Some nights when my tea selection turns out to be particularly boring (I'm looking at you Haiwan Peacock Quest...), I'll open up my honey drawer to cheer things up a bit. Actually the photo below is a bit misleading as I also have 5 alternative locations where various honeys are stashed including two different desks at work. Honeys last for an eternity so you can take tiny spoonfuls periodically for a decade and still not finish it off even when you hold official honey tasting parties and impromptu tastings when friends drop by. Half of these honeys are older than a decade and the flavors are still quite lively. Some have developed more complex flavors as they liquify and ferment on top.
You can see how extremely dark the Miel de Rangiroa is compared to the creamy multi-floral honey from Waimea on the left. The Rangiroa honey is made by French bees taken to French Polynesia by a French beekeeper Meri Tuam and has a lovely dusky and uniquely sour flavor that is uniquely not french. One day I will return to this atoll, swim over the Tiputa Pass, and then fill my suitcase with this dark wonder and my life will be complete. This dark honey tastes very different from another dark varietal - Black Forest pine honey hiding in the back which has a dominant mineral profile. Can you imagine what comes out of the body of bees who collect honeydew secreted by insects who live on the pine sap. A German friend brought back his uncle's pine honey which is now long gone and replaced by a supermarket jar which is also surprisingly good.
The last honey in the row(Lusern) I brought back from South Africa after a particularly grueling stint for work years ago but I love South Africa and the warm South Africans. This Lusern Heuning has a medicinal and unfamiliar herbal flavor which is one of the most sheng-like honey in my collection along with the arbutus honey.
When I think of my jars of hard-earned honey that were lugged home from the various corners of the earth or brought by friends, most jars have an abundance of memory attached to them. I am a bit sad that I have purchased most of my puerh collection quite anonymously online. Even when a tea comes into your life without any more effort than a paypal payment, it does not diminish a power of a good tea. Despite their pedestrian internet provenance, a tea can be loved and shared amongst friends.