Please use they/them pronouns and gender neutral language to refer to me! Thanks!
I'm the designer and mastermind of this site! I'm also a big tea drinker.
On this site, I program, write and edit articles, do some of the visual design, respond to user inquiries, and I am also an active user and reviewer on the site. I also run RateTea's social media accounts--although the links above link to my own personal accounts; the ones in the footer link to the official RateTea accounts.
I love tea as well as herbal tea. I like most types of tea, and it's hard for me to pin down a specific type of tea that is my favorite, although I have a strong preference for pure (unflavored) teas. I like strong malty black teas, lighter Darjeelings, Chinese green teas, oolongs, especially greener oolongs, darker white teas, and raw Pu-erh. I am not as much a fan of shou (ripened) Pu-erh, or delicate white teas like silver needle. Among herbs, my favorite to brew up are tulsi (especially the purple-leafed variety), as well as some that are less widely available commercially, including orange mint, pineapple sage, and Monarda (wild bergamot).
Although I'm intrigued by Gong Fu style brewing, when it comes down to it I'm more comfortable with Western-style tea preparation. 9 times out of 10, I brew my tea in a mug using a Finum Brewing Basket, and, with good teas, I usually steep each set of leaves 2-3 times. I compost all the spent leaves too.
I am an avid gardener, and I grow or wild-harvest a lot of my own herbs which I use to make herbal teas, both fresh and dried. I am very passionate about sustainability, and I like to landscape and garden with native plants, so my garden can be an asset to the surrounding wild ecosystems.
Outside of the tea world, I am also a birdwatcher, and am active on eBird. I survey numerous sites near where I live and work, and I'm more interested in getting to know my local ecosystems than I am in tracking down rare birds.
I also am a co-founder of Why This Way, a consensus-based belief system and organization, almost like a Wikipedia-like analogue of organized religion. The group centers around a respectful and truthful way of communicating that I have found to be really powerful in many ways. Why This Way is something I'm really passionate about, and I'd love to talk about it if anyone is interested.
I also dance, and I like swing dance, blues dance, contra dance, and salsa. Salsa music, especially Puerto-Rican salsa, is my favorite type of music. When I'm working on RateTea, chances are I'm probably listening to the likes of Los Hermanos LeBron or Spanish Harlem Orchestra. I especially like music with complex, African-influenced rhythms, minor key tonality, and complex, jazz-influenced chord changes.