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    • My Covid Nightmare and Loss of Taste

      Hello hello, Friday morning, August 7th 2020, I woke up and something was wrong. I’d normally turn over on my back and open my eyes before reaching for my phone. Except, I couldn't. I was stuck on my stomach, and I couldn’t even open my eyelids. I must still be asleep, I thought to myself as I lied there. Except, my skin was covered in chill bumps all over like having a bucket of beads poured all over my body, and I was lying in a pool of sweat. I need to get up, I thought to myself as I was now more awake, and realizing something is terribly wrong. I start to move to turn over, except for when I turned over, every single muscle from my head to my toes immediately erupted in an ablaze of sharp-lava-infused pain. The pain was acute yet specific to every single music that was being moved — so much that I almost let out a scream as I struggleed to turn over. Now on my back, I forced myself to lift my head — muscles shaking as I struggled to turn over and open my eyelids as I realized I couldn't move my neck. I was still freezing all over despite the blankets, as I huff and puffed as hard as I would when jogging around my neighborhood. I tried to catch my breath, and as I did, I could feel every fiber in my pecks rip apart with every inhale — almost at a point of gasping for air. My nasal cavity was numb, and I was dizzy and light-headed from struggling to catch my breath. I lifted my arm to reach for my phone and struggled as my arm, shoulder refused to move — almost as if someone was sitting on my entire body. In the time it took to wake up and turn over and get my phone, thirty minutes had gone by. I want to panic at the pain and my slow moment, but I couldn’t. I also realized that at the clock, I slept for fourteen hours that night. I felt perfectly fine before bed. How can I be in this much pain overnight? I kept trying to think of something logical, but couldn't. I opened my phone to dial 9-1-1, and in the process of doing so, I forgot what I was doing, or who I was even dialing. Now, after struggling to dial 9-1-1, an hour had gone by singe initially waking up. After struggling to formulate words, and realizing that most of what I was saying was coming out a mumbling blur, the 9-1-1 operator stressed that I make it to the ER, and asked if I needed an ambulance. After remembering that I don’t have insurance, and financially strained since lock-downs, I couldn’t afford an ambulance. I hung up, struggled to get dressed, and got to my car. From waking up to turning over, to calling 9-1-1, and to getting a shirt on to sit in my car, it was now three hours later. I paused for ten minutes to catch my breath and continued to the ER. One and a half miles later, I arrived an hour later at the emergency room at Cox Medical Center in Springfield, Missouri. I explained to the front desk all of my symptoms, as they told me to wait in the Covid-designated waiting area. At some point or another, while struggling to sit up-right in a chair, I got up walked over to the receptionist's desk to ask about how much longer. While waiting for them to acknowledge me, I leaned against the wall and fell to the floor, as my legs were too weak and too hot to stand up anymore. Two receptionists rushed over, and frustratingly urged me to get up and off the floor. While assisting me to my feet, I asked how much longer. With an annoyance and sharp attitude, they told me that I’m in line like everyone else. Although I stressed to them that I couldn’t physically sit upright and it hurt to do so, they irritatingly pointed out that I could lie down on a window ledge. An hour after lying on a hard, cold piece of granite for an hour, while struggling to catch my breath and shaking from the fever, a nurse walked over to me to escort me up, and held me up-right as she guided me to my room. Now in my room, I still couldn’t move without the siting and burning sensation — including the weight and difficulty of breathing. After doing a few tests, and showing a high-fever, they took a covid test and concluded my body was violently reacting to a viral infection. After a doctor came in, he determined that something was wrong. Unlike most traditional covid patients, my lungs were experiencing a dry-inflammation. They held me for several hours and made sure no fluid was building in my lungs. After putting me on a hold, and due to the lack of fluid in my lungs, they determined that I wasn’t experiencing the pneumonia-like symptoms that they typically saw in covid patients. They also explained that they were limited on supplies, and because of the inflammation, that unless a lung shut down completely, there was nothing they could do. They gave me an inhaler to help the inflammation, and while gasping for air, they guided me out of the ER and sent me home. Now at home, twelve hours after my initial arrival at the ER, I sent a group text to both of my roommates explaining to them that I’d be self-isolating. I also explained to them that I tested for covid, and they should get tested too. I lied back down, realizing I haven’t had food all day. With the pain of moving and breathing, the emptiness from not eating was drowned out. An hour later, my newer roommate placed food at my door. That night, I slept for nineteen hours straight. I woke up again and still had a fever. Although the inhaler made a mild-improvement, and along with ibuprofen, nothing was improving. After going to the bathroom, getting another roommate-made meal from my door, and watching an episode of Golden Girls on my desktop, I went back to bed, called all of my family for the next hour, and went back to sleep. Fourteen hours later, now Sunday night, I woke up and still with a fever. I got a missed call from the hospital, and upon calling them back, they confirmed my covid test came back positive. They also told me that I and my roommate were to self-isolate for two weeks. I texted the roommates the update, ate another quick meal, and lied down. I got a call from my other roommate (not the one feeding me), saying that he shouldn’t have to miss two weeks of work because I got sick. He was angry and was making accusations; almost as if I chose to be this ill on purpose. I hung up on him, turned over, and dozed off. While dozing off, I heard him talking to the other roommate and said, “Well, fuck that. I’m not staying home. It’s not my problem. If my co-workers get sick because I’m carrying it from Cody, then that’s his problem; not mine”. I fell into another deep sleep — now heartbroken. I woke up again, now Monday, after another 16 hours of sleep. I text a few friends, as one brought me food from my favorite restaurant in town. I also tried sitting upright and watched more Golden Girls. After three hours of sitting up and watching TV, I check and I still had a fever. I also noticed that this time, I was breathing harder and harder. It now became so hard to breathe, that I had to consciously make an effort to breathe in and out. I was starting to panic but was so tired and in so much pain, I started to close my eyes again. I forced my eyes awake, went over to my desk, wrote something down on a piece of paper, and went back to bed. While awake, I had enough brainpower to text my mom and grandmom that I loved them, and as I went to dial 9-1-1 again, I turned over and fell asleep. I woke up 14 hours later to see my phone had died. I also checked again, and this was now day 4 in a row with a fever. I could breathe a little better than than the night before, so I ate some food, charged my phone, and lied in bed. I repeated this for another two days until my fever broke — making it almost 6 straight days of fever. I got enough energy to go over to my desk and start cleaning up some of the trash. While there, I saw the piece of paper that I had written. And on this piece of paper, I had a list of phone numbers to family, passwords, and banking information, as well as a hand-written letter giving one of my closest friends power-of-attorney to handle my things, and a letter to my friends — telling them how much I loved them. I read that piece of paper, collapsed on the floor, and began to shake and teared up. I had no memory of writing this paper and barely had any memory of anything else from that day. Why didn’t I go back to the ER? Why didn’t I dial 9-1-1? I kept asking myself these questions while trying to come up with a reasonable answer, but couldn't. I was so physically drained and disoriented that I didn’t even mentally make the effort to do more. I was now more scared, and panicked than before. I crawled into bed while gripping that piece of paper and cried until I fell asleep… Now twelve days after getting sick, the Health Department called me to tell me my self-isolation was to be lifted. They also conducted a short interview of all the places I had been, who I was exposed to, etc. It struck me as odd because, in those twelve days, others could have been spreading it. It felt wrong. I went to drink tea, and when I did, all I could taste was bitter. And after several days of drinking tea, I had several panic attacks -- afraid I'd lose my taste forever. What's the point of a a tea blogger who can't taste tea? I'd ask myself that daily. I went into a depressive episode and had several full-blown panic attacks when fearing I'd lose my taste forever. Thankfully, after a month and a half, I was able to drink tea and most taste it like normal again. However, since getting sick (now three months later), I’ve been diagnosed with chronic asthma, chronic fatigue, and since my white-blood-cell count is still abnormally off, they’re screening for a wide variety of autoimmune diseases, and also, cancers. Currently, my chronic fatigue is so bad that I can’t go on a shift at work without wanting to fall asleep standing up. It takes several hours for me to get out of bed, and on some days, I can barely do simple tasks such as take a shower or do laundry. I even tried to exercise by going on a short-hike (something I’d do regularly since getting sick), and after posting a photo to the tea subreddit, I was bed-ridden for three straight days. I also got a second job that doesn't start until January, but currently, struggling financially due to my limited physical capabilities of getting sick. I'm running out of savings to keep paying for doctor's visits, and I’m scared. However, to help with finances, I did start a Patreon page to help introduce new people to tea and do tea-education in hopes of financially making-up for some of my doctor's visits (feel free to join and help support me at the link at the bottom of this article). Although my plethora of health issues, and despite being terrified of my next doctor's visit, a piece of me is still grateful to be alive. I also opened my Instagram to find SO MUCH love and support from everyone in the tea community, that it made me cry of happiness. However, despite everything, I still drive by town and see nightclubs and bars packed-full of people not wearing face masks. Packed restaurants. Clubs full of people, not taking this any more seriously. Being reckless with the life they have, not caring if it’s thrown away. And although I did everything right (stayed at home, didn't go out, always wore a mask, kept distance, etc.), I still got it. I was one of the unfortunate ones. As I sit here still struggling to breathe and awaiting my next test to help find out why my health is still failing. As finances grow, a piece of me breaks inside when seeing all the crowds. These are crowds of people who are mindlessly throwing something away that my doctor doesn’t think I’ll ever get back… Number of days with straight-fever: 6 (140 hours) where it wouldn't break Number of days without taste: 44 (1,056 hours) Number of days with chronic fatigue: 105 days (2,538 hours) and still ongoing Weight lost in the first two weeks: 12lbs Number of days with severe asthma and severe breathing issues: 105 days (2,538 hours) and still ongoing Click the link below to support me by joining my Patreon, where proceeds will help go directly to my doctor's visits/medical bills. https://www.patreon.com/theoolongdrunk Thank you for reading, and also, please be safe... --Cody "Blissfully Tea Drunk"

    • A Very 'Blissfully Tea Drunk' Patreon!

      Hello hello! Today, I announce my new series on Patreon! Due to covid, I’ve been unable to fulfill the promises I've made to appear at speaking engagements, along with teaching you about tea in-person. However, since tea-education is one of my absolute favorite aspects of meeting all of you in person, I've decided to continue to do so through Patreon! With this Patreon, I’ve decided to start my very-own tea-education series with my ‘tell it how it is’ attitude. I will continue to educate and reach a broad-spectrum of tea, and various tea-related topics! Below is the link to sign up for my Patreon! https://www.patreon.com/theoolongdrunk However, despite launching my official Patreon, my regularly-scheduled posts on the blog will not be affected whatsoever. Nothing on the website will change! Hope to see you there! ~Blissfully Tea Drunk

    • 2006 Aged Da Hong Pao, and The Meaning of Life

      Hello hello! Before I start, I wanted to first and foremost thank the tea community (and you, the reader) for the amount of out-pouring love and support that I received when diagnosed with Covid. While my journey from recovery has been lengthy, I’m very lucky and fortunate that so many of you sent me messages of encouragement and love. However, now that my taste is (finally) back, I’m eager to get started on this aged Da Hong Pao brick by Maunamoku Tea! This tea-brick of Da Hong Pao (also known as ‘Big Red Robe’) is aged from 2006, and Maunamoku claims it was made by tea-legend Zhang Tianfu, who unfortunately, passed away in 2017. So I must ask, does this tea really hold up to the name of Zhang Tianfu? Let’s find out! Steeps: 12 Dimensions: 5g of tea for a 75ml vessel Temperature: 212ºf (boil) Price: $200 per brick Steeps 1- 7 With the first infusion, this tea’s body slowly opened up to the clean and crisp earthy notes of fruit and wood. After another steep, this tea’s body quickly expanded with a velvety-smooth texture that illuminated the nutty notes of wood, and faint sweet fruit that were stored in a humid basement. To add, at the third infusion, this tea’s compression quickly fell apart and fully opened up, making this tea’s lovely subtle notes quickly turning into immediate strength — up to the eighth infusion. Steeps 8 - 12 With this tea’s woody-velvety notes quickly smoothing out, the infusions quickly made the notes fade further apart. With the near-instant explosion of flavor from the de-compression of this tea’s leaves from earlier, the ‘peak’ quickly tailed off — causing me to make large jumps in infusion time to keep up with the diminishing notes. However, despite so, each sip towards the end of the session kept becoming smoother and smoother. With the tea quickly losing strength, however, a faint sweetness quickly coated all over the base of the tongue that mixed with the basement-like earthy quality. With that, by the twelfth steep (also, the fifteen-minute infusion), I re-boiled this tea for a final send-off. With one last drop, this tea’s leaves were spent… Conclusion: To start, this tea definitely possessed qualities of a tea that indicated that it’s been aged for a period of time. The aging in question is something that I draw reference from with other oolongs that have also been aged. With the clear and evident proof of aging, this tea’s soup was surprisingly clean and clear. To add, this tea was surprisingly flavorful. However, despite being flavorful, it quickly died-off towards the later steeps. Overall, this was one incredible session that I’m fortunate enough to have. As I drank this tea that had a decomposed and aged profile to it , and for how much clarity was within this tea’s leaves, I can say that this session was a memorable one. I can also say that there’s something special about drinking something that’s aged in the way that this tea was. While I sipped on this tea I asked myself, “I wonder what memories I can help pass on through tea, and who exactly will be imagining a past they never knew while drinking a tea that I had connection with?” While I was fortunate enough to recover from Covid, and despite my current health issues from the virus, it helps give me perspective with the ‘bigger picture’ of life. As I drank this tea, I’m immediately thrown into a time-machine and experiencing the lives, the history, and the passions of the people who previously handled this tea, and get to bring-to-life their forgotten past with each infusion. While I wonder what the people were like who drank this tea years ago before me, I also wondered, what will you think of me long after I’m gone and you read this blog and read my thoughts? Maybe, just maybe, we can all live another day in a future timeline that hasn’t been lived yet. For that, I’m grateful for this experience with this beautiful tea, and grateful to be sharing this experience with you…

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    • The Oolong Drunk

      Most Recent Review/Article Click on article to read more! The Oolong Drunk 3 days ago A Very 'Blissfully Tea Drunk' Patreon! The Oolong Drunk Oct 26 2006 Aged Da Hong Pao, and The Meaning of Life The Oolong Drunk Sep 10 4 Playlists to Drink Tea To! The Oolong Drunk Jul 14 Open Letter to the Tea Community: Tea and Racism The Oolong Drunk Apr 1 Gong-Fu Matcha The Oolong Drunk Jan 8 4 Year Anniversary (and Special Announcement) The Oolong Drunk Jan 1 End of Decade Top 10 Albums to Drink Tea To The Oolong Drunk Dec 14, 2019 Go All Out. Go Full Frontal.... by Bitterleaf Teas The Oolong Drunk Nov 27, 2019 Two's a Crowd. Three's a Tieguanyin. Click for more posts! here Tea Time With... Tea Time With... The Radio Tea Time With... A Musician/Karaoke DJ Instagram:

    • Reviews | theoolongdrunk

      4 Playlists to Drink Tea To! Hello hello! Last month, I had become unfortunate enough to contract Covid 19. It resulted in an ER visit with contemplation of putting m... Open Letter to the Tea Community: Tea and Racism Hello hello, I’ve decided to take a break from working on my book to make a post on the blog, and address the tea community as a whole. W... Gong-Fu Matcha Hello hello! Since the post, I’ve been writing away at my first draft for the upcoming novel I’m writing. The first draft is about 40% of... 4 Year Anniversary (and Special Announcement) Hello hello! Reflection Four years ago today on January 8th, I started ‘theoolongdrunk.com' where I set out to review tea. What originall... End of Decade Top 10 Albums to Drink Tea To Hello hello! Over the past ten years, a lot of us have gotten into tea — rather that be that you sell or drink it. Along with tea, a wide... Go All Out. Go Full Frontal.... by Bitterleaf Teas Hello hello! Bitterleaf Teas put the risk in risqué this year with the release of their 2019 Full Frontal — a 2019 Jingmai Sheng Puer tha... Two's a Crowd. Three's a Tieguanyin. Hello hello! Over the past month a new tea company has been in and out, and all about. The Dr.Seuss in me wants to say they’ve also been ... Dark and Exquisite Leaves Hello hello! A little over a few months ago, I began airing out dark tea from Exquisite Leaves — a kind of puer tea from the Hunan provin... Tea Time With... The Radio Hello hello! After interviewing a karaoke DJ, I realized that I was going in the right direction as far s getting to have tea-time with L... 1 2 3 4 5

    • What is Puer? | theoolongdrunk

      Puer 101 - Getting to Know Puer Basics [Click on photos to enlarge] Hello hello! The world of tea can definitely be a scary place, especially when people in the community actively talk about tea like the back of their hand, and there is no one to explain what certain things meant. It’s also easy to get lost in the world of tea because the tea universe is large. However, puer is a kind of tea that’s not widely known by a lot of people, and the ones who are aware of it may still only view it as ‘tea that can get old like wine’. Puer First, we’re going to start with explaining what puer is. Puer (pronounced like poo-er) is a kind of tea that has the ability to age and ferment. What this means is, tea can be stored (like a fine wine) in a controlled environment, and supposedly gets better with age. While the exact time period of when puer got its start is largely open for debate, over the past decade it’s quickly gaining popularity in the western market. Since puer gets better with age, you’ll often see that aged teas are more expensive. Another great thing about puer is that there’s two different kinds which are called sheng and shou. ​ ​ Sheng Sheng is a variety of purer that’s green in color, and usually has a vegetal flavor. Sheng (which is pronounced like the english word ‘hung’ with the letter ’S’ in front of it) is also commonly known as green puer, because it’s processed and looks similar to green tea. Sheng puer can be aged for further oxidation because sheng puer is a un-oxidized tea. Although sheng puer is similar to green tea, it’s processed in a way that is able to age and slowly oxidize over time. Speaking of processing, sheng is not made like your typical green tea. ​ First, sheng puer is carefully plucked off the tea tree. The tea is handled very carefully as to prevent bruising. Then, the tea is promptly roasted in a large wok in a process called the ‘kill green’ process. This is done to halt the oxidation, and visually shrinks the tea leaves and rids it of its neon green color. Once the tea is halted from its oxidation process, the tea is rolled, rubbed, and shaped into strands. Following this, the tea is spread out on bamboo mats and typically left to air-dry in the sun light. Photo: Freshly harvested puer withering on a bamboo mat Photo:The 'kill green' process taking place in a wood-fired wok With the following, take a minute to read a simple explanation about what puer is — in an ‘explain like five’ context so you can better equip yourself with the right kind of basic knowledge to navigate the world of puer You may be wondering how the process of making sheng puer allows the tea to oxidize. This is mainly in part due to the fact that the tea is quickly dried out from picking. In green tea production, the tea is typically roasted or steamed long enough to kill any living enzymes within the leafs. Once green tea is done cooking/processing, its dried and stays stagnant. However, since the ‘kill green’ process in sheng puer doesn’t completely cook the leaves throughout, and is quickly dried out, not all of the enzymes in puer are killed. Since not all of the enzymes are killed, it slowly oxidizes over a slow and a long period of time (which is further explained below). Long story short, your tea is still alive. ​ First, just like sheng, the leaf is plucked off of the tree. The tea is carefully handled before it makes its way to be withered. Then, the leaf is completely processed into sheng. Now, unlike sheng, shou takes a much different route in the following steps. Next, shou puer is piled in a room in a humid, dark, and in a aerated condition. From there, the tea is turned and mixed in a process that typically lasts from two to three months. This process may sound a bit peculiar, and you may have done something similar with your garden at home: this is the process of composting— so, over the forty day period, the tea is being composted. However, despite knowing the general process of how shou is made, the exact specifics aren't entirely known because its a closely guarded industry secret. Once the tea has been turned and allowed to oxidize and decompose two to three months, it is then allowed to air-dry where the tea is allowed to settle before being pressed into discs. Unlike sheng puer, shou puer is post-fermented and usually can’t age for as long of a period. Shou Shou puer is the other kind of puer tea (pronounced like the english word ‘show’, but with less emphasis on the ‘W’. IT’s also pronounced like ‘show’, but both are technically correct). Shou puer is dark in color, and typically earthy in taste. Shou puer is also commonly known as cooked tea, or post-fermented tea. Tea thats been post-fermented, and identifies as shou, is processed completely different from its counter part. Photo:Puer tea being rolled after 'kill green' Photo: Puer being laid out to dry How It Ages Like mentioned above, puer is able to age due to the process of fermentation. The process of fermentation mainly affects sheng puer, since sheng is still green. Sheng is most affected because although it is still green, it still holds moisture. When sheng puer is cooked in a flash-like setting, referred to above as the ‘kill green’ process, it halts the oxidation. However, when sheng puer goes through its ‘kill green’ process, it’s not cooked enough to make it halt oxidation altogether. Because of this, the enzymes that react due to photosynthesis still lie dormant in the minuscule amount of moisture left within the tea. These enzymes provide carbohydrates and amino acids that are slowly released into the tea throughout time. This also helps contribute to the fact that when sheng ages, it darkens in color and changes in taste. Although Sheng has the potential to age, shou is not typically able to go through this process due to its heavy oxidation. Since shou puer has already been decomposed, and left to oxidize for forty days, there’s not much left that can be done to age it further. However, that doesn’t mean that it can’t change. A newer way of making shou puer is a process in which the tea leaves are not oxidized completely, so after the tea is finished decomposing, there’s still some room left for it to oxidize when storing. Differences in Taste Puer typically varies in profile due to where it’s grown. Usually, puer comes from China — the Yunnan providence to be exact, while ‘puer’ from other regions is called heicha. Due to the varying mountain ranges, weather conditions, soil composition, and landscape, the same tea grown in one region will taste noticeably different than another region. Along with this, the age of the tea tree will also affect a tea and how it tastes. Typically, tea isn’t ready for harvest until the tree is seven years old. Past that, it is harvested at any age. Young trees hold a very different profile than old trees, and tea that comes from old tea trees are typically identified as ‘Gu Shu’ (pronounced like ‘goo’ and ‘shoe’, but ‘shoe’ without the ‘E’). Gu Shu teas are typically more expensive, Photo: Gu Shu tea being harvested off of an old tea tree and thats usually because the tea itself gives off a stronger brew. This is because the older the tree, the larger the tea leaf is able to become. To add, older tea trees are able to absorb a larger range of nutrients from the soil due to its larger roots, which affects the depth and complexity of the leaf itself. Photo: Beengs of sheng shortly after being pressed Shape and Size When exploring the different selections of puer, you’ll quickly notice that there are a lot of different shapes and sizes available to purchase. The most popular, and the most common shape of puer is the disc, which is often called a beeng (pronounced like the search engine Bing). Puer is often stored in a beeng shape, and typically wrapped together with other beengs to create a tong. The traditional size for a beeng is 357 grams, and there are typically 7 beengs on a tong. The purpose of a tong is to store and package puer tea by a bulk size, and there are usually seven beengs in a tong because the weight adds up to 2.5 kilograms. Besides the traditional 357 gram beengs, tea makers are making smaller sizes more popular due to market demands. These sizes include 200 gram, 100 gram, and 50 gram beengs. However, besides beengs, puer is also pressed in a number of different shapes. These shapes include bricks, mushrooms, squares, melons (which looks like a half-melon) balls (almost always 7g), and touchas. A toucha (pronounced like too-oh, and ‘Cha’ added after) is a shape that best resembles a mushroom without its stem. Overall, there are many different shapes and sizes available, and with new innovation making its way to the world of tea, there’s always new and unique shapes and sizes that pop up at every turn you take. Conclusion In conclusion, puer is a tea that comes in either sheng or shou.Sheng is a green tea that’s able to age due to the process of fermentation. Along with sheng there’s also shou, which is a kind of puer tea that’s dark in color, and isn’t able to age in the same way that sheng can. Although the exact point in time that puer was created can’t be pinpointed, there is a growing popularity for it in todays market. So with all of this basic knowledge of what puer is, hopefully you can now feel more comfortable with exploring the vast universe of puer. Despite knowing the basics of puer, the puer universe is still so large and there’s so much more to learn, that the best way to learn form tea is to just drink it… ​ ~~~~~ Note: ​ Special thanks to for fact checking parts of this article, and for providing photos… Crimson Lotus Tea Read the original article here... [ ] click here ​ "Blissfully Tea Drunk"

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