Saturday, January 28, 2023

Yearly Retrospective & Happy Year of the Rabbit!

 It seems as each year goes by I have less time for the evaluation of tea.  Most of the time I take advantage of either a particularly long day or a light day at work to do such things.  The last month no evaluation has taken place.  I’m thinking of changing the review posts to very short blurbs which I think people will appreciate more than these long run on reviews anyways.  I am usually composing the few articles or rankings rocking a cute baby late at night or up with any of the other kids in the middle of the night for reasons those who have kids can only imagine.  Of course, I continue to drink good teas everyday but I just don’t have the time to have a long concentrated session like I used to.  Life is too crazy but I’m happy with it and just lean into the chaos.  Tea is a refuge.  Yea is peace among the chaos if not to harmonize then at least to balance.  With that being said I feel the happiest with my tea purchases this year and the logical method of sampling seen here on the blog in 2022.

My sampling/ purchasing which is mostly seen here on the blog was done very logically.  It was focused into logical themes grouped together…

The biggest group where that of Chen Yuan Hao which I tied together with a ranking in last post.   They were all good and interesting samples and I’m pretty happy with the quarter cakes and full cakes that I have lying around.  The older style processing on this stuff is something that I’m used to with my history of factory cakes… but no mistake ChenYuan Hao are not factory cakes.

Speaking of factory cakes … this past year I have focused a lot on sampling iron cakes from 2001… over 20 years of age with factory charms all of them were really enjoyable.  I cake purchased a few of these.  I ranked the experience here.  The price/ age/ quality ratio is easy for me to commit to.  The beginning of the year saw me post on some other factory stuff mainly coming from TeasWeLike.  It made me think that I would like to focus here in the future.

I also explored more of the Bi Yun Hao brand.  The older stuff was interesting but still have not gone deep enough yet.  Amazing that I still only have one cake of YiYunHao.  I’d like to explore more of this in the next year.  

This past Year of The Tiger I also did a deeper look into Puerist thanks to a package of complimentary samples. Puerist is a solid supplier of Gushu single area Sheng puerh for reasonable prices.  I have cake purchased a few of these in past years.

Also I am always grateful to be offered complimentary samples of Tea Encounter’s freshest Sheng puerh selections.  This year I reviewed them all and it ended up being the only fresh 2022 Sheng I had sampled this year.  I enjoyed their reasonably priced Gushus-Walong and Manzhuan which were interesting to compare.

I also dug deep into’s catalogue as they supplied me with many complimentary samples for review with my purchases.  My overall impressions of their teas is good and resonantly priced.  I saw a lot of growth with them over their first full year of their rebrand.

One of the highlights of my year is when Marco humours and humbles me with our exchange of blind samples.  He sent a some real beautiful teas this year and I’m still laughing at my blind evaluation of some of them!

A very different shift of tea drinking occurred for me this year that isn’t completely reflected in my posts.  The past 5 years or so I was almost exclusively drinking puerh but this year I started getting into some of my other old favourites that I haven’t craved in a while… I ended up drinking through my samples and tins of aged oolong, I really enjoyed these.  At the beginning of the year I purchased some samples of fresh Korean Balhyocha some of which I sampled a decade ago which I documented in a post here.  In the spring I purchased a bunch of fresh Yame matcha some of which I commonly consumed and posted 15 years ago!  I need to post on that beautiful stuff!

Happy Year of the Rabbit!



Anonymous said...

Happy Year of the Rabbit and thank you for your writing.

Max said...

Matt, maybe this post is a good opportunity to say: thanks a lot for your writing! I love your blog, its a source of knowledge and entertainment and sometimes I even make buying decisions based on your writings, even though you strongly advise against doing so... looking forward to all your reviews and musings in the year of the rabbit!

Unknown said...

Hello Matt,

I'm looking to get in touch with you regarding some Korean tea - could you please send me an email at when you get a chance? Thanks! :)