Herb is a tea pet. What’s a tea pet, you might be asking? Well, it’s a long story, and—honestly—one I haven’t taken much interest in. Until now.
Thoughts and commentary on all things tea.
Trigger Warning: The following article discusses religion and race. So, consider yourself doubly warned.
In my Bible readings, there is one aspect I keep coming back to. In the Gospels, Jesus conveyed his teachings through the use parables. Short, fictional stories that often left the listener with more questions than answers. He gave his reason for doing so in Mark 4:10-11, when his disciples asked about them: “He told them, ‘The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables[…]”
These vignettes weren’t just moral lessons, they were the only way Jesus could convey Divine wisdom, and his role in greater world. Some even straddled the line between allegory and fable. Oftentimes, they possessed more than one meaning. Such is the case with the Parable of the Good Samaritan in the Gospel of Luke.
The Rise of the Steam
The kettle boils! A tea geek, locked in his room during quarantine, casually watched an episode of some Star Wars cartoon, and—lo!—a tea pot appeared into view. At first, he thought it was a mere happenstance, and didn’t think that tea played a part in the lore.
He was wrong.
I’ve often expressed my ambivalence to the tea category that is puerh. Sometimes, though, a story about it demands my attention. And most of those times, the story isn’t even mine. Even stranger still? A few of those stories focus on the puerh itself, and the journey it went through.
This is one such story.
Strange times we’re living in, huh?
Like many with nerdlinger tendencies, I was camped in front of my computer to catch this:
The first episode of Star Trek: Picard.
It was roughly 10PM on a Thursday, and I resisted for all of ten seconds before purchasing a subscription to CBS All Access. All for the sake of nostalgia. I even brewed up some Stash Double Bergamot Earl Grey for the occasion. Decaf. (It was late, and I’m too old for caffeine at night.)
2019 was a very weird year for tea.
Or rather, a very weird year for how tea was covered in the press. And by “press”, I mean, mainstream media, not the usual tea or beverage-centric haunts
that won’t hire me that cover tea. I’m talking about The New York Times and Thrillist, just to name the most prominent.
At the end of October, I did something completely out of character. I traveled to a city I’d never visited . . . for a tea festival. Stranger still? I flew out for said unknown (to me) city on Halloween. Nothing about this—my motivation, my ambition, what-have-you—added up.
The city? Chicago.
The event? The Chicago International Tea Festival.
A week ago, an article made the rounds in the greater tea community sphere. At the time it came out, it rubbed me the wrong way. So much so, I originally meant to pen a rant pointing out where it went wrong, and how the thesis was misguided. After thought and prayer (yes, both are useful), I removed my hands from the keyboard. However, I still cheekily “memed” about it, and shared it privately.
My reason for doing so—or so I expressed—was that artisan tea (or rather, specialty tea) wasn’t having a moment; it was about having a moment, and sharing that moment with others. Fellowship should’ve been the focus, not the subject which brought the fellowship together.
As per usual, though, in my attempt to make a point, I completely missed the point. Looking back at my trusty ol’ Bible showed me exactly how much I did so. I’ll explain.