September 16, 2010


Ah, to kick back with a relaxing cup of tea. I've been way too busy lately with planning and executing my CD release. Now the event is over and it's a perfect opportunity to pause reflect over a few cups of tea. Today I'm drinking 1996 Menghai 8582.

This is an interesting tea in my collection; I own a few cakes but it's not really to the point where I really enjoy every session. Compared with some of its mid/late 90's contemporaries it's not the most mature tea--the mouthfeel is fairly rough and the longevity isn't particularly impressive. Occasionally, though, it'll show flashes of the light, silky sweetness that I've tasted in much older versions of the same recipe. It's certainly aging, but it needs to mellow out quite a bit. This is the kind of mid-aged pu-erh that I'll check in on every several months and by the end of the session I usually decide that I should wait longer before trying it again. Still, it's been months since I last drank it and I haven't really drank much aged pu-erh lately.

Whilst in Portland picking up my finished CDs I also managed to make a couple of purchases. The first is the nicest acoustic guitar I've yet owned--a Larrivée D-03R--and the second is the antique Japanese porcelain cup pictured right, which I found at Shogun's Gallery on NW 23rd. I've been disrespectfully sullying the cup with Chinese tea for the better part of the last week! I've been on the lookout for a decent blue and white old porcelain cup for a while and this one fits the bill--its pale blue swooping bird is pretty cool and I enjoy the irregularity of the foot, which means that the cup is permanently cocked at a slight angle. Shogun's Gallery was fun--they have quite a selection of tetsubin in the $200-$350 range. Although I was informed that most of their customers buy them as decorations, there were a few with visible mineral patinas that I would be excited to take a chance and brew some water in. I was quietly appalled to see an old tetsubin on the proprietors' desk repurposed as a pen-and-scissor holder. Gasp! Hopefully there was a good reason. I rarely get to go to nice teaware stores, so my "don't buy something" threshold is quite low. Luckily I got off pretty easy with the teacup. The new guitar means I won't exactly be splurging on any tongs of pu-erh or old pots any time soon, but a guitar that begs to be played is worth several times its weight in gold.

Seattle's summer came and went over the course of about 3 weeks. It's now drizzling's warm enough to open the windows, though, so at least my pu-erh cakes are going to enjoy the weather.


Bret said...

Larivee makes some pretty nice guitars. I used to have one of their small parlor guitars and even though it was a cheapo ($300.00) or so, I loved that little guitar. Only thing I didn't like about Larivee's is the choice of fret wire, they feel like toothpicks. Really cool cup! Congrats on your CD, don't you wish you had the Larivee when recording it?

Zero the Hero said...

Thanks man. One of my favorite things about the guitar is the action, which is super sweet. Although it'd be great to have the Larrivee's tone on the disc, I'm actually kind of glad I played my other guitar--the action is quite a bit higher & I think making myself learn some difficult parts on a harder-to-play guitar improved my guitar abilities a little bit. In any event I'm really looking forward to writing some music on the new thing. A new guitar is an even better toy than a tea pot, but I'm glad to have both. Are you drinking anything other than Korean teas these days?!

Bret said...

Hey Zero,
For the most part Ive been drinking China greens. The Korean teas are really unique, at their best they have nothing in common with any other green teas be it China or Japan. If your even considering buying any I would highly recommend the Dong Cheon teas that Tea Trekker has for sale. The Ujeon is probably one of the best green teas Ive had in a long time, the Sejak and Jungjak are also superb. Have fun with your new guitar, don't leave it just laying around the house, not in it's case.

David said...

Very nice guitar indeed ! Looking forward to listening to your music.