I have been hesitate to post anything in the past couple weeks for two reasons: First I have been dealing with a massive knot of challenging hospitalisation and interpersonal issues (i won’t bore you with the details except to say I’ve averaged about one emotional breakdown a day for almost a month and my tear ducts are just screaming in pain at this point) that have made it extremely difficult to concentrate on much beyond day-to-day coping. I really do not want my problems to color my writing.
Secondly, and more importantly, i was given a tea DokkutorSutoppu (“doctor stop”). If you don’t speak Japanese, it means my PCP instructed me to no longer imbibe… tea. o.0;; To be specific without naming names, my doc is the daughter of Taiwanese-American immigrants and apparently grew up traumatized by distrustful faux Chinese products. Obviously i don’t share the belief that all tea from the “Far East” (her words, I’m not sure I would ever use that phrase) is suspect. I have run afoul of some extremely unhealthy teas that i would never wish on anyone (and have occasionally shared them on this blog (when it didn’t directly impact my relationship to tea vendors)), but I like to think I’ve done this for a while now and can “smell” a bad tea long before it ever reaches my lips.
That being said, I’m not someone to completely discount my doctor’s orders. It is a known fact that tannins from tea in large doses can strip the stomach layer and become potential carcinogens. Even the most healthy biodynamically grown tea is still Camellia sinensis. Humans have only been cultivating tea for 48 centuries, much shorter than wheat–not remotely long enough for our stomach to develop a true adaption. Like anything, it’s good for you… to a point. Though i would like to point out how much tea the Japanese drink and how uncommon tea-related-death (definitely the best way to go imho) there is.
A year and a half ago i dramatically cut back on my kombucha habit. I started buying only organic/”trustworthy” teas about a year ago and I’m sure this recent advice will impact which teas and growers I buy from further. Ironically, for the longest time I’ve used tea as a Buddhist tool to cultivate mindfulness. Apparently, I’ve also been slowly cultivating an intolerance.
Probably the thing i need to focus most on right now is incorporating the time-tested professional tea tasting methodology known as sip & spit. As you may have encountered on this blog previously, I feel that aftertaste is an important quality that can make or a break a tea. I don’t feel right about rating a tea i haven’t exactly “drank”. Yet, i could do much better at using sip & spit and hopefully someday learn to be so adept that I can start rating Oolongs on a regular basis again. Definitely a worthy cause (in addition to yeah, keeping myself from an ulcer).