Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Tea really does taste better from your favourite cup

This article showed up in today's; China Daily .. a reprint (with minor changes) to a blurb in the: 3/13/09 edition of the London Daily Telegraph ...

Dr Tom Stafford, psychologist from Sheffield University, says a person's brain is trained to believe the daily ritual of making coffee or tea should be done in a certain way in order to derive maximum enjoyment.
He said: "Drinking tea and coffee is very ritualistic and people become very addictive to the way they want their brew made."
"Caffeine is very much a drug of reward and like any addict, people develop passions on how the drug is delivered."
"Where ever there is drug use then rituals will always develop."
"The long association with the delivery of a morning cup of coffee or tea people genuinely think it tastes better out of a particular cup."
"It might be irrational or arbitrary but it's absolutely true. Your daily brew tastes better from your favourite mug."
According to research, 65 percent of Brits have a favourite cup or mug they use for their morning cuppa.

I support the notion, and in fact have a heavily favored cup ...DSC02499

Monday, April 27, 2009

2006 Shu, Pu-erh

A 2006 Shu, Pu-erh, Produced by:
Yunnan Pu Tea Culture Development Corp Ltd.
A small-ish 180gm cake.
A gift thrown in, amongst other purchases in: Dongguan City, 2007 ish.

The outer wrapper is adorned with modernistic / Beijing Olympic influenced graphics, and the “Safe Product Seal” Not much to distinguish the dry cake: a pleasant mix of leaf colours, medium density compression, giving off; a leathery combined with old jotters aroma. Inside we have an easy to access Inner Ticket and an additional marketing flyer. All signs of a newly marketed product. Taste: has a young medicinal character, frankly not what I expected, but there it is.
The soup aroma has a slight sour note, not unpleasant but present.
No lingering aftertaste. Produces mouth dryness, fairly quickly.
Despite varying brewing parameters and infusion incantations, no hidden gem emerged.

This one will not make the; First 15.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Island Girl

Living in Hawaii / paradise has its obvious benefits ..
Heather Jean is visiting home for 3 months.

Monday, April 20, 2009

A Highland Wedding

A long time friend, Miss Adelle Anderson, is now Mrs. Adelle Cook.. many many congratulations to the happy couple .. Derek and Adelle, from: Robin, John, Cameron, Trevor, Heather, Andrew and Sean.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

April 15th. Taxes and Tea ..

The original "Boston Tea Party" was a Covert operation .. today we see an Overt display.
AP news feed:....
Whipped up by conservative commentators and bloggers, tens of thousands of protesters staged "tea parties" around the country Wednesday to tap into the collective angst stirred up by a bad economy, government spending and bailouts.

The rallies were directed at President Barack Obama's new administration on a symbolic day: the deadline to file income taxes. Protesters even threw what appeared to be a box of tea bags toward the White House, causing a brief lockdown at the compound.

In Boston, a few hundred protesters gathered on the Boston Common — a short distance from the original Tea Party — some dressed in Revolutionary garb and carrying signs that said "Barney Frank, Bernie Madoff: And the Difference Is?" and "D.C.: District of Communism."

Monday, April 13, 2009

Very pleasantly surprised. A good TGY

Ku Cha in Boulder, Colorado:.... Note: translation of store sign: 苦茶 屋
“Bitter Tea Hut (Cabin/house)”
“Bitter” is one of four tastes in Chinese culture:
Tian – sweet, Shuan – Sour, Ku – Bitter, La – Spicy.
So the literal translation to: Bitter, loses some of its cultural impact.

Last week I purchased: “Tie Guan Yin”, Superior Grade from: Fujian, China.Today, opportunity knocked, and we managed a: 茶採樣, Cha, cai yang, Tea SamplingI had three TGYs teas to compare:
a) My personal supply of TGY, from my friend’s (Da Xia) garden in FuJian
b) Taiwan High Mountain Oolong
c) Ku Cha test purchase of TGY
d) TGY supplied by the owner (personal supply) of King Wah restaurant, our new home away from home. .. It came in a distant third.

I used the Taiwan Oolong as a basis to demonstrate the distinct differences to a TGY, and let my 3 friends’ blind taste test the three TGYs.

The tea from Ku Cha (c), held up to my personal TGY (a).
All of us enjoyed the tea, it had less; xiang wei 香味 (fragrance) than my TGY, but the taste was on a par.

Aroma: Clear and distinct, not strong but firm.
Soup: Clear and Golden
Taste: Ranked as GOOD.
Spent leaves: Clean, good size, hand picked, rich green colour with no wilting.

All in all, a very good tea.
Price and Quantity are not a factor, ($34.95/100g) this is Boulder Colorado, not Dongguan China.

Above the Clouds

Driving the Peak to Peak Hwy. in the Rockies Front Range: I emerged through the early morning clouds at about 9,500 feet.An abandoned / dilapidated mining claim:...
A lone home deep in the valley floor:...

Boulder Tea House - Ku Cha

It’s unfair to compare a; Chinese Tea House facsimile in America, with those frequented in China. In Boulder CO, on 13th. Street and Pearl is Ku Cha. A decent attempt at providing a window into the “world of tea”.
Unfortunately, the collage student behind the counter, lacked the social skills to use the Kung Fu tea set in the store .. so I purchased some TGY, to test.I’ll go back another day and talk with owner and see if I can establish a relationship.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

“I’m a most fortunate fellow”. Part II

A Shaner family Cup:.....
One of Dan' favorite Tea Pots:....

“I’m a most fortunate fellow”

“I’m a most fortunate fellow”.
Sojourning in Colorado, one of my associates is; Dan Shaner, son of renowned ceramic artist David Shaner. (1934-2002) Photos

Dan, brought in a few favourites, from his personal collection of his late father’s work.
Pictures in "Part II"
Photographs hardly do justice to the life that these pieces emanate when held, a true joy.
Following the Rhythms of Life: The Ceramic Art of David Shaner

Following the Rhythms of Life provides the first in-depth critical overview of David Shaner's illustrious ceramic career, which spanned more than four decades.

Trained in the late 1950s at Alfred University's School of Ceramics, David Shaner became the director of the influential Archie Bray Foundation for the Ceramic Arts in Montana and an acclaimed studio potter. This book provides a timely tribute to a highly disciplined clay artist who had a deep understanding of himself, his materials, and the world in which he lived, and offers a fresh perspective on the burgeoning ceramic movement in the United States.

Shaner conducted his life with passion, intelligence, and clear intent, unwavering in his devotion to his work; he attained that often elusive goal of bridging the gap between art and life to which so many artists aspire.

His studio became a place for discovery: ideas, imagination and the skills of his craft fused into one. Art in service to community, educating two generations of potters through lectures and workshops, and environmental activism were common threads in his life.Richly illustrated with 66 color plates, Following the Rhythms of Life presents a survey of Shaner's work, as it evolved from functional pottery to more sculptural concerns throughout his career.

The work of twentieth-century modernists including Constantin Brancusi, Henry Moore, and Isamu Noguchi influenced his development. His close observation of nature's infinite detail, as well as travels in the American Southwest and Pacific Northwest, also informed his art.

Curator of Ceramics Peter Held weaves multiple views on the artist's practice in the lead essay, which includes interviews of Shaner's colleagues, mentors, and family members, conducted by journalist Conan Putnam, and analysis of the cultural and art historical influences on the artist by Hollis Walker.

Artist and educator Jack Troy reflects on his personal working relationship with Shaner and the admiration it bred. Following the Rhythms of Life provides insight on the artist's worldview and the ceramic work that is the legacy of a life fully lived.