Friday, September 28, 2012

Shoveling Compost

Yesterday I went for a run at the Berkeley Marina when I was welcomed by tall mounds of pristine black gold.  Several times a year, city of Berkeley dumps municipal compost at the Berkeley Marina free for anyone to lug away. After trying to run a mile and half, I got excited and returned with my truck and a shovel.

The word "compost" shows up in many a bad shu review.  But after breathing in and tasting compost dust for an hour,  I'll never be so casual to overuse such hyperbole again. 

Ira has unexpectedly sent me a welcome box crammed with timely tea.  After a trying day, it warms my heart to see her handwriting. I know I've turned into a samples hoarder but winter is coming and I want to be ready.   I've thus far kept up my two month no-buy pact.  Tonight I brewed up perhaps one of the most expensive shu bricks to cross my path.  Although I am itching to use the C word on the latent wodui,  I've decided not to post anything further and let this sleep.  The shock is too much even for me.


  1. Does this constant stream of samples from others not break the spirit of your no-buy pact?

  2. Not at all Doctor! No-buy pact was made to stop myself from buying another boatload of gratuitous beengs when I clearly knew

    1. Berkeley aging conditions are terrible
    2. None of the cakes I had bought recently are as good as the cakes I procured in 2006/2007 and new stuff just costs so much more.

    I reached a learning plateau with conventional internet tea buying. I still want to continue on my tea education and find excellent tea.
    You may have missed the fine print--
    "won't buy any more tea for oneself (from the normal internet)"


    1. You should be a lawyer

    2. Hster, I am curious to know: do you know (speak/read) Chinese? I know you mentioned Korean ancestry... Essentially, I am curious how much can one learn about tea knowing only European languages like me :-(

    3. Dear Hektor,

      It depends on what you mean by "learning about tea." I learn more about tea by drinking quality teas than by reading. I had read ad nauseum about traditional storage but it was only when I finally tried a whole lot of them this summer that I truly learned and educated my palate about wet storage.

      We also have a strong community of english writing bloggers and commenters devoted to dispersing any grain of pu-erh knowledge so I think understanding Chinese is not necessary. IMHO, getting your hands on educationally enriching pu-erh samples is far more important than learning Chinese.

      I do rely on Chrome automatic translation and babelcarp rather than recognizing chinese characters from memory. But the more I look at the philosophic meaning of the ideograms- the more I do want to learn Chinese in my senescence.


  3. Receiving freely given samples from tea friends is a far cry from blowing cash on mystery beengs (or bits-o-beengs), methinks.

    Being a fan of hyperbole myself, I'd like to say that I'd rather drink steeped compost than many shus.

    Once I brewed a pot or two of old shu brick for a friend who is a stranger to tea and she said: "This tastes like a shoe." That's a true story.

    Good job on the no-buy, Hster. And thanks so much for the package. You're a peach.


    1. Israel,

      I will concede MarshalN does have a point. I and other pu-erh heads suffer from trying to acquire as much quality tea and possible and perhaps the no-buy pact should have something to do with moderation. I've never gotten so many different kinds of tea in as short of a timespan as I did during this no buy pact.

      p.s. I'm assuming the steeped compost comes from a gentler house blend? Compost comes in more flavors than shu. Only by whiff, I know steer, chicken, and horse are stronger stuff than worm castings or rabbit.

    2. Yes, house blend only. I avoid all animal pu.

      sorry, you can delete that if you want,