Pu-erh, first cup

We have, here in Boulder, an excellent tea shop, shelves full of just about anything other than coffee that you’d want to steep in a pot of hot water. They have several varieties of Pu-erh tea. This is the kind that comes in large, Frisbee-shaped cakes, compressed that way to stand the rigors of traveling back to Venice with Marco Polo. Milder than I thought it would be, not as smoky.

Hoping that drinking it will convince me to stop trying to write and to go to sleep like a normal person.

My tea ignorance

I have decided that the Trident is my new favorite coffee house. They are even very open about their lack of knowledge about tea. I asked for a pot of Assam. There were two canisters of it — the young man behind the counter showed them both to me. “I think this one here’s a little darker.” He looked at the canisters again, and said, “But I don’t really know anything about tea.”

I chose the tea from the larger canister. Thus I silently admit my own tea ignorance. Oh well…

The tea in the morning

It seems that, regardless of how late you stayed up to read books and type ad nauseam in your little electronic journal, morning still arrives at exactly the time specified by those who study and work in celestial mechanics. I picture all those who study celestial mechanics (a type of mathematician that studies how planets and stars and comets go around and around and around and…) to be dressed in their own special coveralls, first names embroidered on patches above their hearts, and sprinkled with stardust. Or comet-dust or dark matter, if you have no overly-romantic bent.

Now there I go again… what did I mean to say? Good morning! I am off to enjoy my tea.

ready brewed

Morning tea, just brewing in the Bauhaus glass pot

Bottled tea: a very depressing report

I have been swilling great amounts of tea, iced and hot, since my bout with cancer. I’ve always loved tea, and now it is even better for me than before. It is way too easy, though, to pick up jugs or six-packs of iced tea at the grocery, now, and save oneself some effort when thirsty. I thought it made no difference. Evidently, it does.

The researchers found evidence, that half of the bottled teas they sampled had extremely low levels of antioxidants or polyphenols. So low in fact, that they stated one would need to drink 20 bottles of the stuff to achieve the same health benefit as a single cup of home brewed tea.

via Healthy Tea Challenge: The Bottle vs. The Brew | a girl with tea.

Me and my iced tea

I am becoming a connoisseur of iced tea. I got out of the habit of drinking soda pop and stronger drinks when I was in treatment for and recovering from cancer. Pretty much every book or article about the general “living with and avoiding of” cancer will tell you that alcohol and sugary drinks like soda pop are to be avoided. Sugar is now a main target of anti-cancer diets. Sugar, processed foods, fast foods (same thing).

My new food philosophy: if a cockroach won’t eat it, why should I?

It’s easiest to go to the grocery store to pick up huge jugs of the pre-made tea. Iced tea is very popular now; people are trying to be healthier, after all. It’s also reasonably simple to make: get some dried camellia sinensis leaves; add boiling water.

For me, it is necessary to add sweetness. Yes, I remember what I just wrote about sugar being a bad idea for a cancer patient. I’m complex. I also switched to agave nectar, whenever possible. It’s what they make out of the cacti that produce tequila, when they’re trying to make money out of the New Age food crowd.

[Artificial sweeteners have always tasted bad to me. They're also creepy — I mean, what the heck are those chemicals anyway? The simple fact of not being sugar is not good enough for me. Honey is too rich for me to like it in tea. Agave nectar is not artificial, and just right. There is also plenty of it in the organic grocery stores.]

However, since the people who bottle the bulk iced tea are food processors, they have to mess with it. Better living through chemistry, right? Right. Some cheap tea leaves from like Argentina somewhere, powdered and diluted, high fructose corn syrup in there somewhere, and whatever else. I haven’t read the ingredients on the label; I can taste them. This is a taste that would remind me of the taste of household cleaning products, had I ever been the sort of child that tried to drink them. We’ve got a picture of simple green leaves on the label, though, so it has to be good for you: so goes their reasoning. (I am guessing.) (But you know I am not far off.)

It’s going to do me good in the extremely near future to haul myself out of the chair and boil some water and find me my own dried camellia sinensis leaves.

October night, late

I sit here late at night on a cold and rainy midnight, readjusting my fingers to the Macintosh’s keyboard. I am not yet ready to hunker down into the partial hibernation that one goes into in the winter time. I look for color when the outer world is drained of it. Today there are maples whose color is so full of flame that the sight of them startles you even when you are expecting to see them.

The boiler is clanking away down in the basement, and now the house feels like the inside of a great tea kettle just about to boil.

Satchel the Cat was visiting the vet’s today — his stomach has been bothering him a bit, Buck says, but he eats just fine when I feed him. I might think that he was going to miss summer as much as I do, but he never goes outside, so the notion of what season it is is moot for him.

And now, sleep.

Fall is finally here

Yes, fall is finally here in Cincinnati: the weather has turned chilly the past couple of days, and roughly half of the trees have leaves of a distinctly non-greenish color.

I love now thinking about the fact that the bright orange and yellows of the leaves were always there in them since they budded in the spring, that the green chlorophyll was simply so abundant that it overpowered these other brilliant colors until now.

(I am also comforted by poetic thoughts in the morning. They should disappear before I make my first pot of tea.)


What to do before the end of fall: drink a cup of tea and think about the leaves.

More sushi

One thing that I have learned this past week, when I have been busy not posting to the blog, is that Boulder has to be the capital of sushi-making in the world. I think that we here have to have more sushi restaurants per capita than, say New York City.

Our current favorite sushi restaurant is Sushi Zanmai. We have been there for dinner the past two nights. They make a lovely Kobe beef sushi, and I must have eaten them out of their stock of Kobe beef. We sit at the sushi counter so we can keep an eye out on our food while it’s being made.

I also love this city because I’m believing this place is imbuing me with health. I look and feel healthier than I looked and felt before the cancer diagnosis. I figure that that’s a good thing no matter how you look at it.

Tea is coming, and then I decide on a yoga class. Yoga helps me to write; at least, that’s the story that I’m going with now.

(ps: that’s not my own picture at the top… I’m trying a new service called tagaroo.)