“monster truck of gaiwans”

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We were at Random Tea Room for our weekly Thursday Philly Tea Meetup.

After a pot of Assam, we were ready to get into gong-fu style, so Brandon asked Becky to bring out a gaiwan.

Brandon is a devotee of the wee pot of tea (repeat to infinity).  So he was amazed when Becky produced a gaiwan of perhaps 10 ounce capacity.  He dubbed it the monster truck of gaiwans.

Accordingly, he decided we would pack this beast to the brim with white tea.  Folks, I don’t know how to explain this, but it just isn’t done.  It’s like playing thrash metal on cellos.  Gong-fu is done with oolongs and pu-erhs.  Years ago I asked a now-departed Random employee to make me some green or white tea gong-fu style, and he gave me a quizzical look and said, “that doesn’t fu.”  The decision was all the more surprising because Brandon can sometimes seem like the model of tea orthodoxy.

“I never understood white tea,” he said; “I can’t taste the flavor.”  Gong fu uses a higher proportion of leaves than westerners typically use, so the flavor is more intense.  This may be why green teas aren’t often brewed in this fashion–perhaps their astringency becomes overwhelming at higher concentrations.  Looking at the white tea selections, I recommended the Fuding White Treasure over the Drum Mountain White Cloud.  The former has a crisp, bright flavor, whereas I imagined the latter’s vegetal tones would get harsh and sour when amplified.

So how did it taste?  It was a mud-bogging, car-crushing, mobile-home-bulldozing rampage of flavor.  OK, it just tasted like stronger Fuding White Treasure.  Am I misremembering cucumber?  Apparently thrash metal on cellos works too.

1 Response to ““monster truck of gaiwans””

  1. 1 Matt June 24, 2010 at 12:35 AM


    During our short meeting in Brooklyn last month, there was mention of a book you may be interested in. It is one of the fundamental tea books everyone who is seriously interested in tea should own and study. Thought you would enjoy it.

    Here is a link to a free preview on googlebooks:



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