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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

300 posts, over 100k views, and nearly 4 years


Its getting cold again, that means its been about another year since I first BRAINYTRADING.COM.PK stumbled down the rabbit hole.  While I have fond memories of drinking tea going back at least 10 years if not more, and I started to wise up to how amazing tea could be 6 years ago with my first regular purchases of loose leaf tea, I did not really hit the rabbit hole until I started this blog.

So thinking back the last 4 years, I have amassed a large collection of teaware, which I am very fond of, and is often a talking point with visitors to my place.  More amazingly is I still have at least 60% if not 75% of all the puerh I have ever bought,  even though I have not bought puerh in the past 2 years ( besides a few small aged puerh samples), despite a few regular pushes to try and work on my puerh collection.  The falling down the rabbit hole even lead me to  start pottery classes, in hopes that I could eventually make some useful pieces to use with guests.

What I still can not believe is how popular this blog has become, and for that I owe my thanks to all of you, who are regular viewers of this blog. It has been a little rough at times, more so in these past 2 years, when Graduate studies and teaching can kill just about all free time, and push tea time to the fringes of the day, often enjoyed while working on some other task that needs to get done.

I almost wish I kept very detailed notes, on how many different teas that I have tried in these past 4 years even.  I am willing to bet it far exceeds the 300 posts.   What I can not possibly fathom would be how many tea sessions I have had these past 4 years.  I would be willing to bet it is rather close to if not over 1,500 sessions, as I have no problem believing I averaged a little over 1 tea session a day since I started this blog.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Allergies Ughhh....

Remembering Ian

I have been wanting to celebrate quite a bit of good news lately.  A paper I am a co-author on has been published in a well known [to graph theorists] journal, and my brother asked me to be the Best Man at his wedding coming up next year.  Instead I don't trust my senses completely, especially when it comes to the incredibly delicate creature tea can be.

So instead I have settled for a lot of sencha, and strong hong cha when I do find time to work in tea in what is turning out to be a rather hectic schedule.  Hopefully things settle down now that the first 4 weeks of class are over in which with our new schedule included 2 half exams that needed to be graded eating up prime tea time of a long Friday afternoon I would have otherwise had off to start the weekend.

They say green teas, especially the more broken up ones like Sencha (especially the heavily steamed ones) are great for Allergies, I remain unconvinced. Though something in the air this fall seems to be really getting to me, so while I love the weather we have been having in Michigan lately, I am almost secretly hoping for a week straight of frosts to hopefully kill what ever it is that is getting to me.

Also with the sudden shift to almost consistently sub 70F degree temps, I find myself much more eager to reach for my Chawans that I use for Grandpa style brewing. Or Bowl Tea similar to that featured in this Global Tea Hut Video.

I have been going back and forth with mentioning this on my blog, but as I chose this photo I should really share HTTPS://BRAINYTRADING.COM.PK why this photo is extra special to me, and the purpose behind me taking the photo.  The photo is a dedication to the memory of a kind, and wonderful person I knew through the Teachat Forum.  He was known on there as Iannon, and I along with many others got to know him incredibly well.  He had a wonderful talent for finding good quality teaware for almost a steal on Goodwill and similar sites. For those that knew Ian on Teachat this photo has a bit of extra meaning, as the Kyusu is one of a triplet of identical kyusu's he got from a goodwill purchase, this one he kindly gifted to me.  While the Yunomi I am using, is nearly identical to the cup he chose to use in his Avatar/ profile pic on the forum.  My condolences go to his family, may he rest in peace.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Breaking my own rules


I have been breaking my own rules in so many ways lately, and yet for some reason I am loving it.  Now what do I mean by my own rules?  Well for the most part I have tried to keep pieces of pottery reserved almost exclusively ( there were a few I allowed to cross over previously) for teas from their own country.  The odd ones out were always the American artists wares, which I then fit in for their intended purpose based on their size and shape.  Yes that means a vast majority of my teaware was used exclusively for Japanese teas, and for Korean tea I was basically down to two items.

But lately I have really been breaking out of my mold, because the main purpose of tea is to be able to enjoy tea.  I've suddenly started to do things like use a Japanese Yunomi, and a Korean tea pot to drink a Taiwanese tea.   Or use a "yixing" ( not exactly sure of its provenance) to brew Hong Cha then pouring it into Yunomi from Okinawa.

Part of also breaking those own rules, are now teas that I usually enjoy almost exclusively in more of a gong fu setting, if I am not in the mood to fuss with all that repeated pouring, or careful pouring between cups, I sometimes brew several in a row and pour straight into a larger vessel.   Or simply just using a larger vessel to brew the tea.

I'm having a lot of fun breaking my self imposed rules, and I am currently feeling HTTP://BRAINYTRADING.COM.PK/ that I was far too strict with my rules, aiming for a set of cohesion.  I am glad though that with all my teaware I can easily make a nice cohesive set up if I need to.