For my birthday last week, I took a trip up to Seattle with the GF. We went for a wedding, but I seized the time as an opportunity to meet some people from the Seattle tea community – Including Oolong Owl, and James from Tea DB – and do some tea tasting at both Floating Leaves Tea, and Crimson Lotus Tea.
I’m terrible at taking photos on vacation, so I actually have no pictures of Seattle…but I did manage to come back with some teas and new knowledge. The trip was one of those adventure journey experiences that leaves you flat on your ass, and flips all that you know, forcing you to take a step backward. Drinking with such enthusiastic veteran members of the West coast tea community was amazing. I was able to try many new teas, and leave with some great samples (thank you Owl!) that I can learn about even more vendors and tastes from. My time drinking with them and the staff of Floating Leaves Tea left an impression on my own “tea journey” that will stay with me a lifetime.
Shiuwen, owner of Floating Leaves Tea House, is as fantastic and energetic as a bump of cocaine, yet as wise as Master Yoda – if there was a tea equivalent. As humble as she may try to present herself to visitors, Shiuwen’s understanding and love for Taiwanese Oolong is extraordinary. Sharing tea and time with her deepened my curiosity for teas that I had felt ignorantly comfortable with previously. On another note…she ruined Dong Ding for me. Many have had similar experiences. Shiuwen’s passion for Dong Ding has given customers and friends a wonderful opportunity to try teas that otherwise may have been out of our grasp. Other companies also do admirable sourcing, but it seems that Shiuwen has a knack for it that lets her crack into the really good stuff.
My next tea stop was with Glen and Lamu at Crimson Lotus Tea. I’m fairly new to pu’er, and lucky for me the couple is dedicated to helping newcomers grow into the world of pu’er. All of us having spent time in Asia (Lamu of course much much more time), Glen and Lamu for tea related business, myself for studying, it was fun exchanging stories with them. Hearing Glen and Lamu discuss Yunnan’s pu’er industry and their adventures within it coupled with a few shengs brewed up by Glen created a welcome and warm atmosphere for the session. Glen and Lamu are very relaxed, so as a nervous traveler trying my best to be a decent guest, these guys were wonderful and welcoming hosts. I appreciate that Glen and Lamu encourage others to try teas however they’d like, and offer basic guidance for those in need. They really seem to value the discovery that each person needs to make on their own during their own journey. I can’t wait to explore even more of the pu’er out there in the world…
Did I mention I was lucky enough to meet them on my birthday? What would a birthday be without cake!
A wonderful trip. I will continue to slowly learn more with every cup, and never stop striving to learn more. Question everything folks, and keep on the path most rewarding. It never ends, and an ultimate truth may never be found, but you’ll be better for it anyway.