Once again we were heading out to the country for a party with the extended family.
My on-the-road stash for this short, weekend trip was going to be based around the last of the Mei Leaf 2017 young Gushu. I had just enough left for 2 good sessions, the first of which was going to be that all-important “start as you mean to go on” event that occurs on the evening of arrival. Get this one right, and the rest of the weekend should just drop nicely into place.
Once we’d said our hellos to one and all I got a kettle on, and popped about 5 grams of leaf into my travel gaiwan. It’s always interesting to try familiar teas with new water, and this was no exception. The water at the family house really brought the grape-iness of the tea to the fore.
One thing it didn’t affect though was this tea’s Qi. I enjoyed 16 dreamy, sweaty steepings as storm clouds gathered and grumbled in the sky above. Due to the insane levels of humidity, we had to have all the doors and windows open, and the kitchen was flooded with the smells of baked and parched earth and vegetation.
Late in the evening, towards the end of the session, I predictably came down with a bad case of the sheng munchies, but that particular fire was soon extinguished with nothing more fancy than rye crispbread and butter.
The gushu was all steeped out, but I was still thirsty, so I rounded off the day with a quick and dirty pot of loose leaf shou. In the wee small hours the storm finally broke, waking us up with its B-movie cliche illuminate-the-night lightning flashes and booming hammer of the gods thunder. Wind and rain were unleashed, and the hot and damp world beyond our bedroom window suddenly smelled of rain forest jungle, magically transported from South-East Asia to the bottom right hand bit of Scandinavia.
We discussed the heavenly pyrotechnics over breakfast. The others had coffee, but I opted for a couple of pots of Moonlight White.
Soon preparations for the evening’s festivities were in full swing, and I kept hydrated in the heat with a steady stream of Oolong, starting off just after lunch with Tie Guan Yin, before moving on to Da Hong Pao, which saw me right up to the commencement of the party proper.
The last of the gushu went out in style, amidst a blur of food, song, and soccer. It’s hard to play in goal and drink tea at the same time, I learnt. Putting the teacup down will result in an increased probability that both precious liquid and the opposing team’s shots will be saved…
Another breakfast, another pot of Moonlight White. Once the cat saw that we were getting ready for the off, he shot off to the barn for his usual pre-departure sulk. As per usual, even his favourite cat-treat, Dreamies, couldn’t tempt him out, and once again Teaist Jr. had to go in and physically remove him. After 10 minutes or so of “it’s not faaaaaiiirrrr..” type meowing, he was safely ensconced in his travelling box in the back of the car.
Two point five hours later we were back at home. Tea and teaware were my unpacking priority, as always, and once that was done, on went the kettle. Wanting something I hadn’t had in a while I reached for a hefty chunk of the 2011 Man Nong Shou. Using the ever faithful Samadoyo pot I somewhat brutally wrung 10 rounds out of that righteous lump of leaves.
This sort of August do in the country kind of acts as a final curtain for the summer – even though the warm weather might persist for a few more weeks, people are already starting to focus on the kids going back to school, and the inevitable arrival of September and the Autumn.
Time to start looking at the darker side of the stash, getting some more heavily roast Oolongs in, maybe even a cargo of Lapsang Souchong and/or some Yunnan Gold.
Watch this space, etc…