Artistic Tea: In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower

I am full of joy to announce that Swann’s Way, the blend, did indeed sell out. With that being said: It is time for the second blend in the series of Remembrance of Things Past or better known as In Search of Lost Time.

In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower

Just like last time, I went into this tea with the same goal: create a taste and feeling that is artistically aligned with the book itself. Flipping through the pages of this book and looking for what I underlined to give me a clue, I found it and it was right in front of me!

LP Reads some Proust

This comes from page 50 in the Penguin Deluxe Classics edition if you are looking for any context to it. However, that is what this tea will do: a journey of time in which you must contemplate the paste in relation to the present while understanding that the future is ahead. There’s a sentence hard to put into a legal drink right? Well, I’ve got the solution: amacha, or is it dancong(oolong)?

Neither amacha or dancong is the correct answer, but if read ahead or figured I’d do this, it is both together! I wanted something that started out very sweet as does the normal flow of Proust, but then hits a deep pit of depth before leveling off and leaving the reader with a more comforting ending; like another cup of tea! The book ends with something that was once there and is no longer there, within the tea it is this:img_20161227_1639361

Amacha is this crazy Japanese herbal tea that is made from fermented hydrangea leaves. This stuff is incredibly sweet, but a unique type of sweetness that doesn’t play well with everything. I’m still not sure if this has been used in a blend, but it is a somewhat hard to find herbal tea so I’m excited that I figured it out as well as obtained enough for the blend.

I was ahead of the game when it came to what is next because I knew this tea was going to need this medium roast that dissipates over time that hits the drinkers memory when the sip the next steep. It couldn’t just be any roasted tea though, this is a special blend here. As stated above, it’s dancong! I actually already found my favorite dancong which was a milan varietal but it wasn’t roasted. I ended up finding this dancong to work out quite well:


Mild roast, nowhere near medium as I wanted but it had this character to it that was expressing “I’m a 3.5 out of 5, but with some help I can hang out with the best and nobody would ever know!”. It was that aspect of this tea that sold me, a slight dryness from the mild roast and the offsetting look of sticks in with the leaf.

Now the best part of this blend was my favorite crop of milan this year, which wasn’t as expensive as you’d think the best of 12 different tasting would end up being. Words, words, words… show us the tea:


I don’t have the words to offer, this is simply my favorite dancong of all 2016; 37 tasted, 12 of which were milan.

Three things. It seems pretty simple and in theory it is, there’s just a lot of time that goes into balancing out taste as well as isolating each part for testing when it comes to longevity, forgiveness, and compatibility. An enjoyable journey with a tea that may just be tested against time itself.




Out of context quote for no reason… besides me being random:

“Habit may weaken all things, but it also stabilizes them; it brings about a dislocation, but then makes it last indefinitely.” Marcel Proust, In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower pg. 223

Thank you everyone. This tea was created because of your support.

-Andrew Richardson, Liquid Proust



How Does One Taste Fiction: Western Wild

One of the most wildly known about fictional adventures, for those I’ve met, has always been The Chronicles of Narnia. It’s of no surprise that I would do a Narnia tea; after all, how can you enjoy Lord of The Rings and not Narnia? Both are wonderful stories with a lot being said for the reader to figure out in regards to today, the past, and the future.

Picking a place in the Narnia world to create a tea for wasn’t hard at all. The beginning of the story (as some will say), symbolic to the Old Testament, is when a silver apple is bitten into which creates the White Witch. Take a forest area with pine trees, the idea that it’s winter now, and a silver apple with the whole idea that a witch was just created in this place… I got this!

Part 1: The Apple

Dried apple, check!

20161128_1539181Edible silver, check!20161128_1539411

Now wrapping those apple pieces with silver… well, what an experience! Blending tea has taught me so much in the food world such as how hard it is to use these edible sheets of silver.They want to attach to anything and hate doing what you ask of it. It’s also hard to take a decent picture. Anyways, all that hard work for something like this:


A little pile such as this may look pathetic to some, but now that I’ve done it… I know that this took time and it wasn’t easy.20161128_1553411

Finishing up, this is all I ended up with sadly.20161128_1652151

Par 2: Tea

I was so ready to blend this tea. For whatever reason, I already knew what I was going to do. I haven’t done anything floral in a long time and a forest surely has some flowers going on, especially when I think of an untouched one like this. So I used a jasmine scented white needle from China that wasn’t of the delicate sort; this is due to not wanting something so precious being over saturated in other notes that eventually make it disrespected in a weird ‘I’m a tea enthusiast’ point of view. This base tea provides substance for the root of the taste, but not the feel. Look at the green stuff, can you guess?20161130_1725251

And from Canada they came! I was able to talk to someone who has pine trees on their property away from any roads and all that good stuff. Had them picked and dried for my blend which makes me super excited because they were really intense with aroma when I got them in the mail. I actually cut them in half because I was trying to get the needles (white and green) to be a decent size for compatibility without ruining the pine needle look.20161130_1736021

Above you can see what it looks like. In my kyusu that I used to brew it up, it looked like a miniature forest patch itself.

Part 3: Tasting

As odd as a tea as this is… jasmine and pine? Well, it’s pretty awesome in this taste and feeling experience. The jasmine needles give off a light floral taste while the pine needle has this spike’ish note that comes across but does something much more unique. The liquid leaves this tingling feel after you drink it. Its as if you walked through the forest and the scents seep into your taste buds which gives a tickling sensation.

I was curious above steeping it longer than my own method and found the jasmine took over so this is a delicate blend that requires some attention to brew. There is a small amount of viscosity and if you drink 6 cups back to back, like someone who might have been testing out the brews, there is a slight throat dryness from the jasmine and pine.20161210_090336120161210_0904001

This tea isn’t perfect in the sense that I want to feel like I’m in Western Wild, but that would never happen from a tea alone so I decided to watch Narnia with the tea which helped; even though it’s not in there. Reading has been harder to do with the busy end of year at work since I work in finance, but this is one calming cup to accompany a fantasy movie while winter is outside your walls.

I am actually sending this tea out with additional apple pieces so others can play around with the blend themselves. Really looking forward to what others say about this since it’s pretty unique in the way that you really feel the tea as the mouth is tickled.


Next up, a tea dedicated to Percy Jackson. It might be a good month though as it’s one of the hardest blends to do that I’ve worked on… just wait and you’ll see.

-Andrew / Liquid Proust

The 2017 Sheng Olympaid

With the 2016 Sheng Olympiad behind me, I had learned a lot so it was my goal to not only host this event each year but make it better. To do that, I needed to form relationships so I could really get things moving towards where I want this event to be one day. For information about 2016’s event and the current thread for The 2017 Sheng Olympaid please refer to

Part 1 ,a bunch of words:How did I approach The 2017 Sheng Olympaid
Realizing how much work was involved last time, I knew that I should start early. So I began February 2016 for an event that would come December 2016 for January 2017. Lots of different ideas were thought about and it eventually came down to remembering why I do this: community. The question was clear, what is it that I could put together that would provide the best experience for the community? The first thought was that of the aged oolong group buy I did, find stuff that won’t be around any more so more can enjoy it before it is gone.This wasn’t an easy task at first because aged pu’erh was the first thing that came to mind, but that’s its own thing entirely. This thought had to take the back seat for the moment.

A few weeks went by and it hit me that I could get some exclusive stuff going for the event if I invest early because the spring season was occurring. All I had to do was find out who would be willing to help as well as what kind of cost it would be. So I reached out to the two places that had some of my favorite productions of 2015: White 2 Tea and Crimson Lotus. The Tuhao as F*** from White2Tea and the Midas Touch from Crimson Lotus Tea were top notch for me so I decided to see if I could get something special done with both. Communication happened and the numbers worked out quite well, so with much appreciation, I was able to have both made into balls for the event!

Well there’s two teas down, but a lot a work was ahead of me.Around the middle of the year I started to watch as Bitter Leaf Teas was emerging as a new big time player in the pu’erh world, so as I normall.y do with newer companies, I reached out to see if I could be of help through the event. I gave Bitter Leaf Teas control over what they would like to provide which yielded in two options that are very different than what I already put together, a haungpian and a Bulang

Back to my first thought, how do I go about getting something that’ll not be there anymore so we can all enjoy it? Well, I wasn’t able to figure it out so I moved forward. As I started to think about new pu’erh drinkers joining into the event I was curious about what I could do to make this beneficial for them.Duh, I’m an idiot, the answer was in-front of me all the time: pick a specific region to highlight each year. Well, that was easy enough… not really. I thought about LaoBanZhang. Not going to happen. Then I decided to go to Naka, but that is also a bad choice. Both being for money sake and not being very friendly to new drinkers. So I went with my bias and picked what I think is the best bargain out there: Bang Dong.

Went about the spotlighted area by getting material from the same harvest, but ten years apart to provide even more experience and exposure over another aspect that pu’erh has being age. Maybe one day I can find the same cakes stored in different towns to provide that experience, but for now this is a wonderful opportunity.

The Sheng Olympiad of 2017 was looking wonderful from my perspective as I saw two exclusive balls from high quality blends, helping a new company, and having a spotlighted tea that I could provide a 10 year gap with. Yet, it got even better than I thought. While talking to Tea Urchin about some 2011 LaoE’Man which is suppose to be kick ass, I realized they had some Bang Dong. Now this is where we get to the ‘OH SNAP’ moment: This Bang Dong was from 2012. Now I’m going to gently go over this because I don’t want to write four paragraphs of understanding and justification so…. copout version: Cwyn acknowledges 2012 pu’erh harvest being blessed by the Gods.

Part 2:Stuff You May Have Missed

2HAF balls from White2Tea, the quality:

How to split a cake for the masses, a guide for new pu’erh drinkers on Reddit using the 2015 Bang Dong (also referenced below):

So you’ve seen the cat and the dog together, but why hasn’t anyone shown their balls next to each others?

Step 3, with pictures: Welcome to The Prcoess
So how does that Liquid Proust guy break up all those cakes, weight out portions, package them up, label them, and then make sure everyone has everything for this event?

The easiest answer is: time.

However, there’s something to be said for how I go about this opposed to how someone else might do so. For some tea is something enjoyed in the silence or perhaps to classical music, but there are others who are the complete opposite as they listen to death metal or video game with a raging attitude as they sip. There is no wrong way to enjoy tea, so here’s a look at how I went about it.20161205_090300

I’m just an average day person living in an apartment with my roommate trying to make the world a better place by providing an amazing experience for many. Here you can see that I am watching anime which helps me slow down the process so I take my time; this is due to reading subtitles so I’m not lost as to what is occurring. The simple setup is a breaking tray, a pu’erh knife, pu’erh cakes, a scale, labels, aluminum zip lock bags, and some tea to enjoy myself with.

Today I needed to breakup the 2010 Autumn Bang Dong. I did break the 2015 Autumn Bang Dong with a breaking guide for some who were curious about the process: 20161205_090512
Not as green as the 2015, but the leaf still looks wonderful. 20161205_09135220161205_091633I made a letter ‘C’20161205_092159

Successful at wiggling the beenghole out! This is always a challenging task.20161205_093709Anyone in for some aged sunflower seed?20161205_100536

As you can tell from this photo, I did not break everything up because the leaf was not as easy to work with as the 2015 was. 20161205_112441Leftover dust for me. Being that it is all piled up, it doesn’t look so bad.

Tea porn of the 2012 Bang Dong that I am really looking forward to.20161205_11345220161205_11350020161205_11354920161205_12033720161205_120401

Well, there’s a bunch of stuff with a lot missing, but I am happy to know that what I am doing is enjoyed by others and appreciated. The community will be what keeps me going as I find myself restless some days after spending three hours on tea samples. It’s always worth it.

As for 2018…. will we see Last Thoughts made into balls? Will there be some Wild Kunlu maocha? Will there be full 100g cakes for everyone of something? Will there be humid stored tea? Well, it’s not even 2017 so until then…. Spotlight on Jingmai in 2018, now you know.

Thanks a bunch all,

Andrew / Liquid Proust

How Does One Taste Fiction: Mordor

Lately my blends have been selling out which means that if I want to continue to see my creations enjoyed, I’ve got to blend more up! Liquid Proust Teas is still a hobby as it is my artistic outlet to provide a way for others to have a new enjoyable experience. I recently decided to take on blending three different teas that will resemble a particular place within three different stories: The Lord of The Rings, The Chronicles of Narnia, and Percy Jackson & The Olympians.

The easiest of these blends was going to be Mordor, a blend meant to take on a unique take on one the most terrifying places in Middle Earth (Lord of The Rings). Instead of blending a tea that tasked like the area, I decided to blend something up that tasted like the thought of Mordor. By that, I do not mean the taste of fear or desecrated land by means of volcano eruptions. Mordor is a dark place, but it’s quite complex as well as being needed for the story.

The way I went about this was going to a blend that was already done that already gave me those thoughts: Black Sunshine from Andrews & Dunham. Completely Yunnan black teas blended to create a more balanced cup; it appeals to a wide range of people. Unfortunately, when I’m drinking black teas (which I am known to dislike) I look for sweet notes to offset the bitterness. And so the challenge was born: I must blend up straight teas that give off the thoughts that vibe well when thinking about Mordor yet not having any bitterness or astringency.

Since I’ve been drinking a large selection of straight teas already, I felt incredibly confident.

There had to be a ripe puerh to give that dead ground that was trampled on, but the leaf size had to match the other material.
There had to be something smoky to add to that trampled ground to make it more ruined than trampled, but I wanted it to have more to it than smoke.
There had to be something shiny because for whatever reason I feel like Mordor would have aspects to it that just draw attention, but whatever that shiny stuff was had to also be sweet.

Playing around with the idea of the golden needle puerh I’ve used before, some lapsang, and a roasted oolong… I used none of those because roasted notes didn’t match and the material had to be smaller for what I was aiming for. Trying out different stuff and then it just hit me: Use a dark chocolate black tea and a ripe puerh to offset the bitterness with an earthy taste. From there it was trying to figure out what to do about the sweetness…. and then the sweet potato, caramel, and slight malty black tea jumped out at me as being the perfect choice.

Look at the choices : )20161203_165125

I ended up with a slightly smoked Fujian black tea and a Jin Jun Mei that was sweet. The ripe pu’erh is about to hit 10 years here shortly which makes it subtle while having the characteristics I wanted. It might not be the tea people imagine when they think of Mordor, but that’s the beauty of art as we try to express our own perspective on something.20161203_172642

Next post will have more pictures as they include more elements.

-Andrew / Liquid Proust

Bringing Oolong Back to Life

While darker oolong teas (oxidized and roasted) are something I enjoy to see how they can improve as they go through hibernation, aka resting for a long time, there sometimes is some leaf that you have little to no hopes for anyways. That’s the case with these two teas I recently bought and found out the hard way that not all ‘rested’ oolong will be good; an obvious answer, but I though I had solid selections. Finding myself with quite a bit of 2013 da hong pao and 2010 charcoal roasted tieguanyin (I actually bought this one out, it was low in stock), I had to find something to do with them so why not experiment?

I had material that underneath its rough exterior conditions still existed what made can potentially be good. These projects go back before I went to Kansas, mid February to April, but I didn’t blog about them at the time. Now I’m going to just drop what I’m doing and some pictures.

1: 2013 da hong pao surrounded by peppermint and cinnamon. The pictures should explain what I did, but I will be slowly rotating everything around for months and seeing what happens. The goal is to get the leaf to absorb the oils from the peppermint; if you’ve ever had plain peppermint leaf, it’s quite obvious it’s strong stuff.


2: 2010 charcoal roasted tieguanyin and vanilla bean. The charcoal roast on this tea is still way too much for it to be enjoyable, even after six years.The vanilla I used is quite potent which makes me happy because it is that aspect that can help provide cream to the charcoal taste while it fades away. I’m unsure how long this one will take, but I’m planning to recheck it every 5 months.


Fresh vanilla bean looks so crazy, in a great way, when you cut into it; however, it’s this moisture content that I have to check up on every two week even though it’s in an airtight container.


Keeping this rather brief, hopefully the pictures were enjoyable and the ideas were something you found to be interesting.

-Andrew / Liquid Proust

Roasted Jin Xuan and Brazilian Coffee

There have been many write ups on how to roast coffee at home with many different methods and even some write ups on how to do so with oolong as well. As someone who dislikes coffee but really enjoys roasted oolong, I decided I would find a way to roast coffee in a way that doesn’t make it so overpowering that in a blend it wouldn’t take over. The way I went about this was to ask what type of coffee would be best as well as approaching it with a slow roasting method; which ensures that the oolong won’t die as well.


Starting off, the most important thing to do is use product you know is good. I decided that I wanted to use a Jin Xuan because all of the other variations of oolong tend to already have a roasted version out there. The coffee was selected by a local here who knows coffee and tea quite well. I was told that Brazil would be a lighter type of coffee and since I knew nothing, but trust my self with doing weird things, I went with it with no questions.


Before: The oolong shows promise as a straight tea… I better not kill it!20160528_151010

Before: Green coffee is ugly, smells awful, and I have no idea what it can be used for.20160528_175242

After: The light roast on the coffee left the colors unique in a way that makes them look somewhat like peanuts. 20160528_175453After: Seems as if the Jin Xuan ended up just becoming a darker share of green and not leaning toward a brown at this level which means that I accomplished the light end via hue at this point.


Together it kind of looks like some odd trail mix…20160529_103730

To test the taste I selected 7g to which I have no idea what the breakdown is because the coffee and oolong both weight different, but it seems to be proportional. 20160529_104047

On to the tasting, I had to use a regular teapot as this blend would be best to brew western because I believe gongfu’n some coffee would bring out some odd notes… but I have not tested that.20160529_104510The liquid came out really clear. The smell is kind of funky so I thought maybe I messed something up. Turns out that this is the first brew of anything that needs to rest a little before it actually taste right. The first brew was quite smooth with an odd creamy texture that I’m unsure where it is coming from; it might be the buttery mixture of the oolong and then something to do with the roasting of both.

Now, the second brew ended up having sour notes to it at first but then I came back to it a few minutes later and it was completely gone. This concerned me because I had thoughts that I had a whole failed batch.Thankfully this isn’t the case because this liquid just needs a little time to settle and those notes disappear Whew, that was a relief to find out!. 20160529_105236So now that I have finished with my light roasted coffee and oolong, I find confidence knowing I might be able to move forward and go on to deeper roasted profiles and stronger coffee. From here it will be a balancing act, but I find it fun and enjoyable with lots of learning.


Laoshan Chocolate Genmaicha

Hey everyone, remember when Verdant was all like, ‘We are going to China’? You either thought: ‘Take me with you’ or ‘that’s sweet’; if you’re a fan of tea.

Anyways, when they transitioned they decided to let us all know they were done with blends! While that’s a bummer, they are focusing their time on sourcing while they are near the farmers they work with. Anyways, I am not affiliated with Verdant Tea but they posted their recipes online to recreate their blends with a disclaimer that companies couldn’t use them. Being a small little dude I asked if I could anyways and they said it is fine so here I am recreating Laoshan Chocolate Genmaicha the Liquid Proust Teas version 🙂

I kept the ratio the same but switched it up. First I started by using a more reserved base being the Laoshan gongfu black tea and paired it with the Laoshan roasted oolong due to the sizing of leaf and taste profile. Those two switches were simple, the two things that were a learning experience would be the cocoa nibs and rice.

Let’s start with cocoa nibs:

So I contacted a local individual who makes their makes their own chocolate to see if they had cocoa nibs from their processing. Well… turns out they did and not just one kind!


So there I was looking at four different types of cocoa nibs thinking that in hot water they will taste the same. Just like tea, each type is much different.

20160310_1755091 I brewed about the aount of cocoa nibs that will be in each scoop of the blend to see what it would be like.Turns out that two of the four were much like the typical ‘oh there is cocoa nibs in the tea’ and then two of them were like someone dropped actually chocolate in the water; one was around a 45% and the other was a %50. Being very close in taste I had to come down to which one had a noticeable aroma.

I’m really excited to have found this individual as  there is much to be done with byproducts of chocolate 🙂


Now onto the hardest thing… the rice.

I use a lot of jasmine rice as I love me some curry! I ended coming up with a crazy idea and it worked. Here’s what I did: I made sticky rice with the jasmine rice and wild rice mixture and then dehydrated it.


The darker color comes fro the wild rice in there. What I did next was pan fried them until I could smell the sides and then roasted it two separate times. By doing this I kept the slight sweetness that jasmine rice has rather then pan frying or roasting it out.

It looks ugly though:

done rice

I still had more rice that needed to be added for the blend so I went with the original methods of making the rice for genmaicha. I used pure wild rice from Minnesota for this. riceThis is the rice after two hours covered in cold water. I won’t discuss how I finished them up, but it came out quite well.


This is the overall look of the blend and I am actually pleased with what I came out with. After six trials with the rice I wasn’t sure if it would work out, but with time and persistence I made it!

Thanks for reading,




Watermelon Baozhong

While it’s been awhile since I’ve blogged, I have been quite busy! Between starting a new job and the first Liquid Proust Teas group buy, Dark Matter 2016, I really haven’t posted much about what’s going on in the creating world. This post shall be short, but I had to put something out today after reading a review on Etsy about someone enjoying my post 🙂

A watermelon oolong was promised and I don’t lie. Watermelon isn’t an easy flavor to do… so the most important part is to use a very reliable base tea that is solid enough to stand on its own while having a mild flavor being introduced; which means I went light.

A green oolong was the way to go, but which? Well, it wasn’t that hard because I have been following Paul Adamson over at Beautiful Taiwan Tea ever since the awesome 200% goal Kickstarter:
Somehow I found a few hundred dollars to put towards the Kickstarter while in college because I thought it was so dang awesome that someone would go out there 🙂

I ended up taking my ‘reward’ and shared it with the tea community around me when I returned from Tokyo 🙂

highres_438094071I’m wearing a BTTC shirt; if you squint hard enough you’ll see it!

Story time is over. The choice was made: Light and refreshing spring time green oolong: Farmer Changs Green Oolong (Baozhong) just had to be what I used!

Now for the hard part, figuring out how to dehydrate watermelon so it looks like ugly sticks of stuff nobody ever wants; like an old fruit roll-up snack of some sort.

Bought some organic watermelons which tiny with that large knife there. This was quite enjoyable because the second season of Daredevil came out! Interesting fact:I finished the whole season by time I started and finished this tea…


Cutting the watermelon so it would not be little dices that just sat in the curly leaf wasn’t that difficult, just had to remember to cut large pieces because it was about to be dehydrated. 2

Just like this. Roughly 3/4 to 1 inch in thickness while varying in length. Simple enough.


Threw it on the dehydrator tray and looked at those white seed things and thought to myself: those won’t change a thing, why not just keep them in to give that homemade feel. So that’s what I did; nothing.

Here’s where I need to stop and say that dehydrating watermelon smells terrible. Don’t stick around when you are dehydrating it….

Anyways, I continued to watch Daredevil while it was dehydrating. Afterwards there was three more steps that I shall not reveal, sometimes we just have to keep some things to ourselves. Oh, but I can show you 🙂


Looking forward to putting this on Etsy come April 2016!

There shall be a blog for my first Literary Appreciation tea: Swann’s Way. Keep a lookout for it… a Sun-moon Lake blend with home roasted pecans drizzled with caramelized black sugar from Yunnan and a few other touches 🙂
Also, the Chocolate Laoshan Genmaicha is 90% done!!! I created two of my own types of roasted rice and I am REALLY excited about this.



p.s. I have no affiliation with Paul or Beautiful Taiwan Tea Company.


Midwest Tea Festival: When Tea Takes You Home

Who would have ever guessed that being passionate about something I really enjoy and then taking it a step further to put my own artistic spin on it that it would take me back home. Back up a little bit, what am I talking about? Liquid Proust Teas received an invitation to be at the Midwest Tea Festival. After letting that thought marinate in my mind, there is no doubt that this is something I have to do.

Most of my life I grew up in Kansas. I graduated from Olathe Northwest in 2008 and a few months after moved to Colorado where my family had moved to. Two years later I ended up in Ohio and have been there ever since. It hasn’t been since 2010 that I have communicated with the friends I’ve shared precious moments with in life. Those bonds still exist and it will be quite emotional to see them once again to realize that underneath the ‘growing up’ that we have done, we are still the same two individuals who love one another for how we have been there for one another.I

I’ve have many conversations about why tea is a lifestyle choice for my, but this is more personal than when I shared a cup with someone in Tokyo with a phone to translate for us. From now until May, I will pour as much effort as I can to build Liquid Proust Teas up to even more than it is now.

Excited doesn’t even explain it as it’s a mixture of anticipation, emotions, memories, and possibilities.


Check out Midwest Tea Fest !