Books. Tea. Cats. Scribbling.

Tag: tea

The Our Lady of Grace Mural in the Notre-Dame-de-Grace neighbourhood.

Summer Wanderings: Montreal

This summer, I did what everyone else seems to be doing, and I went travelling. On multiple trips, even! And we didn’t catch Covid-19 or Monkeypox either time!

The first one was to see my sister in Montreal for Canada Day. This was one of the first times she and brother-in-law have had guests over since moving to the city right when the pandemic started.

Myself, I last visited Montreal over a decade ago, and, my memories of that trip having faded, I was struck with a sense of jealousy over its dedication to not making itself a sucky place to live. Multiple mixed-income neighbourhoods! An abundance of missing-middle housing types, like lowrises and duplexes! Huge public murals! A functioning subway system! (Toronto could never.) Technically, I don’t live in Toronto anymore, but I am aware of its shortcomings.

We lucked out with the weather: sunny, hot, humid — perfect for outdoor dining. My sister and Mr. BooksAndTea were witness to me making a pilgrimage by shopping at Camellia Sinensis, the grand-daddy of fancy tea shops in Canada, and author of a decent reference book about the subject.

The Camellia Sinensis storefront, near Jean Talon market. The store was considerably smaller than expected.

We packed a lot into that one long weekend: seeing Jean Talon market, getting luscious things for breakfast at a local bakery, eating dumplings, touring the McGill University campus, shopping at Argo Bookshop, walking along the Old Port waterfront, setting foot in Librarie Drawn and Quarterly, watching a short film about the history of Quebec projected against the wall of a multi-story building at night… truly magical stuff.

We closed off the trip on Monday by visiting St. Viateur to get some authentic Montreal-style bagels fresh from the oven and then eating poutine at a hole-in-the wall diner. Looking back, I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

A photo of my white tea cabinet, with shelves full of different teas in smaller containers

State of the Tea Cabinet (and Other Stuff) 2022

Oh hey. It’s been over a year since I wrote anything here. I’m not going to make any excuses or apologies for being away. 2021 was a tough year, even though some good things happened to me, professionally.

I would like to write in here more often. But I’ve realized that making promises about any sort of metric (reading X books per year or writing Y posts per month, or writing Z words of fun writing per day) is just. Not going to work.

So. I’ll read shit and write shit and share cat pictures and gardening photos when I feel like it. No promises other than that.

My tea collection

However, since I’ve made a habit of writing about the state of my tea collection every other year at New Year’s (2016, 2018, 2020), I feel a need to keep up with precedent. So here’s what things are looking like, as of yesterday evening:

I reorganized everything from top to bottom, and moved most of the stuff I’m no longer using (gaiwans, teapots, etc) to the bottom shelf. Then, I moved my daily drinkers to the top, plus a few accessories. I might as well face up to the fact that I’ve gone back to my Basic Bitch, fruity green tea roots.

Tea TypeNo. of VarietiesWeight in Grams
Herbal13619.8 (plus 14 bags)
Green — Unflavoured5214.5
Green — Flavoured12575
Black — Unflavoured113.6
Black — Flavoured7157.5 (plus 8 bags)
Rooibos5168.4 (plus 16 bags)

Looking back over past tea cabinet posts, it’s clear that I’ve managed to scale waaaay back from when I was heavily reviewing teas in 2016. Back then, I had 166 teas, weighing over 11 pounds total. Now, it’s 57 varieties, weighing just under 4.5 pounds.

This is good! One of the things I’ve learned about myself since the pandemic started is that I’ve got ADHD, and the fact that I went so hard into tea in 2014–2016 — and even started up a goddamned blog about it — is a classic example of hyperfocus.

The other thing is that, frankly, no one needs this much tea. And I’m really going to try and make a concerted effort to finish up the pu’erh I’ve got, because most of it has been sitting in my cupboard since I first bought it in 2016 (way back when I was in that hyperfocus phase).

I don’t really drink whole pots of tea the way I used to, either. Just a mug or two in the morning, and some herbal tea at night or if my stomach is upset. And then there are whole days where I don’t brew any tea at all.

It’s funny, because I’ve centred so much of my personality for a while around Being Really Into Tea. It’s hard to give something like that up. But that’s the way things are right now.

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