This week's column by Ctein
My tea adventures in Minneapolis last month started off with Jon Singer and me throwing a tea-tasting at Fourth Street Fantasy convention, a tradition there. You can see pictures of the two of us waxing enthusiastic about a number of fine leafs near the beginning of DD-B's Fourth Street Fantasy 2013 photo gallery.
Jon is a much bigger tea geek than I am. In truth, Jon is a much bigger geek about many things; he's one of the world's great polymaths. If you want to know about formulating porcelain clays, ceramic glazes, or dye lasers, ask Jon.
Jon is also one of the world's great networkers; a fair number of you already know Jon. So, it seemed like a fine idea to see if I could arrange for the two of us to meet Bill Waddington of TeaSource (see my last tea column). Bill was off on a junket of his own—vacation plus tea buying plus a tea purveyors' convention, but we managed to work things out so the three of us could meet up on Jon's last day in town.
When we arrived at Bill's St. Anthony store, he was just setting up to do a cupping (top illustration). Cool! I'd never participated in one of those before. Bill and his staff were testing the teas he'd just brought back. Teas are evaluated on the appearance of the dry leaf, the brewed leaf, and the flavor and fragrance of the brew. I learned that Americans give the brew about 70% weight, but Chinese connoisseurs weight all three factors almost equally. (I'm a typical American tea drinker.)