2015 was a year of ups and downs, like a lot of years. But there was one particular occurrence – while in hindsight it was rather small – sort of summed up this mixed bag of a year. And that small occurrence started with this bag.
I’ll confess that sometimes I can be a snarky bastard.
Many of those times, some of that snark bleeds through onto this blog, or into other parts of my life where it’s not entirely welcome. Case in point: Social media. If ever there was a platform where my snarky nature can’t help but thrive, it’s there. Often to my detriment and to the undeserved.
Allow me to highlight such an example.
A few weeks ago, the lovely, gracefully-wordy, and diplomatic Jen Piccotti wrote a blog covering an announcement from Scotland. Many of the new tea growers – including one I was familiar with, Dalreoch (aka. The Wee Tea Plantation) – staged their first ever Scottish Tea Growers Association meeting.
Da Hong Pao literally means “Big Red Robe” in Chinese, and it has a very big history. There are no less than five origin stories for this particular kind of tea. The most famous, exported legend deals with an emperor (or imperial official) whose mother was ill, and teas produced from Da Hong Pao trees cured her of her illness. In gratitude for this, the official/monarch covered the four original trees in “big red robes” to signify their importance.
I’m used to running into an oolong I’ve never heard of. It’s kind of my thing. But finding next-to-no information on a particular style of oolong is my greatest joy . . . and biggest pet peeve. It all started when I was put into contact with this guy.
This is Jeff Kovac of Four Seasons Tea – a new outfit specializing in rare and rarely-heard-of offerings from China and Taiwan. His name first popped up on my radar when Tony “World of Tea” Gebely sent me an e-mail. Shortly after that, I was contacted by Jeff himself.
At the time, I was still trying to whittle down my backlog of tea samples, and I was making some progress at it. That being said, I sort of had an unspoken moratorium on new samples put in place. I had to get through what I possessed before welcoming anything new.
That resolve didn’t last very long once I saw what he carried.
At the beginning of November, I received a curious invite.
Well, that was new. I don’t get press releases very often, and I certainly wasn’t expecting one from Smith Teamaker. I knew they were opening up their new location, soon. But I had no idea that I was on the short list of press folks to cover said opening.
I, unfortunately, sat on the invite for a week because my mind was elsewhere. Thirty blogs of elsewhere. Smith’s press liaison, however, followed up to make sure I had RSVP’d . . . and I did. Right then.