Tuesday, March 13, 2012

33% Accomplished

I've got two goals for this year: read 24 books (not doing so well on that - I'm on number three) and
... try new tea vendors. Specifically TeaSpring but also Sugimoto and American Tea Room. Nothing too ambitious, just three new vendors spread over twelve months. (Of course, if I can fit Ito-en and Ippodo in there, it wouldn't upset me in the slightest.)
And done! Well, not totally done. Only about a third done. Because yesterday, I got this:


Yes, I finally ordered from TeaSpring. So happy. And even happier, I didn't spend a ton. I mean, it wasn't like a tiny purchase, but I could have gone much crazier. Much. I got 10 different tea, 9 of which I got 25g. One, the delightful Tan Yang Te Ji, I ordered in a larger amount. But only 50g. I really should have gotten something larger. (But I stuck with the 50g because I was trying to keep my order under $100. Next time, screw the budget, I'm going for 100g.) But anyway, tea!

Right now I'm sipping on some Zhu Hai Jin Ming to start my day and it is lovely. Lovely, I say! (Mostly Keemun-y with rye and faint toasted-smoke but with a nice Golden Monkey-like roundness and hint of creaminess.)

Anyway, huzzah for me! I tried a new tea vendor (one I've been meaning to order from for ages)! I think next up will be Sugimoto since I've had their Temomi Shincha recommended to me (which is a shincha that comes out in April, apparently). Until then, I'm going to work on my TeaSpring teas... and maybe finishing off some of my other teas. Because I currently have 96 teas in my pantry (not including a few one-cup samples from friends, of which I have about a dozen). I'm trying very hard to keep the "official" number of teas down under 100. I'm cutting it a bit close now that this new order has come in.

Oh, and one fun thing about this order - US Customs in New York was kind enough to open the box for me so I didn't even have to struggle with the tape. How nice of them! I suppose that's what happens when one is shipped a box of poorly labeled something or other (poorly labeled, you see) from Hong Kong. (Fortunately they just looked at the packages of tea and didn't actually open any of those. Which means if you want to send something less than legal through the mail, perhaps you just need to put a tea vendor label on it.)

And now I'm off to have another steep!



    The Zhu Hai Jin Ming just zoomed straight into my shopping list. :)

    As for the Tan Yang, last time I bought it, I got 200g and I'm using it sparingly. I share it in swaps, yes, but I try not to drink it excessively so as to make it last longer. Especially considering how the order was held for ransom by tax people for days on end. I've been pointed towards a danish shop which also has Tan Yang on their repertoire (!!!Very unusual, never seen before in a danish shop!!!) and I'll probably have a go at theirs and see if it's up to snuff. If it is, I may start supplying myself from them instead of TeaSpring. It's just so much easier. Although it does feel a bit like it would be the end of an era.


    1. The Zhu Hai Jin Ming is really nice. I feel like it should be spectacular, though, and I'm missing something. Logically, it tastes spectacular. Emotionally, I'm merely pleased by it. I might have been having an off day yesterday. Who knows.

      Yeah, I'm not sure what I was thinking ordering such a small amount of the TYTJ. I think this means I will need to do another order soon! I was pleased to not have the order held up long with customs as I remember your issues with it. Even though the package was marked as a gift worth 10 (Chinese yuan? Because that's less than $2US). Ah, TeaSpring.

  2. That time was the first time I've had a TeaSpring order come in around Tax and Customs though. I've had that happen a lot lately, so I think they must increased package monitoring or something. I've completely given up on 52teas, because three out of the last four from them, I had to pay customs fee. It sort of stopped being funny. Oh well.
    Part of why it took so long with TeaSpring was because the tax people needed me to send them a copy of the invoice, because apparently they couldn't work out how to tax the contents or evaluate the worth of it. I sent an email to TeaSpring's customer service about it, and was promised they would look into it. Not so much that I had to pay a fee, it happens sometimes when shopping abroad, but more the fact that I had to send additional information before they could process it. It seemed like something that should have been avoidable.

    If you made a customer account with TS by the way, don't forget to also leave short comments on your things there. It earns you more points. Sometimes they have interesting things in the points section, but if not you can always get a voucher. :)


    1. Oh, was not aware of the points things. Must go check that out!

      And I actually thought of you when I opened my TeaSpring order and saw no packaging slip. Especially since US customs appears to have inspected my order. Call me crazy, but I would be a little more comforted if the vendor sending me random plant things through the mail would make sure there is proof in the box that this is actually tea, not something else.