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- Music Monday! What Are Perfect Places, Anyways? Week of 5/9/2021
Hello hello! Now that I'm back after taking a short hiatus, and after moving 700 miles across the United States, Music Monday finally returns! On the last Music Monday, we took a trip down the 90's nostalgia with Kiesza's dance album 'Sounds of a Woman'! However, for this week's Music Monday, we'll be exploring a loosely-80's themed greek tragedy that takes the form of conceptual pop... This is Melodrama by Lorde. Melodrama is Lorde's sophomore album that explores one continual storyline from beginning to end and takes you down a Shakespearian journey of self-exploration, and the various stages of the very emotions that make us human. From ignorance to reality, we will be exploring why this self-contained narrative is not only one of my favorite albums ever made, but also why makes for a perfect pairing with tea time... (Photo Credit: Universal Music New Zealand Limited) Album: Melodrama Artist: Lorde Year: 2017 Primary Tea Pairing: Young/Fresh Sheng Puer Secondary Tea Pairings: Shou Puer and White Tea Melodrama opens up to the happy-go-lucky dance anthem 'Green Light' that tries to mask the impending doom of the demise of a failing relationship. While going out to party, Lorde expresses that she needs to be let go from the burden of what's to come. Instead, she goes out on the night and explores the themes of excitement and wanderlust of the party that's forthcoming. This excitement and flirtation of the night-out continue through masterpiece tracks such as 'Homemade Dynamite' and 'The Louvre'. Except, when realizing that the emotional depth of the friends at hand are seemingly as shallow as the bottles they just emptied, Lorde is struck with the reality that she's a liability to everyone around her. She emotes this, along with what it feels like entering adulthood fresh as an old-teen in the emotionally gut-wrenching song 'Liability' Then, halfway through the album, the impending break-up finally happens as Hard Feelings/Loveless and continues the journey with the song 'Writer in the Dark' -- a song that perfectly encapsulates the self-pity that usually comes right after breaking up with someone with a vocal performance that would have you believe that Kate Bush recorded the song herself. The album wraps up to an end with Supercut, where Lorde reaches the 'acceptance' phase of her journey, before re-joining the party (that she had previously left), realize that she's not a liability after all, and let herself finally live in the moment. The album ends where the album cover begins -- making it to bed after a long night as the sunrise hits her face through the bedroom window. The journey of the night is complete. This album is a perfect pairing with tea time because it takes you on an emotional path and places you on the night out that Lorde describes throughout the album. Not only is this album a fantastic stage-play for the ears, but it also flows effortlessly throughout a gong-fu session and happens to hit the tasting notes with every lyric sung. So next time you put on an album with tea-time, let yourself go down this journey of a single night with Lorde and let your tea take you to perfect places... After all, what the fuck are perfect places anyway? Click HERE to join the discussion on Instagram! ~ The Oolong Drunk "Blissfully Tea Drunk"
- Open Letter to [Redacted] (Covid Update)
Dear [redacted], You’re probably surprised to hear from me. I’ve been talking to a professional about moving past some of the emotional trauma I went through when I got sick, and since I’m nearing an end to my journey, confronting you is one of the last steps I need to take in my recovery. So, here we are. It’s been quite a while since we last spoke. In fact, you might find it seemingly difficult to communicate with me since I blocked you on social media. However, that wasn’t my intent. In fact, I’d like to imagine that we’re still on great terms and steeping ideas about tea and our place in the world of tea. Instead, all of that came to a screeching halt when I got sick. On August 6th, I went to bed feeling like myself. On August 7th, I woke up crippled from the fever that engulfed my entire body — a fever that lasted for almost a week straight. I was in the ER, and even blacked out when dialing 9-1-1…. I even found a will on my writing desk. This was a will that I don’t remember writing, and was also accompanied by a goodbye letter to my close friends and family... In my disillusioned reality, I must have feared that I needed to write this. Not only do I have absolutely no recollection of writing any of it, but I broke down and cried when I found it several days later. After two weeks of recovery I was released from quarantined, except, I wasn’t really recovered. I was eventually diagnosed with chronic asthma, chronic fatigue, blood-sugar issues, heart regulatory issues, loss of hair, and one of the most scary things of all — I lost my taste. For someone like you and I, it’s a devastating loss. We taste tea, we talk about tea, you sell tea, and I review it. The gravity of our weight in the tea industry is all dependent on our ability to taste tea. Losing taste didn’t mean I couldn’t just drink tea, it meant that I’d have to say goodbye to it. When the thought of losing tea forever crossed my mind, I was dizzy. I was even throttled into a panic-attacked that caused me to hyperventilate, shake, and vomit. Not only did going through Covid physically pain me, it financially crippled me too. I was feeling stress from every angle in my life. Once I recovered from that panic attack, I took a step back and noticed a large number of tea drinkers in our community had Covid and lost their taste as well — the same people who support you and I both. Seeing some of these people share a similar worry about losing taste forever encouraged me to make a post about my experience with becoming ill with such a deadly virus. Not only did I need to talk about my experience for my own journey, I needed to share it to reassure our followers that they’re not alone. I needed to show that we’re all in this together. So I wrote a lengthy article on my personal experience, made myself vulnerable and exposed myself to the world. I even added photos from my hospital visit, wrote about my own personal health, and shared it with our community. After posting the article, I was petrified what the reaction would be. Would I be questioned about my intent, such as doing it for attention? Or be questioned about looking for sympathy? Or, would I not connect with my audience like I had hoped? Talking about such a panicked experience with risking losing tea, and even my own life, was terrifying in its own right. Instead, I woke up to a flood of messages from our followers with people connecting to my experience on such an interpersonal level. Almost everyone who had Covid and drank tea reached out and showed support. They expressed how they went through something so awful and finally felt like they could connect with somebody and feel less alone. On the plus side, it was helping me feel less isolated over going through something so scary…. Until I opened your message. Yes, your message. “If the virus is real then ask yourself. Haven't I had a flu before? Is the truth in your cup of tea or in the digital media?” — you questioned. I was confused. After trying to decipher what you were trying to imply, and told you that I hoped that you weren’t trying to discredit my illness you replied, “Forgive me, one question, did you had flue shots in the past?” After I gave you an emotional reply you came back and said, “My intuitive way has led and leading to uncover things in many ‘places’ of my life.” Your last message, you insinuated that the problem lies within me and I need to stop thinking ‘inside of the box’….” I was shocked. Was this even you? I read it over and over again until it all became a blur. You not only betray our professional relationship, you betrayed something much more important — our personal one. With all of our conversations, all of our connection, all of our mutual admirations for each-other’s work, all of the countless hours I’ve spent making and drinking your tea... All of the countless hours I spent believing your vision, writing about it, and sharing it with my followers… You threw it ALL away with just a few messages through instagram. You tried to link my near-death experience to a conspiracy theory, and all it did was ruin the bond we had. I blocked you. I went to my room. I closed my door. And I cried. Despite all of the love and support form my followers, it wouldn't bring my taste back. With the loss of taste, and with such a damaging message coming from such a highly respected colleague, I almost quit my tea blog. I even questioned relentlessly, “What’s was wrong with me?” Thankfully, two months later I started to get my taste back. And thankfully, I was privileged enough to be able to taste tea in the way I used to. I’m writing you to tell you how you affected me. I need you to understand how you hurt me on such a painful and vulnerable level. I also needed you to understand that I still feel guilty for cutting ties with you — like it was my own fault. While my physical post-Covid symptoms may never go away, I’m writing you now so I can continue working on my post-Covid meath-health symptoms. I’m writing you so I can finish my healing process. I need to wrap up my healing process by telling you that I forgive you. Hopefully, now that I've confronted you, I can start feeling less guilty over what you did to me. When I go back to get my 2nd Covid vaccine in 5 days, I will remember that I was one of the lucky ones who survived. I’ll also think of all the people who I got to survive and recover with. I will be thinking about how much I love them, and how much I’m grateful to every single one of my followers for sticking by my side. I will also be thinking about the outpouring love and support I received from the greater tea community when getting my second shot... As difficult as it is to say this, I truly hope you never have to go through what I did and have to have a life-ending crisis on such a monstrous level. This has been weighing heavy on my mind and on my heart, but I have to try and let that go now. I don’t think it’ll be able to let it go all at once, but I need to start letting go of all this weight. I've cleaned my site of any mention of you, your teas, or your company. The audience that reads my blog deserves better, and so do I. With every cell of my heart, I truly do wish you are doing better for the people around you and for yourself…. ~ Cody The Oolong Drunk “Blissfully Tea Drunk” [Click on photo to read screen-shot of message]
- Error_404 Review Not Found (Tea Review)
Hello hello! Last week, I opened my mailbox to find a surprise package from 404 Tea -- a new tea company out of Melbourne Australia! 404 Tea made a debut appearance on social media on February 11th, and launched on March 31st! All over social media, this company has teased their release with 1950's Retro-futurism and trippy photo edits. With intrigue and hype surrounding this tea company, I knew I had to reach out to them and get my hands on a couple of samples for their launch. In all, they provided me with a first look into what to look forward to by sending me three of their selections. However, due to snail-mail, I received their teas after their launch. However, I must ask, how do their teas hold up? Are their teas as great as their marketing and graphic design? Let's find out! (Photo: Liminal) Tea: Liminal Price: $22.00 USD -- 50g Cake Steeps: 12 Dimensions: 4g of tea for a 60ml gaiwan Temperature: 200ºf Liminal is a 2018 Hekai Sheng Puer, and upon opening the sampler bag, I noticed the sweet smell of lemon-infused plum. However, with the first infusion, I tasted faint floral notes of vanilla. After a few more infusions, a biting bee-pollen and light honey tasting note overshadowed the vanilla notes. The texture quickly turned sharp, but slowly progressed to a velvet texture which left a bitter aftertaste. The more this tea opened up, the quicker and more energized I felt. By the twelfth infusion, I was buzzing and ready to on. (Photo: Transporter) Tea: Transporter Price: $22.50 USD -- 50g Cake Steeps: 12 Dimensions: 4g of tea for a 60ml gaiwan Temperature: 200ºf Transporter is a 2018 Mengku sheng puer, and upon opening the ampler bag I noticed a faint fluffy aroma that illuminated carnations. However, when brewing the first infusion, I first noticed a vanilla-like warmth on the back of the throat that carried a savory tree bark note across the tongue. After a few more infusions, I noticed a light sweet tangerine bite that balanced with a faint bitter after-tone. As the tea kept progressing, it kept opening up to more of a sweet woodsy moss -- which points to being originated form a more humid storage condition. By the last infusion, I was still buzzing from the energy that it possessed while feeling a slight tingle to the head. (Photo: Nexus) Tea: Nexus Price: $150.00 USD -- 200g Cake (also comes in smaller bags of maocha) Steeps: 16 Dimensions: 4g of tea for a 60ml gaiwan Temperature: 200ºf Nexus is their end of the line sheng 2019 puer that's blended from various regions. I forgot to smell the sample I had and jumped right into the session. At first, a rich and creamy texture of green grass quickly flowed over the tongue. After another infusion, the notes of grass sharply resembled a Japanese sencha, while leaving a faint buttery aftertaste of sweet flowers. However, this tea kept growing in size as this tea's texture and notes became louder -- causing me to repeat a few infusions. When this tea reached its peak, it left a strong atmosphere that left a slight tingling on the tongue. After sixteen infusions, I was hit was a head-high -- making me feel like I weighed two hundred more pounds. Conclusion: 404 Tea is a new tea company that jumped right out of the gate with a strong line-up. Without knowing what to expect, I was surprised to see that their offerings were as strong as they were. For me at least, I expected a larger selection. However, a larger selection to choose from isn't necessarily needed considering that their initial line-up is a pretty bold one. While trying these samples, I wished some of the bags included less tea-dust. However, I assumed that whoever tuns this company has been among us for quite some time -- considering the high quality of teas provided upfront. Overall, I believe 404 Tea has a strong start getting their feet planted in the tea industry. I believe that, for the selections, this company is very passionate about their craft -- something of which I wish we could see more of in our community. I think it's special to see a company start as strong as this one, and know that whatever they do next, they'll be doing it with a love of tea first. This only made me excited to see what they do next, and hope they keep up this momentum! Click HERE to join the discussion on Instagram!