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  • Music Monday! A 'touch of this beat'.... Week of 5/17/21

    Hello hello! Last week, we explored the modernized-greek tragedy of 'Melodrama' by Lorde! However, for this week, we'll be taking a left-turn into the realm of 1960's pop-rock disco infusion that came from a very unexpected place. Aly & AJ, who grew up as Disney stars, took a step back from the spotlight. After a 14 year long stretch from their last album, they came back together to make this wild blend of genres. This week, we'll be pairing tea with, 'a touch of at the beat gets you up on your feet gets you out and then into the sun'. (No, you're not tea drunk -- that's really the album title.) After 14 years from their last album, how do you re-emerge yourself back into the spotlight? Which teas pair perfectly with this 1960's flower-power-inspired groovy album? Get your kettles boiling, and let's find out! (image credit: Aly & AJ Music LLC) Album: a touch of the beat gets you up on your feet gets you out and then into the sun Artist: Aly & AJ Year: 2021 Primary Tea Pairing: White Tea Secondary Tea Pairings: Sheng Puer or Green Tea This album opens up to a melodic tune called 'Pretty Places' -- which opens up to a dreamy soundscape that echoes pop-rock themes of lucidity, and flower-power groves. As this album continues, it tries to break through its electro dream pop-rock undertones into the realm of disco-pop. Despite never fully committing to a disco theme, Aly & AJ both continue strumming to their guitars underneath California tie-die rays of the sun. Halfway through this surfboard of pop-rock groves, this album continues the momentum of committing to its theme. With standouts such as Paradise, Listen!!!, and a buddy-cop-themed saxophone-infused tune 'Break Yourself', you somehow find yourself tapping your feet at your tea table, especially with the god-tier song ''Don't Need Nothing'. Despite being a happy-go-lucky album for the majority of its run time, it also takes a step-down and humbles itself with sobering moments that seem to emotionally hit the spot at just the right moment. These sobering moment carry this album through the threshold from being good, to impeccable. After coming down to reality with 'Stomach' and 'Personal Cathedrals', this album slowly smooths out while leaving you wanting more... This album makes for an amazing pairing with tea time because it keeps a groovy beat that helps you keep your spirits high in your gong-fu session. This session also flows so smooth that it almost has tasting notes of its own, and seems to match a gong-fu session ever so perfectly. What do YOU think of this week's Music Monday? Click HERE to join the discussion on Instagram! ~The Oolong Drunk "Blissfully Tea Drunk"

  • Music Monday! What Are Perfect Places, Anyways? Week of 5/9/2021

    Hello hello! Now that I'm back after taking a short hiatus, and after moving 700 miles across the United States, Music Monday finally returns! On the last Music Monday, we took a trip down the 90's nostalgia with Kiesza's dance album 'Sounds of a Woman'! However, for this week's Music Monday, we'll be exploring a loosely-80's themed greek tragedy that takes the form of conceptual pop... This is Melodrama by Lorde. Melodrama is Lorde's sophomore album that explores one continual storyline from beginning to end and takes you down a Shakespearian journey of self-exploration, and the various stages of the very emotions that make us human. From ignorance to reality, we will be exploring why this self-contained narrative is not only one of my favorite albums ever made, but also why makes for a perfect pairing with tea time... (Photo Credit: Universal Music New Zealand Limited) Album: Melodrama Artist: Lorde Year: 2017 Primary Tea Pairing: Young/Fresh Sheng Puer Secondary Tea Pairings: Shou Puer and White Tea Melodrama opens up to the happy-go-lucky dance anthem 'Green Light' that tries to mask the impending doom of the demise of a failing relationship. While going out to party, Lorde expresses that she needs to be let go from the burden of what's to come. Instead, she goes out on the night and explores the themes of excitement and wanderlust of the party that's forthcoming. This excitement and flirtation of the night-out continue through masterpiece tracks such as 'Homemade Dynamite' and 'The Louvre'. Except, when realizing that the emotional depth of the friends at hand are seemingly as shallow as the bottles they just emptied, Lorde is struck with the reality that she's a liability to everyone around her. She emotes this, along with what it feels like entering adulthood fresh as an old-teen in the emotionally gut-wrenching song 'Liability' Then, halfway through the album, the impending break-up finally happens as Hard Feelings/Loveless and continues the journey with the song 'Writer in the Dark' -- a song that perfectly encapsulates the self-pity that usually comes right after breaking up with someone with a vocal performance that would have you believe that Kate Bush recorded the song herself. The album wraps up to an end with Supercut, where Lorde reaches the 'acceptance' phase of her journey, before re-joining the party (that she had previously left), realize that she's not a liability after all, and let herself finally live in the moment. The album ends where the album cover begins -- making it to bed after a long night as the sunrise hits her face through the bedroom window. The journey of the night is complete. This album is a perfect pairing with tea time because it takes you on an emotional path and places you on the night out that Lorde describes throughout the album. Not only is this album a fantastic stage-play for the ears, but it also flows effortlessly throughout a gong-fu session and happens to hit the tasting notes with every lyric sung. So next time you put on an album with tea-time, let yourself go down this journey of a single night with Lorde and let your tea take you to perfect places... After all, what the fuck are perfect places anyway? Click HERE to join the discussion on Instagram! ~ The Oolong Drunk "Blissfully Tea Drunk"

  • Open Letter to [Redacted] (Covid Update)

    Dear [redacted], You’re probably surprised to hear from me. I’ve been talking to a professional about moving past some of the emotional trauma I went through when I got sick, and since I’m nearing an end to my journey, confronting you is one of the last steps I need to take in my recovery. So, here we are. It’s been quite a while since we last spoke. In fact, you might find it seemingly difficult to communicate with me since I blocked you on social media. However, that wasn’t my intent. In fact, I’d like to imagine that we’re still on great terms and steeping ideas about tea and our place in the world of tea. Instead, all of that came to a screeching halt when I got sick. On August 6th, I went to bed feeling like myself. On August 7th, I woke up crippled from the fever that engulfed my entire body — a fever that lasted for almost a week straight. I was in the ER, and even blacked out when dialing 9-1-1…. I even found a will on my writing desk. This was a will that I don’t remember writing, and was also accompanied by a goodbye letter to my close friends and family... In my disillusioned reality, I must have feared that I needed to write this. Not only do I have absolutely no recollection of writing any of it, but I broke down and cried when I found it several days later. After two weeks of recovery I was released from quarantined, except, I wasn’t really recovered. I was eventually diagnosed with chronic asthma, chronic fatigue, blood-sugar issues, heart regulatory issues, loss of hair, and one of the most scary things of all — I lost my taste. For someone like you and I, it’s a devastating loss. We taste tea, we talk about tea, you sell tea, and I review it. The gravity of our weight in the tea industry is all dependent on our ability to taste tea. Losing taste didn’t mean I couldn’t just drink tea, it meant that I’d have to say goodbye to it. When the thought of losing tea forever crossed my mind, I was dizzy. I was even throttled into a panic-attacked that caused me to hyperventilate, shake, and vomit. Not only did going through Covid physically pain me, it financially crippled me too. I was feeling stress from every angle in my life. Once I recovered from that panic attack, I took a step back and noticed a large number of tea drinkers in our community had Covid and lost their taste as well — the same people who support you and I both. Seeing some of these people share a similar worry about losing taste forever encouraged me to make a post about my experience with becoming ill with such a deadly virus. Not only did I need to talk about my experience for my own journey, I needed to share it to reassure our followers that they’re not alone. I needed to show that we’re all in this together. So I wrote a lengthy article on my personal experience, made myself vulnerable and exposed myself to the world. I even added photos from my hospital visit, wrote about my own personal health, and shared it with our community. After posting the article, I was petrified what the reaction would be. Would I be questioned about my intent, such as doing it for attention? Or be questioned about looking for sympathy? Or, would I not connect with my audience like I had hoped? Talking about such a panicked experience with risking losing tea, and even my own life, was terrifying in its own right. Instead, I woke up to a flood of messages from our followers with people connecting to my experience on such an interpersonal level. Almost everyone who had Covid and drank tea reached out and showed support. They expressed how they went through something so awful and finally felt like they could connect with somebody and feel less alone. On the plus side, it was helping me feel less isolated over going through something so scary…. Until I opened your message. Yes, your message. “If the virus is real then ask yourself. Haven't I had a flu before? Is the truth in your cup of tea or in the digital media?” — you questioned. I was confused. After trying to decipher what you were trying to imply, and told you that I hoped that you weren’t trying to discredit my illness you replied, “Forgive me, one question, did you had flue shots in the past?” After I gave you an emotional reply you came back and said, “My intuitive way has led and leading to uncover things in many ‘places’ of my life.” Your last message, you insinuated that the problem lies within me and I need to stop thinking ‘inside of the box’….” I was shocked. Was this even you? I read it over and over again until it all became a blur. You not only betray our professional relationship, you betrayed something much more important — our personal one. With all of our conversations, all of our connection, all of our mutual admirations for each-other’s work, all of the countless hours I’ve spent making and drinking your tea... All of the countless hours I spent believing your vision, writing about it, and sharing it with my followers… You threw it ALL away with just a few messages through instagram. You tried to link my near-death experience to a conspiracy theory, and all it did was ruin the bond we had. I blocked you. I went to my room. I closed my door. And I cried. Despite all of the love and support form my followers, it wouldn't bring my taste back. With the loss of taste, and with such a damaging message coming from such a highly respected colleague, I almost quit my tea blog. I even questioned relentlessly, “What’s was wrong with me?” Thankfully, two months later I started to get my taste back. And thankfully, I was privileged enough to be able to taste tea in the way I used to. I’m writing you to tell you how you affected me. I need you to understand how you hurt me on such a painful and vulnerable level. I also needed you to understand that I still feel guilty for cutting ties with you — like it was my own fault. While my physical post-Covid symptoms may never go away, I’m writing you now so I can continue working on my post-Covid meath-health symptoms. I’m writing you so I can finish my healing process. I need to wrap up my healing process by telling you that I forgive you. Hopefully, now that I've confronted you, I can start feeling less guilty over what you did to me. When I go back to get my 2nd Covid vaccine in 5 days, I will remember that I was one of the lucky ones who survived. I’ll also think of all the people who I got to survive and recover with. I will be thinking about how much I love them, and how much I’m grateful to every single one of my followers for sticking by my side. I will also be thinking about the outpouring love and support I received from the greater tea community when getting my second shot... As difficult as it is to say this, I truly hope you never have to go through what I did and have to have a life-ending crisis on such a monstrous level. This has been weighing heavy on my mind and on my heart, but I have to try and let that go now. I don’t think it’ll be able to let it go all at once, but I need to start letting go of all this weight. I've cleaned my site of any mention of you, your teas, or your company. The audience that reads my blog deserves better, and so do I. With every cell of my heart, I truly do wish you are doing better for the people around you and for yourself…. ~ Cody The Oolong Drunk “Blissfully Tea Drunk” [Click on photo to read screen-shot of message]

  • Error_404 Review Not Found (Tea Review)

    Hello hello! Last week, I opened my mailbox to find a surprise package from 404 Tea -- a new tea company out of Melbourne Australia! 404 Tea made a debut appearance on social media on February 11th, and launched on March 31st! All over social media, this company has teased their release with 1950's Retro-futurism and trippy photo edits. With intrigue and hype surrounding this tea company, I knew I had to reach out to them and get my hands on a couple of samples for their launch. In all, they provided me with a first look into what to look forward to by sending me three of their selections. However, due to snail-mail, I received their teas after their launch. However, I must ask, how do their teas hold up? Are their teas as great as their marketing and graphic design? Let's find out! (Photo: Liminal) Tea: Liminal Price: $22.00 USD -- 50g Cake Steeps: 12 Dimensions: 4g of tea for a 60ml gaiwan Temperature: 200ºf Liminal is a 2018 Hekai Sheng Puer, and upon opening the sampler bag, I noticed the sweet smell of lemon-infused plum. However, with the first infusion, I tasted faint floral notes of vanilla. After a few more infusions, a biting bee-pollen and light honey tasting note overshadowed the vanilla notes. The texture quickly turned sharp, but slowly progressed to a velvet texture which left a bitter aftertaste. The more this tea opened up, the quicker and more energized I felt. By the twelfth infusion, I was buzzing and ready to on. (Photo: Transporter) Tea: Transporter Price: $22.50 USD -- 50g Cake Steeps: 12 Dimensions: 4g of tea for a 60ml gaiwan Temperature: 200ºf Transporter is a 2018 Mengku sheng puer, and upon opening the ampler bag I noticed a faint fluffy aroma that illuminated carnations. However, when brewing the first infusion, I first noticed a vanilla-like warmth on the back of the throat that carried a savory tree bark note across the tongue. After a few more infusions, I noticed a light sweet tangerine bite that balanced with a faint bitter after-tone. As the tea kept progressing, it kept opening up to more of a sweet woodsy moss -- which points to being originated form a more humid storage condition. By the last infusion, I was still buzzing from the energy that it possessed while feeling a slight tingle to the head. (Photo: Nexus) Tea: Nexus Price: $150.00 USD -- 200g Cake (also comes in smaller bags of maocha) Steeps: 16 Dimensions: 4g of tea for a 60ml gaiwan Temperature: 200ºf Nexus is their end of the line sheng 2019 puer that's blended from various regions. I forgot to smell the sample I had and jumped right into the session. At first, a rich and creamy texture of green grass quickly flowed over the tongue. After another infusion, the notes of grass sharply resembled a Japanese sencha, while leaving a faint buttery aftertaste of sweet flowers. However, this tea kept growing in size as this tea's texture and notes became louder -- causing me to repeat a few infusions. When this tea reached its peak, it left a strong atmosphere that left a slight tingling on the tongue. After sixteen infusions, I was hit was a head-high -- making me feel like I weighed two hundred more pounds. Conclusion: 404 Tea is a new tea company that jumped right out of the gate with a strong line-up. Without knowing what to expect, I was surprised to see that their offerings were as strong as they were. For me at least, I expected a larger selection. However, a larger selection to choose from isn't necessarily needed considering that their initial line-up is a pretty bold one. While trying these samples, I wished some of the bags included less tea-dust. However, I assumed that whoever tuns this company has been among us for quite some time -- considering the high quality of teas provided upfront. Overall, I believe 404 Tea has a strong start getting their feet planted in the tea industry. I believe that, for the selections, this company is very passionate about their craft -- something of which I wish we could see more of in our community. I think it's special to see a company start as strong as this one, and know that whatever they do next, they'll be doing it with a love of tea first. This only made me excited to see what they do next, and hope they keep up this momentum! Click HERE to join the discussion on Instagram!

  • The Inconceivable Lie We've ALL Been Told About White Tea

    “You won’t change it if you won’t be held accountable for it…,” is the how this chilling and ominous discussion began. “Everyone on every level knows it, and everyone goes along with it,” Derek continued. When investigating a claim that began as a wild conspiracy theory, to begin a conversation about tea with such a bold statement, I knew that the truth would be a lot more complicated than what any conspiracy theory would allow. Before we go further, let me preface all of this by taking you back to the end of November/beginning of December, 2020. I was drinking a brown-looking white tea-cake in a late night virtual tea session with close-friend Shawn. I tea-drunkenly stated, “Have you ever noticed how all the majority of all of the aged white tea we see are all from the same few-years? And how nearly every company we know started selling them in 2017-2018? Could you imagine if all of our aged-white tea is faked?” I sounded like a conspiracy theorist, Shawn laughed, and we moved on to other wild tea-related observations that would die with the end of our session… Until a little over a month later when I accidentally stumbled upon an online tea-shop that sold ‘browned-white tea’. This random 3:00am discovery not only lit a fire within me to research the topic, it led to me to a video chat with Derek. (Image: Fuding White Tea Market 2021 -- Source: One River Tea) Derek, who’s originally from Kansas City, now lives in Guang-Dong while being one of three who runs One River Tea. “I really got into tea back in 2009. I was quitting smoking cigarettes, and decided to replace the habit with tea,” he explained. After diving into the world of Big-Box Store-Brand tea bags, he transitioned into medicinal tisanes which later led to the world of loose-leaf teas. However, exploring the world of tea in China looked very different than you’d imagine here in the Western Market. After bringing up the tea he sold in his online-shop that sparked this conversation (which goes by the name of ‘Browned Shou Mei), he later explained how white tea can be processed to appear to be brown in color. Before I go into that, let me explain what the more traditional way of processing white process looks like: Tea leaves are plucked/harvested, then traditionally spread thin and evenly on large bamboo mats, while being lightly turned to air-dry in the sun — a process that both withers and dries the tea, before being sent to lightly cook to completely dry the leaves. However, unlike the more traditional process of white tea, producing browned-white tea goes through a process that looks like this: The tea leaves are plucked and harvested, before being spread thick on large bamboo mats. The tea also air-dries in the sun, but since teas are packed on the mats more densely, they create hot-humidity. The hotter the pile of leaves become, the quicker the moisture evaporates from the leaves — making the pile more humid in a continual cycle. In this continual cycle, the leaves turn brown. Derek explained that this process of making traditional white tea is very technical, it also takes more skill to master — whereas processing browned-white tea is not nearly as technical, it results in a much larger yield. Tea farmers and producers can move a lot more product onto the wholesaler, much quicker. The appearance and quality aren't nearly as important with browned-white tea as it is greened-white tea, because most of the flaws in processing are masked when the tea is browned in processing. It’s not only cheaper to process tea this way, it also makes more money. (Image: Raw Tea Being Sold at Fuding Tea Market 2021 -- Source: One River Tea) However, while this answers one question, it doesn’t quite explain another. While recalling my original thought to Shawn, I observed that the sell of aged white tea was a lie because it was all primarily aged from the same years. In my original thought, I pointed out to Shawn that aged-white tea is primarily sold in the western-facing market from the years of 2009 or 2011, and 2014 or 2015. While that’s not always the case, it seems to be the majority across many vendors. However, after explaining this to Derek, he had a great explanation for why I observed something that’s actually not a conspiracy — I observed something that’s very real. It can all be linked to the following term: 一年茶三年药七年宝 Or, Yi nian cha san nian yao qi nian bao Have you seen this term before? Or even heard it in passing? Well, for those who aren’t familiar with mandarin, the translation essentially goes like this: One Year Tea, Three Year Medicine, 7 Year Treasure But, how does this slogan tie back to my original observation? According to Derek, this famous slogan can be seen all across Fuding. Due to popularity, this slogan is commonly found all over, and can even be found when labeling tea-packaging. However, it’s not just a second-hand account either. Tea entities such as Teavivire and Tching even referenced this slogan going back to 2014. According to one of the tea-farmers Derek works with, they personally didn’t start seeing this slogan until around 2010. In fact, this farmer didn’t start seeing it in 2010 by mistake — it was a deliberate marketing tactic that can be tied back to Chen Xinghua, the former director of the Standing Committee of the Fuding Municipal People’s Congress. In 2007, Chen led a development group of the Fuding Ding City to overhaul the region’s development of white tea. To help gain traction of the push for white tea, Chen displayed the world’s largest white-tea brick at the first tea expo in Fujing. However, it wouldn’t be until three years later in 2010 when Chen took over an initiative at the Shanghai World Expo to present a re-branding of Fuding white tea. This massive rebranding of Fuding white tea not only put white tea on the industry’s radar, it exploded in it. At the time, Fuding only had around 11 companies who branded and produced white tea. Now, there are well over 400. This massive overhaul proved to be profitable and spread like wildfire all over China. This re-branding not only ties back to the famed slogan 'One Year Tea, Three Year Medicine, 7 Year Treasure', it’s also where our current dilemma lies. This is where the famed slogan comes into play with my original observation. It goes something like this: We only started seeing aged white tea from the years 2009/2011 and 2014/2015. In my original observation of tea-companies, these teas started being released by a wide-variety of tea companies in 2017-2018. In my original, in 2017, a white-tea from 2014 would just now start becoming medicine, and white tea from 2011 would now start becoming treasure. After linking pieces of the puzzle together, I ran my theory by Derek. While catching on to something that’s very real, but not having enough data to back my observation, he did say I was correct on one thing: We are being lied to about the age of our white tea when it's sold to us. (Image: Fuding White Tea Market 2021 -- Source: One River Tea) We are being lied to about the age of our white tea. “Going to the whole-sale market, you see a 2020 Shou Mei. And some of it is green, some of it is brown — from the same producer. They’ll say, ‘We can make it green or we can make it brown depending on your needs’” When asking what the needs are, Derek continued, “The famers at the wholesale market will even say brown sells better because it looks older.” After pausing from hearing this jaw-dropping admission, he continued, “To hear it directly from producers like that is really miraculous.” Now that we know where the marketing of white tea starts, I asked Derek how far up the chain this goes. “One family, or one clan — usually in one village, will pull their resources and land harvested and process it together. The goal here for them is to sell their tea. The goal for them is to sell their tea, and make money,” he added After a moment, Derek continued, “It starts at the farmer, then to the wholesaler, or the wholesale market. Then people will buy that tea loose, [process it], and label it however they want.” Derek then gave an example about how false marketing doesn’t only start with the farmer — it can also start with a vendor. “We were looking at some really nice BaiMuDan — spring harvested tea that looked really good. The label said, YeSheng.” (野生, which means ‘Wild Harvested’) "I asked them if it was wild and they said no, [a vendor] just wanted them to put that label on there," Derek concluded. Given that Fuding has subsidy programs for farmers to encourage the promotion, sell, and growth of white tea, you’d want to make the most money you can. If it were possible to produce a tea that'll bring in more profit without the extra effort, a lot of farmers and producers might be inclined to sell tea that way. After talking to Derek further, I learned that lying about the age and origin of our white tea may not be the simple choice we all think it is. Derek proceeded to show me a video of a tea-plantation in a farm in Fuding being cut-down for failing to pass a herbicide test. Derek claimed that Fuding takes the production of their products very seriously at the farm. So when it comes to repaying the Fuding government for their subsidized loans, they may not be as reluctant to be as strict for what happens to the tea after its processed, as long as its sold. This suggests that people in the industry might not be lying by choice, but instead, may be lying out of necessity. (Video: Farm being cut down. Source: @sweetestdew / instagram) After ending my conversation with Derek, I went to my white tea stash and separated the tea into two-piles: One pile was tea I bought that was advertised as fresh at time of purchase, and another pile that was advertised as aged at time of purchase. Shockingly, I had a mix of both greened and browned-white tea on both ends. This even became more dizzying and confusing when I pulled out a cake of black tea and couldn’t make out the difference between the black and white tea in these cakes. However, in the pile of tea that was advertised as ‘aged’ at the time I purchased it, the only variation of greened-white tea I owned came from Bitterleaf Teas. After making this realization that these might be the only ‘actual’ aged white teas I own, I reached out to the co-founder and co-operator of Bitterelaf Teas, Jonah for comment. I started our conversation by asking him if the age of white tea is being lied about. Shockingly, he replied, “Yes, definitely.” He continued, “It’s probably safe to assume that if there is money to be made off something that can’t be verified, someone, somewhere, is lying about it, unfortunately.” When talking to Derek, he mentioned that the issue lies with every level of the tea industry — from the farmer, to the vendor. This made an even deeper impression when Jonah mentioned that the the issue is much more muddled than we think. “Some people are just relating the information that they’ve been given about the tea,” Jonah said. I started our conversation by asking him if the age of white tea is being lied about. Shockingly, he replied, “Yes, definitely.” However, in my mind, the simplest solution to this issue would be transparency. When mentioning this to Jonah, he indicated that the road to being transparent is an inherently problematic one. He said, “You can share as many pictures of tea trees, processing, sourcing trips, cakes, etc. on social media, but not a damn bit of it can be used to prove that's what your tea is in the end. Anyone in Yunnan (or other provinces) can find a garden with gushu in it, walk around, shoot pictures and videos, then buy some junk roadside maocha.” While conversing with Jonah, I realized he made another point that Derek had made before. White tea was bottle-necked in the industry, and Fuding white tea didn’t explode onto the scene until after 2010. What this means, any aged-white tea that’s before 2010 is almost guaranteed to be a fake. More specifically, like I had found out before, only a small handful of tea-companies were driving Fuding white tea. Event that, white tea wasn’t as profitable then as it is now. Farmers rarely produced and kept white tea for long-term storage, and it often got tossed. If the white tea was saved, it would be incredibly rare. We wouldn’t be able to easily access it, given that we could. Jonah and I ended our conversation about how to spot fake-aged white tea long before buying it. With an exceptional piece of knowledge, Jonah advised,”If something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Or in the same vein, you get what you pay for. This couldn't be more true with tea. People need to treat the $25 Laobanzhang cake or 2005 white tea cake on Amazon the same way they would a Gucci bag being sold out of someone's trunk.” Later, I looked back at my own stash, and one question was left to be answered — how do I know which one of my aged white teas is a fake? We already know that if it originates past 2010 it should automatically be assumed to likely be faked. However, what else can I look out for? After reaching back out to Derek, he touched on something that Jonah later echoed — there’s really no ‘true’ way to know. (Image: Pile of loose-leaf browned-white tea at Fuding Tea Market -- Source: One River Tea) Despite so, Derek did suggest to perform a smell-experiment that works like this: When a browned-white tea is processed, it won’t ever obtain all of the delicate notes that greened-white tea has. However, if a greened-white tea is aged naturally, it’ll still hold all of the notes that comes with a fresher tea, such as grass or flowers. The older it’s aged the more woodsy it’ll become, and despite it being aged, it’ll still have traces of grass/flowers mixed with the wood. Whereas, browned-white tea will never have the floral/grassy aspect to it. After talking to Derek and Jonah, I went back to my piles of of tea that I had bought that were advertised as aged at the time of purchase and performed a smell experiment. Then, I went back and performed the smell experiment with the pile of teas that I had bought that were fresh at time of purchase. Surprisingly, none of the aged browned-white teas from the stack possessed any grassy or floral notes. However, when comparing the aged greened-white teas with the fresh ones, there was noticeable similarities in odor between the two. With this in mind, I then pulled the aged browned-white teas with the new browned-white teas I owned and performed a smell experiment for a final time. In conclusion, I found there was absolutely zero difference between the two… Reaching this conclusion was not only concerning and devastating, it was out-right damning. However, as we may enjoy these teas, the way in which it’s marketed and sold to us is a massive problem. After realizing that so many of the tea companies that we know sell versions of aged browned-white tea, I reached out to a large number of western-facing vendors. Surprisingly, not one company who sold tea in this was agreed to speak with me regarding the topic. This is not only when I realized that many of the tea companies we know not only have knowledge about the issue, they partake in it too. In conclusion, I found there was absolutely zero difference between the two… Reaching this conclusion was not only concerning and devastating, it was out-right damning. With this, I fear that many tea-drinkers may jump to defense and say, “Well I don't know about anyone else, but I believe my tea is actually aged.” If you think that your tea is the ‘only honest one’ for whatever reason you have, unless you aged it yourself, then your bias already made you buy into the lie. Even if the source of your aged white tea reassure you of the validity of it, and you believe it, then you’ve already been pre-conditioned to carry on the lie. Like Jonah mentioned before, your source could unknowingly be lied to as well. After reflecting back on times when I talked and reviewed about aged white tea on my blog and social media, a harrowing question came to mind…Did I unknowingly help carry the lie? With all of this new information, I became sad. White tea in the way in which we know is so new to the market that we don’t inherently think to question it. We can assume that the larger lies within the market haven’t touched it yet, when Instead, it’s rooted in it. Unless we do more to educate each-other, the problem will only continue to get worse. While packing up all of my white teas, I put aside the tea-cake that originally sparked this journey — the brown-colored white tea that I had when having late night tea with Shawn back in the winter. With a whiff of the 2020 cake, all I smelled was a sweet woodsy bourbon, laced with brown sugar. Despite not picking up on any grassy or floral notes, I remembered an excellent point that Derek previously made, “Just because it’s browned, doesn’t mean it taste any less. It’s still good tea, and there’s a reason why it’s so popular.” And you know what? He’s absolutely right. This tea is one of my absolute favorite white teas that I own and the fact it’s browned never affected my enjoyment of it. After finishing my investigation, I took that tea cake before storing it away and pried myself a few grams for a solo session. I then sat down on my papasan, turned on my kettle, and pulled out my phone to call Shawn. Upon Shawn answering the phone, I started in, “Remember that wild conspiracy theory I once came up with back in December about aged white tea? Well, I did some research and you’re never going to believe what I’m about to tell you….” ~The Oolong Drunk "Blissfully Tea Drunk" (Image: Virtual tea session with Shawn / Sharing my findings) If you find any typos/mistakes in spelling, please notify contact@theoolongdrunk.com I'd like to personally thank Derek, Jonah, and Dylan for their contributions to this report. I would also like to thank Neldon H. and Sarah H. for assisting with editing. I'd also like to personally thank Shawn S., Tabitha S., Joshua Z., Neldon H., Alex H., Jann, and Joe L. for the love and support they've given me while writing this report. This report took 5 months worth of work across several countries and dozens of people. This was truly a community effort. To all of those who talked a big game and couldn't show up -- fuck you... and thank you for the motivation. With love, ~Cody Source/References: Derek of One River Tea. Interview. Conducted by Cody ‘The Oolong Drunk’, 26 March, 2021 Jonah of Bitterleaf Teas. Interview. Conducted by Cody ‘The Oolong Drunk’, 5 April, 2021 M.sohu.com. 2020. Chen Xinghua: White tea lives up to its original intention. [online] Available at: [Accessed 30 March 2021]. M.sohu.com. 2020. Chen Xinghua: White tea lives up to its original intention. [online] Available at: [Accessed 28 March 2021].

  • Music Monday! Tea and the 90's? Week of 4/12/21

    Hello hello! Last week, we went through a spiritual transformative journey in the outback with Harley as we paired tea with Flume's 'Hi This Is Flume' mixtape! While going through this soul-searching spiritual journey was heavy and transformative, we'll continue this week with another spectrum of electronic music. This week, we'll be diving into a modernized throwback to the 90's house with Sound of a Woman, a 2014 head-bopping album by Canadian artist Kiesza! Music prodigy Kiesza brought back the 90's with a forward punch by reviving Haddaway, while putting her modern twist on the genera. Kiesza even supported this new re-branding of the '90s by covering 'What Is Love' with her jaw-dropping re-image of the song. With this, Kiesza also filmed the lead-music video for Hidaway with a freshly broken rib and powered through while promoting this album. So what makes 'Sounds of a Woman' such a fun pairing with tea time? Dust off your boombox and dive right in! (Photo: Property of Island Records, a Division of UMG Recordings Inc.) Album: Sound of a woman Artist: Kiesza Year: 2014 Primary Tea Pairing: Young/Fresh Sheng Puer Secondary Tea Pairings: Black Tea or Green Tea Kiesza throws us back to the early '90s with oversized jeans and crop-tops with room-filling sounds by opening the album with goofy sound-board dance floor beats that make you want to move with your session. While continuing where Haddaway left off, we continue this journey of 90's escapism by being thrown into another dance-anthem with a flair of seriousness, and cow-bell silliness. However, we come to a slow halt with the next few tracks to introduce nostalgic low-fi beats that made you want to be in a hazy room with LL Cool J and Tupac. As this album progresses, everything comes to a halt with Kiesza's jaw-dropping reimaging of 'What is Love' by Haddaway. This cover not only stripped this 90's anthem to its bare bones, but it also blew a breath of fresh air to it and made it fresh again. Before gaining speed, this album gains traction as it continues to mosey along (while even sneakily throwing in a famous-guest appearance by the 'Orchestral Hit') before wrapping up with a piano-ballad that sums up the entire theme of the album - now that the fun and flirtation of our secret midnight lover has come to the surface, it's time to get serious and cut us loose. Despite the album wrapped up beautifully, we never wanting Kiesza's godly vocal performances and 90's retro-ism to be cut loose... This album is fantastic to listen to with tea time because it not only reminds us to have fun in life, it makes it okay for us too. Distracting the chaos of our lives is not only fun, we can also enjoy doing so while being reminded that the music revolution in the early '90s can still be funky fresh in our world today. It'll also make you question why we pushed these fresh beats out of the soundscape to begin with. So turn on your kettle, turn the bass up, and be reminded that we can drown ourselves in another reality that's not just tea.... Click HERE to join the discussion on instagram! ~ The Oolong Drunk "Blissfully Tea Drunk"

  • Music Monday! The Ultimate Australian Mix-Tape.... Week of 4/5/21

    Hello hello! Last week, we rose the sinking skip of Weyes Blood's 4th studio album, Titanic Rising! While we got a taste of psychedelic vocal-pop, this week's tea and music pairing will make another 180º turn with modernized experimental psychedelic-electronic hyper-pop. This week, we'll be pairing tea-time with Australian artist, Harley Streten -- popularly known by the stage name 'Flume'. Flume's third project, 'Hi This Is Flume', is not just an album -- it's a mixtape. This album is classified as a mixtape because Flume took control over his artistic freedom by having every chapter of this album bleed together. It's safe to say that this an album that's one continual track. With this, Flume took a break from the public eye and made 'This Is Flume'. Every detail in this album was not only sweated over -- it was meticulously planned. To add, one of the added bonuses is that Flume also published a short film with this mix-tape. Not only can you listen to it, but you can also watch it as well! Now, with all of this said, grab your headphones, turn your kettles on, and let's get brewing! (Photo: Property of Future Classic) Album (Mix Tape): Hi This Is Flume Artist: Flume Year: 2019 Primary Tea Pairing: Gu-Shu Puer Secondary Tea Pairings: White Tea or Green Tea Visualizer: Click here 'Hi This Is Flume' opens up to an experimental soundscape that not only captivates you from the second it starts, but it also throttles you into this journey. While we manure our way into this one-of-a-kind soundscape, we're swiftly thrown into a rap verse, before slowly transitioning to a remix of a song by the late hyper-pop, SOPHIE. After the remix, we keep driving down this road by being introduced to another rap verse. The rap-verses not only accompany this album with perfect melody, the carry over the emotions given by this acid-trip of a car ride. While this album continues, and with the visuals, this Cartoon Network-raised shroom-child keeps digging deeper down into the rabbit-hole of self-exploration -- one that would have even made Alice smoke hookah with a blue-caterpillar. While this album continues, especially accompanied with eye-bugging visuals, the album somehow manages to come off raw, sensitive, and spiritual. By the end of the album, our emotions are pushed overboard as we start to feel like we were on this soul-searching drive across the Australian desert with Flume himself. This album is perfect for pairing with tea time because not only is it impactful and emotional, it also works alongside your tea session to help bring you to these emotional self-evident truths. After this album ends, you'll not only feel raw, you'll strangely feel and at peace with yourself. Flume did an incredible job with exploring loss and isolation in his mixtape, he does it in such a way that you feel comforted and reassured as well. For myself, I shed a tear after every time I experience this album. When pairing this album with tea time, you'll see what I mean by that this is one of the greatest electronic, experimental, and soul-searching ethereal albums ever made. However, it's up to you to decide to hop in the car with Harley and go on this journey with him... Click HERE to join the discussion on Instagram! Look out for next week, as we'll have a very special gust taking over next week's 'Music Monday'! Stay tuned! ~ The Oolong Drunk "Blissfully Tea Drunk"

  • Music Monday! Let's Rise this Sinking Ship... Week of 3/29/21

    Hello hello! Last week, we visited the revitalized modernization of the 80's with M83's Junk! While continuing on the momentum of retro nostalgia, this week we'll continue to take a blast from the modernized-nostalgic past with another aesthetic-pleasing album that captures the air and stillness of 1970's psychedelic vocal pop-rock, while putting a renovated twist to the general. This week we'll be pairing tea time with Weyes Blood's fourth studio triumph, Titanic Rising. With this tea and album pairing, I highly recommend listening to this album with your eyes closed, wrapped in a warm blanket, and without skipping any tracks. I also recommend listening to this album with a good set of headphones and letting it take you to a meditative high. (Photo credit: Property of Sub Pop Records) Album: Titanic Rising Artist: Weyes Blood Year: 2019 Primary Tea Pairing: Gu-Shu Sheng Puer Secondary Tea Pairings: Rock Oolong or Black Tea Weyes Blood's 4th studio albums immediately opens up to the dreamscape of the early 1970s with a incapsulating classical-instrument arrangement -- only to halt in it's tracks and two you into the dreamy echo-chamber of her haunting vocals; vocals that sound like the love-child of Anne Murray and Janice Ian what are backed by a production that instantly make you feel like you're tripping on organic California-grown mushrooms. The album continues with it's purple-haze and pink-champaign aesthetic by halting the album halfway through to throw you into a cinematic-electronic elevated trip -- turning the rest of the album on its side. This moment, right here, the Titanic was rising from the water-grave to a tie-dye sky. The last half of this album takes you down this experimental nostalgic turn -- making you feel like God enshrined in vulnerability that just took a sheet of stardust underneath the tongue. The album's mid-way turn is not only jaw-dropping, it's a godly masterpiece. This album is perfect for tea time because Weyes Blood's take on this album lined-up perfectly with the opening of tea-leaves, and undoubtedly matched to the timing of a solo session. This album not only helped me ascent into the gates of a floating foggy cemetery, it made me rise above everything that I had left behind on the tea table. When you pair this piece of art with your next tea session, you'll also see why this experimental album is pure perfection for tea and meditation.... Click HERE to join the discussion on Instagram! -- The Oolong Drunk "Blissfully Tea Drunk"

  • Music Monday! Let's Modernize The 80's... Week of 3/15/21

    Hello hello! Last week, we explored one of the heaviest albums ever made by the Indie-Rock Queen -- Mitski. However, for this week, I wanted to throw another curveball at you with one of the most genius '80s themed albums of all time. This week, we'll be pairing tea-time with Junk by M83! M83, a French-Electonic band quickly sky-rocketed to fame with their hit-album, 'Hurry Up, We're Dreaming (2011). For at least the next five years, and even now, you couldn't turn on the TV or radio without hearing one of the tracks from that album. While riding on the 80's elects-theme of 'Hurry Up, We're Dreaming, M83 flipped the scrip by going from a spiritual journey to a funky-fresh one. While M83is taking a break from taking on larger projects, heat your kettle, put on your headphones, and be prepared to be transported into the land of Kenny G-inspired saxophone solos, and Punky Brewster... (Photo: Property of M83 Recording Inc.) Album: Junk Artist: M83 Year: 2016 Primary Tea Pairing: Sheng Puer Secondary Tea Pairings: Shou Puer and White Tea In M83's 7th studio album, we're brought into a retro-futuristic world where we're automatically transported to an 80's funky piano-riff, twangy electric guitars, and a 2010's rave-drop. The mental visualizations of VHS-projected neon-colors immediately intertwine with the introduction's serious tone to quickly set the serious, yet goofy soundscape is here to help you grove in your seat. As the album progresses, it gets funkier, goofier, and emotional -- all at the right moments. As the album continues to go on, you're hurdled through outer space and land in a Macy's mall elevator that possesses a poster for an upcoming TV hit -- Punky Brewster. Despite thematically transporting you to a Judi Sheppard Missett jazzercise infomercial, this album takes a serious tone musically and lyrically. One of this album's strengths lies in re-introducing the long-lost music sensation of solos. Yes, solos! This album brings back the musical-solo and features saxophone solos, electric-guitar solos, electronic key-board solos, and even a harmonica solos. With solos and other retro-themes, M83 ties in these themes with the current state of modernized-pop music currently sits to tie in a wide-variety of influences that seem to effortlessly work when M83 orchestrates them together. To add a cherry on top of this mix, M83 also features the vocal talents of Susanne Sundfør and Beck. This album is fantastic to listen to with tea time because it's not only captivating and helps bring out the best in the wheel of emotions this album captures. This album captures child-like nostalgia, and despite being fun, also strikes a strong emotional chord. This album also makes for a great- music-and-tea pairing because it flows beautifully from song to song -- enhancing all of the best attributes of meditating with tea. When this album ends, you will too be transported to the back-seat road trip of your dad's van as the orange highway lights glow into your tea session... ~The Oolong Drunk Blissfully Tea Drunk Click HERE to head on over to Instagram to join the discussion on this week's Music Monday!

  • 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

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