Sunday, October 28, 2012

Sheng Spa Therapy

One of my favorites coolers is the "Nutty Carrot" which I make with a blend of  carrot juice and almond milk. But this weekend I needed a bit of extra cheer and splashed in a teensy bit of Bärenjäger honey liquor to make a "Naughty Carrot".  Even a thimbleful makes all the difference in mouth-feel elevating this healthful beverage into something else entirely.

So when I brewed up the most boring sheng in the world - 2005 Haiwan Remote Mountain Ancient Tree, this is the first time I even contemplated adding booze to my sheng.  I was sick last week and had to nurse myself to health with a few hot toddies.  I like my hot toddies with chamomile tea, honey, lime juice and a slug of brandy.   But even a good measure of the Bärenjäger  did little for this lost brew.

Probably for such boring sheng, a life of humidity and heat would make all the difference in giving it some nuance and depth.  Sometimes to revive dried out sheng, I'll put it under a glass dome with a bowl of water for a few days to a week.  The sheng that Israel sent me barely held any scent indicating a dry life in Montana. I tried to give a few chunks some spa therapy but even after a few days the sheng scent refused to return.  Alas the lid smashed into a thousand pieces due to my butter fingers and now I have to find another replacement.   

It's time to go back to the drawing board and rethink my puerh storage.  There is only one known warm spot in my house- the attic.  It is currently difficult to access, dusty, and is no place for sheng.  My attic would require serious serious renovation to make it a reasonable place to store and access tea.  The gears in my head are cranking as I sneak a few looks at my innocent husband enjoying his evening.


  1. Glad you are feeling better. I've been on the toddy train myself this weekend. We're out of bourbon so I've been making them with congnac! which is probably a waste but they taste real nice. I use honey that we infused with Arrowleaf Balsamroot which has a piney, resinous flavor and is supposedly an immune-system stimulant. But more than anything it tastes good. I'll have to try chamomile and lime.

    1. Dear Israel,

      Cognac- rich indeed! I make mine with brandy that I've had soaking with a bunch of vanilla beans. It's better to live luxuriously esp. when you are under the weather.

      How long do you infuse this Arrowleaf Balsamroot? Do you collect it your self or get it from the town apothecary?


    2. We dig these heavy perennial roots out of the hills ourselves in the spring. It takes some doing, but one batch lasts us two or three years. After shaving off the thick bark, we infuse the honey for many hours low heat on the stove top.

  2. I have been using a giant oversized humidifier in my apartment for overall better health and tea storage. I live in the bone dry mountains of Colorado. I find that although still very inadequate it helps a little. I am lucky though to push my tea storage cabinet past 40-50% humidity. Thats better than the 10%-15% it would be otherwise. I have thought about buying a cigar humidor but those tend to be expensive for the size needed to store tea.. maybe you could build one?