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 http://steepster.com/discuss/14654-the-sheng-olympiad-of-2017
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: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1Cm1_xq2Uw&t=22s
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): http://imgur.com/gallery/GXXn4
So you’ve seen the cat and the dog together, but why hasn’t anyone shown their balls next to each others? https://www.instagram.com/p/BJVY4bMgls4/
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.
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: http://imgur.com/gallery/GXXn4
Not as green as the 2015, but the leaf still looks wonderful. I made a letter ‘C’
Successful at wiggling the beenghole out! This is always a challenging task.Anyone in for some aged sunflower seed?
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. Leftover 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.
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