I'm really cleaning out the tea closet. A true sign of a hoarder is a painful inability to part with any piece of their treasured hoard. My first serious subtraction is a box of shu little over 5 pounds that I dropped off at the post office today. I have 10 more pounds ready to handover to a friend visiting from Hawaii this weekend.
What's the first thing one should do after clearing out tea? Buy more tea of course... I limited myself to a small box of oolong as it's the only kind of tea my body tolerates these days. I ordered from mountaintea.com mainly because they ship from L.A. A box full of tea waiting on my front porch warms my heart like no other delivery.
I ordered a spectrum of oolong to refind my preferences. I used to drink high mountain oolongs fifteen years ago when I didn't know too much about tea and thought they were quite the bee's knees. Who knows what I was actually drinking back then- probably some mediocre oolong marked up as Alishan. I probably would not have known any better back then either.
You can see this vendor thoughtfully color coded their pouches to match oxidation levels with yellow being their light roasted oolong. The tea in the purple pouch is in a unique category of its own- it's an oolong oxidized in the presence of nitrogen to increase naturally occuring GABA levels. The Japanese came up with this discovery twenty years ago while experimenting with alternative preservation methods. Most humans probably could do with more GABA- a neurotransmitter which increases mental alertness as well as tones muscles. The reputed health claims of GABA are so wide and varied that if true- GABA would be a wonder drug.
I don't have an entrance exam to take but I'm always keen to enhance my flagging mental functions. I was playing hooky today to go to the post office so the most mentally taxing thing I had to do was organize panda and polar bear photos on pinterest. I'm not sure I was the beneficiary of increased mental function but if GABA tea had such noticeable effects, should we not see it in almost every store that sells tea? But then America is not so much a hyper-competetive society and not all Americans actually want to be smarter or more focussed. In fact many citizens in Northern California prefer the opposite it seems.
The tea was a pleasant affair - one notch above ho-hum and I'm not motivated to draw it out. I would probably not buy or drink this tea without the reputed health benenfits. In the summer, I love sipping my tea in front of my squash and tomato patch contemplating novel ways of enjoying the summer veggies. After seeing me struggle with my ipad camera and wobbling tea plate, my husband sweetly volunteered to be the hand model in this shot.