It’s 35 degrees and raining, and that’s down here in town. Today it rained non-stop, all day. You’d think I lived in Oregon or something, what with this rain and all.

Something struck me as strange the first time I came to this state. I kicked up a random conversation with an old lady in a grocery store parking lot in Portland, and she began to ramble, in such a way that only people ’round these parts can ramble. The thing she said that stuck with me the most however, was “It never rains in Portland. Sure, it rains all the time, but it never really rains in Portland.”

Which is true. I guess. What I’ve noticed, as the rainy season really starts getting its sea legs, is a growing indifference to the notion of whether it is or isn’t raining. Typically, if it isn’t raining, it’s probably because you haven’t noticed yet that it is raining.

Anywho, it might be getting chilly but I don’t freakin’ care, because my fresh shipment of tea arrived today. Whereas in historical times we received our teas from the Orient, shipped overseas at terrible risk of kraken-wrought death, these days we have them shipped from the far-flung reaches of St. Paul.

Ever since my friend Mark had us first introduced, I have sworn on holy ground by TeaSource. Their tea is the absolute bomb, they have a massive selection of it, and if you’re able to go to their store they’re great at helping you choose the right one. Now, I’m a huge tea snob (I’m also, among other things, a gin snob, a beer snob and an indie music snob). So long as I have a choice, I will only deal in loose tea. There are two things in life that should come in bags, and tea isn’t one of them.

In my last round of tea I picked up a couple ounces of Ti Kwan Yin, Spring River Green, and Clear Mountain Water. Ti Kwan Yin is an Oolong, which was a bit of a risk for me because I typically prefer the lightness of a good green tea. Nevertheless I enjoyed it enough that I grabbed another Oolong tea in my most recent shipment. Spring River Green was an average green tea, one which I thought had the occasional subtle taste of sushi.

Clear Mountain Water, however, is one of the best green teas I’ve ever had. The leaves are very young and green, and when you brew it up it looks like they were just plucked from the field. It’s a very bright tea, and I believe it tastes like drops of liquid sunshine. Clear Mountain Water doesn’t come cheap (it looks like two ounces will run ya $15), but it was by far the best tea I got in my last round.

Consider this, too. I drink a lot of tea, like 4-6 cups a day. Last January I picked up these three guys for a total of six ounces of tea, and just now am I running out. If you don’t count my summer of tromping through the wilds and being bearded, ornery and tea-less, that still makes out to be six months of tea. Plus, it’s no problem to brew these teas multiple times.

So now, this time around I’ve got a couple ounces of Moroccan Mint, Assam Green Kopili Estate, Green Dragon Oolong, and Jasmine Dragon Phoenix Pearls. I haven’t tried all of them yet, but the Moroccan Mint seems to be a pretty decent green tea… with spearmint. I have had the Jasmine Dragon Phoenix Pearls before, not to mention that I’m drinking it right now, and it’s one of my favorites. The tea looks pretty cool, too, with all these tiny rolled-up balls of green tea leaves that unfurl when they’re steeped.

Just remember. If you’re in a pinch, you can’t go wrong when your tea has a name like Iron Goddess of Mercy.