Archive for the ‘Chinese Tea’ Category

As even some of my most avid readers may not know, I am currently in Okinawa, Japan as a research intern at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology. I am in the Biodiversity and Biocomplexity Unit headed by Evan Economo, my mentor from the University of Michigan. The lab is also known as “Arilab” – “ari” is a transliteration of the Japanese word for “ant”. Be sure to check out Arilab’s brand-new website created by lab member Sandrine Burriel, here.

In about a week I will be heading to Xishuangbanna in Yunnan, China to do a two-week collections trip with Benoit Guénard and Cong Liu, where we hope to find many interesting species of ants. Previous records from Xishuangbanna include some particularly cool-looking species like Harpegnathos venatorPolyrhachis bihamata, and Mystrium camillae:



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During my long hiatus from blogging, I unfortunately missed the most important news story in recent years. I speak of the report by the venerable Bug Girl on Insect Poop Tea (虫屎茶, chóngshǐchá). This is a type of pu’er tea (produced mostly in Yunnan province) that is made from – you guessed it – insect poop. Specifically caterpillar poop pellets. Despite its hefty price tag ($250-$1000/lb), I hope to have the chance to try this delicacy. Such an intersection of my two major interests (insects and tea) simply cannot be turned down. I will be heading to Hunan, China in August to teach English for 11 months, and as Yunnan is quite nearby, I just may get the opportunity to have my insect poo and drink it too.


(Image from TeaChat)

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It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything Chinese-related, so here’s a story from 2009 on the little-known Pu’er Tea Bubble of 2007: link.

Tasty Pu'er

Tasty Pu’er

(H/T to Joshua Blanchard, noted blogger of Egalicontrarian fame).

UPDATE: The picture above is actually lapsang souchong, not pu’er! I had mistakenly labelled it “Tasty Pu’er” in my file, which confused me. There has been no lapsang souchong bubble, to my knowledge.

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Today we will discuss another word which is not insect-related:

This is lāpǔshān xiǎozhǒng, better known by the Sino-ignorant population as “lapsang souchong”, a delicious, smoky black tea:

I took this picture at Goldfish Tea, a superb Chinese-style tea shop in Royal Oak. You may not be able to tell by looking at it, but the word  lāpǔshān xiǎozhǒng means “small plant from Lapu Mountain”. Do I know of Lapu Mountain? No. But I do know that this tea is produced near the Wuyi Mountains, so maybe Lapu is one of the mountains in the range. Regardless, I recommend you try this tea the next time you are at Goldfish Tea or, alternatively, find yourself near Lapu Mountain.

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FF Reemerges

After long last, over a month since my last post, I have returned! I await, with great anticipation, the sight of the great number of my readers flocking back to my blog like a brood of  cicadas appearing from below ground after years of absence (As a side note, check out the Life Cycle section of the cicada Wikipedia page).

Despite its introduction, this post has little to do with insects. It pertains instead to my other primary interest, the Chinese. As the Chinese would say, 我对中国有很兴趣。

I couple of weeks ago, I went with my uncle on an excursion around Ann Arbor. My uncle had told me that there was a new, limited-time Chinese woodblock prints exhibit at the University of Michigan Museum of Art (UMMA). He also told me about a favorable review he had read in the Metro Times about Kai Garden, a Chinese restaurant on Main Street. So we went to both the museum and the restaurant, as well as an Asian pastry shop (Eastern Accents) and Tea Haus, a tea shop which wishes it was Goldfish Tea. I will now sum up the experience: (more…)

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Prairie Tea?

As I walked across Konza the other day, looking for the pitfall traps I had laid (lain?) previously, a pleasant breeze drove a seemingly familiar scent towards me. I wondered what seemed so familiar, until I realized that it was very similar to lapsang souchong, a smoky black tea I enjoy, as documented here. I don’t know what could have produced such a smoky, distinct smell, but I do know that  it made me desire some lapsang!

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I have yet to devote a post exclusively to something Chinese, so here’s one. I recently went on an excursion to Goldfish Tea, an authentic Chinese tea house in Royal Oak, with my older brother Joshua Douglas Blanchard:

I like loose-leaf tea because it tastes good. We had some nice lapsang souchong, a smoky black tea:

We also had some nice bamboo green tea:

So if you like tea and find yourself in Royal Oak, you know what to do!

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