Connecting with Tea Lovers through History and in the Modern Day

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It is no secret that I love old things. I originally envisioned this blog as a vintage blog, before my love of beauty and later tea took center stage. And over the last year, my Historical Tea Sessions have been some of my favorite videos to research and create. And I think one of my favorite things about this project is connecting with historical figures who seem to have shared my own intrigue with new and different teas.

In my Baisao video, I mention how the old tea seller writes of his get-togethers with a friend who brings him a new tea and how intensely interested he is in that experience, while in my video on Abigail Adams, I talked about how her husband John wrote in his letters about sending her new teas to try that he encountered on his travels. This idea of sharing tea with loved ones and fellow tea-lovers transcending the boundaries of time and geography fills me with a unique warmth. Similarly, I’ve found my own little worldwide community of tea-lovers in the present day with whom to share new and interesting teas we’ve found.

And I think one of the most interesting new things I’ve learned through my tea community was that white teas outside of Fuding in China are definitely worth checking out. It started with Chado Tea House reaching out to me and offering me some teas for review. I chose one based on an upcoming literary tea session, but the other, I took their suggestion to try their Colombian white tea, simply because it just sounded so intriguing. I was unaware that tea was grown in Colombia, and to have it be a white tea, rather than a commodity black tea was curiouser and curiouser.

When it arrived, it was an extremely generous quarter pound of tea, in a massive bag to contain the large and fluffy leaves. It had the fluff level of a really nice Bai Mudan. I decided to pretend I was a professional tea taster and sit down to this in my cupping set, steeped with boiling water (as I do almost all of my white teas), for a few minutes at a time. Now, this isn’t a comprehensive tasting note post, as I want to try this gongfu style before sharing my official thoughts, but right away I was struck by how different this was from Chinese white tea. It almost reminded me of Taiwanese teas, with its smooth mouthfeel and subtle sweetness. Keep an eye out for full tasting notes in the future.

And then I saw a post from Jin and Tea about the Benifuki Japanese white tea from UNYtea that I’ve seen pop up throughout my social feeds and decided that it was finally time to give that a try. And, once again, I was met with a delightfully different white tea that expanded my concept of what a white tea is. As much as I bemoan the constant stream of new and interesting things that lead me to have such a bursting tea cabinet, social media is a wealth of inspiration to keep tea drinking interesting and new. And it reminds me of a modern-day equivalent to John Adams’ gifts to his wife or Baisao’s visiting friend. So let’s all keep in touch and keep our tea community alive for the next several hundred years!

NB: The Colombian white tea was sent to me free of charge in exchange for featuring. All thoughts are my own. If you’re interested in collaborating with me, please read my contact and collaboration information.

On Instagram and my Blogging Evolution

When I was a teenager, I had a diary. I wrote in it erratically. When I was having boy troubles or drama, I would write in it more frequently. It wasn’t pink or have a lock; it was just a regular blank-book journal that I made entries in when I wanted to obsess about something normal teenaged girls obsess about or coo over how many dolphins I saw when we went to the beach. I remember some of the entries, although I don’t have the physical books anymore. My mother definitely used to read it, and even found out things she probably didn’t want to know about me from it.

Then the internet came along. I got an email account and a LiveJournal. I mostly wrote LiveJournal posts back and forth with my then-long-distance-boyfriend. When I was happy in my relationship, I wrote about inane things like taking long walks and having a lovely cup of tea (funny how things don’t change). I even got my first troll, who seemed personally offended by the light, happy, sweet tone of the journal. I eventually abandoned both the relationship and the LiveJournal.

Much later on, I started a Blogger blog about running and cooking. Mostly I’ve always been a fair cook and people always asked for my recipes. At the time, I was a relatively high-mileage runner, and I did long runs on Saturday, so I would blog each weekend about my post-run brunches. I also cooked dinner from scratch every night for my then-husband. It offered me an opportunity to make a record of my recipes and also an easy way to share the links with friends who asked. Along the way, I became interested in various alternative diets.

This morphed into a blog about herbalism, which later on morphed into a blog about Zen when I was going through the upheaval around my divorce. Eventually I realized that while Zen and minimalism appealed to me when I was essentially a nomad and feeling very cut loose in life, I am not by nature a minimalist, and my own personal lightness and fluff (long walks and tea time) started creeping back in.

Which brings us to Tea Leaves and Tweed. This is not an entirely fluffy blog. It’s not just a tea blog or a beauty blog or a style blog. It’s not really a lifestyle blog except inasmuch as it represents my lifestyle. But it’s a place to share my thoughts and hope that maybe someone else finds them interesting to read.

Sadly, I often become too lazy to do all the work that goes into a really good blog post. I don’t take the time to take photos, upload them, edit them, and craft them into a blog post with visual appeal. Sometimes it’s just me at the keys and my thoughts as text. But lately, I’ve started seeing Instagram as a sort of mini-blogging platform. Instead of just snapping a picture and sharing it with an “isn’t this neat?” caption, I’ll write a couple of sentences and share something from my life that goes along with the photo. So anyone who wonders where I’ve gone when I’m not posting here, I encourage you to check out my Instagram and see if that, more bite-sized format is proving less difficult for me at the time.

At the very least, you’ll get to see pictures from my long walks and tea times.