Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Thar Be Leather Couches

One problem with being a drinker of fine teas is that if you fall (or are pushed by the state) out of your comfortable routine it's hard to get the day right, from a tea perspective at least. Yesterday I wound up at the Prince Georges County Courthouse with about 400 of my fellow citizens to judge my peers. I'm not complaining, just stating fact. Anyway, it turns out some of my peers are none to bright - the defendent in my trial was caught in possession of a tractor trailer full of leather furniture. There has got to be a better way to make a few thousand dollars than stealing a truckload of leather furniture. Most would agree furniture is one of the most pain-in-the-ass things to haul around, even if it's legit. Add police surveillance to the mix and you've got trouble. Fur coats are pretty light, as are most drugs, necklaces, sneakers, bootleg DVDs and so on. Cars are heavy but they have wheels and engines built-in for easy mobility. Furniture is gateway contraband. Next thing you know the kid is stealing freight cars full of construction materials, tractor motors, refurbished dumpsters. Live and learn, I guess.

All this is beside the point, as the point I'm making is it's hard to get a good cup of tea in a place like a jury assembly room. I even had the presence of mind at 6:30 AM to bring a few bags of Rum Punch Pirate Tea from the Metropolitan Tea Company. The tea is fine but luke-warm water and a styrofoam cup guarantee marginal results. I am complaining now.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Big Red Sun, Y'all

I've managed to take the entire summer off from writing this, inadvertently illustrating two key principles of tea culture: 1) tea drinkers are spontaneous and 2) what's the hurrry? There's really nothing that's going to happen in the "tea world" that anybody needs to hear about right away, if at all, so relax, have some tea.

So anyway, here's what I did this summer: drank tea. In fact, the hotter it got the more I put back so I've got lots to tell you about. I think the number one find was Harney & Sons Big Red Sun, which is a blend of Kenyan and Ceylon teas. Harney & Sons have done a very good job of creating a brand that looks English and old-fashioned while in fact being New English and old-fashioned up in lovely Connecticut. Big red Sun is one of their "HT" blends, a series of unconventional blends designed to keep up with all the hip and happening urban teas that keep springing up in severe, designy tins and vegan pop star-owned tea houses. I guess it's more Sons than Harney. What it is, though, is all business. I drank that stuff so fast I can barely remember what it tasted like. Shortly before I blacked out I recall thinking it had a honey sweetness reminiscent of a high grade Formosa Oolong but the nice fullness you get from an Assam. Perfect first cup of the day tea. Also high marks for the appealing flat-finish red tin because looks do matter.