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from Crimson Lotus Tea
Slumbering dragon
Pu-erh changes as it ages, becoming more complex, rounder, and dynamic. Unfortunately, teas aged by other people are wildly expensive. I would love to (at some point) have high quality 20-year aged pu-erh, but I would also not love to spend a bazillion dollars on tea, which means I’m stuck with the other option: buying new pu-erh and then waiting 20 years. (I am massively impatient, my but ADHD also means that I can basically put something in a box and it doesn’t exist until the reminder on my phone goes off.)
At least that’s what I told myself. But my unfortunate perfectionist tendencies kicked in. If I’m going to save a tea for 20 years, I need to know it already has all the things in tea that I like, and my tastes don’t necessarily align with others, so it’s not enough to just see what other people say is good and then buy those things.
This is how I came to have a box filled 23 separate tea samples.
This isn’t even all of them. I have another box.
One of these is Slumbering Dragon from Crimson Lotus Tea, a raw pu-erh. This is how they describe the sourcing on their website:
Yet again we have delved deep into the forests of Kunlu Shan to bring you this incredible tea. Year after year this is one of the most interesting and singularly unique puerh teas that we source. This is a rare puerh. Of all the tea we sell this is the hardest to source and the hardest to pick. There is a village in Kunlu Shan that isn't even on Google maps. Once you're there you need to hike another 3 kilometers into the mountains to get to these trees. The hike is often steep. You gain 500 meters and it takes more than 3 hours to get there. No one there knows how long the trees have been there or anything about their history. When you ask locals the age they simply reply that they are as old as the earth itself.
Needless to say, my expectations were high.
I have had high expectations for tea and found the tea shrug-worthy, but this one was beautiful. The tea smells amazing: sweet and herbal and that deep, earth pu-erh scent. The tea itself is sweet, complex, floral, and fruity with a bit of a chewy bite on the back end that will probably age out into rounder flavors.
So Slumbering Dragon’s going on my list of teas to age.

Water lilies
I don’t know about you, but the last months, maybe even the last weeks, have felt particularly overwhelming. It’s not that we haven’t had some good news sprinkled in with the bad; in fact, in some ways, the proof that steps forward are possible sometimes makes the journey we have to go on seem all that much harder.
I don’t really have anything to say that changes that except this: the Denver Botanic Gardens have water lilies, and this is the time of year when they’re gorgeous and vibrant. 
Here are a few, in case you need them.
and white!

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I know there are people who just write books that contain like 98% things that happened to them or a friend, and I don’t want to pass too much judgement on those people. I tend to put about 2% in mine. For me, they’re usually emotions—things I have felt that are honest—with the source changed.
In Unlocked, Elaine’s mom isn’t really anything like mine. My mom is not an astronomer. She is also not part of the English nobility. But my mom is a genius in her own way. My mom loves her children very much. And like Elaine’s mother, she doesn’t understand other people and how they work.
An example: my mother used to home bake bread for our school lunches. To be completely accurate, she used to hand-grind the wheat that she used to bake the bread, which is definitely doing lunches on hard mode. But this was back in the ‘80s when everyone else had gorgeous perfectly smooth white bread, and I had lumpy brown bread sandwiches. Naturally, the other kids teased me. 
So my mom decided that if people were teasing us for having brown bread, she would dye the bread blue and that would solve everything.* I’m going to let you all work out how that turned out.
Anyway, the feeling in this story—of having a parent who you can’t really tell about getting teased, because she’ll try and make it better but it will not work out the way you want, and she might get hurt so you need to protect her—is very much mine.
* for the record, everyone in the family has a different explanation for`` why this actually happened.
Buy Unlocked on:

What I’m reading: The warcross duology
I picked up a GI bug this last week, which meant I had a few days where I wanted something fun and fast. I’d had Warcross by Marie Lu on my reading list for a very long time, and it precisely fit the bill.
Warcross is set in the near future, in which a grieving boy invents an immersive alternate reality complete with a game called “Warcross.” Our heroine, Emika Chen, a down-on-her-luck orphan on the verge of eviction, hacks the game at an in opportune moment and accidentally gets pulled into a live broadcast of the Warcross tournament. Things spiral out from there with twists and turns and reveals and chases and of course romance. I went through the two book duology in as many days.
Get Warcross from:

SEE YOU next week.
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