Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Featured Tea Blog: Lao Ren Cha by Neil Gorman

I have decided to start a series of posts featuring various tea blogs that I like and subscribe to.

Today's post, the first in this series, is about Lao Ren Cha, a blog run by Neil Gorman, whom you can find on Google+ and also on twitter. There is, incidentally, another blog by this same title, written by Jenna Cody, which, while interesting (and occasionally containing some bits about tea), is not primarily about tea. But, back to the blog I want to feature:

As its about page explains, this blog is named for the term 老人茶(Lao Ren Cha), meaning "Old man's tea", which refers to the idea that the only old men have time to practice gong fu cha, the careful brewing of tea in small vessels using multiple infusions.

Although Lao Ren Cha has been going for around a year and a half now, I still think of it as a "new" blog, because I distinctly remember when it was founded, and it was after I had been blogging for some time. This blog impressed me from the start, which I find particularly interesting as I felt like I had a bit of a rough start to blogging, having to take some time (several months) writing posts before I figured out the style I wanted to write in and the topics I wanted to write about. This blog seemed to start with a coherent vision and style.

There are a lot of things I like about this blog. They include:

  • In-depth writing about high-quality loose-leaf tea, with care placed in brewing - This blog is one that has a lot of posts that I think will please die-hard tea enthusiasts, the sort who practice gong fu brewing and seek out the highest-quality teas.
  • Ample philosophical writings interspersed with the writing about tea - My favorite tea blogs are ones that are not just about tea; this is because I am not interested in tea for its own sake, I am interested in tea for the role it plays in my life, and the way it relates to food, culture, and other aspects of life. What I like most about this blog is its way of weaving life lessons, insights, and bits of wisdom in with the narrative about tea.
  • A clean, minimal layout that I find very pleasing - I really like this blog's simple white background and layout.
  • Artful photography with a distinct style - I find that the style of the photography goes particularly well with the blog's layout and writing style. Many of the photographs show relatively low lighting and contain a lot of darker wood surfaces; the bright white background contrasts with this and keeps the blog looking open and bright overall. The combination of the darker photographs and wood surfaces, combined with the minimal, mostly white layout, I find highly congruent with the blog's practice of interspersing bits of wisdom with commentary on gong fu tea culture.

Whether you're a die-hard gong fu cha enthusiast, or someone who likes the combination of tea and life philosophy, if you don't already know about this blog, I would recommend checking it out.


  1. Very much like the look of Neil's blog, the theme he uses and his style. His pictures are lovely too. There's only one thing, he hasn't written for a while. I hope he blogs again soon. He took a longish break from Oct - February, and now it's been a month since his last post. I know it's hard to keep going sometimes, but I really hope he takes it up again. Thanks for mentioning him, maybe it will encourage him to post again. Neil, do you hear us? ;)

    1. Neil does not update this blog quiet as regularly as a lot of ones; if you check his archives you'll see a number of gaps of 1-3 months. I wouldn't be too concerned! But frequency of updates isn't all that important to me. I actually like blogs that focus on quality and that don't update that frequently (of course, I'm one to talk as I've been writing insanely frequently for some time).

      I also think that, more so than most blogs, his posts tend to be timeless, and the blog is valuable to read, either randomly, or in order from the start, at any time!

  2. Thank you for introducing me to this blog. It is lovely and I will definitely enjoy reading it.