Four years ago today on January 8th, I started ‘theoolongdrunk.com' where I set out to review tea. What originally started as a fun time-passing hobby turned into an obsession that brought out an adoring passion for all of tea and tea culture.
I first got into tea when a client of mine (as a dietitian) told me about tea. I set out to the bougie grocery-store on my lunch break, bought an oolong for $10.00, and went to my nearest coffee shop to grab a cup of hot water. After making and drinking it, I was pleasantly surprised that this is what my client was ranting and raving about — mainly because of how bitter and gross it was. Disappointed that I felt like I had just wasted $10.00, I did an internet search, went back to get more hot water on my next break, and made it again. It was the deciding decision of whether I’d gift the tea to my client and never try tea again, or keep enjoying it for the future to come… Can you guess which one happened?
Fast forward to the end of that year, I came across a company called Bitterleaf Teas. I first discovered what puer-tea was, and in that moment. was completely stumped. I kept on searching the internet for more answers where I landed on Yunnan Sourcing, and purchased a brick and a cake. Eventually, I came across White2Tea and made my first ‘haul’. Then after digging deeper, I came back around to Bitterleaf Teas.
Bitterleaf Teas is important to this story, mainly because talking to Jonah is the reason why I got into blogging. I launched an Instagram account where I originally intended to name myself ‘OddiTea’, and drink odd and bizarre teas. But I eventually landed on ‘TheOolongDrunk’ — as a homage to the tea I had first tried. My first photo was my White2Tea haul, and my second-photo was from a Yunnan Sourcing tea. However, after discussing tea in a chain of back-to-back emails, I bought ‘Honeycomb’ — a 2015 Fall Bing Dao sheng puer. This was the moment where I realized that I needed to start my own site and start talking about the teas in front of me.
After a few months of trying to find my voice, I finally got into a grove and got to Honeycomb seven posts later, back in May of 2016. That was the tea, and that was the review, where I realized that I had a deeper love for this drink and wanted to keep digging further. For reference, here are a few excerpts from my earlier posts, with a few of my own reactions…
“The first thing I noticed when opening this cake is that, in my gayest accent possible, its beaUtifulllll!!!!!!” — Review of What-Cha’s first Sheng Puer February 16th, 2016
Oh my god. Why didn’t my editor stop me right there and then?
(Below is a photo from that review)
I think I grossly assumed Paul is a hip-hop head. I specifically remember thinking that the tea community was much larger, and now looking back in comparison, it’s so much larger now than back then. Only in reflection, it felt like a quiet time.
(Below is a photo from that review)
“I had a tiffany while lying in bed one night watching Breakfast at Tiffany’s and thought, “I write a blog called The Oolong Drunk and i’ve only reviewed puer. Damn,am I the only one who sees a problem with this?” Well the wait is over.” What-Cha’s Taiwanese Milk Oolong
Can I pretend that I didn’t post that god-awful dad-joke? Or did that mean I was cool? Either way, I was trying too damn hard. Outside of that, I didn’t think past drinking oolongs when drinking tea and didn’t expect to fall for, well, everything else under the umbrella. However, three years ago, I took down my ‘Welcome to my Blog’ post, as the cringe was too much. If you’re one of the lucky twenty people who read it in January of 2016, then congratulations!
(Below is a photo from that review)
For the posts before, I kept silly and middle-school humor of a tone. But over the next few years, a more serious tone crept through. In four years, I have,
Been a guest speaker at the Houston Tea Fest
Reported on and spoke at the Mid West Tea Fest
Be published in Fresh Cup Magazine
Drink tea live on the radio
Drink tea with Scott of Yunnan Sourcing and appear along-side him in a Youtube video
Get blocked from several tea-companies on multiple platforms due to calling them out on shady business practices.
Gain popularity on r/Tea
Argue with people on r/Tea
Lose popularity on r/Tea
Got off r/Tea
Met people from all over the world to drink tea with
And make lots of friendships connections that is one of the most deep-rooted cornerstones to how I am as a person.
This journey allowed me to open up to many different points of view, meet different people, and above all else, made me open my eyes to other worlds and get out of my bubble.
So, what’s coming for the next?
This is where I have a special announcement.
As you might know by now, writing is something that I believe to be incredibly fun and therapeutic. I’ve also ventured into writing some about my personal life on here, and although not too frequently, it’s something I’m continuing to do. Besides my goal of drinking tea with Lana Del Rey, I took on the project that will take up the majority of my time
By the end of August of this year, the first draft of my book will be complete.
The book doesn’t have a title yet but is a book of stories from leaving a past of trauma and jumping onto a clean slate. When you’ve lived a life full of devastating events, you lose yourself in staying in ‘fight or flight’ mode. This story marks a journey of a full single year and tackles my past, current social issues, a touch of politics, and the discovery of finding one’s self. When the waters have been a rough sea for so long, and you forget what calm water looks like, how do you move forward and where do you start the process of self-discovery?
Some of this social-issues scope the prism of realms such as isolation, homophobia, child abuse, mental health, family, love, hate, and the overall LGBT community, and so much more. However, these are truths that are presented in a story, and this story is best described as a coming-of-age melodrama.
The structure of the book takes on a structure of its own which is heavily influenced by British screenwriters Bryan Elsey and Jamie Brittain, along with other structural and writing influences from TV producer Damon Lindelof, musician Lana Del Rey, musician Lorde, and author David Mitchell. The structure will make you question and wonder what’s going on, and in the end, will tie together in a way that puts everything in perfect perspective.
This is a project I started loosely started working on three months ago, and I’m already 1/6th of the way in. The book currently has 28 chapters and already 17,000 words down on paper. The book is projected to have 100,000 words upon completion. Although that is the current projection, things will change. Word counts will change. And overall, the story will be tweaked and refined. However, this is something that’s being poured out from the heart, and overall, is something that’s emotionally and physically draining. Certain past experiences are coming out that I don’t often talk about and is something that takes a toll on me mentally and emotionally when writing.
When enough of the base-story is complete, I will share a drafted-passage from it on here. Although this requires a lot of dedication, I will keep my blog based on tea and will continue to review, blog, and talk about the world of tea regularly.
You’re more than welcome to message me anytime about this project, and I will try and keep you updated as progress is being made.
I thank you for your love and support.