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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Taste of Tea

Ah, the warming taste of Chinese tea in the morning. It is a pure and simple moment that I look forward to each day. The Chinese believe that the process of creating anything is as important as the end result of the activity. From the utensils used to the care & patience given to the essential brewing of the tea, the motions are indeed a vital part of the relaxation. To this end, I brew "loose leaf" tea and not packaged tea bags. I find the quality of raw organic product higher than the sum of its assembly-line pre-bagged parts.

So, which tea is best?

I cannot consume any variety of green tea, as I find it to be too harsh on my body.
Accordingly, I have settled on white tea as my tea of choice. I am not picky about my tea, but I will admit that I have researched it enough to be dangerous. I have learned about the varieties grown, the regional soils, methods of harvesting & the final grades awarded to each type. So, I guess you can say that I am picky about my inherent knowledge of tea.

I have found that the standard grade of white tea is a mixed hybrid concoction known as White Peony tea. It is essentially a mixture of twigs, leaves and a few white buds. It is the Milwaukee's Best of White Tea, if that is even a remotely admissible comparison. On second thought, perhaps, simply the Budweiser of White Tea.

I primarily enjoy Silver Needle White Tea as my favorite. This tea is comprised of all flower buds only, no roughage, stems, twigs, leaves, dirt or filler. It is pure White Tea without the extras which help drive up the cost, but the quality more than compensates for that slight adjustment.

Rishi Silver Needle white tea ( Bai Hao Yinzhen) is a good introduction to the world of quality tea. Truly high quality silver needle tea is known to be very expensive with some batches reaching an estimated $122.00 an ounce. By comparison, this tea is sold for about $6.50 per ounce or about $.35 a cup.

TEA - Great for your mind, soul & overall health.

Brew a batch from Amazon here:
Rishi White Tea

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Going, Going, Gone....... Ebay is officially retail.

I am not new to the Ebay scene. I started early on with the website and its massive appeal back in 1999. While I wasn't smart enough to buy stock or work as a janitor for this company, I was keen enough to recognize a great thing when I saw it.

Ebay used to be the epitome of fantastic online deals, the world's largest virtual flea market, where nearly every purchase made you feel good about logging on and bidding. The excitement of the bidding was only outweighed by the occassional loss to a last-second sniper bid or perhaps slight buyers remorse on a product that you probably didn't actually need.

On rare instance, some items would be vastly overpriced due to the seller's greed or simple misunderstanding of the market value, but that was certainly the exception. Now with most sellers fronting their small business marketplace models, the opposite pattern is true, nearly all auctions are at retail prices. I search nearly every single day on Ebay for one thing or another, usually niche antique pieces with plenty of supply and the auctions are always indentical. Overpriced, retail junk.

Due to Ebay's marketing of business models and its own greed for hefty fee collection, it has transformed this one appeasing online bazaar of savings into nothing but a store front company. In most cases, usually more than 90%, you can actually purchase new items from Amazon cheaper than you can from Ebay once you pay for the ridiculously over-priced shipping charges from most sellers.

It is sad to see it go, but Ebay will not last at this rate IMHO.
People will grow tired paying retail and simply move on to a better designed auction model for their purchases. A simple place where they are still in control of market demand, prices, and yes, somewhere where they might actually get a good deal on something for a rare change.

Thanks for the memories....