Gray skies and Grey teas.

We took a break from unpacking to go to the store and get various household items, including a Rival brand electric kettle for the upstairs. It’s plastic, and doesn’t have a lot of features, but we’re on a budget. It does have some non-specific temperature control, though, so I can keep water at or below a simmer while I’m serving my friends, gongfu style.

On our way home, we made another stop at The Teacup to try a few new varieties, and to get cups to warm us after we’d been out in the driving rain. The Husband picked Commodore Grey, leaving off the milk and sugar. It was surprisingly smooth and full-bodied, with none of the bite or heavy astringency of grocery store Greys. What distinguishes it from the others is the addition of vanilla, though I couldn’t pin it down right away. I have to say that this blend makes taste buds very happy, and I also chose another of the same family to bring home and share with you. And thus begins a new category for Gongfu Girl.

I couldn’t come to a decision on what I wanted in my cup, so I asked Brett to surprise me. He obliged with his favorite oolong, and I actually felt honored that he’d pick that for me out of all the teas in the shop. The room had a lot of background noise, but I believe that the one he chose was Wen Shan Baozhong. I’m getting better at picking out different aspects of aroma in some of the teas, and this one had a very floral note to it. Here’s the interesting description from their web site:

An incredible oolong from the Mount Wen region of Taiwan, produced when lightly oxidised leaves are wrapped in paper as they dry. The flavor is soft and sweet with a refreshing floral nose. These big leaves can be resteeped many times, often changing flavors with each resteeping. A glorious tea truly representative of a place and culture.

As it cooled, it became more full and sweet with each sip. At $100 a pound, I didn’t take any more of that home, but I do have moments when I wish I had. I did purchase packets of both of their varieties of pu’erh, though, that I can use to test the new gongfu set. If this afternoon is anywhere near as cool and wet as yesterday, it’ll be a great treat to share with my housemates.


  1. Is Commodore Grey similar or identical to Earl Grey?

  2. It’s in the Grey “family,” and has vanilla in addition to the Darjeeling and bergamot. Definitely a little different. I also got “Creme Brulee Grey,” and I can’t wait to try it out, but I’ve been having migraines, so I have to give the caffeine a rest for a few days.