Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Bearsblog: Featured Tea Blog - Focusing on Pu-erh Tea

Today's featured blog is a specialized blog that, unfortunately, I think is easy to overlook, but, once it gets your attention, if you're interested in its subject matter, is impossible to forget. This is Jason's Bearsblog, which focuses mostly on Pu-erh (apologies to Jason, I've decided to spell it this way on my post, for consistency), with only a few sparse mentions of other types of tea. The subtitle of this blog reads Chronicling the obsession, which I think communicates how Pu-erh is a whole world in and of itself.

I am not a die-hard Pu-erh enthusiast. Pu-erh is one of those things that I can see getting into a lot more at some point, but right now, I am a definitive newbie with respect to it. While I do have opinions on (and am sometimes wowed or disappointed by) various Pu-erhs that I'm served, I don't drink much Pu-erh, and don't have much in my cupboard either. I know little more than the basics that one can find on a typical, reliable general-audience website; I even know a lot less than one can find on Wikipedia's page on Pu-erh (which is surprisingly thorough). And my experience with brewing Pu-erh is limited. But I find myself coming back to Bearsblog at random times, as it is one of the best places for Pu-erh on the net.

What I like most about this blog:

One thing I like the most about this blog is that, in spite of being so specialized, it has a lot of material that is relatively accessible. Pu-erh doesn't always seem to be the most accessible type of tea. I have heard the perspective voiced that people who are really into Pu-erh tend not to want to blog about it publicly, because the supply of certain batches is limited, and they are afraid of good cakes getting snatched up. I don't know how much people actually hold or act on this perspective, but I do know that Bearsblog makes the really deep level of Pu-erh knowledge a little bit more accessible. Jason also advertises his meetups, to give an opportunity for new people to connect with die-hard Pu-erh enthusiasts.

There are two pages which I think are incredibly useful and fully accessible to newcomers: the page New to Pu'er? and, for more depth, Pu'er by Appearance: Types & Storage, which I find to be one of the best references on Pu-erh on the net. In fact, if I had to pick a single page as a reference for Pu-erh, to complement Wikipedia's page on Pu-erh, it would be that page on Bearsblog.

Bearsblog is also linked up with other similar blogs and some interesting websites. If you like this blog, you will likely like the other blogs and sites it links to as well.

And on a final note, I think this blog has beautiful close-up photography. I also think that the blog's theme, with the blurry, mostly gray background, is perfectly suited to the subject matter and style of photography. I also like the length and style of the written descriptions of teas that Jason shares.

Do you know Bearsblog?

I'm curious to see how much overlap there is between the people who read my blog and the people who read Bearsblog. I suspect the overlap may actually be relatively small! But, even if you decide not to subscribe to this blog, I think it is an indispensable resource to know about.


  1. It's on my list too!
    And many thanks for your posting on Upton teas. On your recommendation, I took a look at the site, ordered the catalog, and look forward to placing my first order (including many samples), very soon...

    1. That's exciting! I hope you have a good experience.

      Interestingly, from the juxtaposition of topics here, I think I am the least excited of Upton's Pu-erh offerings, although I did once try a sheng Pu-erh mini-tuo cha from Upton that I liked very much, ZH75, which, unfortunately, is sold out right now.

      One thing I like about those mini tuo cha's is, besides making for a convenient serving size for gong fu brewing (it's too much leaf for western-style brewing), you can store them in different ways in order to get a feel for storage / aging. That particular tea I found to be on the strong side but still able to be drunk as-is without aging.

  2. A new blot to me. Thanks for showcasing!