10 January 2007


To clarify: any and all commentary on tea is expected of the readership here, especially from travelers in far-away places. This may be stating the obvious but there’s no harm in reiteration. I was a tea enthusiast even when I was keeping the Polish distillers in business; my enthusiasm now is unhindered by more powerful beverages. David is in Beijing having just been served 80-year-old pe-erh tea and chiding me for pe-erh not being available outside the mainland owing to export controls. Ha! I have settled on a price with a respected merchant from Kunming and my tea bricks go out on Friday.
At the low end of pe-erh you have the option of getting a new ‘raw’ variety and waiting a few years to drink it, or getting a ‘ripe’ variety, which is fermented early to taste like aged raw. Since I am currently not jaded, I am going to get started on the ‘ripe’ stuff, with bricks from two factories in the Menghai area of Xishuangbanna.

Amusing translations on my teas:

“China green tea grows among undulating mountain ranges and soggy mountain streams. ..The tea is green and luxuriant, constitute a flourishing tea forest... You take it and taste it, you enjoy your healthy and wonderful life.”

Polygonum Multiflorum (Vietnam): “Make blood, liver and kidney good. Make hair and beard black and prevent hair from whitening prematurely. Cure some diseases such as : post-partum disease, leukonhea, lunbagi, impotence, and urine.”

Can’t find the corporate philosophy card for the tasty masala tea Wagh Bakri, but these verses accompany their logo:

Of co-existence & harmony.
Of the strong & the meek.
Of the Tiger (Wagh) & the Goat (Bakri),
well summed up as - WaghBakri.


d.i. said...

Nice to see this, Ian.
Newsflash: in the Hongkong airport (wherefrom this quick-dash note issues now), they sell pu-erh cakes [this my poor first attempt to come up with lingo for the fairly standard circular discus form of the tea] amid the shops (though I didnd't notice it touted as duty-free here, but might be).

I stand corrected -- and shoulod like to hear more about your pu-erh experiences & suchlike.

ciao for now,
d.i. [en route to Mumbai]

Thomas Devaney said...

That's some strong tea.

M. Devaney

Ian Keenan said...

Tom, I think the tea is here, but I had to sign for it and wasn't there today..

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