Spring is here. Life is waking to the slowly gathering presence of warmth and sun. Everywhere the catkins are opening and lengthening, relaxing from the tightened grip of winter. This is the time of year when I find myself craving fresh green teas, counting the days until the first ones arrive. The past couple weeks I've been in green tea heaven, thanks to Gingko at Life in Teacup. This is my second year participating in their green tea pre-order arrangement. Truly a great opportunity and one which I hope they continue to make available. Although Long Jing will always have a special place in my heart, I'm finding so many new varieties to add to my list of favorites thanks to the diverse selection offered. It would be easy for me to say they're *all* my favorites!
Today, though, was a blustery day out. The trees are bending and swaying from their very trunks as strong winds blow through the Puget Sound. A day for sitting quietly to take it all in and enjoy the show, better suited to the deep mellowness of a good aged puer than the exuberant fullness of the greens. I chose a sheng from the 1970's that's a bit new to me. I'm still getting to know it. A nice gentle woodiness to this one, full of the feel and scent of age that I've come to love so well. It delighted with surprising wafts of sweetness all around the tea table and plenty of nuance in the mouth and taste between sips. But here's the thing. I'm becoming reluctant anymore to write about tea brand X or Y, especially for teas such as this. It's a bit of a conundrum because I wholeheartedly believe in supporting vendors and makers who actively practice quality and discernment. If it were a newer sheng I were speaking of I'd be more inclined to disclose the 'what' and 'where' of it. But teas like this require more than just a recommendation. They require skill and devotion to the practice of tea. They are a reward for extended dedication as well as patience. Some would muse that teas like this somehow enter your life of their own volition, but really it's a matter of the level of involvement and awareness one has with puer I think.