Like wine geeks, there are tea geeks

Tasting notes, varietals, grapes - anything related to wine
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Bruce Leiser_owitz
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Like wine geeks, there are tea geeks

#1 Post by Bruce Leiser_owitz » January 12th, 2012, 9:27 am

If you read this article and substitute "wine" for "tea," this article is going to seem very familiar to many of you......

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me ... full.story

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Re: Like wine geeks, there are tea geeks

#2 Post by Ryan Moses » January 12th, 2012, 9:53 am

I love the line "drinkable antique."

There is such a cool old-world-style ritual and layered appreciation of all the parts involved in the process. It reminds me of decanting wine, brewing coffee, or mixing classic cocktails.

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Re: Like wine geeks, there are tea geeks

#3 Post by CWun » January 12th, 2012, 10:28 am

Tea and coffee geeks are just as obsessive and snobby if not more so. They act like the forgotten middle child.
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Re: Like wine geeks, there are tea geeks

#4 Post by alan weinberg » January 12th, 2012, 10:51 am

Mark Estrin, now deceased, of Wine House and Red Car fame, got me very interested in tea long ago. He was a real aficionado.
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Re: Like wine geeks, there are tea geeks

#5 Post by loren.grossman » January 12th, 2012, 11:49 am

I have a tea geek friend. His habit is easily as expensive as mine. He obsesses about serving temperature and steeping times. We went to Bordeaux for a week and visited Paris for a day before going home. His high moment on the trip? Mariage Freres Tea Salon in St. Germain. I had a blast learning about tea with him - and the aromatics are fantastic.

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Re: Like wine geeks, there are tea geeks

#6 Post by Matthew Brown » January 12th, 2012, 12:07 pm

Got to visit a tea emporium in Beijing and spent an hour getting to taste the different styles and learn some of the customs. Got to see some of the $1500+ aged bricks. Don't have time for all the ceremony at home so didn't buy much, but in the right environment it's feels very significant culturally. One of the highlights of the trip.
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Brent C l a y t o n
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Like wine geeks, there are tea geeks

#7 Post by Brent C l a y t o n » January 12th, 2012, 12:31 pm

There are some tea geeks/threads here as well.

www.uptontea.com


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Re: Like wine geeks, there are tea geeks

#8 Post by Bob Hunnicutt » January 12th, 2012, 12:55 pm

Did you know coffee judges are called "cuppers?" The stuff you can learn while on vacation on the Big Island.
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Like wine geeks, there are tea geeks

#9 Post by Brent C l a y t o n » January 12th, 2012, 12:58 pm

'Cupping' is the standard lingo for tasting/evaluating coffee.


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Re: Like wine geeks, there are tea geeks

#10 Post by Cris Whetstone » January 12th, 2012, 1:07 pm

Brent C l a y t o n wrote:'Cupping' is the standard lingo for tasting/evaluating coffee.
No cork soaking or polishing?
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Re: Like wine geeks, there are tea geeks

#11 Post by Nick Ryan » January 12th, 2012, 1:15 pm

Goodness me.
"It's kind of got that dirty bandage taste," Louise Yang says.
Brett. Gotta be Brett.
Die-hard collectors buy young pu'er teas and wait for them to age. "With a cake of pu'er, you are buying it believing that it's going to become something," Fasi said. "It's almost like the aspirations you would have for a child."
[whistle.gif]

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The scent of this shu pu'er's wet leaves was pleasant, certainly. Mulchy and wet without smelling dirty, that "forest floor after the rain" euphemism that changes "smells like dirt" into a fond recollection of sierran enjoyment.
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Re: Like wine geeks, there are tea geeks

#12 Post by paul hanna » January 12th, 2012, 2:23 pm

Yeah but Tea geeks don't really have a valid excuse for wild, crazy, out of control behavior like we do, unless it's something like:

"Oh, I had 200 cups of tea today and am just so buzzed from all the caffeine...."

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Re: Like wine geeks, there are tea geeks

#13 Post by John Morris » January 12th, 2012, 2:38 pm

One of the greatest wine geeks I know -- an Italian -- became a tea geek, too. You have varietal dimensions, blends and terroir! What more could a wine geek want?
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Re: Like wine geeks, there are tea geeks

#14 Post by M. Dildine » January 12th, 2012, 4:03 pm

I'm a green tea geek.

I go Green during the day ... Red at night.
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Re: Like wine geeks, there are tea geeks

#15 Post by rachel mcdonald » January 12th, 2012, 4:07 pm

I don't know if I'm a full fledged tea geek, but I'm well on my way. I have a serious oolong habit. I like black, pu'er and green tea too, but once you've had
great oolong it's tough to drink anything else.

If I had to make a comparison of oolong tea geeks to wine geeks, they correspond most closely to the Burgundy folks. They drink other teas, and they'll discuss other teas, but in their eyes nothing compares to the complexities and subtle variations of oolong. You want to discuss the subtleties of each successive steeping? Oolong tea geeks are the folks to find. (Generally number three for me, but sometimes the second steeping is best)

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Like wine geeks, there are tea geeks

#16 Post by JonoBeagle » January 12th, 2012, 4:14 pm

I'm a tea geek! Loud and Proud... stirthepot.gif

I'm a British Tea Council Accredited Tea Master.

Anyone for mini-2010 Pu-ehr?? :p


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Re: Like wine geeks, there are tea geeks

#17 Post by Brent C l a y t o n » January 12th, 2012, 4:29 pm

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Re: Like wine geeks, there are tea geeks

#18 Post by Kevin Lloyd » January 12th, 2012, 4:41 pm

John Morris wrote:One of the greatest wine geeks I know -- an Italian -- became a tea geek, too. You have varietal dimensions, blends and terroir! What more could a wine geek want?
alcohol.

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Re: Like wine geeks, there are tea geeks

#19 Post by Linda Baehr » January 12th, 2012, 7:20 pm

I have become a tea geek in the past couple of years. When I was in Red Blossom Tea in SF in the late summer, Alice, one of the family of owners, referred to me to one of the other customers as a "heavy user". I felt Like I was in an opium den. [snort.gif]
But seriously, appreciating good tea is similar to wine- there are a LOT of very complex and nuanced teas, and discovering their flavors is similar to appreciating wine. [cheers.gif]
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Re: Like wine geeks, there are tea geeks

#20 Post by G. D y e r » January 12th, 2012, 7:38 pm

Kevin Lloyd wrote:
John Morris wrote:One of the greatest wine geeks I know -- an Italian -- became a tea geek, too. You have varietal dimensions, blends and terroir! What more could a wine geek want?
alcohol.
Beat me to it!

I like a nice boost of caffeine, but more for productivity than contemplation. Caffeine is the opposite of mellow, though tea is not as hyperactive as coffee. I do appreciate that it's generally not a diuretic.

Wine is the ticket for relaxation that won't keep you up, provided you don't drink an hour or two before bed. Caffeine sticks with me all night.
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Re: Like wine geeks, there are tea geeks

#21 Post by D@vid Bu3ker » January 13th, 2012, 4:20 am

Love tea - not quite to the geek level, but enjoy surfing the variations, especially in Darjeelings and Oolongs.

Upton Tea is my enabler of choice.
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Re: Like wine geeks, there are tea geeks

#22 Post by Andrew Demaree » January 13th, 2012, 5:35 am

Like you, David, I enjoy it a lot but am not yet at geek status. Any particular recommendations from Upton?

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Re: Like wine geeks, there are tea geeks

#23 Post by J a y H a c k » January 13th, 2012, 6:54 am

Bob Hunnicutt wrote:Did you know coffee judges are called "cuppers?" The stuff you can learn while on vacation on the Big Island.
I sat next to a guy from Seattle (where else) on a plane to Florida who was a judge of World Class barrista competitions, and who had just paid (for his company) the highest price ever paid for a sack of unroasted coffee beans. We compared notes on wine tasting versus coffee tasting. There were certainly many many more similarities than differences. I am not a coffee drinker, but I can easily see tea tastings. I have about a dozen different kinds of tea and I like to make my own blends. J e f f G h i, who is a Port fanatic and posts on wine BBs, markets some very high end tea blends on the side and the stuff is wonderful.
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Re: Like wine geeks, there are tea geeks

#24 Post by Nate Simon » January 13th, 2012, 9:15 am

Sorry, but anyone who pays over a grand for a bunch of moldy leaves puts any Berserker to shame in the geekery category.

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Re: Like wine geeks, there are tea geeks

#25 Post by John Morris » January 13th, 2012, 10:10 am

J a y H a c k wrote: I sat next to a guy from Seattle (where else) on a plane to Florida who was a judge of World Class barrista competitions, and who had just paid (for his company) the highest price ever paid for a sack of unroasted coffee beans. We compared notes on wine tasting versus coffee tasting. There were certainly many many more similarities than differences.
I sat in on a blind tasting of traditional balsamic vinegars conducted by the consorzio in Modena that certifies every bottle of the genuine stuff. It was nearly identical to a blind wine tasting (though without alcohol).
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Re: Like wine geeks, there are tea geeks

#26 Post by Marlene Rossman » January 13th, 2012, 11:15 am

Twenty plus years ago, I was working in London for a month. My mistake regarding food and drink was to order coffee, toast and orange juice. Keep in mind that this was before the Starbuck's (and their offsprings) craze. The coffee tasted like dirty sock juice, the toast was ice cold and soggy and the orange juice was much more sour than grapefruit juice. When I asked for a fresh pot of coffee to be brewed, the waitress haughtily said, "Madam, we drink tea here and that's the best coffee you will get."

I ordered a pot of tea and when I came back to blessed America, I started brewing strong black tea every morning. I take it as the Brits do, with milk and a bit of sweetener. I have not had a cup of coffee since. If you want great tea, try TeaSource or Harney's.

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Re: Like wine geeks, there are tea geeks

#27 Post by K John Joseph » January 13th, 2012, 11:24 am

Nate Simon wrote:Sorry, but anyone who pays over a grand for a bunch of moldy leaves puts any Berserker to shame in the geekery category.
And yet there are countless geeks here who've paid over a grand for old moldy-corked bottles of decaying fermented grape juice/skins/stems. Or for y'Quem, which is made from moldy botrytized berries.

Aside from the alcohol, is it really that different? You're paying for an experience and a memory, and oral and olfactory sensory pleasure. Only difference is the kind of buzz.
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