t the answer for pretty much everyone out there.
3) When did you start your tea blog & what was your hope for creating it?
January 28, 2006. That makes this blog almost 8 years old. It started out as, really, just a journal for myself to record what I drank and what I thought about the tea, on that most horrible (and now dead) of platforms, Xanga. Back then I think there were only three blogs on tea that I know of – Teamasters, which is still in the same business; Chadao, which has been dormant for a long time, and The Mandarin’s Tea, which has morphed a bit. There was also the Livejournal Puerh community, which has died a long time ago (and LJ is not far behind). Things were a lot simpler back then.
4) List one thing most rewarding about your blog & one thing most discouraging.
Rewarding: meeting people, sometimes in real life, who I otherwise wouldn’t have met, because I write this blog and they read it and we get in touch somehow. Discouraging: when obvious misinformation is spread and sometimes, despite my feeble attempts, it persists. The tea world is a much better place without all the myths and sales pitches.
5) What type of tea are you most likely to be caught sipping on?
Darker oolongs or puerhs, depending on the day.
6) Favourite tea latte to indulge in?
Huh? No thanks.
7) Favourite treat to pair with your tea?
8) If there was one place in the world that you could explore the tea culture at, where would it be & why?
I haven’t been to India yet, and would love to go see some tea plantations there. It’s a totally different mode of operation.
9) Any tea time rituals you have that you’d like to share?
Don’t complicate things when they are not necessary.
10) Time of day you enjoy drinking tea the most: Morning, Noon, Night or Anytime?
Afternoon, usually. People act surprised when I tell them I only have one tea a day normally. I try not to overdose.
11) What’s one thing you wish for tea in the future?
More people caring about it and less marketing-speak, but there’s no chance of the latter, I’m afraid.
– Whom do you tag?
I think Dr. Hobbes is untagged until now.