Lucky Bags!

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Lucky Bags are here! Starting now (2018-11), and continuing until they’re all gone, everyone who comes to a PDX TEA class or tasting can get Lucky Bags (福袋)! If you’re unfamiliar with the Lucky Bag tradition, Wikipedia can help you out. From the article:

Fukubukuro (福袋, “lucky bag”, “mystery bag”) is a Japanese New Year custom in which merchants make grab bags filled with unknown random contents and sell them for a substantial discount. […] The term is formed from Japanese fuku (福, meaning “good fortune” or “luck”) and fukuro (袋, meaning “bag”). […] The fuku comes from the Japanese saying that “there is fortune in leftovers” (残り物には福がある). Popular stores’ fukubukuro usually are snapped up quickly by eager customers, with some stores having long lines snake around city blocks hours before the store opens on New Year’s Day.


While I doubt our lines will snake around city blocks, these are first come, first served; so, come early & often to be sure you get yours while supplies last. :)
 

🤷🏻‍♀️ Who gets Lucky Bags? 🤷🏻‍♀️
  • If you come to your first class or tasting at PDX TEA, you get a free Lucky Bag!*
  • If you’ve been to a class or tasting before, but you bring someone who’s never been before, you both get a free Lucky Bag!*
  • If you’ve been before, you can still buy a Lucky Bag or Deluxe Lucky Bag at any class or tasting. (They’re already a good deal. :)*


* Again, while supplies last (of course :).
 

👜 About The Bags 👜
  • $5.00 Lucky Bags include 3 teas, at 10 g each. These are perfect little travel packs, stocking stuffers, or love notes for your tea friends.
  • $10.00 Deluxe Lucky Bags include 5 teas of even better quality (also 10 g each), and a little teaware surprise! More to drink, more to share, and something that will last for a long time.
  • Also, additional random surprises are included in some extra lucky Lucky Bags of both varieties… See what you get!

 
Check out our current events for your chance to pick up a bag (or two :) at pdxtea.org/events!

2018-11: Yěshēng Cuìfēng Gāoshān & Tài Zhuān Shúchá

Featured Teas
🏮 Saturday Tasting:

  • 2018-11-10, 1:00 p.m.
  • $9.00*

Important: Registration closes 12 hours before the event’s start time. I’ll send your ticket and tasting info to the email address associated with your PayPal account. If it’s not an active address, please fill out the form at the bottom of this page. Thank you!

 

🏮 Tuesday Tasting:

  • 2018-11-13, 1:00 p.m.
  • $9.00*

Important: Registration closes 12 hours before the event’s start time. I’ll send your ticket and tasting info to the email address associated with your PayPal account. If it’s not an active address, please fill out the form at the bottom of this page. Thank you!

 

🏮 Thursday Tasting:

  • 2018-11-15, 1:00 p.m.
  • $9.00*

Important: Registration closes 12 hours before the event’s start time. I’ll send your ticket and tasting info to the email address associated with your PayPal account. If it’s not an active address, please fill out the form at the bottom of this page. Thank you!

 

🏮 Friday Tasting:

  • 2018-11-16, 1:00 p.m.
  • $9.00*

Important: Registration closes 12 hours before the event’s start time. I’ll send your ticket and tasting info to the email address associated with your PayPal account. If it’s not an active address, please fill out the form at the bottom of this page. Thank you!

 

About The Teas

* Lucky Bags are here! Starting now (and continuing until they’re all gone), everyone who comes to a PDX TEA class or tasting can get Lucky Bags (福袋)! Find out more here: pdxtea.org/blog/lucky-bags

2018 Yěshēng Cuìfēng Gāoshān

野生翠峰高山 — Wild Grown Jade Peak High Mountain

I’ve got something a little unusual, and more than a little special to me: it’s a wild-grown gāoshān (high mountain wulong) that Casey’s (my partner) dad hand-carried for us from Taiwan. And, it is lovely! It’s thick & sweet, and it tastes, smells, and — perhaps most of all — feels much gentler than your average gāoshānchá. I’m really looking forward to sharing it with you.

c. 2003 Tài Zhuān (Shúchá)

泰砖熟茶 — Thailand Storage Ripe Brick

I bought these very pleasant, very affordable shúchá bricks from a tea producer based in Northern Thailand when my friends Chloé, Ana, and I met him back in 2015. With over 10 years of storage close to the southern border of Yunnan (along with another few in Portland), this tea brews up dark, sweet, clear, and potent.
 

IMPORTANT:

If the email address associated with your PayPal account is not active, you will not receive your ticket, and other information necessary for your participation in this event.

If you need to receive this information at a different address, please submit the form below.  Thank you!

2018-10-21: Book Group Meeting!

free events

2018-10-21
(Third Sunday Of Each Month)
1:00 p.m. — 3:30 p.m.
PDX TEA: 5328 Northeast Cleveland Avenue (map)

🏮 Look for the red lanterns! 🏮

Free! Registration Required. (Find out why here.)

 
Every 3rd Sunday of the month, we meet to discuss a tea book we’re reading as a group, and — of course — drink tea!

You can find general information about the book group here: pdxtea.org/events/books

Our first selection is Okakura Kakuzō’s The Book of Tea. For our meeting on October 21st, we’re reading through the end of the book.

You can learn more about this wonderful book-length essay here: pdxtea.org/2018/07/07/okakura-kakuzo-the-book-of-tea

TO REGISTER:
Use the contact form below, and we’ll get you going.

PLEASE REMEMBER: If you don’t submit either a cell number or email address, we won’t be able to contact you! :)

2018-10: Qimen Hongcha & Muzha Tie Guanyin

Featured Teas
🏮 Tuesday Tasting:

  • 2018-10-09, 1:00 p.m.
  • $10.00*

Important: You’ll receive your ticket and tasting info at the email address associated with your PayPal account. If it’s not an active address, please fill out the form at the bottom of this page. Thank you!

 

🏮 Saturday Tasting:

  • 2018-10-13, 1:00 p.m.
  • $10.00*

Important: You’ll receive your ticket and tasting info at the email address associated with your PayPal account. If it’s not an active address, please fill out the form at the bottom of this page. Thank you!

* Your ticket also entitles you to a 5% discount on purchase of featured teas!
 

About The Teas

In the Japanese tea calendar, October is considered the most wabi month. This month often marks Portland’s transition to a chill and withered feeling as well.

It’s been a bit of a journey for me to learn to truly appreciate this season: my associations with it have not always been the best. But, I can say without hyperbole that teas like these two are part of why my heart now thrills at the first crisps of autumn in the air.

2018 Qímén Hóngchá

祁門紅茶 — Qimen (Keemun) Red (Black) Tea

Qimen is one of those massive names in Chinese tea: so famous that everyone wants a piece of the action. While it can be said of just about every style that the vast majority of examples are, frankly, pretty bad, it’s especially true of these super-famous ones.

This is not the best Qimen (I’m working on that for next year :), but it’s really good, and really affordable. And, it may help you understand why you can’t assume you know a style after trying just one or two instances of it.

2004 Mùzhà Tǐe Guānyīn

木柵鐵觀音 — Tie Guan Yin Wulong of Muzha, Taiwan

This Tie Guan Yin is wonderfully typical of the Muzha style, with incredibly deep, soft roast. It’s also somewhat atypical, in that its wettish storage has given it a hint of almost pu’er-like 陳味 (chén wèi — aged taste).

張先生 (Mr. Zhāng), who made and aged this tea, is a great grower/producer. He operates his small farm, production, and roasting operations with skill, care, and attention. (You may be familiar with some of his other teas through Shiuwen Tai [floatingleaves.com], who introduced me to him.)

I strongly encourage you to sample his craft!
 

IMPORTANT:

If the email address associated with your PayPal account is not active, you will not receive your ticket, and other information necessary for your participation in this event.

If you need to receive this information at a different address, please submit the form below.  Thank you!

2018-09-16: Book Group Meeting!

free events

2018-09-16
(Third Sunday Of Each Month)
1:00 p.m. — 3:30 p.m.
PDX TEA: 5328 Northeast Cleveland Avenue (map)

🏮 Look for the red lanterns! 🏮

Free! Registration Required. (Find out why here.)

 
Every 3rd Sunday of the month, we meet to discuss a tea book we’re reading as a group, and — of course — drink tea!

You can find general information about the book group here: pdxtea.org/events/books

Our first selection is Okakura Kakuzō’s The Book of Tea. For our meeting on September 16th, we’re reading through the end of Chapter 4.

You can learn more about this wonderful book-length essay here: pdxtea.org/2018/07/07/okakura-kakuzo-the-book-of-tea

TO REGISTER:
Use the contact form below, and we’ll get you going.

PLEASE REMEMBER: If you don’t submit either a cell number or email address, we won’t be able to contact you! :)

2018-09: Mogan Huang Ya & Xiaguan “Song He”

Featured Teas
🏮 Tuesday Tasting:

  • 2018-09-11
  • 1:00 p.m.
  • $10.00*
  • Important: You’ll receive your ticket and tasting info at your PayPal email address — please be sure it’s an active address!

 

🏮 Saturday Tasting:

  • 2018-09-15
  • 2:30 p.m.
  • $10.00*
  • Important: You’ll receive your ticket and tasting info at your PayPal email address — please be sure it’s an active address!

 
* Your ticket also entitles you to a 5% discount on purchase of featured teas!
 

About The Teas

September is such a beautiful month in Portland: a certain thrill of change in the morning air’s chill; perhaps a touch of melancholy in the afternoon sun’s long, lazy slant.

2018 Mògàn Huáng Yá
(莫幹黃芽 — Mt. Mogan Yellow Bud)

With its fragrance of sweet hay, its shining, golden sparkle, and its thick, warming soup, 2018’s Mògàn Huáng Yá reflects all of that, and is a perfect way to welcome these transitional months.

This yellow tea (黃茶 — huángchá) also has a very interesting herstory, as it’s production has become a sort of matrilineal heritage in the family that makes it.

2002 Xiàguān Tuóchá “Sōng Hè”
(“松鹤” — “Pine & Crane”)

When I revisited the 2002 Sōng Hè Tuó from Xiàguān to see if it was the right tea for September, I almost decided to just keep them all for myself.  It’s really a wonderful tea.

I regularly warn people to be very choosy with ripe pu’er (熟茶 — shúchá), as it often isn’t great.  But, after an additional 15+ years of storage…

Well, I’ll just let it speak to you directly at the tasting.  I think you’ll find this is a perfect tea for cool Autumn mornings, and long Autumn afternoons.

2018-08-11: 普洱課 :-: Pǔ’ěr Class

classes

2018-08-11
Saturday
12:30 p.m. — 3:30 p.m.
PDX TEA: 5328 Northeast Cleveland Avenue (map)

🏮 Look for the red lanterns! 🏮

Tickets Required.

 

 

Beyond The Basics Class: Pǔ’ěr (普洱)

Pǔ’ěr is a vast, and a truly wonderful category of tea. These teas can be at once profoundly magical, and profoundly down-to-earth. It also remains one of the categories which is most poorly understood by Western tea drinkers.

With this class, I hope to give you a framework on which to begin building your own understanding of pǔ’ěr. We’ll look at how these teas are produced, stored, prepared, and consumed, as well as how pǔ’ěr fits into the broader world of tea. And, perhaps more importantly, we’ll drink some really nice ones!

The slides, handouts, and discussion will begin to familiarize you with the unique place pǔ’ěr occupies in tea cultures, histories, and economies within China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Overseas Chinese communities.

We’ll also discuss — and start to observe — several factors of quality, including regional and processing differences, tree age, leaf age, finished tea age, and storage style.

The hands-on elements will introduce you to a few of the nearly unlimited possibilities within the world of pǔ’ěr, and make use of some helpful vocabulary to guide our focus towards the textures, flavors, fragrances, and sensations which make pǔ’ěr so special.

Your ticket includes tastings of young and aged shúchá (熟茶 — “ripe” pu’er), young and aged shēngchá (生茶 — “raw” pu’er), your informational handout, and a 10% discount if you’d like to buy any of the teas we sample during this class.

My intention is that, after attending the class, you’ll feel better equipped to explore this wonderful category of tea on your own, as well as more comfortable conversing with, and learning from, people who grew up with pǔ’ěr teas and tea cultures.

 

2018-08-19: PDX TEA’s First Book Group Meeting!

free events

2018-08-19
(Third Sunday Of Each Month, Beginning August 19th)
1:00 p.m. — 3:30 p.m.
PDX TEA: 5328 Northeast Cleveland Avenue (map)

🏮 Look for the red lanterns! 🏮

Free! Registration Required. (Find out why here.)

Every 3rd Sunday of the month, we meet to discuss a tea book we’re reading as a group, and — of course — drink tea!

You can find general information about the book group here: pdxtea.org/events/books

Our first selection is Okakura Kakuzō’s The Book of Tea.  You can learn more about that wonderful book-length essay here: pdxtea.org/2018/07/07/okakura-kakuzo-the-book-of-tea

TO REGISTER:
Use the contact form below, and we’ll get you going.

PLEASE REMEMBER: If you don’t submit either a cell number or email address, we won’t be able to contact you! :)

Okakura Kakuzō: The Book Of Tea

books

Our first selection for the brand new PDX TEA Book Group is — as if it could be anything else — The Book Of Tea, by Okakura Kakuzō.

The Book Of Tea is one of my foundational texts, both as a tea person, and just as a person. It’s one of the three things that I credit with leading me towards the path I’m on today.

Oddly, I have a sort of three-degrees-off connection with Mr. Okakura. He entered Tokyo Imperial University at the age of 15, and there met a man named Ernest Fenollosa. As some of you might know, Okakura and Fenollosa were instrumental in the development of the Boston Museum of Fine Art’s Asian art division; both serving as early curators.

As others of you might know, I grew up in the Boston area. As it turns out, my great grandparents on my mother’s side actually knew Ernest Fenollosa!

(It’s silly, I know, but I also find it deeply satisfying that both Okakura and Fenollosa were Aquariuses, as I am.)

Perhaps more to the point of the actual book at hand is that, as I understand it, Okakura wrote it as an extended essay for the salon of Isabella Stewart Gardner. (He wrote it in English, so we can enjoy it in its original form.) I see the book — and perhaps he’s stated this explicitly somewhere — as part of what seems to have been a lifelong calling for him, that of trying to help people of The East and of The West understand and appreciate each other more deeply, and more truly. In the case of this book, he uses tea as his vehicle, and I can’t imagine a better one for the purpose.

It’s not a long book, but it’s a remarkably thorough one. It’s also full of love, beauty, empathy, and those things that inspire them.

I hope you’ll join us in reading it.

*   *   *

NOTE: This book is out of copyright, so you can read it FREE, in digital form. It’s available from Project Gutenberg in several formats, as well as on several digital bookstores. Check your favorite one for downloads.

Here’s a link to the book’s page on Project Gutenberg: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/769

*   *   *

More Information On…

I’m on my way to Taiwan again!

blog, travel

It’s a little hard to believe; both in the long-view, “Wow, I’m actually going to Taiwan again — already!!” sense; and in the short-view, “Wow, I’m actually not throwing up every hour anymore!!” sense.

I first went to Taiwan in May of 2013, almost exactly three years ago, with Shiuwen & Konghai, Stephanie, Ana, Jan, Masa, and Matthew. It seemed like an amazing, possibly once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Then, last year, Ana (from the first trip) and @Chloé (our fellow chadō student with Margie Sensei) propositioned me with another trip idea. This time, it would be Thailand, Vietnam, and (mostly at my insistence) a few days in Taipei.

That first trip, in 2013, came on the heels of some major life upsets for me — the end of a decade-plus relationship; a cancer diagnosis, surgery, and recovery; and the decision to put PDX TEA on ice for a while, so I could get my life back together.

And the trip *did* help me get my life back together.

The second trip, in 2015, was a totally different experience, and wonderful in new, unimagined ways.

Unfortunately (but sort of fortunately, too) we ended up having to sacrifice part of our already short Taiwan time on that trip because of flight difficulties. The fortunately part was that it gave us the chance to do a whirlwind tour of Kuala Lumpur, a city I’d visit again in a heartbeat!

But now I’ve got the chance to sink my teath* into Taiwan again at a more leisurely pace.

Alas, some horrible stomach thing struck me down — almost to the hour! — two days before I was scheduled to take off from Seattle, robbing me both of my 25 Year No Barfing Streak, and of my first day of the trip. (A day Shiuwen and Jake are currently spending at beautiful Wistaria Cottage!)

But, best to get that sort of thing out of the way at home, I suppose.

And, luckily, I’m (knock on wood, fingers crossed, etc., etc.) better now, and will be in Yinnge, one of my favorite places on earth, in a few shakes of a Hello Kitty plane’s tail.

I’ll keep you posted on the trip, the renovations to PDX TEA’s new home, and other exciting tea, travel, and times.  Starting now! :D

 

* Sorry. :/ It’s probably behavior like that that made me get sick in the first place…