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  • Music Monday! We Drink Tea to Beat Poetry... Week of 6/14/21

    Hello hello! Last week, we explored indie alt-rock with Arcade Fire's The Suburbs! However, we're going to keep traveling down this journey of alt-rock by exploring the goddess of all goddesses -- Lana Del Rey. Yes, the queen herself! Unlike Arcade Fire's The Suburbs, this alt-rock album by Lana Del Rey veers more towards alternative psychedelic rock. In fact, this album was produced by The Black Key's Dan Auerbach, and was sung and recorded LIVE. To add, Lana infamously kicked-out of her home and shut her door on the face of a Rolling Stone Magazine reporter, after asking her about her infamous SNL performance when writing about this album. Yesterday, Ultraviolence celebrated its 7th birthday, so there is no better time than to recommend it than now! So while this is one of my favorite albums of all time, why is this album great for listening with tea time? Start your kettles, put on your headphones, and let's find out! Note: In this tea and music pairing, I'll be discussing the deluxe edition of this album. (Image: Property of Polydor Ltd. UK under exclusive license to Interscope Records USA) Album: Ultraviolence Artist: God... aka Lana Del Rey Year: 2014 Primary Tea Pairing: GuShu Sheng Puer Secondary Tea Pairings: Rock Oolong, Hei Cha, or Shou Puer Ultraviolence opens up to the soundscape of the echoey vocals of Lana behind a California flair, Immediately, her vocals and lyrics of the album's introductory track to show you that Lana is emoting raw feelings. As the album progresses, we get a glimpse of the emotional viewpoint of what it's like to be in a complicated and confusing relationship. And as tracks such as Shades of Cool or West Coast pass by, this album seems to show these themes in a mediative and relatable way. As the album reaches its halfway point, up to the end, this album's cheekiness shines through as she mocks her critics in 'I F***** My Way Up To The Top', and drives her nonchalant snarky attitude with a chillness that perfectly collides with a tea session. However, the album reaches a vulnerable high point with tracks like 'Old Money', and continues to the end with bonus-track 'Flipside'. Overall, this album is a perfect tea and music pairing because it's atmospheric in a way that immerses you into an entirely new universe and emotionally progresses in a very similar way that a gong-fu session does. To add, its stoner-chill production helps you relax, and bring you to the same vulnerability that Lana is at. For me personally, I listened to this album when I spread my dad's ashes at the beach (specifically, when Shades of Cool and Brooklyn Baby came on). I connected to this album because although it wasn't a partner, I had a very complicated relationship with my dad and Lana was the first person to seem to understand how confusing love can be. Now every time I hear those songs with tea time, I'm instantly transported back to that spot in time on the beach. If you let yourself become vulnerable with Lana, maybe this album with tea can transport you to a place in time as well... What do YOU think of this week's tea and music pairing? Click HERE to join the discussion on Instagram! - The Oolong Drunk "Blissfully Tea Drunk"

  • Confessions of a Tea-Drunkard Drama Queen

    Hello hello! We all have embarrassing things we've all done when it comes to tea. Or on the flip-side to this, we all do unconventional things when it comes to tea -- the thing's that others would look at and wonder if there's something wrong with us. Last week on social media, I asked in my 'instagram story' to get their tea sins off their chest! With the permission of everyone who agreed to share, today we'll be going over some of the zaniest and wackiest tea confessions that you guys submitted. And also, we'll be touching base on one large hidden underlying issue that should be touched on. Also, as promised on social media, I'll later confess some of my biggest tea sins as well. But before I do, we'll also be hearing some of the confessions by other tea bloggers/vendors within the tea community! First, let's start the tea confessions that you guys submitted! Anonymous Confessions from Tea Drinkers: Before we start, I want to state that I got written permission to post these confessions from the tea drinkers who submitted them. Anyhow! Out of the dozens of responses that you guys submitted, three of you confessed to drinking the rinse of your tea. For those of you who are familiar with a rinse, it's where tea leaves is essentially 'washed off' to rid the tea of any dust/dirt that it might have accumulated. Despite that only three of you confessed to drinking your rise, a large number of you also admitted to loving and enjoying boba tea! While several of you admitted to loving boba, three of you confessed to enjoying tea bags as well, along with other flavored teas. One tea drinker anonymously confessed, "I like Lipton. Reminds me of my grandmother." Some confessions revolved around the process of making tea. One tea drinker anonymously admitted, "I brewed Gyokuro in an automatic tea kettle - more than once." Meanwhile, another tea drinker confessed, "I like to [drink] every tea gong fu style, even herbal blends." Another tea drinker admitted that they don't warm-up their tea-ware before a gong-fu session, while a different tea drinker confessed, "I [leave] my leaves out in my gaiwan for so long (days) that at times I find mold on them." Other confessions ranged from adding oat milk to ceremonial-grade matcha, while some else admitted to regularly overstuffing a 40mg teapot with 4 grams of tea. One of you also admitted to leaving tea leaves out overnight and continuing a session the next day, while someone else admitted to never measuring their tea for their session. However, the one confession that wins the award of 'confessions of all confessions' is when an anonymous tea drinker horrifically stated, "I accidentally garbage-disposaled one of my tea pets." Oomph. Confessions from Tea Bloggers/Vendors: Many people who work in the tea industry (bloggers, vendors, etc.) are not so perfect either. After agreeing to speak openly, a few tea bloggers/entities shared some of their tea sins! Lu Ann of 'The Tea Cup Of Life' shared that she'll sometimes pick teabags over loose leaf tea, as well as purposely overstepping some of her teas. On a similar spectrum, Nazanin of 'Tea Thoughts' confessed that unless it's a green tea, she'll boil it. And just like a similar confession from an anonymous tea drinker from before, Don of Mei Leaf confessed that he’s also had to turn tea pots into ornaments after forgotten tea leaves from a previous session start to mold — accidentally ruining the tea-ware. However, in a surprising confession from Micah, who's also known as 'The Weekend Sessions', he openly admitted that people in his personal life don't even know he has a tea blog! On the sweet and wholesome side of confessing, Geoffrey of 'Steep Stories' confessed that, despite being a purist when it comes to tea, he'll drink chamomile tea every night before bed. On another wholesome note, Jann of 'Tea With Jann' was open to confessing that she'll sometimes take a whiff of empty tea jars to get a good smell of the teas she once enjoyed. Jann, I must say, this is a fantastic idea and now I'll be following in your footsteps! (Hey not all confessions have to be bad!) My Own Tea Sins/Confessions: Now, I agreed to share some of my tea confessions with you all as well. Since I have too many things to confess to (such as enjoying tea bags or adding espresso to tea-latès), I figured I'd be a lot more specific in three of my biggest sings/confessions. #3 I once blended a shou puer and white tea together, and then drank it. #2 After reviewing Cha-Gao (Black Magic from Bitterelaf Teas to be exact), I once ate a piece of it like a tic-tac. It fried my tongue and I couldn't properly taste anything for almost two weeks... A month later, I got curious and tried it again but a much smaller piece. It fried my tongue again, and just like before, couldn't properly taste anything. Except this time it was only for a week... (You can read that review, and my expierence rating cha-gao here!) #1 More Recently, I stored a high-oxidized oolong in an empty mustard jar. Despite running the jar through the dishwasher twice, there was still an odor of mustard in the lid that I had missed. A month later when I opened the jar to make that oolong, it smelled exactly like mustard. I brewed it, and the tea completely absorbed the mustard note and lost most of its natural tasting notes. In an attempted to repurpose the tea, I brewed the tea concentrated and added it to a glass of ice and dairy creamer, along with boba. In a failed attempt to make a delicious treat, I had instead made a mustard-scented boba milk tea. Despite the fuck-up, something still felt off. While going full-throttle at trying to make this tea work, I bought mustard seeds and made the rest of my oolong, with mustard seeds, to try to make a better version of Mustard-Scented Oolong Milk Tea. I finally came up with a concoction that had a bliss-point of all of the notes. However, it was only halfway through drinking this perfect monstrosity that I realized how insane I was being for trying to 'win' at this recipe while starting to feel sick. While being unable to settle in my stomach, I threw up in my work's parking lot forty minutes later. Conclusion: After reading the responses from everyone, an indirect problem arose from all of the admissions -- Too many tea drinkers felt ashamed for drinking what they truly enjoyed. A large number of tea drinkers felt ashamed to drink bagged tea, fruity tea, and even scented teas! Personally, this made me sad. So what should you take away from all of this? Well first, none of us are perfect and we all enjoy a variety of things. There are no real 'set' rules in the world of tea for what is good or bad, and shouldn't matter as long as you are the one who enjoys it. Drinking a tea bag doesn't make you less of a tea drinker. Instead, judging and shaming someone for drinking a bagged tea is what will make you less of a tea drinker. I encourage all of you to openly enjoy what you enjoy. I also encourage you to celebrate other tea friends for what they like and try to be supportive all around. Don't let others make you feel ashamed for liking what you like (except, if you enjoy mustard-infused oolong milk tea). Let your freak-flag infuse! And enjoy whatever you damn well please ;-) --The Oolong Drunk "Blissfully Tea Drunk"

  • Music Monday! Mountains Beyond Mountains... Week of 5/31/2021

    Hello hello!!! Last week, we visited 'daddy' with Daddy's Home by St. Vincent! However, this week we'll continue down the path of alt-rock with none other, Arcade Fire! Arcade Fire launched into the music scene with their whimsical musicality of staying up late, riding watching Juno and The Breakfast Club on the weekend, and enjoying freedom by wearing your best second-hand flannel and worn-out converse. While upping the ante, Arcade Fire released 'The Suburbs' -- an alternative indie-rock album that caught the attention of the music scene, which resulted in their Grammy upset of a masterpiece 'Album of the Year win. Despite the hype around this album, let's dig into this album as to why it makes for one helluva tea and music pairing! Put on your best pair of headphones, pick out your favorite thrift-store band t-shirt, and ket your kettles boiling! (Image Property: Arcade Fire Music under exclusive License to Sony Music Entertainment) Album: The Suburbs Artist: Arcade Fire Year: 2010 Primary Tea Pairing: Green Oolong (Chinese of Taiwanese) Secondary Tea Pairings: Fresh Sheng Puer or Fresh White Tea The Suburbs opens up to a 2-parter introduction that takes you down into the band's soundscape by introducing you to the struggle of living in Houston suburbia. While exploring the fears and anxiety of living in a catholic home with pressures of having your future pre-determined, the listener is taken into this journey of fear and anxiety of being stuck in the nine to five rut. While exploring different themes of wanting to express artistic freedom, leaving home for the first time, and wanting to break the mold, Arcade Fire continues this journey by showing that the grass is never greener on the other side. This album carries a tension that lasts throughout the album -- while leading up to Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains) by showing that once a suburban kid was able to break free from the 'sprawl', the artistic and freedom of city life was not as glorious as once seemed. This song wraps up the entire album by showing that the suburban kids were rejected by the city life, and ends with the note that breaking free from your cycle doesn't necessarily mean an easier life. This album pairs perfectly with a tea session because as the album progresses and builds tension to its grand finale, a tea may build tensions until reaching its 'bliss point' in a session. This album is also atmospheric and creates vivid imagery which adds to the overall experience of your gong-fu session. It also helps you remember that you're not alone in wanting to break free from your rut and that having dreams and hope may be enough to get you through the next day... Do YOU agree with this week's Music? Click HERE to join the discussion on social media!

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