Monday, September 04, 2017

Labor Day Tea Reflections

Dear reader I hope you are resting and effortlessly drinking good tea on this Labor Day.

My hubs is away on a rafting trip which in previous years meant days of serious weekend brewing from dawn to dusk.  These days I continuously brew leaf and bean but without quite the analytic fervor that made for years of enthusiastic tea blogging.  Now days, I mostly wanna have just a good time but today I hunker down to capture a few observations on the impact of dietary changes on tea taste. Good times!

In the tea enjoyment equation, the tea can change, your brewing method can change or you can change.  I am exploring the very last option as I've put my body in a unique opportunity to do so. For the fun of experimentation,  I've severely cranked down sugar and carb consumption. Why you ask? Why deprive oneself of the sweet sweet joys of life from luscious fruits to buttery baked wonders?  I'm sheepish to admit that I've gone keto to achieve higher brain function. (tldr; changing primary fuel of glucose to burning fats.) 

Is a brain fueled by fats any better for tea enjoyment? When you severely restrict food types subtracting the very edibles that make life so worth living, tea becomes one of the few remaining sources of gustatory pleasure.  On the upside, my palate is hyper sensitive to sugar.  Oolong has become my dessert of choice and I'm exceedingly grateful I even have oolongs as a worthy substitute. Life without fruits once unthinkable  (those plump juicy orbs how I miss you) has been endured with cups of oolong. But unexpectedly, the sweetness in shus I used to taste has been overwhelmed by a more mineral and umami profile. A baseline brick shu I've drunk a lot now tastes pleasantly of the sea.  If I were to compare taste memories,  this single tea has become almost two different teas.  On the downside- teas also taste dryer in the mouth so astringent shengs are decidedly out but I've been in keto adaptation for only two weeks so I need to give shengs a more thorough sampling.

From the decades of tea drinking, I've found my own physical apparatus to be the least reliable and most variable part of the equation.  There are many easy and not so easy ways you can manipulate your palate at a physical level from inducing hunger to increase olfactory sensitivity to the more extreme method of carb deprivation. (Mental tamperings I leave for another post.)  Rather than trying yet more new teas,  I find altering myself to experience different dimensions of the same teas deeply more satisfying and worthy of further investigation.