Christmas is a time of generosity and gift giving. In this spirit, instead of writing about my teas or teaware, I would like to share some other recommendations:
- Renaissance music by Doulce Mémoire. Their very old music sounds sometimes grave, sometimes light, but I feel it always resonates very deep. Some of my best Cha Xi (with old puerh) are made with their music. I particularly recommend Le Concert Secret des Dames de Ferrare. (I had the opportunity to meet and become friend with the director and several musicians, thanks to their love of Oolong!)
- I enjoy giving a good massage to my wife with oils from the very new age, California based Gaia Perfumes. The descriptions are a little bit esoteric, but what counts is the purity of the ingredients and the loving dedication of Ani Adams, the parfumeur. (She loves tea and twice we exchanged our products!)
- Excellent quality olive oil from 7 Species in Israel. The quality difference is similar to the difference between High mountain Oolong from my selection and a cheap Oolong from a local retailer. Beware, high quality olive oil is addictive! (The company was founded by a tea lover and friend of mine.)
- Cast Iron cookware: I started using a blue Staub Cocotte this spring. We all know how a tetsubin improves water. Cast iron cookware can also improve food! The heavy, flat iron lid with spikes increases the moisture of the food. What I like is to use the lowest temperature and let the vegetables or meat slowly cook. They keep their juice while cooking. Cooking ratatouille is so easy! (The company is from Alsace, where I'm originally from, but I don't have any connection to them, other being a satisfied user.)
-If you want to discover Bali in depth and want to plan you own tour, then I recommend Discover Bali Indonesia. It was founded by my best childhood friend who lives there even longer than I live in Taiwan. He is as much dedicated and passionate about the island of gods than I am about tea!
I live in Taiwan since 1996 and have been studying tea with Teaparker. He's a worldwide tea expert and author of over 30 tea books. The study of tea isn't just theoretical, but it's also rooted in daily practice. It's a path of continuous improvement. As my brewing technique improves I get access to better teas and better accessories. These things go hand in hand. My blog documents my learning since 2004. And I have set up an online tea boutique with my selection of top quality teas, accessories and tea culture.