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Die Hard With a Cuppa

In mediaeval times, one could pour boiling oil from upon one’s tower onto invading hordes. And it certainly learned ’em a thing or two, let me tell you.

Obviously, when we get door-to-door electricity company salespeople or certain doorstep-obsessed religious orders turning up at our castles tat an inconvenient time, a bit of boiling oil would be an effective discouragement strategy, but oh, no – in these whiny days you’d be litigated against for sure.

This is why I love a story from Kenya about a householder who turned to boiling hot tea in a run-in with debt collectors.

Apparently a bank came around, with a tame cop in tow, to take someone’s possessions in a way that was not strictly correct.

The householder – a teacher, not a professional wrestler or drug dealer – explained his position by scalding three of them with very hot tea.

And this guy is all class. He then went to the police station and reported the incident himself. The police actually had some sympathy for him and have some questions for the bank.

I have no doubt this will inspire the next Bruce Willis movie: “Die Hard with a Cuppa”.

Flattery of the Social Kind

I had a bit of thinking about where this post needed to go.
Not on my tea blog, as even a master of tea placement like myself can’t pretend it’s about tea. In fact, tea will only turn up once within this story. I’ll mark it with an asterisk so you don’t miss it.
Not on my Muses and Rants blog, because I’ve used that about once in the last two years, and it doesn’t really fit.

So Beasts of Brewdom it is: and to be fair it contains manly stuff, a little brewed beverage and bangs on about social media, which is after all how Beasts of Brewdom was invented.

So, within the social media sphere I have somewhat of a profile, and for the most part, that is all thanks to my relentless blogging and my highly abusive tweets. It also helps that I am connected to some really well known tea bloggers and a few others.
So, the ratings site Klout has me in the middle of the pack. This turns out to be quite useful.
You may remember years ago I mentioned that a company had sent me a pile of Japanese tea at one time to review.

It included genmaicha, which I have no idea what to do with, as I don’t own a horse.

So we took all the Japanese teas and turned them into bath bombs with varying degrees of success. At the time, I pointed out in my blog that with a little research, they never would have been daft enough to send me that tea.
Enter Dollar Shave Club, who have decided to send me some razors. The selection process seems to be that I have a reasonable Klout score, live in Australia and am male. Pretty reasonable odds that the product might be useful. Sure, I might have a religious ban on shaving, have alopecia or be 11 years old, but happily, none of those are true.

After treating me to an excellent and hilarious video, these guys duly sent the razors which arrived yesterday.

So this morning, I put down my cup of Lord Petersham * and put blade to face.

Well before trying the razors, I had shared the video on Facebook and Twitter. It’s hilarious. So these guys had already won. It’s cost them a few free razors.

The funny thing is, I heard the guy from Dollar Shave Club on the radio a year ago, and was impressed by what he had to say. After he finished, a guy who claimed he used to work for Gilette rang the station, and said that that company made so much money from replacement razors that they referred to the factory that makes the replacements as “the mint”.

I decide then and there to sign up.

But I was in the car at the time, and the information had dribbled out of my brain within a few minutes.

So, back to my face. A few pumps of shaving oil on my three-day growth, and out with the razor.

Was it any good.


It was f***ing great, to quote their slogan.

The handle was really comfortable, the 4 blades did the trick, and the idea that I get a new one each week is really attractive. Normally, I make the last one last, if you know what I mean.

So, why blog about it?

Because this is the future. This is smart, product-driven, niche marketing. And non-religeously-beardy, non-alopecian adult Australian males is a sizable niche.

They engaged me with humour and flattery, backed it up with a great product and a unique delivery method and they won.

So why blog about it? Why not just use the free razors and quietly get on with life.

The reason is simple: a few years from now when half the products in the world are sold like this, I can smugly point to this and say: I saw this coming.

After all, I am moderately influential. Australian. Male. And closely shaved.

*there it is

A Rose By Any Other Name Would Smell as Manly…

I’m drinking Rose Blush as I write this. Of course I won’t be reviewing it as it’s one of The Devotea blends: that would be a little self-indulgent.
It’s rose and vanilla and black tea. In order to make sure it looks manly enough, I am drinking it black, straight up out of an imperial pint beer mug.
It reminds me that there is no tea that is not manly, even if it has a girly description. Skulling it down piping hot from a beer mug is a wonderful feat of macho manliness. Really.
There was a time in Las Vegas when three of us men were standing around swigging this stuff. Mr Norman. Mr Giddings. Mr Godden.
No milk.
No sugar.
No fear.
It was like a scene from Walker Texas Ranger.
OK, so the fact that between the three of us we couldn’t open a packet of crisps was a little denting of our pride, but nevertheless, we took this tea on, and came out the other side.

A Beastly Moment

It was an honour to be speaking at the Annual Spring White tea event in New York. (I’m assuming our host will blog about it, so I’m waiting to read all about it.)
Surely not the place for some beastly high jinx, right? Wrong.

We sat in the very top corner table, Lady Devotea and I, as our host, @jopj asked the room to introduce themselves.

When it got to Verna Hamilton, the tea blogger, @jopj related the story of how they first started talking when  Jo was convinced that these two twitter accounts – @the_devotea and @lahikmajoe were the same person. Both Ken and I tormented Jo over these comments on twitter for some time.

Everyone in the room had a good laugh. I’d forgotten about it.

A few minutes later it was my turn to introduce myself. I got up and said “I’m Ken MacBeth Knowles”.

Man vs Tea


Two beasts were on hand to witness a man with a bandsaw cutting slices from a log of basket-aged tea.

It was the manliest tea thing ever. Petrol fumes* mixed with aged tea aroma in the testosterone-drenched air, as without gloves or goggles**, our hero*** sliced like there was no tomorrow

Someone has a picture, surely?



*it was electric

**ok, so he did have them on (for legal reasons only)

*** some guy

raising a cup of Chinese green to my fellow Beasts of Brewdom

It appears two of my favourite Beasts of Brewdom will be descending on the World Tea Expo in Vegas, and I simply wanted to raise my cup to them both.

Here’s to you, Geoff. And Robert? I suppose here’s to you, as well.

This cup of green I’m enjoying in your honour? It’s not particularly refined. It’s even got a bit of a kick. The rough around the edges nature of this tea seems to fit perfectly with my toast.

Hope you have a great time together, and I look forward to when the three of us are simultaneously in the same place. Wishful thinking, eh?



As a user of Empire Avenue, one has to occasionally put weird codes into blogs to keep them happy. This is one such occasion.

Beast of Brewdom is an occasional blog where one of us has something to say that is just outside the loose bounds of good taste even for our own blogs.

But in a week, two beasts will meet in Las Vegas.

The world survived the last time that happened. Will it make it through this one?

Stay tuned.

Stupid is as Government does.

I have accidentally come across a plan to grow green tea in Western Australia. There’s a paper on in, presumably done by an agricultural scientist.

This particular scientist could not find this own backside with both hands.

Here’s the first sentence:

The tea plant belongs to the Theaceae family and is closely related to the ornamental species ofCamellia (japonicareticulata and sasanqua). The leaves are evergreen, dark glossy green and the white flowers are of small to medium size. The plant is a shrub or a small tree in its natural state, but in commercial gardens it is kept at about one metre high by periodic harvesting. Tea is processed from the immature shoots.

What’s interesting about that? Well for starters, it doesn’t have any factual errors. That really makes it stand out in this report.

Next up we have:

Tea is one of the most important beverages in the World. There are two main types of tea. World production of green tea (Camellia sinensis sinensis) is about 500,000 tonnes and black tea (Camellia sinensis assamica) is about 1,600,000 tonnes.

As we say in Australia, “What. The. Farrrrrrrrrqqqqq”

It’s over 200 years since we figured this one out, guys. It’s the same plant, you moron.

And then:

Green tea is smaller and slower growing and has more distinct serrations on the edges of the leaves than black tea. Green tea has only three to four flushes of active shoot growth per year, whereas black tea is grown in warmer climates and flushes for a longer period. Green tea has more cold tolerance than black tea and requires a dormant period to produce the important first flush in mid to late spring.

Good Lord.

We then have this bit, which starts with a fact, and then, well:

There is also a difference in processing. Green tea is steamed to prevent fermentation and then dried. It therefore results in a drink that is yellow to green and milk and sugar are not added. Black tea is

fermented and dried, thereby producing a brown drink. It is more bitter than green tea, due to higher levels of tannins and flavanols and many people need to add flavourings to make it palatable.

Oh , dear. I wonder how this introduction will end.

Green tea originated from south-western China and has been used as a beverage and medicine in China since 2700 BC. Britain imported Green tea from China for over 200 years. About 1830 AD, the British discovered native black tea plants in their colony in India, where cheap labour allowed large scale plantations. Its proximity to Europe by sea, also made it cheaper to produce than buying green tea from China. The British therefore changed from drinking green tea to black tea for these reasons. They have since controlled the world marketing of black tea.

I can say no more. If a high school student handed this up as a one page project it would get 2/10, mainly for having no spelling errors and ruling neat lines.

It is RANK incompetence, and if I were a Western Australian, i would demand that the entire government resign, and join their previous colleagues in prison.

Except that this paper was produced in 2001, and the government there has changed about 6 times since anyway.


Keeping abreast of tea

Beasts of Brewdom is a blog for MEN, and what do things aimed at men have one them?

Breasts, that’s what.

Advertisers and marketers would have you believe that men like to admire breasts so much that we can’t live without them plastered across our sites.

Of course, there are certain stipulations:

  • They must be female – Vladimir Putin may wish to flash his man-lumps for the cameras but no-one here is interested. 
  • They must not be overly clad- 4 layers of fabric and it might as well be a landscape painting.
  • They must be accompanied by an object that men can pretend to be looking at, like a sports car.

It is rumoured that the only reason rack and pinion steering  was invented was to cover an engineer who said “look at that rack” at an auto show within earshot of his wife.

So, it behoves us to jump on the breastwagon.

Where to start with tea and breasts?

Firstly, we’re not going to go down the photographic route. Adding a photo would just be too predictable. We use the power of words. And if that fails, we’ll put a picture at the end.

So, let’s start with toucha.

These little buggers have an interesting shape. According to legend, this shape originate when female tea pickers concealed stolen tea leaves inside their garments. Specifically, about their nipples.

Clearly, a silly story. And yet, when you look at the picture on the right…:tuocha

Anyway, us Beasts clearly don’t believe such an apocryphal tale. Here’s our roving reporter Lazy Literatus with a far more truthful tale:

When one thinks of Bi Luo Chun, the first thing that comes to mind is – well – green tea. More to the point, green tea leaves that are sorta shaped like snail shells. 

Well, Bi Luo Chun (or “Green Snail Spring”) wasn’t always the moniker these twisty little leaves possessed.

Once upon a time, in a dynasty far, far…er…long ago, Bi Luo Chun was known as “Xia Sha Ren Xiang”, which literally translates to “scary fragrance”. As the legend goes, a female tea picker had no more…uh…space in which to hold tea leaves, at least not in the basket she was supplied. In a moment of sheer genius, she opted for the best place ever! To store the remaining leaves. In her bosom.

Those were the luckiest tea leaves that ever existed.

Her body heat had a rather interesting effect on said leaves, beyond the apparent awesomeness of boob-cradling. The fragrance from her natural…um…ampleness transferred onto the tea leaves. Thus resulting in the “scary fragrance” for which the namesake derives.

The Kangxi emperor – being a complete and utter buzzkill – thought the name was too inappropriate. So, he had it officially changed to “Bi Luo Chun” in honor of the leaf’s given shape after processing. Frankly, the Kangxi emperor can “Bi Luo” me. The original name rolls off the tongue far better than the edit. Like actual boobs.

Although, that does make me wonder? What is so scary about boob fragrance? Is it the apparent mind control powers the aroma possesses? Egad…wait. Does that mean that my love of Bi Luo Chun and all its variances is a lie – a conspiratorial creation by the mammary illuminati?! I can never look at those snail-shaped leaves the same way again!

Ah, screw it. Boobs are awesome. And so is Bi Luo Chun. 

Thanks Geoff

And now, a fitting picture: