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- Music Monday! We'll All Be The.... Week of 03/08/2021
Hello hello! For today's tea and music pairing, we're celebrating International Women's Day by celebrating Japanese-American Indie-Rock legend -- Mitski. Mitski has always dominated the underground music scene, and despite reaching popularity, still managed to be whatever she wanted to be -- a bad-ass legend in music. In last week's 'Music Monday', we explored modernized-Disco by Jessie Ware. So, we're taking a sharp left-turn by going down the avenue of Indie/Alternative Rock. Put on your headphones, grab one of the recommended teas below, and let yourself be overcome by Mitski's poetic soundscape with one of the best, and highest-rated, albums of 2018. Today, we'll ALL be the cowboy... (Image: Property of Dead Oceans) Album: Be The Cowboy Artist: Mitski Year: 2018 Primary Tea Pairing: GuShu Sheng Puer Secondary Tea Pairings: Black Tea or Taiwanese Oolong Tea In Mitski's 5th studio album, she struck a chord with virtually everybody who listened to it -- regardless of personal musical genera taste. Mitski explores themes of being shaky, yet organized while exploring dark themes of loss, anxiety, and chaos. However, she does this with a low-fi and mellow sound, which only helps drive home the album's theme. The low-fi aesthetic, accompanied by the horns and key-board organ synth, places you in the middle of a 1980's Japanese shopping mall. It's quirky, serious, dreamy, raw, sobering, nostalgic, and emotional. While this album has a pleasing theme, its lyrics hit home. Mitski is able to convey a wide array of feelings and contradictory emotions, which reminds us that life in itself is confusing. Despite how confusing and dizzying our emotions can be, Mitski reminds us that there is calm in the chaos, as she comforts our anxieties by validating them by telling us that our vulnerability can be larger than life -- which is why this album is a perfect pairing for tea-time. However, as of today, Mitski's retired indefinitely -- leaving us with this masterpiece to echo into the further reaches of our hearts With your next tea session, I strongly recommend listening to his iconic album and absorb and be at peace with whatever you're going through. And remember, whenever we feel little, our impact is still large... You can join the discussion HERE on Instagram, and let me know what YOU think of this week's album! --The Oolong Drunk Blissfully Tea Drunk
- Music Monday! Let's Get Sensual -- Week of 3/1/21
Hello hello! Welcome back to Music Monday! With this segment, we're exploring different album recommendations for you to listen to with your next tea session! Last week, we explored Lust for Life by Lana Del Rey. However, for this week, we'll be taking a rather unexpected turn into the world of sensuality... For this album, I recommend to turn the music up, don't skip a song, and get ready to take off your clothes while listening to one of the hottest albums ever made, with the sexiest tea session you've ever had.... (Photo: Property of PMR/Virgin EMI Records/Universal Music) Album: What's Your Pleasure? Artist: Jessie Ware Year: 2020 Primary Tea Pairing: Fresh White Tea Secondary Tea Pairing: Fresh Sheng Puer or Green Taiwanese Oolong In June of 2020, UK artist Jessie Ware did the complete unexpected -- she brought disco back. Yes, you read that right -- disco. Her fourth studio album effortlessly explored the world of lust-infused funk, and in turn, released one of the greatest albums of 2020, and also, one of the absolute hottest albums in all of music. In fact, it's #2 on my list of top 15 albums of 2020 to drink tea to. SoI know what you must be thinking, "Disco? Really??" Well, yes. Really. Disco has had numerous efforts to make come-backs by artists such as Kylie Minogue, Carly Rae Jensen, Marina and the Diamonds, etc. But all of their attempts dont hold a disco-ball to Jessie Ware. What any other artist in the past twenty years has failed to understand about Disco is what Jessie Ware effortlessly got right: Sensuality is more than just surface-level sex appeal. Jessie Ware's discography has explored the many R&B/Vocal themes that sensuality has multiple-facets. In What's Your Pleasure, she expands upon showing the yearning that goes behind needing to feel sexy in one's skin. She explores sensuality by flirting with anxiousness, excitement, and even fear. She reminded us that, despite the world falling apart around us, we can still feel the very things that make us all human. With that, read my lips: With your next session, resist the urge to take all of your clothes off while listening to this legendary modern-classic. And once your session is over, remember that the dismay around us in life can all be saved by remembering where you are -- in the arms of a love-affair that you yearn to dance with for another night to come... Click HERE to join the conversation on Instagram! ~ The Oolong Drunk Blissfully Tea Drunk
- Introducing... Music Monday! Week of 2/22
Hello hello!! A few nights ago, I was lucky enough to be apart of 'Between Two Teapots' -- a LIVE Youtube Show hosted by Glenn of Crimson Lotus Tea! (You can go back and watch HERE). There, I announced this new segment! Essentially, every Monday, I'll be recommending an album for you to listen to, along with a tea pairing, to help enhance your next session! The inspiration behind this session goes back to my friends Shawn and Tabitha. The three of us are in a group-chat called 'Music and Tea' where we all take turns recommending albums to each other, to listen to with tea time. After having so much fun with them, I wanted to extend it out to you. In this series, I'll be recommending albums with the intention of listening to them begging-to-end (with no skips), to meditate to while you have a session of tea! Let these albums take you on a musical journey, and let yourself be submerged with the album, and the tea you're drinking. Now introductions are out of the way, let's move on to the first-ever Music Monday!! (Image: Property of Polydor/Interscope Records) Album: Lust for Life Artist: Lana Del Rey Primary Tea Pairing: Sheng Puer Secondary Tea Pairing: Fresh Gong Mei White Tea Lust for Life is Lana Del Rey's 5th studio album, which dropped in July of 2017, and is one of the most varied journeys Lana Del Rey's discography. The album starts out with hip-hop trap beat-laced bops, and later tails off into singer/song writing masterpieces -- which helped docked this journey from a smooth-sailing journey and drop anchor in the seas of nostalgia and melancholia. This is Lana Del Rey's first album to feature guest singer which include Stevie Nicks, Sean Lennon, and The Weekend. This album ends as it projects audio of a seagull-occupied beach. Waves cash onto shore to further help you absorb its heavy, yet astral and mystical soundscape. This album is an amazing one to listen to with tea time because it's chameleon sound progresses and transforms -- just like a tea-season. Despite the ever-changing lyrical and production, it also keeps a tightly-knit consistency while it hits its theme with a home-run. While this album has many highlights and heavy with estheticism, its dreamy and euphoric production certainly makes the perfect journey to sonically take with you on your next tea session. Just like Lana sings, sometimes the best thing you can do to help is hope. Follow me on Instagram, and share with me what YOU think the album's highlights are when you pair it with your next tea session! Enjoy, and see you next week! -- The Oolong Drunk "Blissfully Tea Drunk"
- 5 Years in Tea - My Side of The Story
Hello hello! This year, on January 8th 2021, my blog turned 5! 5 years ago, I started my blog with the intent of reviewing teas. After being mesmerized by seeing a photo of a tea cake, I wondering, “What the hell is that?”. With a fresh fascination, and a few impulsive clicks of an online shopping cart, I was well underway to starting my tea journey. While my journey started months before I launched the blog, tea went from being a seldom treat to a serious endeavor until trying a beeng from Bitterleaf Teas. Ever since then, I’ve navigated through tea to find my own voice — fortunate enough to have an audience follow me through the good, the bad, and the over-brewed. While I’ve been stable and thriving in my current position as a tea blogger, I actually had a rough and shaky start. However, with brewing tea in the community and seeing a lot of ins and outs, I want to ‘spill the tea’ on some important insight and advice for you to sip on when it comes to tea, the tea community, and tea blogging. With this being said, I’m telling my side of the story with this tell-all that takes the form of five stories, lessons, and mistakes in which I’ve had the fortune, and misfortune, of brewing to… With that, let the infusion time begin! 1. Rejoice! And Enjoy When first jumping into the arm of social-media in the body of tea, I explored various Facebook groups until I had wandered upon a group, an artery that was strictly pumping the blood and love of puer. Without consultation or guidance from anyone beforehand, I joined with a blind eye. That was until I had posted a photo of a Yiwu tea cake to the group — pridefully bought from an echinoderm-named tea company. While eagerly awaiting a smooth transition into the pack, I checked my notifications to find it full of barks. These were not the paws of praise, but rather, the growls of pure-bred gatekeeping judgment that was directed at the mutt of a blended tea cake that I was now shunned into owning. Safe to say, I took myself off the leash of that Facebook group and never returned to that kennel. While shellshocked, I maneuvered my way over to a steep-name tea forum. While peeling off the layers of facebook-group muddled discombobulation, I quickly sprouted out of my cocoon —airing out the wings of newly found freedom of forbearing and merciful tea drinkers. After dissolving myself into my newly-empowered love for the larger community at hand, the more I realized that this community’s walls were limited to a smaller coterie. This coterie revealed their-self to become toxic through the cult-like admiration of only one specific tea company. While the ruling class allowed for a massive spam-riddle thread, for the clique at hand, they fulminated the pillars that stood strong for the support of any other company. With hypocrisy as the base of ‘open discussion’, I quietly faded out of the doorway and onto the next. While starting to feel melancholy over the awakening reality that the only two versions of tea communities I had belonged to were rather unpleasant, I redirected my attention to another tea-forum that belonged in a sub-community, which belonged to a much larger one. After several years of ups and downs, I voted to post a glowing review of a tea shown brightly onto my tastebuds, and heart. And as I mirrored this light onto this form, I experienced déjà vu. Just as the Facebook group and the previous tea-forum had done before, my passions were now being dismantled by mod-mentality -- all of which were driven by superiority complexes. After accusations of ‘being shill’ were being thrown towards me like arrows at a dart-board, one-too-many bullseyes sent me into a state of desolation. As much as an oxymoron this is, the feeling of isolation was only repaired by leaving the said community to go be on my own. What I want you to take away from this lesson is, no matter what ‘is’ or what ‘should be’, do whatever brings light to your tea table. Drink tea for what you want, not for what others tell you to you should want. After all, you are the one drinking it. One person’s way of doing things may be right for them, but not necessarily for you. The only way to make tea is to make tea in a way that you’ll personally enjoy. Rejoice! And enjoy tea however you goddamn want. 2. Vomit When drinking tea, we all love the art so much that we often share our love of tea with others. Making tea for people who have never had gong-fu tea, especially trying to convert them, is one of the most fun pleasures in self-indulgence we tend to partake in. There is something so entertaining and rewarding when seeing the look on someone’s face when the ‘ah-ha’ moment hits them when trying gong-fu for the first time. Not only do we get to share our passion with others, but we also get to share the passion and history of tea with others. However, when looking back, I can certainly see how I’ve gotten people to dislike tea as well. Despite being well-intent, I inadvertently and blindly turned a few people off of tea as well. The best example I can think of in regards to turning someone off from tea is my ex-roommate. Yes, the same tool-bag from this post here, also gets to appear in this posting. Once upon a time, this roommate and I used to like each other. This mountain-dew chugging Iowan never knew that tea could be made hot, much less made without artificially-flavored corn-syrupy carbonation. So, I took on a personal mission to get him to drink tea and see that there’s more to life besides enjoying big-gulp sized Slurpees in the bed of a pick-up truck. Months went by after failed attempts of coaxing him into trying tea until one day when I decided to brew a 10-Year Old GuShu Yiwu Sheng Puer that I had won in a giveaway. After reaching the tea-sessions peak, my roommate walked by and noticed I was more blissfully relaxed than normal. Without thought, I handed him a cup of aged deliciousness. And when he took a sip, he— Hold on. Side note: One aspect you might dislike about one tea, is an aspect you might like about another. To add, this is also mutually exclusive with the same tea but with different people. What I find to be oxidized basement/infused fruity euphoria, might be what someone else sees as gritty basement-infused dirt and fungus. Anyways, back to the story… When he took a sip, he gulped it back like a shot of Fireball and coke and proceeded to run to the bathroom and dramatically thew up in the bathroom sink — trailing behind a path of stomach-acid infused Yiwu Gushu. It's safe to say, he never tried tea again... 3. Lights, Camera, Acciõn! For this tale, we’ll be sipping on the teas we subscribe to, or in this case, subscribe by. While looking back through the magnifying glass of the Ghost of Tea Drama’s Past, there’s always one miniseries that always stood out to me. While drama is always inevitable in every hobby community, sometimes, the platform predetermines where the director will call, "Action!" While this screenplay got to unfold in the public eye, the production of this one ended with, “…and that’s a wrap.” While a lot of companies break the barrier of being an entity by breaching their consumer’s lives through social media, others take the form of a singular individual — lurking in the shadows of a popular forum where discussion can be liked, disliked, and held openly… This platform has an emphasis on hosting open discussion is geared towards the people. Let's start at the beginning, and air the plot to the origin story that is a tea-subscription company. This origin-story was slated for a popular release, that is until the ego of the lead-role was, undoubtedly, apart of the main cast. The lead-role of this origin story quickly derailed when one of ‘the people’ posted a review of a subscription box — which is geared towards curating a selection of tea for the consumer to enjoy. However, the plot-hole in this saga lies in the fact this subscription company curated a box that included a tea that was laced with an allergen — one of which the individual from the audience firmly stated having when signing up. With a passion for her community, this critic gave a rotted-tomato review of her experience with this subscription. This screenplays director fired back at their critic in the comment section in the form of an adult temper-tantrum — revealing personal information on the critic, and threatening to sue over 'defamation' (lol). After watching this company leaked the critic's personal information, a few internet warriors (myself included) involved ourselves in the thread and jumped to the defense of the critic. After this company’s account was banned for doxxing their critic, this company ended their cinematic performance of victim-blaming with a plot-twist. As retaliation to their banishment from the kingdom, they surprisingly and unexpectedly blocked everyone involved on every-single media platform they belonged to, myself included… Several years later, I found myself surfing the internet when an ad for this company came across my screen. Surprised, I clicked the ad. Upon clicking the ad, I was met with a ‘page not found’ error... Somehow, I was getting an advertisement for a company I was still blocked by. After the cliff-notes of this movie’s events replayed in the back of my mind for the rest of the afternoon, out of sheer curiosity, I looked up this company on a side-account to find that this company sky-rocketed in popularity. This company is now a tea-elite with thousands and thousands of fans. They are now a true Hollywood tale of someone who went from tea-bags to full-leaf tea riches. While we have access to reaching out to companies personally through social media, and while certain entities have made their-self so present on certain platforms, it’s easy to forget that they’re only allowed to project the film of their choice. If you’re a consumer, remember that behind the facade of fame and celebrity, behind these accounts are still people who are running a company. It's business. Rather if you’re a tea company big or small, remember to leave your emotions out of the business side of, well, your business. If your mammoth-sized incompetence allows you to have an old-fashioned ‘fuck-up’, don't throw a fit, apologize for your mistake, and leave your ego behind in the deleted scenes, or, back behind on the cutting-room floor.. To this day, this company has yet to apologize for their actions, nor have they unblocked me and a dozen others who criticized them. 4. Truthfully Told in Fantasy One year after being featured at the Houston Tea Festival as a speaker, I somehow managed to stumble 800 miles further north, and on October 3rd, 2019, ended up at the Mid West Tea Festival. Now in a strange and foreign land, I was arriving in a place where, unlike Houston where Beyonce and Arcade Fire called home, I was smack-dab in the middle of white-people central. While wondering how such a city could survive on such a lack of diversity, I was slated to be a guest speaker at the region's largest convention that was not a gun convention. While at the Mid-West Tea Festival, I was able to lower my sun-shades from the extreme and offensive lack of culture, and easily dissolve in something that didn’t inherently involve dry-rubbed barbecue or culturally-appropriated football memorabilia. I quickly forgot about being in a foreign land and felt at home with my fellow kind — tea drinkers. Except, at the end of the 2nd day of the festival, I embarked on my endeavor to teach the greater tea community about debunking some of the most widely-claimed marketing myths that riddle the tea industry. After feeling proud of myself for explaining the ins and outs of how specific marketing claims manipulate the masses, I looked upon my audience of hobbyists and note-takers to see the hand of a woman raided high in the air. Ready to bask in the glow of newly-found eye-openers, the woman asked a question; the question that turned this experience from a fun one into a disbarring one… “So, I read in a health magazine that drinking tea will substantially lower my risk of getting cancer. Is that not true?” There it was… That question. The question. While this woman inquired about Camellia Sinesis shielding her from cancer, a different kind of cancer got to her instead. After explaining the science behind tea and the manipulation used by money-hungry marketeers, she bowed her head in defeat. While leaving my workshop with a cloud over her head, I heard her mumble to her plus-one, “What’s the point in drinking tea anymore?” If you’re unaware of what the issue with this is, then I’ll spill the tea for you: If the larger tea industry trains its consumers to drink tea on false-hope and wildly exaggerated medical claims, which are driven by marketing manipulation, then the mass market will never allow for people to drink tea for honest reasons. The ‘cancer' now infects the meditation, the history, the culture, the tradition, and the beauty of the leaf itself; the cancer kills any and all chance to appreciate tea’s organic beauty before it ever has a chance to live. However, before we think ill of the woman at the convention, I must ask you… How are you, or her, ever supposed to know if your knowledge of tea is accurate or not? Before you drink a tea that’s been harvested from 600-year-old tea trees or drink a tea that’s going to help you cure a terminal illness, ask yourself the following: Will I be drinking this tea that comes from a personal choice that’s made by the love of tea, or will I be drinking this tea from a personal choice that’s structured off of fairy-tail laced disillusionment? The tea industry failed the woman who sat through my workshop, and not just her, but hundreds of thousands of others as well. Photo: The lecture I was giving regarding marketing in the tea industry. 5. Simmer, Don’t Boil After aimlessly wandering through the trenches of finding a tea community in which I felt like I belonged, I became indoctrinated into a discord-server by other fellow photo-takers and tasting-note jotters. When slowly making myself known in the chat, organized by a personal hero in the tea community, I quickly learned the two tenants of the chat: Every tea must be brewed with boiling water, and metal was the official music genera of the community. While making connections, and navigating separate conversations of the chat, this quickly became the family I woke up to and fell asleep to. This was my new home. Month after month, more and more members joined this family. This family also adopted other tea community leaders, and the more we discussed openly, the more feely I moved in the chat. However, on the other side of the pillow, my virtual family became a crutch that helped me cope with the cold and harsh reality of real life. I was recovering from a terrible car accident, and the foundation on which my life was built was quickly dismantling. After being subjected to the outcome of traumatic events, all rooted in an LGBT+ discrimination case, my social life quickly mirrored my personal life. After a stint in the homelessness ward, and a lengthier stay at the heart-break motel, I was needing to relocate — not just in my personal life, but my tea-family life as well. One after another, the dominos that stood tall in my personal life began to fall and crashed one after another — inevitably landing in the world of tea. My personal life was tainted, and so was my tea blogging life. While feeling displaced in the discord-server for quite some time, and through LGBT+ dog-whistling and micro-aggressions were stated, along with false-accusations and other misunderstandings, I felt like I no longer belonged and I knew I had to leave. So what did I do? I did the only thing that any rational person would do. While standing at the haul of an already sinking Titanic, and in the midst of an argument within the chat, I ignited a fire on the deck and set it ablaze. I took my time in this discord-server, stuffed it in a bottle of alcohol, and molotov-cocktailed my way out of there. While setting the baseboards of big-egos ablaze, and while watching my long-reigning hero turn into a long-reigning enemy, I finished sinking the ship on my way out. While they lived by the tenant that ‘boiling water is the only correct way to make tea’, I poured the boiling water from the struggles of my life and poured it over the relationships that I had. Though already failing, I singed the final cord to the anchor that was barely holding everything together. And long after the water in my personal life went from a boil to a simmer, I looked around and realized I singed the tea leaves in my own life. I was alone again. Without a home. Without a community. Almost four years into my tea journey, I was back at the beginning…. ...or was I? Today, Where I’m Going Tomorrow… Over the past year and a half, I started working heavily on becoming a member of the only club that mattered: My own. After realizing that I need to stop looking out, I realized that I needed to look within to find out what I wanted out of tea. Or, what I wanted out of life. In November of 2019, I took it upon myself to organize the cluttered bins of repression and traumas that I had been holding onto for so long. After I unloaded more and more of this clutter onto the blank pages of a word document, and 8 months later, I ended up unpacking the last sentence of a completed novel. After taking a deep breath of clarity, I looked around and finally realized that after all of the time I had spent trying to find my place in the tea community, I was never going to fit into a place I wanted to be because without even knowing, I was already at the place I wanted to be. I looked around and realized I had weekly zoom tea-sessions to attend to, inbox messages full of people who messaged me on a weekly basis, and a community that surrounded me all along. All I had to do was not only just be myself, but love myself as well. Before I could love others or the community as a whole, I needed to be whole myself. And although we’ll always be chipping away at the tea-brick of life, it’s safe to say that you should always be looking for ways to get the best out of the brew we call ‘life’. So remember fellow tea-drinkers, let others enjoy tea for how they want to enjoy it, boiling water can singe your tea leaves, don’t isolate people from drinking tea by making them something so specific that only you would like, and don’t let false and exaggerated marketing dictate why you drink tea. Also, don’t taint your tea-drinking experience with your personal life, but alternatively, let tea shine a light into your personal life instead. Be kind and loving to everyone around you, and don’t forget to be humble when it’s needed. And above all, try and love yourself, and the rest will fall into place. Over the past five years, my time as a tea blogger has been a chaotic, yet memorable one. For the next five years, I’ll be sipping tea brewed with water that’s heated to 190ºf-200ºf, will be recommending albums to listen to with tea time with my two closest friends, and undoubtedly, will hopefully be having tea with Lana Del Rey in the near future… From the bottom of my heart, I truly thank you for the past five years. Here’s a cup of tea for staying blissfully tea drunk over the next 5 years! ~Cody, aka The Oolong Drunk Blissfully Tea Drunk
- Taiwanese Lishsan... WHITE Tea?
Hello hello! Today, in a special blog-post, I will be reviewing Lishan White Tea!! Yes, you read that right! The famed Taiwanese region in, well, Taiwan, is famously known for making some of the best green rolled oolongs in existence. However, when I saw that Grand Crew has gotten ahold of the white tea version of this famous region, I couldn’t help but wonder, "Is that even possible?" However, while becoming a Grand Crew affiliate (and being sent a completely different tea to talk about), I asked them if they could include a sample of this tea so I could deviate from our project, and tak about this tea instead. With that in mind, I also told them (and now reassuring you) that regardless, I will still be 'tell it how it is' — even if it means being negative about any said-tea. With that in mind, here’s my review on Lishan White! Steeps 1-6 Upon my first two infusions of Lishan White, I quickly noticed this tea had the crips tasting notes of bee pollen, along with a faint note of elderflower. With a third-infusion, the crips notes of bee pollen quickly left behind the echoing the faint notes of kiwi-like fruitiness. However, by the fourth infusion, the light floral notes of elderflower quickly became brass and outshone any fruitiness, and by the fifth infusion, the pollen notes turned into the atmospheric soundscape of straw/hay. With the sixth infusion becoming more and more forward with the hay-like notes, a velvet-like texture started becoming sharp. Steeps 7-14 With the strong punch that the bee pollen-driven notes of hay brought forward, a new note within Lishan white made itself known. In the presence of hay, a mouth-drying texture, and notes, of black licorice dominated the palate. After another infusion of black licorice, a faint warming undertone of cardamon, and lilies, made their self radiate over the tongue. With ninth infusion, the cardamon notes became more noticeable as the tea’s texture quickly softened to a lavish creaminess. This continued until the fourteenth infusion, where the tea slowly faded into nothingness. An hour after starting, this session was over. Final Thoughts To start, Lishan White is a tea that typically comes in the form of oolong tea. However, Grand Crew was able to release a limited amount of this oddity. To start, one thing I liked about this tea was how every single infusion of this gong-fu session brought something new to the palate. This tea evolved for every infusion and seemed to cover every aspect of the board. Another aspect I liked about this tea was how delicate it was. However, although I liked how delicate this tea was, it might be one of its drawbacks. The every-day tea drinker may not fully appreciate the complexity of this tea, and without heavy concentration, this tea could easily become under-appreciated. With this tea’s high price point, this isn’t a tea to play around and experiment with. Overall, this was a fun experience. Although I wouldn’t recommend this tea to just anyone, I would say this is a session worth having -- solely based on having a unique educational experience. I started my journey five years ago with the love and admiration of Taiwanese Oolongs, so it was eye-opening to see how this famed-region stood when coming in the form of a white tea… Side note: Because of the high price-point, if you wanted to try this tea for yourself, then you can use the discount code theoolongdrunk10 and take 10% off your shopping-cart for when trying this tea.
- Top 15 Albums of 2020 to Drink Tea To!
Hello hello! To follow last year’s tradition, today, I’ll be announcing the top 15 best albums of 2020 to drink tea to! With tea, I’ve taken a heavy interest in meditation with music. With meditation and music, I’ve always had a passion to try and find the best music pairings with different albums when having a gong-fu session. And with this list, I’ll provide the name of the album, and the teas that go best when pairing! In the following, you’ll see an album, a description of the album, and a primary and secondary teas to drink to with these albums! However, to optimize your experience, I strongly suggest you follow the following rules (although not mandatory, it’s highly suggested you follow them). Also, while doing a poll on social media, I said I’d give a shout-out to anyone who guessed any of the albums in the top 10! Only three people guessed correctly. Congrats to teabloom122 of Instagram for guessing album #3, as well as tea_is_intricate_melodys and steepmastersprink for guessing album #2! Lets move on to the rules! Rule 1: Listen to these albums in their entirety. These albums are a journey, and just like a tea session, you cant jump in the middle and start on the seventh infusion (or 7th album track). Rule 2: While listening to these albums in their entirety, don’t skip any of the tracks. To add, especially add, listen to these albums in their intended order and not on shuffle. Let the artist take you on the intended journey. Rule 3: Do not listen to any sample of the songs on the albums, or preview any of the tracks beforehand. Even if you’ve heard a few songs from an album before, don’t make any assumptions on the album as a whole and listen to it anyways. Most singles are taken out of context when an album is released, and when played with an album, can give it a whole new meaning. Rule 4: It’s very important that you take a deep breath, close your eyes, and try to physically place yourself in both the music and tea. If possible, were headphones to immerse yourself further into the music and tea…. Now that we’ve covered a few (non-mandatory but highly suggested) rules, let’s get moving! 15. (Photo: Hugo Comte/Warner Records UK) Artist: Dua Lipa Album: Future Nostalgia Tea Pairing: Fresh Sheng Secondary Tea Pairing: Green Oolongs About this Album: Future Nostalgia’s album roll-out was just like 2020: A collective hot mess. While a series of unfortunate events forced Due Lipa to release this album sooner than plan, and caused her to scrap most of her promotion for the album, she created a groovy retro-synth dance-pop album that’s not only fun, but will have you head-bop along your tea session. While modernized main-stream pop isn’t everyone’s forte (especially me, considering it’s not my favorite genera), this album makes an exception. It shows us it’s okay to groove along with our tea session, and dance along with life with whatever shit-show we’ve been handed. 14. (Photo: Republic Records) Artist: Taylor Swift Album: Evermore Tea Pairing: Fresh Sheng Puer Secondary Tea Pairing: White Tea About this Album: Evermore is Taylor Swift’s second surprise-album drop in 2020, and yet again, switched music genres to tell another story. Starting with country, and evolving to pop, and now alternative/pop-folk, Taylor’s ‘Evermore’ is back-to-back hit after hit, shows her maturity in music and lyricism, and creates an expansive and cohesive world that coats you like a warm cardigan. Not only is this album relaxing, it’s quippy with dozens of one-liners that makes you stop in your tracks and question just like I did, “Is this really Taylor Swift?” If you listen to this album an open mind, this might make you change your mind on Taylor Swift too… 13. (Photo: Anti Records) Artist: Fleet Foxes Album: Shore Tea Pairing: Aged Sheng Secondary Tea Pairing: Shou Puer About this Album: Fleet Foxes is the forefront of modernized alternative folk, and has never disappointed in their previous works. However, in their 2020 album ‘Shore’, they take us down a meditative path that’s not only relaxing, but emotional as well. While bringing the Seattle music scene into your home, this album was perfect to help you meditate, and is one of the most cohesive albums released in it’s genera. While this kind of alternative music isn’t for everyone, I truly believe that with the right session, you’ll be able to relax and explore the world that Fleet Foxes pulls you into with grace, and warmth. 12. (Photo: 4AD Records) Artist: Grimes Album: Miss Anthropocene Tea Pairing: Green Tea Secondary Tea Pairing: Sheng Puer About this Album: Grimes surprised everyone with her atmospheric pre-covid album, Miss Anthropocene. While Grimes has been up and coming in the world of electro-pop, Grimes created an aesthetically heavy and cohesive electronic-pop album that not only makes your heart race, but also pulls at your heart-strings at the same time. This album is not only great to listen to with tea, it’s great for pulling you into a futuristic robotic world, and takes you across the galaxy with a new appreciation for electo-pop…. 11. (Photo: Foster the People) Artist: Foster the People Album: In The Darkest of Nights, Let The Birds Sing Tea Pairing: Green Oolong Secondary Tea Pairing: White Tea About this Album: In Foster the People’s first EP after their departure from their label, they surprised us with a 6-track album that’s not only a love-story that came about in the middle of chaos, it also includes the band’s best-ever vocally-sang song (Under The Moon) and best produced-song (Lamb’s Wool) in their entire discography. In fact, I’d argue that Lamb’s Wool is one of the best produced songs in all of 2020 across all genres, and will make you believe you’re living in a simplistic time where the best fun you can have is hitting rocks with sticks, and walking across a rail-road track while waring a leather jacket. Top Ten: 10. (Photo: RCA Records) Artist: Miley Cyrus Album: Plastic Hearts Tea Pairing: Fresh Sheng Secondary Tea Pairing: Black Tea About this Album: Before I go further, let me remind you to keep an open mind. Miley Cyrus scrapped her plans to release three thematically connected EP’s, and came out with a pop-rock album instead. While I’ve always questioned the seriousness and validity of Miley, this Fifteen-track album left my jaw wide-open after the second-track. Miley takes us down her career 180º shift into an emotional and expansive playing field that won’t only leave you feeling like a bad-bitch, but also makes you re-think pop-rock as a whole. While Miley highlights her best vocally-sang tracks to date, she also gets Billy Idol and Joan Jett to appear with her, to help drive home her 80’s rocker-chick esthetic. Towards the end, we visit a remix of Edge of Seventeen (which includes brand-new vocals from the queen Stevie Nicks), she covers Heart of Glass and Zombie. When the album ends on Zombie, you’ll be left jaw-dropped with a new appreciation for Miley as well. 9. (Photo: Neil Krug/Island Records Australia) Artist: Tame Impala Album: The Slow Rush Tea Pairing: Puer Secondary Tea Pairing: Roasted Oolong About this Album: Tame Impala’s new psychedelic indie-alternative rock album immediately takes you down a meditative trance, this album is an amazing album to get tea-drunk to. The Slow Rush was not only highly anticipated with it’s pre-covid release, it goes down the path of exhaustion that band forefront’s Kevin Parker has with love and fame. While oddly and correctly captivating the fatigue we were all about to have with 2020, this album’s production will make you feel valid in feeling tired with every day life. While life imitated art with this album, this album will not only take you down the mind of the Australian-born artist, it will also make you feel like someone understands how weak and tired we all feel, and in turn, make you feel stronger. 8. (Photo: Columbia Records) Artist: The Chicks Album: Gaslighter Tea Pairing: Green Oolong Secondary Tea Pairing: Sheng Puer About this Album: The Chicks surprised the world by coming out of their 14 Year hiatus, and re-introduced one thing and one thing only to the world: Fuck you, we’re back. Take it or leave it. While Country is on the bottom of the list as far as my favorite genre’s go, The Chicks came back with a powerful gut-punch that will take you into their process with their recovery with the Bush controversy, and lead-singer Natalie Maines’s divorce. While this is the most raw-album released in 2020, this album will also take you by surprise with how heavy and hauntingly dark this album goes, and will leave you at an emotional loss. While I unexpectedly cried twice while listening to this cut-throat album, I truly believe you’ll also be shedding a tear and leave you pleasantly surprised that The Chicks could ever be on this level…. 7. (Photo: Jewel Runners LLC) Artist: Run The Jewels Album: RTJ4 Tea Pairing: Sheng Puer Secondary Tea Pairing: Hong About this Album: Run The Jewels exploded onto the music scene this year with their most emotionally-driven yet. While being theatrically and intelligently rapped in the same style as Hamilton, we’re all taken down a revolutionary road that harshly and abruptly opens our eyes to the ugly truths and injustices that Black America still faces today. While being taken down an emotional rollercoaster, this album also provides some of the most tactful and intelligent production out of any rap album since Kanye West’s Graduation. While listening to this album, I almost turned it off due to how angry it made me. However, despite being angry, this is a world-changing albums that everyone should be listening to. After listening to this album it’ll make you question your own privilege and upbringing, and leave you just as frustrated as half of America. After this eye-opening crass experience, you’ll too feel ashamed to touch another US dollar bill again, which holds the portrait of a slave-master…. 6. (Photo: Warner Records UK Limited/Asylum Records UK) Artist: Charli XCX Album: how i’m feeling now Tea Pairing: Sheng Puer Secondary Tea Pairing: White Tea About this Album: British-born artist Charli XCX was hit just as hard as any of us during the cover lockdowns. In fact, she took it upon herself to get her frustration and anxiety out on an album, which had a skin-tight deadline. Not only did she create this entire album by herself with limited home-studio equipment in just 39 days, she also live-streamed most of the production and took feedback from her fans. Her fans not only got to write this album with her, they also got to create her music videos for this album and help choose single covers as well. Not only is this one of the year’s biggest achievements in all of Music, she perfectly captured the anxiety and urgency we all felt at the beginning of civid-lockdowns in 2020. While this albums ends on an alarming and eye-opening note, Charli left herself open and vulnerable to the rest of the world. No other album has been made like this, and an album made in this way may never see the light of day ever again. With this special album, Charli continues to revolutionize and throw PC Electro-Pop, and the music industry, into the future. Top 5: 5. (Photo: Anti Records) Artist: Lido Pimienta Album: Miss Columbia Tea Pairing: Puer Secondary Tea Pairing: Rock Oolongs About this Album: This Canadian/Latin artist’s sophomore album hits a punch with her 2020 Latin album. This album not only opens up to the warm and captivating vocal ability of Lido, it also takes you down an emotional journey that expands Latin America, and deep into her heritage. While listening to this captivating and universe-engulfing realm, you look up to realize that you’re dead-center in a tribe’s drum circle, before circling back to a cathartic and angelic ending that begs you wanting more. The emotions she visually paints in this album is enough to break down the language barrier, and although you might not know what’s she’s singing, her journey and emotional rawness is riveting enough to engulf your heart and leave you speechless, and wanting more… 4. (Photo: Dead Oceans Records) Artist: Phoebe Bridgers Album: Punisher Tea Pairing: Sheng Puer Secondary Tea Pairing: White Tea About this Album: Phoebe Bridges’s second album, Punisher, came out of absolutely fucking nowhere. Phoebe Bridgers became an artist that threw herself on the music industry’s radar by releasing this song-writing masterpiece. Not only does Phoebe beautifully reflect the sadness and pain we’ve all felt this year, she does it in such a cohesive way that somehow wraps you in a warm blanket. She ends this album while screaming into the microphone as the song’s production builds-up, and perfectly captures the world-ending feeling we all got felt the US Presidential Election. While the final note is her screaming that transforms into a whisper-screaming into the mic, she reminds us that despite how big all of our emotions and anxieties are, we all have an inner child within us that’s looking for peace that may never come to us. 3. (Photo: Epic Records) Artist: Fiona Apple Album: Fetch The Bolt Cutters Tea Pairing: Aged Sheng Secondary Tea Pairing: Black Tea About this Album: The Chicks weren’t the only artists to come back after a long hiatus. Fiona Apple returned to save 2020 after an 8-year break. Thank God (Lana) that Fiona Apple came back, and came back with this masterpiece. Fiona Apple recorded this masterpiece in her California home, and whimsically and artfully sang about being stuck in our four-walls during the lockdowns. While listening to this album, Fiona grabs our attention and walks us down this artistic path — making us feel more sane after going insane at home. This album is not only perfect for tea time, it’s perfect for meditation as well. This album is like having a much-needed hug and conversation with a long-lost best friend, and not only does Fiona Apple make us feel comforted in a much-needed therapy session, but also leaves us with hope that she’ll return to hold our hand during a troubling time once again…. 2. (Photo: PMR/Virgin EMI Records/Universal Music) Artist: Jessie Ware Album: What’s Your Pleasure? Tea Pairing: White Tea Secondary Tea Pairing: Puer About this Album: Jessie Ware is no stranger to the British and European music industry. However, Jessie Ware dropped her modernized-take on disco with her low-fi groovy-synth dance album, and crossed over into the US and Global music market. Jessie Ware’s take on modernized disco not only revived the genre, she add a massive breath of fresh air into the music industry with this album as well. Jessie Ware’s modernized disco album is not triumphs Kylie Minogue’s take on disco, but Jessie Ware’s album is one of the best albums made across the entire music industry in 2020. This album is one of them most sensual and sexy albums made in the past few years, and unexpectedly takes you down a rollercoaster of emotions as well. While listening to this album with tea-time, you’ll not only feel hot yourself, you’ll find yourself head-bopping to this meditative and seductive pop masterpiece while wearing your birthday suit at the tea-table. Thanks to Jessie Ware, we can all close our eyes, have an incredible tea session, and tell covid to fuck-off so we can all feel attractive not only on the inside, but on the outside as well…. 1. (Photo: Haim Productions Inc/Columbia Records) Artist: HAIM Album: Women of Music Pt. 3 Tea Pairing: Any Secondary Tea Pairing: Any About this Album: It’s always been widely known that the HAIM sisters had a masterpiece up their sleeve, and yet, they made every critic fall over with their magnum-opus, Women of Music pt. 3. In the sister-trio’s third album, they didn’t only create the best album made this year, this album also landed them the Grammy nomination of Album of the Year. This album is as if Fleetwood Mac re-joined in 2020 as three California hipster-sisters, preforming an album on a local bar’s patio under the summer moon-light. Not only is this album freeing and relaxing, it’s arrangement and production is also playful clever as well. While 2020 has been hard for all of us, the HAIM sisters remind us that music can make you forget the current time-line, and take you down this musical path. This album not only has the best production out of any album in 2020, it’s also the prime example of how live-instruments can still be used in new and clever ways, and re-defines how we think about music today. When this album is over, you’ll be left waning even more... Have you heard of any of the albums mentioned? Do you agree with any of the decisions? Continue the discussion over on instagram HERE. Talk to you soon! — The Oolong Drunk “Blissfully Tea Drunk” DISCLAMER: I do not claim ownership over any of the album covers used in this article, and only used them with the intent of celebrating them. This is also protected under the 'fair-use' act, and more information can be found here... https://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap1.html#107
- Insani-Tea: Brewing an ENTIRE Beeng in One Setting!
Hello hello! 2020 has been a chaotic year. To add, I ‘m a chaotic person and love chaotic things. This year though, I finally met my match with chaos by drinking an entire 50g beeng in one setting. Inspired by Cwyn's Death by Tea Blog where she brewed a 100g tea-gourd in one setting, I decided to brew a 50g beeng of 2018 BangDong — sent to me by Crimson Lotus Tea! In a social-media event, I started this brew and continued it throughout the week, including doing an Instagram LIVE-Stream (click HERE to watch), and got to interact with you guys on day 2. However, now the ‘insani-tea’ event is over, how did the rest of it go? Let’s find out! Dimensions: 50g tea for a 470ml teapot (1g per 9.5ml of water) Infusions: 42 Days: 5 Water Temperature: 200ºf Amount of Water: 19,740 ml/ 5.2 gallons of water Day 1: (infusions 1 - 4) On Day 1, I brought this beeng out and quickly realized it wouldn’t fit in my tea-pot. (which is typically used for blooming tea. Since size mattered in this infusion (hehe), I broke the beeng in half to get it to fit. The first infusion started with a flash-steep. I poured my flash-steep in a coffee pot, which is typically used for pour-overs, and proceeded to pour into ten gong-fu teacups. With the first infusion, the tea was rather soft, smooth, and progressively opened up. However, by the third infusion, the beeng started to open up more and more — causing the flash steeps to become more and more powerful. Due to the tea’s strength, and high leaf-to-water ratio, I made a more concentrated effort to make the flash-steeps, well, quicker. However, on the fourth infusion, I was able to get a flash-steep that made this tea's texture come out perfect. It was smooth, sweet, mellow, and mediative. However, I took a break, and didn’t return to this session until the next day… Day 2: (Infusions 5 - 12) On day 2, I took the tea out of the fridge as I stored the entire teapot in the fridge overnight. I sat up my tea table, and started recording on Instagram LIVE. During the LIVE, which lasted about 20 minutes (you can watch HERE), I was only able to get through 5 infusions. Each and every infusion became bitter and astringent with light and floral undertones. However, the tea was still opening up, and the beeng hole was still intact and compressed. After doing another round of flash-steeps, the tea’s bitterness and astringency started to slightly subside. However, while still on flash steeps, I was losing control of the session. Later in the day, I came back to the session and kept going back to the flash-steeps. After a while, tea’s flavor was almost all lost to the bitterness and astringency… Day 3: (Infusions 13 — 20) On day 3, I kept flash-steeping this tea. However, before starting my infusion, I noticed some of the tea leaves were drying towards the top of the teapot — despite being in the fridge with the lid on. While the notes started to mellow out, some of the tea leaves began to mellow out in flavor. Nonetheless, I noticed that since the tea leaves were drying out, the tea’s body was astringent — similar to how a puer tea tastes when left in a very-dry area for too long. After 7 infusions of failing to make this tea work, I put it back in the fridge…. Day 4: (Infusions 21-34) On day 4, I opened this tea to find that, despite my best efforts to re-seal the tea leaves in a thick layer of foil, tea leaves towards the top were dry and crunchy. The nature of the tea leaves changed, and because of the change, the tea’s very-faint floral undertones had disappeared completely behind a layer of liquid-bitter and astringency. After frustrating myself to come up with anything decent, I put the teapot in the fridge for one last time. Day 5: (Infusions 35-42) On Day 5, I decided to give this tea one more go. I noticed that the tea-leaves were beginning to get slimy, and when brewing, the colour of the liqueur was foggier and foggier. Although the liqueur kept getting foggier since the first overnight stay in the fridge from day 2, today was very noticeable on how much foggier the liqueur was. The tea leaves were now breaking down, and because of so, the tea-filter I was using for this tea kept clogging, and the tea was almost impossible to brew. Though, after managing to get a decent number of brews from day 5, I finished the session and put an end to the insanity. Conclusion: When I say this, I truly mean it: Cwyn ran so I could walk. Given that 2020 has been an absolute shit-show, I decided to take control of my own chaos and have fun with it. This 50g beeng of BangDong by Crimson Lotus Tea is, in its own definition, a beautiful tea. However, with such a massive session, I quickly lost control of the brew. With a session this large, I concluded that it’s best to drink this tea on the same day. Putting the tea in the fridge overnight changed the physical properties of the tea leaf, and in turn, made it more and more difficult to get something out of the leaves. With that, I felt like I missed out on a huge opportunity by getting something more out of this tea by not brewing it more than I did on day one. If I were able to do this over again, I would hold on to this tea and wait until I had a group of friends over to help me drink it, and not let it go to waste. Regardless of everything, I was able to glimpse at the beauty of this tea, which added to my frustration when being unable to replicate it on the following days. While this tea session was an encapsulation of the craziness of 2020, I’m reminded that we once had a glimpse of beauty, and with time and patience, we will be reunited with the love and joy of living freely; the love and joy we continue to lust for every day...
- 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…
- 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 me on life support, ninety straight hours of Covid, the near-collapse of both lungs, and inevitably, loss of smell and taste. Although I’ve been ‘cleared’ from the health department, as of now, I have yet to regain my ability to taste. As a result, I’m unable to properly review tea at the moment. However, although I’m able to continue drinking tea, I’ve been more focused on meditation and connecting tea time with music. Since vibin’ to music while drinking tea has become a favorite past-time of mine, I decided to create a few playlists — curated to help improve your next tea session! Guideline: The following are 4 different playlists. I put them in specific order, so I HIGHLY recommend you listen to them in order and NOT on shuffle. Each playlist should last the duration of 1 gong-fu session. With each list, a tea pairing will be accompanied, or a recommendation of which tea to drink while listening to each playlist. Playlists: Playlist: Singer/Songwriter Duration: 47 Minutes Description: This playlist spans across R&B, alternative pop, and classical as we visit different artist’s ability to vocally put us in a trance with beautiful lyrics and melodies. This playlists includes some of the most talented people in all of music including Solange, Janelle Monae, Mitsky, and the incredible Lana Del Rey. Tea Pairing: Both Sheng and Shou Puer, Oolong, and White Tea. Link: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/6O4gWUWMtf4mgoQVaaDNOO (or click HERE) Playlist: Tea Time Electric Duration: 36 Minutes Description: This playlist was created with electronic-focused music in mind. This playlist spans multiple different genres, it’s still rooted in electronic music. We have a re-mix of a spoken word album, electronic - pop, and even instrumental electronic! Unfortunately, Lana Del Rey does not make an appearance in this list. Tea Pairing: Black Tea, Sheng Puer, and Green Tea Link: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/27C7H1DGASLN6luBEeeiIi?si=NKMG4M_9SI2kXcwHDsmo7A (or click HERE) Playlist: Women of Pop Duration: 40 Minutes Description: In a celebration of strong forces in pop, we celebrate women’s impact and influence within the music industry by collection ten vibe-worthy pop songs. Although major influences of mainstream pop are incorporated into this list, I also threw in indie pop-artists as well. Unfortunately, Lana Del Rey does not make an appearance in this list. Types of Tea: Sheng Puer, Green Tea, and White Tea Link: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/0pWpFAi9zVUEhl4ZRzsX6G (or click HERE) Playlist: Indie/Alt Rock Duration: 40 Minutes Description: In this playlist, I collected some of the most vibe-worthy indie/Alt-rock artists together in one playlist. This playlist spans multiple artists who are incredibly talented including St. Vincent, Arcade Fire, and even Tame Impala! This playlist even includes a an appearance by the one and only, Lana Del Rey. Tea Pairing: Oolong, White Tea, and both Sheng and Shou Puer Link: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/3T70vr8QlDwLFfVZfGZz5A (or click HERE) ~ Blissfully Tea Drink
- 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. While I still haven't completely returned from working on my novel, this is something that I felt needed to be said. Lately, it’s come to the attention of many that the race-issue in America doesn’t exist only in America; it also exists in the tea community. Yes, that’s right. Tea. Usually, there’s been issues with Tibet/China and tea classifications among tea that are grown near borders of different countries. However, this issue is more in-your-face and is making its way into the tea community -- starting on social media. Due to the crisis in America, it’s gained national attention and has sparked protests over the world. And it’s not only shown that equality is much needed, but it’s shown that America is so influential that when we’re not unified, the rest of the world stands behind us and looks to us to be unified. And when it comes to tea (a community that’s always been open to all), it’s now been open to people with platforms to voice their opinions rooted in hate, racism, homophobia, and ignorance (see photo’s below for very recent examples). To preface, there’s been a wave of tea drinkers who have posted photos of white squares for ‘white equality’, tea drinkers who are lashing out towards minorities, and claiming they’re the problem and tea drinkers who are belittling and gas-lighting the community for believing equality to begin with. And when it comes to bonding over a cup of tea, that’s completely unacceptable. Let's go back to 2018 when I got to attend and host a class at the Houston Tea Festival. Houston is one of the most diverse cities in the United States, and because so, you run into characters and people of all kinds. However, at the Houston Tea Festival, I was sipping a sample of cold mate when a man of color with neck tattoos came up and asked for a sample. Then, a white woman who resembled being from Beverly Hills came up and also asked for a sample. The vendor asked us all of our opinions, and the man and the woman then got into a discussion about their likes, dislikes, brewing methods, etc. all about tea. So here we were at a festival in Texas, drinking a South American tea at a festival inspired by an Asian tradition, made by an American while being shared among a man of color, a ritzy white woman, and me (a gay guy) — all connecting and enjoying each other’s company over this one sample of tea. And while being in that moment our heritage, background, political beliefs, etc. didn’t matter because while in that moment, we were all unified by the experience of drinking that sample. We all got along and we all connected, and we were all happy. And in a sense, this is what the tea community is all about. On social media, everyone is given a voice and everybody can be heard. And everyone has a platform — big or small; racist or not. And with this platform, people dove right into the world of tea. And with tea, we’re not only able to connect by drinking tea at a festive, but rather, we’re able to connect with people from all over the world. This is a huge gift in itself and is something we largely take for granted. And to add, tea itself is a gift given to us by mother nature. With how much of an issue global warming has been, we’re ALL very lucky to still be drinking tea in the way that we are now… So what’s the point of this? The point is that we’re all lucky to be together over something rooted in such a minimal idea - hot leaf water. And when we all have the ability to connect, discuss, and drink tea together all over the world (thanks to the gift of internet social media), then there’s no place in it for racism, homophobia, and hate altogether. Saying you want equality doesn't mean you hate heterosexual white people — it means everybody gets to sit with you at your tea table. With the gift of tea and social media, I encourage you to use your platform and to spread love, to use it as a learning opportunity, and above all else, to use it to drink the drink we all love together — Camellia Sinuses, aka tea. —Cody as The Oolong Drunk
- 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 the way complete. In the meantime, the exploration of tea continues. Speaking of tea, matcha is a tea that’s never made it to my cup. However, we’re going to flip the script today and drink matcha gong-fu style! Yes ma’am, we’re going to try something completely and revolutionize how we all drink matcha! Let’s dive right in! Parameters: 2 tablespoons of sifted matcha for an 80ml shibo Temperature: 150ºf/65ºc Infusions: 8 Price: $15.00 for a tin of matcha from The Republic of Tea Infusion 1: Before my first infusion, I sifted several tablespoons worth of matcha right into the shibo. And on the first infusion, the tea turned dark-green and had a fresh spinach-like aroma rising into the air. With the first sip, the famous matcha bitterness almost numbed the entire tongue. Once bitterness went away, a faint sweetness lingered hid behind a seaweed-like base that mixed with a note of freshly-cut grass. Upon another sip, I discovered that this matcha had that velvet-like grittiness to it that — the velvet-lied grittiness that matcha is famous for. Infusions 2 - 8: With my second infusion, the matcha residue (from the first infusion) seemed to disappear into the shibo and further into my cup. The gong-fu matcha appeared to be clear in color, and very faint in taste. The taste was so minimal you almost couldn’t make it out. With another infusion, the liqueur was completely clear and all odor and smell completely vanished. When sipping the last infusions, the far distant notes of city-tap infused chloride, choline, and calcium started to appear. It almost tasted identical to the tap water I’d normally pour myself when grabbing a cold glass of water. As the infusions went on, I started to question why the matcha thinned out so quickly. It was almost as if all of the matcha completely washed away with the first infusion…. Conclusion: With the first infusion of matcha, the bitter was so concentrated and strong that it numbed the tastebuds on the base of the tongue. After the following infusions, the tea was clear and held no flavor whatsoever. Unlike other teas where the leaves would open up over gradual progression, this matcha seems to expel whatever it was holding on to at the very beginning and left absolutely nothing to the imagination— like a hot guy shows you ‘everything’ upon subscribing to his private OnlyFans account. Overall, this was a pointless experience. I haven’t made matcha gong-fu style outside of this session. However, the matcha industry as a whole needs to work on how matcha is made, and come up with a way to process it so it’ll continue to last for the duration of a full session and not give us instant gratification within the first infusion. Until then, I’ll go back to working on my book and will be drink sheng puer instead....
- 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 originally started as a fun time-passing hobby turned into an obsession that brought out an adoring passion for all of tea and tea culture. I first got into tea when a client of mine (as a dietitian) told me about tea. I set out to the bougie grocery-store on my lunch break, bought an oolong for $10.00, and went to my nearest coffee shop to grab a cup of hot water. After making and drinking it, I was pleasantly surprised that this is what my client was ranting and raving about — mainly because of how bitter and gross it was. Disappointed that I felt like I had just wasted $10.00, I did an internet search, went back to get more hot water on my next break, and made it again. It was the deciding decision of whether I’d gift the tea to my client and never try tea again, or keep enjoying it for the future to come… Can you guess which one happened? Fast forward to the end of that year, I came across a company called Bitterleaf Teas. I first discovered what puer-tea was, and in that moment. was completely stumped. I kept on searching the internet for more answers where I landed on Yunnan Sourcing, and purchased a brick and a cake. Eventually, I came across White2Tea and made my first ‘haul’. Then after digging deeper, I came back around to Bitterleaf Teas. Bitterleaf Teas is important to this story, mainly because talking to Jonah is the reason why I got into blogging. I launched an Instagram account where I originally intended to name myself ‘OddiTea’, and drink odd and bizarre teas. But I eventually landed on ‘TheOolongDrunk’ — as a homage to the tea I had first tried. My first photo was my White2Tea haul, and my second-photo was from a Yunnan Sourcing tea. However, after discussing tea in a chain of back-to-back emails, I bought ‘Honeycomb’ — a 2015 Fall Bing Dao sheng puer. This was the moment where I realized that I needed to start my own site and start talking about the teas in front of me. After a few months of trying to find my voice, I finally got into a grove and got to Honeycomb seven posts later, back in May of 2016. That was the tea, and that was the review, where I realized that I had a deeper love for this drink and wanted to keep digging further. For reference, here are a few excerpts from my earlier posts, with a few of my own reactions… “The first thing I noticed when opening this cake is that, in my gayest accent possible, its beaUtifulllll!!!!!!” — Review of What-Cha’s first Sheng Puer February 16th, 2016 Oh my god. Why didn’t my editor stop me right there and then? (Below is a photo from that review) “ Poundcake is a tea produced by White2Tea’s very own puer master, Paul. If you’re a diehard fan of his work then you’d know that Paul is a hip-hop head.” — 2015 Poundcake Review March 20th, 2016 I think I grossly assumed Paul is a hip-hop head. I specifically remember thinking that the tea community was much larger, and now looking back in comparison, it’s so much larger now than back then. Only in reflection, it felt like a quiet time. (Below is a photo from that review) “I had a tiffany while lying in bed one night watching Breakfast at Tiffany’s and thought, “I write a blog called The Oolong Drunk and i’ve only reviewed puer. Damn,am I the only one who sees a problem with this?” Well the wait is over.” What-Cha’s Taiwanese Milk Oolong Can I pretend that I didn’t post that god-awful dad-joke? Or did that mean I was cool? Either way, I was trying too damn hard. Outside of that, I didn’t think past drinking oolongs when drinking tea and didn’t expect to fall for, well, everything else under the umbrella. However, three years ago, I took down my ‘Welcome to my Blog’ post, as the cringe was too much. If you’re one of the lucky twenty people who read it in January of 2016, then congratulations! (Below is a photo from that review) For the posts before, I kept silly and middle-school humor of a tone. But over the next few years, a more serious tone crept through. In four years, I have, Been a guest speaker at the Houston Tea Fest Reported on and spoke at the Mid West Tea Fest Be published in Fresh Cup Magazine Drink tea live on the radio Drink tea with Scott of Yunnan Sourcing and appear along-side him in a Youtube video Get blocked from several tea-companies on multiple platforms due to calling them out on shady business practices. Gain popularity on r/Tea Argue with people on r/Tea Lose popularity on r/Tea Got off r/Tea Met people from all over the world to drink tea with And make lots of friendships connections that is one of the most deep-rooted cornerstones to how I am as a person. This journey allowed me to open up to many different points of view, meet different people, and above all else, made me open my eyes to other worlds and get out of my bubble. So, what’s coming for the next? Special Announcement Dear Readers, This is where I have a special announcement. As you might know by now, writing is something that I believe to be incredibly fun and therapeutic. I’ve also ventured into writing some about my personal life on here, and although not too frequently, it’s something I’m continuing to do. Besides my goal of drinking tea with Lana Del Rey, I took on the project that will take up the majority of my time By the end of August of this year, the first draft of my book will be complete. The book doesn’t have a title yet but is a book of stories from leaving a past of trauma and jumping onto a clean slate. When you’ve lived a life full of devastating events, you lose yourself in staying in ‘fight or flight’ mode. This story marks a journey of a full single year and tackles my past, current social issues, a touch of politics, and the discovery of finding one’s self. When the waters have been a rough sea for so long, and you forget what calm water looks like, how do you move forward and where do you start the process of self-discovery? Some of this social-issues scope the prism of realms such as isolation, homophobia, child abuse, mental health, family, love, hate, and the overall LGBT community, and so much more. However, these are truths that are presented in a story, and this story is best described as a coming-of-age melodrama. The structure of the book takes on a structure of its own which is heavily influenced by British screenwriters Bryan Elsey and Jamie Brittain, along with other structural and writing influences from TV producer Damon Lindelof, musician Lana Del Rey, musician Lorde, and author David Mitchell. The structure will make you question and wonder what’s going on, and in the end, will tie together in a way that puts everything in perfect perspective. This is a project I started loosely started working on three months ago, and I’m already 1/6th of the way in. The book currently has 28 chapters and already 17,000 words down on paper. The book is projected to have 100,000 words upon completion. Although that is the current projection, things will change. Word counts will change. And overall, the story will be tweaked and refined. However, this is something that’s being poured out from the heart, and overall, is something that’s emotionally and physically draining. Certain past experiences are coming out that I don’t often talk about and is something that takes a toll on me mentally and emotionally when writing. When enough of the base-story is complete, I will share a drafted-passage from it on here. Although this requires a lot of dedication, I will keep my blog based on tea and will continue to review, blog, and talk about the world of tea regularly. You’re more than welcome to message me anytime about this project, and I will try and keep you updated as progress is being made. I thank you for your love and support. With love, —Cody
- 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 variety of music has also been released that’s helped influence culture and media. When drinking tea, it’s fun to meditate and get lost in a gong-fu session, and sometimes, specific albums in music can help you get there. Today, I’m going to cover a selection of albums from the past decade that I believe to be the top ten albums to listen to while having tea time. In the following, you’ll see an album, a description of the album, and primary and secondary tea suggestions to drink while listening to these albums. You can pick a tea based off the album, or, you can find the tea your drinking and listen to the album it's attached to. Before we start, let’s set a few ground rules. Although it’s not mandatory, this is the way I best recommend listening to these albums while drinking tea. Rule 1. You must listen to these albums in their entirety. These albums are a journey, and just like a tea session, you can’t jump in and start on the seventh track (or 7th infusion of tea). Rule 2. While listening to these albums in their entirety, don’t skip any of the tracks. To add, especially to add, listen to these albums in their intended order and not on shuffle. Rule 3. Do not listen to any samples of the songs on these albums, and let yourself be pleasantly surprised. Rule 4. For the fourth and last rule, take deep breaths, close your eyes, and try and physically place yourself in the music and the tea. If possible, wear headphones to immerse yourself further into the tea and music. ~ Now that we’ve covered a few non-mandatory but highly suggested guideline, lets get moving! The following albums are in no ranked or specific order... Note: Due to being afraid of copy-wright infringement of posting these album's covers, here's an assortment of some of my favorite photos that I've posted in 2019! Album: Reflektor Artist: Arcade Fire Year of Release: 2013 Tea Pairing: Gu-Shu Sheng Puer Secondary Tea Pairings: White Tea or Shou Puer About This Album: Reflecktor is Arcade Fire’s fourth studio album and is an indie electro-rock album that touches on dance with a slight touch of psychedelic influences. This album began production in a shed Louisiana and moved production where half the album was recorded in a castle in Jamaica. This album is great at adding a fun vibe to tea time because it not only puts you in a mellow-like trance, it also seems to help your mind escape further into the tea that’s in front of you. Album: Melodrama Artist: Lorde Year of Release: 2017 Tea Pairing: Sheng Puer Secondary Tea Pairings: Green Tea or White Tea About This Album: Melodrama is Lorde’s second studio album which goes further into pop with synth and electro influences. This album( which is literal perfection) explores themes of going out in your early twenties and takes you through a night of going out. This laid-back conceptual experience not only has its upbeat highs but also contains soul-eep lows that anyone can relate too — not just someone who's in their twenties. This is a great vibe-album for tea time because it not only takes you down a specific journey, it also evokes a wide variety of emotions that seem to make it all work. Album: Sound of a Woman Artist: Kiesza Year of Release: 2014 Tea Pairing: Green Taiwanese Oolong Secondary Tea Pairings: White Tea or Chinese Black Tea About This Album: Sound of a Woman is the debut studio album by Canadian artist, Kiesza. This house album relies heavily on traditional 90’s house-electronic synths that immediately take you directly into the 90’s. In fact, despite how fresh it was, you could have guessed it was from the 90’s itself. This is a great album to drink tea to because it creates an easy vibe while still keeping a level of being mellow and as the album progresses, and as a session of tea progresses, it isn’t afraid to touch on the emotional side of what makes us human. Album: Ultraviolence (Deluxe Edition) Artist: Lana Del Rey Year of Release: 2014 Tea Pairing: Black Tea Secondary Tea Pairings: White Tea or Shou Puer About This Album: Ultraviolence is Lana Del Rey’s third studio album, and was recorded live with a 6-piece band — which was produced by The Black Key’s very own Dan Auerbach. This album was a departure from the dream/sad-core pop albums she had released previously and jumped into raw and stripped-back psychedelic rock elements that skate with a dream-pop and indie-alternative backbone. Ultraviolence is so brutally honest that it makes you question that everything in life is so black-and-white. While this album is honest and full of wit, there’s a venerability behind it since most of the songs were recorded live, and some of them, only once. This is a perfect album for tea time because it leaves you bare, and lets you face what's in front of you. Album: A Seat at the Table Artist: Solange Year of Release: 2016 Tea Pairing: Four Seasons Taiwanese Oolong Secondary Tea Pairings: White Tea or Lightly Roasted Oolong About This Album: A Seat at the Table is another literal masterpiece on this list— beginning to end. Solange’s third studio album crosses over into R&B, psychedelic soul, with traditional a touch of blues. This album, one of the best albums in the past decade, crosses over into art and leaves music behind. Solange touches base on many emotions that come from a black-America perspective. This album not only masterfully takes you into another aspect of our culture, but the undertones of love and passion also seep out form this album's cracks. This is an excellent album to drink tea to because it takes you above the clouds and makes you think about your own life in retrospect. Album: The ArchAndroid Artist: Janelle Monae Year of Release: 2010 Tea Pairing: Fresh sheng puer (up to a year) Secondary Tea Pairings: White tea or Korean Green Tea About This Album: The ArchAndroid is Janelle Monae’s debut studio album that has pop influences of neo-soul, alternative R&B, and psychedelic soul. This album tells the perspective of a rogue robot that makes her way through-out a dystopian city society that’s changing the oppressive government. From beginning to end, this album plays exactly like a picture less movie, and in certain spots of the album, you can almost see The Fifth Element (1997 film) playing in the background. This is a great vibe-album because it literally takes you to another world, and despite being almost ten years old, it still sounds like it was just released. In other words, it’s still way ahead of its time. Album: FEVERDREAM Artist: Of Monsters and Men Year of Release: 2019 Tea Pairing: Taiwanese Green Dancong Oolong Secondary Tea Pairings: Japanese Kyobancha or Bug-Bitten Taiwanese High Mountain Oolong About This Album: This is the Islandic band ‘Of Monsters and Men’ with their third studio album. Originally rooted in alternative indie rock and Islandic folk music, they took a huge left turn down a brand new path; a departure from their previous sound. Of Monsters and Men dove right into a European-indie electronic album that focuses heavily on their time spent in Latin America and across the globe. This album’s love letter coated in a technicolor haze really warms you up to whatever cup of tea you’re enjoying. Album: Junk Artist: M83 Year of Release: 2016 Tea Pairing: Fresh White Tea Secondary Tea Pairings: Any Taiwanese Oolongs or Aged White Tea About This Album: M83 by Junk is a French album that’s heavily influenced by a ‘Punky Brewster’ themed 80’s goofiness. Junk seemed to be a collection of songs that make you remember the times of going to big department stores and riding in the back seat of long summer-night road trips with Dad and his grass-stained white tennis shoes and a fanny pack. However, this album also hits hard with a retro-wave of electro-pop. Most importantly, and most impressively, M83 brings iconic electric guitar and saxophone solos. Hell, he even managed to beautifully perfect harmonica solo that flowed beautifully in the album. This passion project is a groovy journey that makes any tea-time fun, nostalgic, and will even make you smile in the end, and make you miss being care-free. Album: Days Are Gone Artist: HAIM Year of Release: 2013 Tea Pairing: Japanese Sencha Secondary Tea Pairings: Fresh Sheng or Taiwanese White Tea About This Album: Days Are Gone is an album by a sister-trio group that’s heavy in the indie pop-rock genera, and is an album that’s somehow upbeat musically, yet devastating lyrically. These songs start airy, upbeat, and smooth melody. However, as the album progresses a power emits that grows louder, which refuses to let you forget that you’re somehow bopping your head to a beat that still sounds fresh. This album is a great album to pair with tea time because it not only gets you moving, it also helps you focus and think about what you were, and who you ‘were’ whoever you were with. Album: In Colour Artist: Jamie XX Year of Release: 2015 Tea Pairing: Gu-Shu Sheng Puer Secondary Tea Pairings: White Tea or Shou Puer About This Album: In Colour is a heavy-hearted electric album that pulls at every bit of emotion you have in your body — all bathed in nostalgia for the good and the bad. Even when you close your eyes while listening to this album, it feels like you’re placed directly in the streets of Bristol and living the past that Jamie XX, well, lived. This isn’t ‘Skrillex’ electronic, but rather, a dream-pool of subtle and vibrant sounds that make the album dramatic in an instant. This album is perfect for tea time because, with a clear-enough mind, you can see the locations alluded to in the album. You can also see the gardens that the tea was harvested from. And just like that favorite harvest year of tea, you feel like you’ve just experienced something uniquely special that you may never come across the likes of which again. Ten Honorable Mentions: Here are ten more albums to listen to in case you burn through this list, and want a different journey not mentioned above… Lana Del Rey — Honeymoon (2015) or Norman Fucking Rockwell (2019) FKA Twigs — Magdalene (2019) Arcade Fire — The Suburbs (2010) Tame Impala — Currents (2015) Kacey Musgraves — Golden Hour (2018) St. Vincent — St. Vincent (2014) Lorde — Pure Heroine (2013) M83 — Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming (2011) SZA — Z (2014) Of Monsters and Men — My Head Is An Animal (2012) Let me know which albums, and which teas, you ended up selecting from this list and lets start a discussion! Thank you for a great 2019, and here’s to an incredible 2020! “Blissfully Tea Drunk”