What Would We Do

SpontaneiTea’s recent (well, not-so-recent by the time I actually post this) post on the oversights of Bigelow’s new website got me thinking. And it only got worse (the thinking) when I clicked through to his guide to the Best Practices for Tea Company Websites. I live in an area blessed by a thriving (well, maybe less so now as we usher in the era of DavidsTea) industry of independent tea shops. Not as dense as some places, I’m sure, but there’s a lot within the radius of public transit that I have access to. At any rate, my question, followed by my experiences.

What would we do for our favourite tea companies?

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This Just In: More Tea

Two posts? From me? Huh, that’s… something, I suppose.

After spending a day cramming for midterms, I returned home to find that I’d received two envelopes. One of tea, one containing my PAL (That’s the Canadian equivalent to a firearms license, for the yanks). I’ve been collecting licenses as of late. Well, all relevant to my field, of course. On top of my PAL, I received my level 1 portable XRF operator’s license, and so with the ability to legally handle any non-prohibited firearm in Canada, as well as shoot a gun that literally fires xrays at things, I think I’m well on my way to a life of crime and super villainy.

At any rate, on to the tea. Read the rest of this entry »

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No Second Annual Vancouver Tea Festival

I’ve got half a post typed up in another window, and am penning another post on paper as I read the 1960′s handbook, “Tea Growing” by C.R. Harler. But instead of working on either of those, here’s a general post of updates instead.

Green Terrace Teas made a post on Steepster about offering free samples for review; I haven’t received mine yet, but we’ll see how that goes. I’ve noticed that someone (most likely from the country) has gone through and rated all their teas at 100 without posting a review. Usually Steepster is quick to jump on this and point it out, but it doesn’t look like anyone has noticed it yet; I’m not upset, as most new companies posting on Steepster don’t realize this is considered ‘taboo’ until users speak up. We’ll see.

Otherwise, I made a trip down to the Chinese Tea Shop and then O5, where at the latter I ended up staying way longer than I meant to talking with one of the employees. But that’s one way to spend an afternoon. I like the comradery of the Independent Tea Shop Industry (TM?) of Vancouver; my CTS bag was recognized the moment I stepped into O5, and we ended up discussing puers and dan cong oolongs (as those were what I’d purchased). From there we talked a bit about other tea shops and the tea events around Vancouver, as well as the prominent “tea folk” (he was surprised at how few I’ve met from the Vancouver Tea Society, but I tend to avoid large gatherings; me and conventions don’t mix–in fact, I took the UBC bus to get to O5, knowing full well that I could ride it to UBC where my friends were currently helping host Northwest Fanfest). Read the rest of this entry »

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Tea Marketing Systems in Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka

This would be the book I picked up from my university library some time before Christmas. I feel a bit apologetic writing about a book that, as far as I’ve been able to find out, is just about impossible to obtain. There is a short inscription on the back of the book regarding messaging the United Nations for publications, but it seems to imply that if your local bookstore doesn’t carry it, you’re out of luck.

The UN, however, does seem to have a lot of their articles and books published online now. Although this publication isn’t among them (I know, I spent a tireless evening looking for it, because I liked this enough to want a copy on-hand [though it WAS published in 1996]), I wonder if emailing them might prompt them to post this and similar works online.

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For All the Tea in China

For All the Tea in China is a very sprightly, up-beat work of non-fiction detailing Robert Fortune’s botanical espionage, and the racism of the times. It is, at this point, a Reading Requirement for all new Tea Drinking, Book Loving Recruits (or so I suppose, from Steepster’s general consensus). As some people might remember, I picked this book up… oh… two years ago, just a little while after I had returned from working Up North. I was picking up history books left and right at the time, but I force myself to read all my books in order, so as to make sure no book is left collecting dust for long (except for a small clause which allows me to put any owned book on hold in order to read any book from the library–this is due to the two-week limit imposed on most books, which forces me to finish them in a timely manner).

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Dan Cong, Iron Buddha, Orange Puerh

Made a trip down to the Chinese Tea Shop; my original trip plan was to pick up a refill of their 20 year old charcoal-roasted Iron Buddha oolong (x), and to see if they had any of their “flower” flavor dan cong (the site is sold out); I picked up the former, however they only had a different version of the latter (not listed on the website, although it may be under a different name). A more strongly oxidized version, I think.

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“Flower” Flavour Dan Cong Phoenix Oolong (left), 20 Year Traditional Charcoal-Roasted Iron Buddha Oolong (right)

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Tea and Chai: A Brief History

“Tea” as a word of the English language has enjoyed about four hundred years of use. It’s changed in that time, like most words in the English language; it wasn’t always pronounced “tee”. But that’s getting ahead of myself.

Source

Sinitic “Cha” Derivative
Min Nan Chinese “Te” Derivative
Other Derivative
Figure Source

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The Tea Road: Part 2

I concluded The Tea Road by writing out just under half a dozen pages of notes. Mostly items and subjects I’d like to follow up on, if I could, by finding other resources on the subject. Unfortunately, most of them aren’t related enough directly to the Tea Road for me to string into a linear blog post, unless someone wishes for me to list out a series of random facts about tea (I’ll call a vote on it, and get back to you; I’ll most likely make it anyways, if I lose interest in trying to find out more information on each subject). Although that’s seriously what I’m considering doing.

All in all, I quite liked the book, and despite my earlier qualms (brought up in the first post), I’d definitely recommend it. The author’s story becomes easier to follow as the book progresses, and the habit of reciting the endnotes word-for-word in the text become… less frequent, at least. I’m of the opinion the repeated endnotes are simply the result of an editor who failed to proofread the endnotes alongside the actual text.

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Interlude

 

While I’m working on Part Two, I figured I’d make a post about more random gear I threw my money at.

The last Tea Desire in my area’s going out of business (a moment of silence, please, as they’re slowly pushed out by DavidsTeas), but I managed to score a bunch of discount items from them. Mostly some nice tins (they sell a lot of random, colourful tins that aren’t tied to their company logo in any way, which is good), a nice mug (no picture available), and this tea pot that I’ve been eyeing ever since the first Tea Desire opened up all those years ago in the mall across from my work.

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The Tea Road: Part 1

It’s the end of my latest term, and once again time for me to start up in Independent Studies.

I’ve been waiting all term to check out a certain book from my university library, knowing I wouldn’t have time to read it until after exams. One of the best parts of transferring to a new school is perusing their collection of tea-related books. My last school introduced me to The Book of Tea, and Tea in Japan: Essays on the History of Chanoyu (see Bookshelf for more information).

Here, I’ve found The Tea Road: China and Russia Meet Across the Steppe, by Martha Avery, detailing the lesser-known, Northern cousin of the Silk Road and Tea Horse Roads. Best bet is to look up “Siberian Route” on Wikipedia for more information.

The book details the history of its inception and follows its formation, roughly, from China to Russia.

I’ve been taking notes.

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