Archive for black tea

a journal of the plague and pestilence year [continued]

Posted in Books, Kids, Mountains, pictures, Travel, University life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 10, 2022 by xi'an

Had a full week in Coventry for the first time in a while, thanks to my CDT masterclass on GANs and other acronyms. Arriving on a Bank Holiday in a Math Science Building only populated by a few graduate students. And stayed in an Airbnb rather than the traditional math house, which afforded me a picture of the local community as warmer and drier weather meant more people on the street in the evenings (and more lawnmowers as well). Including discovering that the traditional UK ice cream van [which I had first seen & heard in a Birmingham suburb in the mid 1970’s summers] had not gone extinct! One was touring the neighbourhood every night with the customary chime. (Also spotted what strongly looked like a home delivery of drugs, without the chimes.)

Read Half-Witch, by John Schoffstal, which I bought for no clear reason quite a while ago and only read in the past fortnight, maybe because I was somewhat put off by the unusual cover. The contents were unusual as well, a sort of modern take on a Grimm’s fairytale, with a complete lack of attention to realism, and a witty sarcastic tone for a coming of age story where a young girl manages goblins, witches, an hopeless Trinity, a similarly hopeless father, and plenty of nasty people, by outwitting them all. Also quickly went through two (Tor gifts) novellas A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers, which I enjoyed tremendously as a Zen tale, following a tea monk!, and Unlocked, by John Scalzi, which is a sort of prequel to Lock In I read eons ago. Where half-a-page viewpoints follows the unraveling of a World pandemic that first looks like a super-flu, follows air routes to reach all countries, had a high fatality and high contamination rates, and is kept under control by the massive investment of governments… Reading this in 2022 is presumably much more exciting than when it appeared, as the setting sounds prescient and follows to some extent what happened with COVID, except for the US President to react much more efficiently than the Agent Orange “in charge” at the time.

Did not cook the first green asparagus I found at the market, as they are great eaten raw in a minimalist salad. Also had a great spaghetti alle vongole in a local Italian restaurant, if far from an Italian pricing!

on [not] making tea

Posted in Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 14, 2021 by xi'an

By chance, when looking for information on the film that usually appears on top of tea brews (!), I came upon this highly ranked blog entry of a security expert explaining how not to make tea. Which did not seem completely right in my tea-oholic eyes..! Not that the following rambling is of any relevance whatsoever!

On the agreement side, it is indeed hard to get decent tea in most places, the primary reason being a lack of understanding that very hot water is needed. The worst being these cafés where they bring you a cup of (definitely not hot) water with a tea bag on the side! I used to travel with my own kettle to avoid this issue, but I am striving to carry as little stuff as possible and hence gave up on that habit. Instead, I often take a thermos bottle that contains an infuser: all that is needed is hot water!

On the disagreement side, the obvious resolution of most complaints about poor quality tea, “herbal teas” that are not tea, tea bags in general, &tc., is to carry your own loose tea. It is light and keeps well and cannot disappoint. And can be brewed several times, especially oolongs. The section about milk is beyond discussion as tea with milk is another beverage altogether. I certainly enjoy drinking duh-wali-chai  in India and am even making some at home from time to time, but otherwise I stopped putting milk in my tea during the first COVID lockdown. (Which also considerably simplified my tea consumption when travelling: all that is needed is hot water!) The main issue is however in using boiling water. Which is almost never recommended for brewing tea! Especially green and Darjeeling teas. Instead of using water above 90⁰, one should stay below 90⁰… Especially when running several brews. Not only this keeps the bitterness under control but it avoids loosing oxygen and CO² contained in the water.

As an aside, this film/sheen is the result of “an interfacial reaction of polyphenols and other components in the tea that bond with ions in the water”.

smoked tea

Posted in Travel with tags , , , , , on June 14, 2019 by xi'an

The shop of the tea dealer Nathmulls in Darjeeling burned down last week. In possibly suspicious circumstances… While they lost at least 2,000 kg of their tea stock, and most sadly someone died in the fire, Nathmulls can still deliver orders, including great 2019 first flush Darjeeling teas.

missing [thumb] category

Posted in pictures, Running, Travel, University life with tags , , , , , , , on January 2, 2018 by xi'an

I had a fairly uneventful trip to Kolkata today, except for a rather long wait at the e-visa station in Delhi where the young agent in the booth was at a loss on how to handle my missing thumb and kept returning to a senior agent for instructions! As they were speaking Hindi, I could not understand precisely the exchanges but he was told to enter “missing” and when this failed, “disabled” which worked out fine! The Indian Statistical Institute is locate quite a fair distance north from the centre of Kolkata and I searched in vain for a tea dealer in the immediate vicinity tonight. (Walking ten minutes in the street was most likely equivalent to smoking a full pack of cigarettes!!! I am glad I did not bring running gear as this would have been borderline suicidal… (On the flight back, the security agent was equally interested in my absent thumb, enquiring how I had lost it.)

off to India

Posted in pictures, Statistics, Travel, University life with tags , , , , , , , on December 18, 2016 by xi'an

I am off to India today to take part in the celebration of the Platinum Jubilee of the Department of Statistics of the University of Calcutta, which was created in 1941 by Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis. (One of the first cohort of students to complete their studies in this department was C.R. Rao.) The conference is organised by Asis Kumar Chattopadhyay whom I first met in Bangalore a few years ago and who visited Frédéric Arenou and myself last summer. This trip is quite exciting, from visiting this department to discovering Calcutta and Western Bengal, with a short stop in Darjeeling and the Himalayas foothills on the way there… Obviously, ‘Og mileage may vary in the coming days, depending on the wireless coverage. (But expect mostly pictures, anyway!)

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