Saturday, June 06, 2015

Sheng And The Seaside Do Not Mix

I opted for a seaside retreat last week to officially welcome the summer.  The first thing my husband noted when we set foot inside our cabin- "This house smells like puerh. Wet storage." Spoken like a true puerh spouse.

Strangely enough the mustiness of the cabin smelled exactly like a Guangzhou stored cake that needs a bit of airing. The cabin had such spectacular views of the Pacific, I decided to not be bothered.  But being constantly assaulted by smell of (mildly) trad stored sheng dear reader is no way enjoy your precious vacation nor to whet your appetite for an aged sheng session. We had all the windows open.  Summer in Northern California is a chilly affair requiring a goodly amount of fleece and I rarely peeled off except to dunk in the hot tub.

I've tried a few times unsuccessfully to enjoy a sheng session by the sea. Perhaps the tea's interior mountain origin does not meld with the salty seaside air. Perhaps the blustery winds and white noise of the waves are too distracting. Most likely I was not used to the chemistry of the bottled water provided. Whatever the cause, teas I know I enjoyed somewhat just fell flat so I did not bother to brew up the last of the Hai Lang Hao Chawang Yiwu I brought to celebrate.

I am going to give up on taking puerh to the seaside and stick with oolong and hongchas on such trips from now on.  Sheng sessions are finicky as it is on home turf so the force of the ocean is just too much.


  1. Hi,
    I had good results with oolongs and shen puerh. A trick to brewing outdoors is to increase a little bit the concentration of the tea. Also, it's best to take teas that have long mouthfeel than just smell good, because there are so many other smells by the beach. Here are some pix of one of those occasions:

  2. Chèr Stephane,

    The idyllic warm conditions of a Taiwanese beach appear to be much more conducive to a tea session.

    I find colder temperature and wind definitely dulls the taste buds so even teas with strong mouthfeel may suffer here. I'm just extrapolating from the fine chocolates with silky mouthfeel that don't taste their best on our chilly blustery beaches. A Northern California beach alas will rarely be a good place for fine teas or Speedos but this gives me reason to travel.

    Thanks for stopping by,

  3. Chère H,

    Indeed, wind and cold temperatures are not ideal for an outdoor tea brewing. I wish you better luck with your next attempts!