This is an announcement about the tea of the month series for 2015 as well as an outline of January’s upcoming tea of the month. Similar to the other tea of the months this will be more of a personal blogging style post. The mature pu’erh report will come out independently in two weeks.
I launched the first tea of the month in March 2014 and have since done eight different reports. Overall, it’s a fairly free-form format which I’ve personally enjoyed a good deal. It gives a far less filtered look at certain teas and more comparative impressions. As many have stated, the TeaDB video reviews end up being a biased selection of teas that are usually hand-picked for review. While we (especially Denny) will do blind tastings of teas on occasion, they’re often picked out for some reason or another. Big thanks to our readers and for suggestions, this is a great time to post them in the comments!
That being said, 2015 gives me the opportunity to tweak some things and mess with the format a bit. Unfortunately for those that want me to tackle other tea genres (i.e. Chinese greens, Dancong, etc.), this is inevitably going to be tied in deeply with my own interests as a tea drinker, meaning they will probably always be focused on primarily pu’erh with some aged/darker oolongs. In 2015 it will follow a 3 months on, 1 month off format.
Problem: There are too many teas for me to drink through. I firmly believe that teas (especially pu’erh) can have dramatically different sessions. I think to better understand a particular tea, multiple sessions are usually required. Under my ratios 25 grams can provide for 4+ sessions, but I seldom get to drink through the full samples in just the month.
Given a standard month length, I get through about 40 sessions of that particular tea type a month. Some of the reports had me drinking through 20-30 teas. That is simply too many because it doesn’t allow me enough repetitions with the tea. It can also be monotonous for teas that aren’t quite as exciting to me (ripe pu’erh).
Solution: I’m going to be dramatically reducing the total amount of core teas, to 10 teas. This will change how I drink, as I’ll attempt to really dive hard into these 10 and get multiple repetitions with them. I’ll also have a reserve list of teas to go through that I’ll try to drink at least once.
Problem: Some of the tea of the months (especially ripe pu’erh/Japanese greens) were done under the dual purpose of learning as well as getting through my stash of older purchases that I don’t touch much. The end result: a haphazard report with a pretty random selection of teas.
Solution: I’ll be announcing the core teas ahead of time with the specific purpose of opening it up for opinions and suggestions. Unfortunately, like many drinkers I am limited by budget. While, I’ll do what I deem is reasonable to acquire samples of some of these teas. I don’t really like asking for handouts but we’ve had people send in teas in the past. I’m not really going to expect teas being sent our direction, but also won’t be refusing anybody that want to send in teas.
This will also serve the dual purpose of allowing those who want to drink alongside to do so with more accuracy. It is often difficult for those in the west to drink with others, let alone those as enthusiastic as themselves. The internet isn’t necessarily a total surrogate, but conversing and sharing opinions is important to people’s growth as a tea drinker.
You may also note that many of the topics were covered in 2014. This is intentional. Hopefully for all repeats, they will continue to build off all that I learned during 2013 and 2014. Thanks to all who recommended interesting teas and helping me to stretch myself as a tea drinker.
One potential idea I’m considering is shortening the length of some of the less interesting ones or things that are more appropriate with 1-2 week lengths (i.e. Menghai ripe recipes or something).
2015 Tea of the Months
- Lincang (January, see below)
- Wu Liang/Ai Lao (February, might just make this Simao)
- Aged Oolongs
- Mature Pu’erh
- Western Banna (Menghai County)
- Eastern Banna (Yiwu, You Le)
Potential Tea of the Months/Units
- Ripe Pu’erh
- Cheap Yancha
- Hei Cha (probably specifically one region)
- Plantation Pu’erh (semi-aged)
- Autumn Pu’erh
Lincang (January Tea of the Month)
I really haven’t drank much in the way of Lincang teas. One thing I’m particularly concerned about this month is overdrinking young pu’erh and messing up my stomach.
Proposed Core Teas for consideration:
- 2014 Nahan (Tea Urchin)
- 2014 Bang Dong (YS)
- 2013 Da Xue Shan (Xi Zi Hao, Hou de Asian)
- 2013 Nanpozhai (YS)
- 2013 Autumn Bingdao (YS)
- 2011 Mushucha (YS)
- 2010 Da Xue Shan (YS)
- 2007 Mu Ye Chun (Mengku, YS)
- 2006 Da Xue Shan (Mengku, YS)
- 2005 Fengqing Zhuancha (FQ, Teavivre)
- A bunch of Mandala Samples
- A bunch of Teavivre Samples
- A bunch of YS Samples