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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A gap in tea experiences

I will be the first to admit I have some major gaps in my tea experiences, for instance, I have never taken the time to get to know High Mountain Oolongs from Taiwan, I have almost completely ignored the Subcontinent of India, and Chinese teas offer so much variety that I could pick out half a dozen of small gaps there. In respect to China I feel it would take a life time of experience to try and make heads or tails of the entire gamut of Chinese teas. Granted I have had a decent number of Indian teas, and I have had a number of oolongs from Taiwan, a few of which might have been High Mountain.

People new to tea, can at times go wild buying a little bit of everything, and while I encourage this, I at times have to remind myself if I have only tried a small number of teas in a certain category, that I should not overly boast, or quickly dismiss that entire group. It could easily be that the vendors tastes in terms of that type of tea differ from what you would normally seek. For instance roasted teas have this happen a lot, everyone seems to have their favorite preference for the amount of roasting they want in a certain style of tea. More so one vendor may label a tea as High/ Heavy roast, that another vendor would label as Medium.

The real question is do we ever reach a certain point of comfort in the teas that we have tried that makes us complacent and unwilling to thoroughly explore any gaps that might remain, or any categories written off after trying a few teas not to our liking? I for one will say that so far this year I have not explored beyond my somewhat large comfort zone. and I seem to be in a bit of a process of revisiting old favorites. Part of me says that I have enough tea on hand that I am not that fond of, do I really need to explore and end up with more tea I will almost have to force myself to drink? The other part though is reminded of certain categories of tea that I decided to order almost on a whim, that caught my attention, and are now some of the ones I turn to most often?

Its an interesting puzzle, do you explore just to explore, or do you drink tea because you love it, and you want to drink the teas you love?
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