Tuesday, July 4, 2006

An Offline With "bearsbearsbears" and "MarshalN"

On Sunday 7/2/06, I had an excellent time meeting some fellow tea friends, Marshaln and bearsbearsbears ("BBB"), in Pasadena. Unexpectedly, BBB and I arrived 1/2 an hour earlier than planned, so we decided to hit Heritage's wine bar where I tasted 5 yummy zinfandels and bbb had a glass of pinot grigio while we further “crush the already broken ice.”

After a few sips of wine, cooled down and relaxed, the both of us met Marshaln outside of Chado Tea Room at the appointed time to begin the tea fun. I brought along my tea set, which included 2 gaiwans, a fairness cup, and 6 gongfu yixing cups among others. Setting these apparatus up invited some “curious” looks from the manager and the staffs. You see, they are more accustomed to customers drinking their tea…ummm…differently (I don't want to sound snobbish by saying “outta polka-dotted teapots,” which is totally fine by me!). We invited the manager to taste with us, which he gladly accepted and joined us for a few rounds, although he dropped out midway for unknown reason (tea drunk?).

MarshalN brought along with him his stash of Da Hong Pao (@ $300/lb), which was very pleasant, mellow, fruity, floral and quite complex, imho. BBB brought along a sample of 1997 Xi-Zhi Hao "Yi Wu Zheng Shan Wild Big-Tree," (@ $145/357gr beeng) which was a bit simple and light for a brand that is supposed to be, to quote the vendor: "The very premium Pu-erh series that has a rich historical background and ranked No. 1 of several selected 2005 pu-erhs by Asian T4U forum members!" Perhaps we didn't use hot enough water. I brought with me the 2005 Chang Tai Yiwu "Pure Ancient Tree" beeng (@ ~ $7/100gr beeng), which my fellow tea mates found reasonably pleasant, I believe, for a young tea, though not overly complex either.

Thanks for the pic, BBB!

We had a flowing and lively conversation and I learned a lot about tea and non-tea things from them. After 2.5 hours, unfortunately, we had to part way because MarshalN had a flight to catch (I later learned he almost missed). As a token of our newfound friendships, I gifted BBB a bottle of 2002 York Creek Port, Spring Mtn., Napa Valley and MarshalN a 2003 Ridge Lytton Springs Zinfandel, both of which are my heavy favorites.

I enjoyed the offline tremendously, and was very happy to have met them in person! I look forward to the day we could meet again and also to meet other tea friends.

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