One thing I find interesting is how much my tea drinking has changed due to my changing life circumstances amid the COVID-19 pandemic (it has changed for other tea bloggers as well). Of course, my tea buying has predictably changed as well, but I saw that one coming. I didn’t realize that the teas I choose to drink and the method of steeping them would drastically change as well.
I mentioned a bit about how my tea drinking changed during the lockdown of the pandemic here. Basically, I was drinking most of my best teas daily which were either aged factory sheng or semi aged gushu or boutique sheng at home with my family. I have pretty much continued in this indulgence since going back to work. My wife claims that my tea makes her feel “high” and “out of her body” and “fucked up” and since going back to work she has chosen something more predictably stimulating… so she has chosen to go back to coffee. Her alternating from coffee and tea is nothing new.
As a result of both my renewed work demands as well as the fact I’m just drinking for myself again, instead of one or two pots a day I am steeping three a week gongfu- Saturday, Sunday, and one mid-week. I will steep out one larger yixing pot gongfu over 2-4 days with long steepings to finish them off. The good stuff usually preforms quite well like this. The workdays are longer now and I’m starting quite early and often I’m just consuming the overnight steeping during the workweek. Which gives me enough of a boost as well as some general enjoyment until I start steeping at work.
At work my tea drinking has also changed. Pre COVID a typical week I would get one or two good evaluative gong fu sessions in which you see as posts on my blog and maybe a few less attentive gong fu sessions and a few one-cup maker sessions using a ceramic Korean one cup tea maker. Again, all gongfu. I would usually use samples for evaluation, and often cheaper factory cakes, single estate type puerh, sometimes smoother gushu really a nice random and broad assortment of puerh drinking. Teas are mainly dictated by how I hope to harmonize my energy at a given point in the day. I am still managing to usually get in two nice enjoyable weekly evaluation gong fu sessions which you have seen posted here on my blog.
These days at work I’m doing lots of grandpa style. I know I’m getting older but I’m not even close to being a grandpa and I generally despise the notion of anything but gongfu. But these days are busy days burdened by complex sanitation procedures and under layers of personal protective equipment gong fu no longer makes sense on my busiest days. There is also just the fact that repeatedly touching the small cups and having the tea exposed to others in the office and having to hand wash everytime I go back to the tea table is not as hygienic or is just too much of a hassle. Some days I start gong fu then just dump the leaf from the teapot into a mug when things are getting predictably busy. I generally think grandpa style is lazy but here I am. One thing I noticed about going to grandpa style is that it is harder to hide or steep around flaws in some of the puerh I have, particularly rougher cheaper factory puerh that is my guilty pleasure. You can control things a bit with mug steeping by leafing lighter or stronger or by the frequency, temperature or how much cooler liquid is left in the mug. There is definitely some skill to grandpa brewing.
Every Friday at work I have been in the habit of drinking a stronger semi-aged factory puerh. I look forward to not only the old school factory feel but also the power!!! Hahahhah… sometimes its gongfu and often the leaves get transitioned into grandpa mugging later in the day.
Tea continues to bring me much enjoyment over these most unusual times…
Hopefully it has done the same for you as well and continues to do so as this pandemic drags on.