Spring has arrived on the east coast, finally allowing us to enjoy tea in a more natural environment. Few people are more adept at blending nature and tea ceremony than the Taiwanese, so it makes little sense not to emulate them now. A 2009 winter Li Shan fits the weather perfectly.
This morning's tea recalls a weekend spent among friends in Flushing, NY. Both times I have been here I often felt I had been transported outside the US for a few moments - I think this is the closest you can get to Asia without leaving the North East.
We had a grand time drinking young puerh with Kai at the Fang Tea Expo - 2008(?) Bulang Shan, mao cha from 1000 year old Yiwu tea trees, and a mid-roasted Taiwanese oolong.
After refilling the parking meter for what felt like the 5th time, we were treated to endless generosity by Annie and her husband at Luh Yu Tea Emporium. We drank a Da Yu Ling and their custom label 2008 Nannuo puerh cake. A very good old arbor tea that we expect has some excellent aging potential based on some early experiments.
We feasted with a gaijin's attempt at Shabu Shabu - delicious, but we expected we can get better results next time. Our brilliant and delightful 4 year old companion Doris (who we know to boss adults around in at least English, Mandarin, Cantonese and Fujianese) decided that she was in no mood for hard boiled eggs that day.
We ended the evening with a stop by Benito's, where he wowed us with his own private collection of Taiwanese artisan teaware, paintings and competition teas. The modest gentleman sent us away with samples, as usual.
I expect to return to Flushing again before spring is over. Be sure to enjoy the gentle warmth and soft light before the sun turns too harsh.