I’m moving. In about a month’s time I’ll be relocating from a spacious house in the suburbs to a 60 m2 flat in downtown Warsaw. So I’m currently packing my tea collection.
I think I’m typical of the average tea lover to easily accumulate items. I have a dozen teapots (I’d only really need three or four) and a good hundred assorted tea cups. Some are gifts, other are my own purchases that I just couldn’t resist because of the design, or price, or because I needed to replace a broken item. And speaking of the latter, I still keep a few broken gaiwans: when the lid or the saucer are gone, I’d keep the remaining parts because it just doesn’t feel right to discard them. They’re part of my tea history, having absorbed some great teas in the period I used them. But I can’t use them anymore without a lid, so they’re just sitting on the shelf and watching the other gaiwans brew tea. Now all are seeing bubble wrap to avoid breakages on the move.
I might have too many tea items but at least they’re not perishable. What to say about tea? I already addressed the topic of overbuying tea, and I’m realising today how far I’ve gone along that route. I discovered some 2008 vintage green teas that I should have drunk up two years ago. (Though there are some good surprises, too). I counted 8 Chinese Wuyi oolongs, a type of tea I hardly ever drink these days. And then puer: several dozen cakes plus samples. At least with puer, the tea keeps well and actually improves over time, but I’m starting to wonder whether I’m ever going to drink it up.
I’ve decreased my purchases this year to almost zero (with the exception of the recently reviewed 2011 spring Darjeelings) but I’m receiving a lot of tea from friends so my reserve isn’t exactly shrinking. If I get a new tea in sample quantity there’s a chance I’ll finish it reasonably soon but when it’s a 100g pack it’ll be with me for a long time.
I’m relaxed about it, however. It feels a mildly overwhelming but pretty natural way to proceed. I just love tea and I love tasting many different things to expand my knowledge. Tea is easy to get – it’s usually inexpensive and there’s plenty of free tea mailed among tea chums on a regular basis – and so the inventory just grows and grows. When there’s no hope to finish a tea that’s approaching its best before date I’ll just mail it over to someone who might be interested.
Oh, and if you though moving a hundred tea cups and kilos of loose leaf tea is a logistic challenge, I also have some bottles of wine to take too…