25 October, 2008

Relocation, Relocation, Relocation

We've been moving house. Ware the tea-packing!

Moving House

Veteran readers will recall our move of 2007 - being graduate students, we're nomadic. However, being (nearly) graduated means that this time our move is to more permanent digs. In the current economic climate, we consider ourselves fortunate to have been able to buy a house nearby, and it is reason to be thankful indeed.

On the down side, I now have a lawn that needs cutting.

Moving house was a great opportunity to take stock of the state of our tea collection, and I made several pleasant discoveries - including a pair of Changtai cakes that I don't recognise, nor recall ever seeing before. Mystery bingcha!

Moving House

The contents of the box shown above made me smile, as it highlights the effect of the tea community in action. The green-and-white Changtai cake on the left was a gift from Phyll, Dictator of Mars, which remains one of my favourites. The Glenmorangie tube contains some lovely 1990s Red Blossom maocha, courtesy of the board of trustees of the Davelcorp Foundation. The wooden box contains various sweet maocha from the mighty TA, while the little blue-rimmed plastic container at the bottom contains 1960s Guangyungong from the eternally-generous Nada. Underneath Phyll's Changtai cake is the little Maison des Trois Thes "Mengkuxue" xiaobing, also from Nada. The red box, pictured centre, contains a smooth 14-year shupu from my wife's hometown, while the little shrink-wrapped purple packet above it is some SFTGFOP Nilgiri tea from my Nilgirian friend and colleague SS, brought back from a recent trip home to see his family. I was thrilled to discover that the Balvenie tube contains a secret supply of my favourite hongcha (Yunnan Sourcing's 2005 "Aged Just Enough" dianhong) from tea-tastrix CB!

Moving House

My dear wife reads the Half-Dipper from time to time, so I had rather hoped she wouldn't see this photograph of exactly how large our tea collection has become.

Darling, did I tell you how lovely your hair looks this morning? *cough*

Images added to 2005 Mengku Chengguan "Qingchengfeng".


Unknown said...

That is one hell of a pile of tea. It must be a nightmare keeping track of it all.


Jason M. Cohen said...

I wish I had a collection half that size. I don't even have a bing!
Best of luck with your move!
have you found a new spot for all of your tea?


Hobbes said...

Dear Richard,

Far from it! It's like a big bookshelf: you find nice books, tuck them away, and then peruse them later at your pleasure.

The first rule of buying tea is to relinquish control over your collection. :)

(That said, I do have a spreadsheet that lists the teas I have bought, their price, etc.)

Dear Jason,

There's nothing wrong with travelling light - you're free from having to care about where to store it all. :)

Thanks for your kind wishes - I suspect that it's going to live either in my study or the spare bedroom, as these are away from direct sunlight, and have regularly-changed air while avoiding strong currents. Keeping it away from external walls that might get a touch cold or damp in winter is probably wise!

Toodlepip both,


Jamus said...


That is quite a bit of tea. How often do you sit in front of it, taking it all in while you try to figure out what to drink? I could see it driving a man to madness. ^__^

Best wishes with the move. Your samples are on their way.


Circle Community Acupuncture said...

My friend,
A mere 6 boxes? That's not even a quarter of a pallet. You have plenty of room for acquisition.
I'm assuming that your new home will allow for at least one dedicated tea room.

-David (corp)

Jamus said...


I see a comment like that and it reminds me just how much great tea is out there. I'm pleased with my cabinet. Hobbes must be pleased with his six boxes. Those with rooms dedicated to tea (which we all dream of)...well, I assume they must be pleased with their acquisitions as well. I gather the most important part of this is to make sure that you're happy with what you do have, no matter how much or how little. ^__^


rosehips&green said...

Can you give us a breakdown on your collection? How much is allocated to puerh? any oolong, greens or whites? How about anticipated storage times? What are you aging? What are you drinking now? Am I asking too many questions? Eileen

Hobbes said...

Dear Jamus,

You know, much of the time it's more a source of pleasant aroma than good drinkin'. It just sits there, smelling beautiful. It beats any pot-pourri!

Dear Dr. Corp,

My ultimate goal is to buy a little wooden outhouse/pagoda to put under a willow tree that's growing at the end of the garden, but I guess storing tea out there wouldn't be too clever. The spare bedroom gets it, I think. :)

Dear Eileen,

No problem! It's mostly pu'er, but that's just because I have trouble getting through greens and whites before they're passed their best. We have < 100g of green and white that we top up when necessary. I estimate we have < 500g of all types of wulong (yancha, qingxiang, nongxiang, and so on). I learned a few years back not to go crazy with the quantities of green and whites.

We have < 1 Kg of hongcha, allowing ourselves a little more of that because some age seems to benefit it (up to six years, from limited personal experience, after that it becomes a little more thin).

So, the rest is pu'er, just because it's not the kind of thing that pressurises us into drinking it.

It's mostly just a collection of fun things that I've encountered and bought to enjoy as and when. I don't really have an explicit long-term storage goal, other than just buying teas that I like and seeing how they change with time.

Similarly, I drink a little bit of everything, with no grandiose plan in mind. Much of what I drink is motivated by the desire to evaluate and explore new areas, to try more teas, to enjoy a little bit of everything.

It's a fairly easy-going affair, much like having that bookcase full of classics that you dip into once in a while. A little bit of Keats (60s Guangyungong), a little bit of "Fight Club" (2008 Bulang) - that sort of thing... :)



The villager: said...

I'm just glad your collection is wholesome tea, rather than guns, alcohol or drugs.

Good site.

lavender tulips【ツ】 said...

I see Whittard of Chelsea tea! Yum! =)

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful concept! A bookcase full of classics waiting to be consumed! Eileen

Circle Community Acupuncture said...

I'm just glad your collection is wholesome tea, rather than guns, alcohol or drugs.

Just wait for the next entry...

Steven Dodd said...

I like what I see tucked away in the second picture ;p