2019 may be one of the more boring years from TeaDB to write about. I drank tea, bought a little, Denny and I continued our episode per week pace, and I wrote a bit. My habits are more settled, a steady trend at this point. I know what I like and tend to follow predictable patterns.
What I Drink
My own drinking falls into the three categories I outlined last year:
(1) Casual brews I drink/make for my wife. (2) Teas I drink gong-fu throughout the day. (3) Teas I drink with other people.
This has not changed at all and as a lover of data and spreadsheets, I’ve continued to track my own drinking for another year (category 2). Here’s the spreadsheet for those interested.
Types of Tea & Consumption (Category 2)
|Category||Amount of Tea||% of Tea Consumed|
The most consumed tea has continued to be semi-aged raw pu’erh which similar to 2018 was a little over 60% of my consumption. This makes sense as it’s the category of tea I’m most invested and I have a large amount of variety of teas I enjoy to choose from.
Two tea types that are neglected in my drinking of category 2 are ripe pu’erh and traditionally-stored raw. I used to drink traditionally stored raw far more regularly and while I still enjoy the genre it doesn’t show up for this exercise. In 2017 when I did a similar exercise it was my second most frequently consumed tea at ~23.5%. And while ripe is not something I’ve ever drank that often it was at ~14.4% in 2017. In 2019, traditionally stored raw moved all the way down to 4.8% and ripe did not have a single entry..
So why have I slowed down? While I dispute the notion that traditionally stored raw is the same as ripe, both of these teas share some commonality and are on the more fermented end. Have I stopped drinking highly fermented tea in general? Not at all. If anything I consume it more regularly than ever before. It just fits into category 1, the casual brews I drink with my wife.. With a pot of ripe always nearby in my house, there’s less of a reason to reach out for these dark brews when I can just do a quick cup and be drinking something else in a different category.
Return of the Wu(long)
Unaged oolong has also made a bit of a comeback in my rotation. When I need something that brews out fairly quickly and is enjoyable, I often look to it. Yancha has always been one of my favorite types of tea and my own consumption of it has been curtailed by the availability and price. I’ve found a happy medium with Wuyi Origin and a mild rate of consumption at 100-200 grams a year. I’ve also started to drink Taiwanese oolongs again, where pricing tends to be kinder.
Tea Consumption & Sample Gaps
People have noted in the past that my tea consumption seems awfully light. In theory it should be between 1,800-2,200 grams per year, but it’s always been a bit less. One reason for this is that there’s usually at least one day a week where I don’t have time for my normal gong-fu session. On these days I drink ripe in a fairly hurried fashion that fits closer to category 1.
If you look at my log, you’ll notice that there are often gaps between sessions. There is essentially no gap in my tea consumption except when I travel. These gaps usually mean I’m working through samples. It’s very easy to get overwhelmed by samples and looking at the data implies that approximately 40% of my tea consumption was samples. The opportunity cost of drinking samples over teas I own (and enjoy) is a big reason I no longer do massive samplings like the tea of the month reports.
Most common teas consumed in category 2:
- 2002 (Small Brand) Yiwu
- 2004 Mengku Rongshi Qizibing
- 2005 Purple Yisheng
- 2007 YQH Lingya
- 2007 YQH Qizhong
- 2016 Wuyi Origin Laocong Shuixian
Buying & Future Projects
This is probably my most responsible year. I think I even inadvertently hit the 15 cake challenge. There were essentially two big purchases. I bought a bunch of 2010 8582 (mentioned here) and a few cakes of the 2004 Biyun Hao Manzhuan (my fanciest purchase). I’ve also done a couple oolong purchases from Teahome and Wuyi Origin for some respectable drinking teas. Will probably be featuring these teas on TeaDB at some point.
Moving forward, quantity of sheng is an important marker for my buying. I’ve moved at least 80% of my tea storage into one spot, and a simple glance at it is an effective buying dissuader. I own a lot of tea and don’t need to aggressively buy. I am just one tea fanatic and have a relatively mild rate of consumption (Oolong Owl consumes much more!).
In 2020 I may buy a bit of oolong and maybe white to set aside. Aging oolong in particular has been something I’ve thought of for the past half decade and I’d like to try exploring more.
Favorite Session of Tea on the Show
2006 Yangqing Hao Chawangshu [Episode 300] – This is not the highest-end tea we’ve brought onto the show, but it’s a good, robust enjoyable one and in a relatively low-key year it’s probably my favorite session of the year.
Unexpected Destruction of Worlds
2012 Yangqing Hao Yegu [Episode 337] – This tea came with the alluring and familiar scent of Yang’s storage. And then proceeded to murder us.
2005 Nanqiao Bulang Double Lions [Episode 346] – I knew this was strong stuff and it didn’t disappoint. For my record I enjoyed this a bit more than the 2012 YQH Yegu tea, but it had the benefit of not ambushing us.
The Future of TeaDB
The future will be mostly the same in terms of video-making. One thing that was well-received and I’ll consider doing more of was the Storage Explainer episode. It was a major challenge to put together, but in the end I found putting it together to be rewarding and worthwhile. The issue here is that it requires the right topic that deserves the extra attention.. If you have any suggestions, I’d be happy to listen to them.