Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Totem Teas

I recently spent a lovely afternoon drinking tea with friends. I'm hard-pressed to find a way I'd rather spend my time. In this gathering, Phillip, of Totem Teas, guided us through his current selection. Phillip's business model is to sell teas he's excited to drink. It's a great plan! He also sells very fine incense.

I enjoy hearing about people's tea journeys, and Phillip's began with a passion for Japanese teas. Below is his first teapot, well-loved and used. 

We tasted a number of teas together, making our way from a light Lishan oolong to a deeply oxidized Bai Hao.  Note the lovely multi-colored leaves below, one hint of a good  Bai Hao (Oriental Beauty).

All very good teas! I was particularly drawn to the Floral Mountain Tie Guan Yin. I found this to be a liminal tea. It had the light, top notes of the modern, competition styles (Anxi, greener) but with a depth of roasty groundedness (more like my preference, Muzha style). Another point of interest for this tea - it hails from Ali Shan.

Now let's talk incense.  I used to avoid it. It made me sneeze or gave me a headache. Then I discovered the amazingly delicate pleasures of Japanese incense. I was hooked, and my love of incense has grown. Finding the type of incense I appreciate isn't an easy thing from the US, and I'm delighted to recommend Phillip's line. He's got some really nice incense here, folks.

I appreciate the well-curated line of teas and incense from Totem Teas. Buying teas via the internet is always a risk - you don't get the benefit of sampling. What I can say is that you're in good hands with Phillip's choices.