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 My goal is for Los Angeles to have an awesome tea house, one that I want to (and have time to) hang out in. The most direct way for that to...

Monday, November 12, 2018

Why puer?

My mom asked me yesterday, with all the different teas out there, why did I get all goofy (my words not hers) for puer? On the spot, I had a tough time coming up with an answer. I sort of stuttered/stammered something about it just "sort of speaks to me" and crap like that, but then finally came up with two valid points: 1) its the first type of really high quality tea I experienced, 2) I like the way it makes me feel. So..... allow me to elaborate!

1) Until fairly recently, I never really knew anything about good tea. Probably the closest I ever got was a cup of jasmine pearls from a coffee chain store. Not that there's anything wrong with that! I like a certain tea, and I use the words "quality" or "good" to describe teas that have traits that I like (and usually make them cost more) but in no way am I trying to put down any other tea or tea drinker. If you enjoy tea bags that come from the $0.99 store, god bless you! I just had no idea that teas with these traits that I now regard as quality existed. Even the first few puers I tried were not fantastic... but they were different, and something about them captivated me. I wanted to try more and more. I liked the way they tasted, and the seemingly endless variety available... but there was something else, something subtle, something that took me a little while to notice. That something is the topic of item two...

2) I don't know exactly which tea was the first that I noticed it in... I'm pretty sure it was either Crimson Lotus Tea 2017 Slumbering Dragon or white2tea 2017 swinedog 76. If you are familiar with these teas, you will know they are really powerful. I remember the first time I drank each of them. The Swinedog made me feel like I was wearing a bullshit proof vest, which is an amazing superpower type thing to have. Slumbering Dragon gave me an "I've got this" feeling of strong confidence, like it somehow made me extra savvy for a little while. Like I said, these are both particularly potent teas, but these experiences clued me into the effects that tea can have. I started paying attention to the way I felt when I drank tea, how each tea made me feel. This was an amazing exercise in mindfulness, and I recommend it highly. Paying attention like this made me realize how powerful a drug coffee is. I began to see the wide range of effects, from calming to energizing, that different teas could have. My eyes were opened to a new dimension, and I was amazed at how good they could feel. Some teas feel like a warm blanket, others like a cool breeze, some strong and some very subtle. I've heard good tea described as "comfortable in the body", I think that's a great description. Some people talk about being "tea drunk", I like that too... but its nothing like being drunk drunk, its an relaxed and open, yet aware and fully functional (well... kind of) state. I know that if you have not tried quality tea, that this probably sounds a bit crazy, but this is my experience, and it didn't jump out and smack me in the face right away. I had to be open to it. I had to pay attention to how I felt. I had to be present to receive what was offered.

Now this is not to say that other types of tea don't produce amazing sensations in the body, they do, and I definitely drink other teas. Lately I have been trying a lot of white teas that are amazing in this regard.  However, (at least at the moment) I am really enjoying exploring the world of puer and its effects and flavors.

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