My Latest Obsessions: Voodoo Floss, Pu-Erh Tea, Electronic Gypsy Music, and More

One video letter from my quarterly mailings.

Every three months, I ship out a box of wonderful physical products, along with a video “letter” explaining how I found them and how I use them.

One such video letter is above.

The theme of these quarterly mailings is obsession–the ideas and objects I can’t get out of my head.

Obsessions enter my life from odd places.  Currently, my gadgets and gear recommendations are coming from Cirque du Soleil performers, chess prodigies, Fortune 500 CEOs, and military snipers.  It’s the randomness that makes it fun.

More than 1,500 people subscribe to these boxes through They are making 130 more slots available for my next shipment, which is going to be killer. You can subscribe here. If you miss TIM05, you’ll be first in line for TIM06.

Below, I describe the goodies from the last two boxes, so you can explore them a la carte.


[Note for those asking about the TFX TV show — 13 episodes are coming soon, plus extras for iTunes season pass holders!]

Box TIM04

Scroll to below the photos for descriptions and links.

1. Vagabonding book — one of my all-time favorites — signed by author Rolf Potts – This is one of two books I took around the world with me for approximately 18 months. I love it so much that I bought the rights to the audiobook, worked with Rolf to add new case studies, and had him narrate an updated version. Listen to a free sample here.

2. Soma Water Filter – The water filter I use and show off to friends. More details in the video at the top of this post.

3. STX Lacrosse Ball – My all-around fix for muscular issues including foot ache (e.g. plantar fasciitis), tight chest (which can cause back pain), and more.

4. Rogue Fitness VooDoo Floss Band – This contraption is half torture and half miracle. Created by Kelly Starrett of SF CrossFit, it has helped me turn around nasty injuries in 24-48 hours.

5. Blue Bottle Coffee, 17ft. Ceiling – One of my favorite coffee beans from one of my favorite roasters on the planet. I like to hand grind and then brew using an AeroPress.

6. Red Blossom Pu-erh Tea – This is the tea I currently drink every morning, especially when experimenting with Intermittent Fasting (IF).

Box TIM03

This box was an experiment that included both physical and digital items, including one-of-a-kind remixes and welcome videos from band members and movie directors.

Even excluding the value of the 15 extra and remixed songs from Beats Antique, the People in Motion extras, and the Kumare extras, the box has a retail value of $209.25.

1. Clean Bottle, The Square, $45.00 — My favorite water bottle, bar none. Click the link to see how easy it is to clean. Genius.

2. The Five Minute Journal , $22.95. This is how I’ve been practicing gratitude and focus for months now. 2.5 minutes in the morning, another 2.5 minutes at night. Simple and effective.

3. Steve’s Grass-Fed Paleostix, $5.50. Need a slow-carb or Paleo snack? This one will do the trick.

4. CLEAR card, 4 months free trial, $60 value. This is how I skip airport security lines, saving my sanity and hundreds of hours a year.

5. Kumare, $21.73, including two albums of unreleased music, as well as behind-the-scenes photos. This is one of my favorite documentaries of the last 5 years. It blends reality and illusion into an amazing fabric. Check it out.

6. Beats Antique custom drive containing 7 (!) of their albums, as well as a special group of remixes and extras. I fell in love with Beats Antique at one of their live performances in SF. Their “electronic gypsy” music (as they’d describe it), combined with sensual dance, was mesmerizing.

To understand exactly what I mean, skip to 7:15 in the below video for one of my favorite songs (“Beauty Beats“). For the full sexy, play all 25+ minutes in the background while you work:

Here are the albums I included in the box:

Collide 2008, $8.99

Tribal Derivations 2007, $8.99

Contraption (EP Vol.1), $6.23

Contraption, Vol. II 2012, $7.92

Blind Threshold 2010, $8.99

Elektrafone 2011, $8.99

The Trunk Archives, $3.96

7. People in Motion — Documentary on parkour and freerunning, including custom-designed bracelet drive and extras.


Want to get the next box of random goodness?  Just sign up here! Wait until you see what’s coming…

Question of the day: What types of items would you like to see in future Quarterly mailings and blog posts like this?

The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 900 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.

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86 Replies to “My Latest Obsessions: Voodoo Floss, Pu-Erh Tea, Electronic Gypsy Music, and More”

  1. What is the name of the smaller Pu-erh?

    My wife loved it and we need to get some more 🙂

    Thanx for the awesome content.

    1. It’s easy to find similar cakes in Chinatown just about anywhere (they’re called “toucha” usually). In SF, Samovar Tea Lounges sell them.

  2. Hey Tim,

    Maybe we can add some more of the supplements that you’ve mentioned in the past like Alpha Brain or the CILTEP stack.

    1. As a sort of add-on to this…

      Tim, are there any brain-boosting supplements that you’re into at the moment? Or is the tea enough to keep you focused, etc?

      1. Thanks, guys. Duly noted. For brain function, I’m experimenting with tea these days, more than pills and powders. Still, the experiments will continue to other things.

      2. Hi Tim,

        Have you tried Alpha Brain from Onnit? That stuff works great. A lot of athletes and MMA fighters use it to get a natural brain boost.

      3. What about coffee for mental performance? Also, what do you use to brew your tea? Thanks!

      4. I find Rishi’s Sencha Matcha loose leaf tea a lot more pleasing to the taste buds. It also stimulates digestion ( if taken on empty stomach in the morning). It may increase hyperactivity but if you have decent self-control, it can actually facilitates the learning and stimulates you in a different way than coffee. Here is the link on tea from a MD who loves research on teas (caution: extremist vegan too)

    2. One of the first boxes TIM01 or TIM02 did have a bottle of Alpha Brain in it. The first box also had a container of a powdered greens supplement. I forget what it was called but I used it all up haha. Maybe Tim will reply and remind me. Anyway, I’ve gotten all four of his boxes so far and they are always awesome and always have something health and fitness related which sometimes is a supplement. The value far exceeds the cost and I’m totally looking forward to TIM05.

      1. Would there be a resupply of all the boxes anytime soon, I am late to Quarterly and don’t want to miss out!

  3. Thumbs up for toys!

    As Charlie said, play is critical. Maybe consider adding some physical “pondering” style toys?

  4. Fun shopping with you Tim, just as I has water and knees on my mind!

    I think you should replace the stock, mediocre soundtrack for #tfx with a commissioned piece from beats antique. It’s super on brand for you: international, athletic, hot, smart, techno. (The music was my only critique of the show; too typical/DIY/foodnetwork for a guy like you!)

    The 5 min journal sounds fun, but I found only a couple copies for $66 and $368 each:). Did you buy the rights to republish?

    Keep all the fun coming. Always learning with you, and appreciate the many changes you’ve inspired for my life and those in my care.

    1. Hey Dodie,

      The five minute journal can be purchased from their website. It’s just They are great and ship fast. I picked up another copy for my wife after receiving mine through the quarterly shipment from Tim.

  5. Hey Tim,

    I will definitely check out some of these items. I’ve read Vagabonding, it’s one of my favorites as well, a true classic.

    I can’t wait to watch more episodes of the TFX TV show, really looking forward to it!

    Keep up the awesome work 🙂

  6. I am just subscribing for the first time. I forgot to get in #TIM04, But probably would not have been happy with #TIM03. Here is hoping TIM05 is your best yet.

    Any hints what we may see?

  7. TIm,

    Are you flashing subliminal images in this video? Seriously, every minute or so, there is a single-frame flash. I can’t slow it down to see what it is. Anyway, good review. Thanks. Looking forward to more TFX episodes (esp. the jiu-jitsu one). And I couldn’t agree with you more on the Aeropress – love that thing.

  8. Hip flexors! Glad you mentioned them. They were my source of back trouble for the longest time. After a ton of trial and error, I discovered a lot tightness there that I didn’t notice ever before. After working that out, back trouble stopped.

    1. Just in case you are in NY again and you are looking to buy some (to prepare it yourself), there is Sun’s Organic Garden. They got three different blends there and it’s a very interesting place too. I’ve been there yesterday to buy one of the three pu-erh blends they have and it tastes quite good. [Moderator: link removed]

    1. From Quarterly’s web site (Where it says $25/35, $50, and $100 mailings, this is referring to the subscription cost for the various curators. Tim’s subscription is $100 per quarter):


      International Quarterly subscriptions—yes, we offer them!—require an additional fee, at the following rates.

      $25/35 mailings: Canada +$10; rest of world +$15. (These legacy rates also apply to ALL curators launched before 4/16/13.)

      $50 mailings: Canada +$20; rest of world +$30

      $100 mailings: Canada +$30; rest of world +$40

      Note: We regret the increase in international rates; we make no profit on shipping, and these rates directly reflect our costs!

      1. To clarify, this would mean your total quarterly charge for Tim’s box being shipped to Canada should be $130.

    1. Not in this one. Just punch drunk from lack of sleep. I was packing around 1am. If I’m drunk in a video, there will be no question in your mind 🙂

  9. Tim, I hope we, the fans, aren’t your guinea pig for subliminal messaging. Haha There are a few skips in the video that made me think about it.


  10. Hey Tim, this may be out of context, but I always wondered what was the image at the top of the site (banner) where you hold a hat and are dressed in a burgundy shirt? What was it for? Why is it on the site as a “main” image? Was it an important event or just a cool image?


    yoursite /blog/wp-content/themes/timferriss_bb-revised/images/random/header_10.jpg

    I’m sure I’m not the only one wondering about that. And GREAT content for the quarterly package, love it.


    1. That one’s nothing too special. I just like the pic 🙂 Many of the other header pics are from trips to Greece, special events, etc.

  11. Hello Tim,

    Since you’re into the gypsy beats, I highly recommend checking out a band called Balkan Beat Box. Easily one of my top 5, I’m sure you’d enjoy their stuff!


    Lee Knaz

  12. Hey Tim,

    So awesome thanks for sharing…. Also, a coffee-lover…. do you have recommendations for organic coffee?

    What about tea that is herbal? (all tea leaves soak up fluoride from the soil/water and you are getting insane doses of it..hence the herbal)

    Thanks are always inspiring.

  13. Now I see that VooDoo Floss is NOT some great new product recommended by dentists. Alas, I will have to save up for later box.

  14. I have enjoyed all the quarterly packages and I believe I use everything included.

    But this last one was absolutely great. The water filter carafe alone was worth it alone.

    The tea is something special and I look forward to exploring more into these types of tea. I also really enjoy that you send a book now and again. I always look forward to the quarterly package. It’s a birthday gift package arriving at my front door every three months. Yes!

      1. I wrote about this somewhere not sure where it ended up but yes the newest package is amazing as well. Love it! Keep it coming. As I wrote before I will never be able to cancel this subscription for fear of missing out on the cool stuff. Damn you! ha

  15. Off topic, but please help (could not find anwer anywhere and do not know how to email you).

    I got your book (4-h-body) and wonder about the 5 stretches/movements in the extreme endurance chapter. How often are they recommended to do? Am I supposed to worm up before doing them? Can I do them after a training session?



  16. Hi Tim,

    You mentioned on an earlier post about using metformin in college. I am writing a paper about this drug for my nursing class. I would like to include you as a source for someone who experimented with it in respect of enhancing athletic performance (I am assuming you used it for this purpose). Can you give a brief summary of your results?

    Thank you,


  17. Ok I have a question. All my life I never liked sweets or desserts of any kind, although since on this diet I wake up in the middle of the night craving sugar and sweets. Was I maybe getting sugar in a different form before this diet. All I can say is I cannot wait for tomorrow so I can have something sweet. Is this normal?

    1. Melanie, do you mean the slow-carb diet? If so (and this is true on Paleo/low-carb nearly always), you can try taking 3-5 grams of BCAAs (branched-chain amino acids) between meals. This is a trick I learned from Arthur DeVany.

      Good luck!


  18. Hey Tim,

    Have you tried — or done any posts — on this new bulletproof / butter coffee thing going around?


    1. I would also love to hear your thoughts on bulletproof. OH and one other random experiment… hGC? I guess its called the metabolic reset? Had a friend try this with INSANE results…

  19. Had the same monthly box idea for my business, you were referred. Struggling with how to regulate inventory. Thoughts?

  20. Tim

    Love your quarterly packs…I use the square and the soma every day.

    Are you off supplements now, and only using whole foods?

    I started seeing a bioavailability doc, and I now take a ton of supplements.

    Trying to figure out the best way to absorb all the vitamins I need without dumping them thru pee.

    Last question, any plans to travel to sxsw this year?

    Thenk ye!

  21. Check out Jiaogulan (Gynostemma) and Reishi Mushroom. Two very special teas (also my favorites) along with Pu-Erh.

  22. Tim,

    In the latest video, you mentioned the ingredients of the drink you were drinking to aid sleep.

    Speaking of sleep, I wonder are there any other strategies or techniques you are using to decrease time need to fall asleep and improve sleep quality/quantity. I am of course familiar with the steps you noted in your first book, but I wonder has your advice changed? For instance, do you still advocate cold water immersion shortly before bedtime? How about alcohol – I noticed in a recent video (done my Morgan Spurlock) that you drink wine while writing before bedtime.

    Sleep has been a problem for my for years – difficult (very) to fall asleep and to prevent nighttime awakenings.

    I’d really appreciate your feedback.

    1. Peter,

      I have been sleep hacking for a while as well, as I have problems waking up in the early morning. Someone mentioned that Magnesium might be difficient in my diet. I take CALM (search in amazon), and it has helped quite a bit.


  23. I received my first Quarterly shipment on TIM04. First off, the company is great to deal with. They had my address messed up, which was probably my fault (read; definitely), and sent me a new box that day. Everything inside was fantastic, with the SOMA being my favorite since everyone who stops by my office comments on it, and SOMA is also a great company to deal with.

    The only thing I really didn’t understand was the Lacrosse Ball. Coincidentally, brought it with me to Florida last week for the Disney runs which my wife and her friend were running in. They were complaining about soreness in their feet after the first one, and I just so happen to be able to say “Well, Tim said that if you take this and rub your feet over it on the floor, it’ll help.” They did, it did, and I was the hero, with zero investment on my part outside of a Quarterly subscription.

    Off of just one box I recommend it to anyone who can spare $400.00 a year, which is not a lot compared to what you get. Also, since you don’t know what you’re getting, it’s kind of like having Christmas four times a year.

    I’d like to keep seeing at least one book per box, as it helps push me forward to keep reading different things that I normally wouldn’t read or would load up on my Kindle and then forget about.

    Glad to hear the show is still rolling forward. I have an iTunes subscription just in case it jumps over to another channel. 🙂

  24. I’m a regular practitioner of intermittent fasting, though the only thing I consume during the fasting periods is water and a few vitamin supplements. That Red Blossom tea has a very fancy packaging, I’ll make sure to get some as I adore teas (and modern fancy packagings).

    The Five Minute Journal and the square water bottle are two more promising things that I hadn’t had the opportunity to come across to before.

    Thanks for sharing this, it was really inspiring!

  25. Hi Tim,

    Thanks for spreading the material love. So, I listened to tribal Beats Antique embedded in this post…remembered you went Bali a little while ago…and was reminded of a very (interesting?) Balinese chanting track that my father gave me. It’s called “Forest Scene” by Kecak Gandi Sari. Thought you might get a kick out of it (if you haven’t already). A caveat – this track is not for background ambience nor relaxation.

    On another note.. how long is your typical IF? I usually do 16 hrs..

  26. I had 17ft. Ceiling this morning. It really is the best coffee I’ve ever had. Of course I brewed it in my AeroPress.

  27. Tim – I recently picked up a copy of the supple leopard and purchased the red x voodoo bands. I have tight calves – put them on for like a minute – wow you notice an immediate difference.

    Are you and Kstar going to collaborate at all?

  28. Sexy time :))

    I wonder, with your active lifestyle, how do you manage sleep? Do you have constant sleeping pattern 8 hours of sleep. Or do you have some tricks, to have less sleep and be more active?

    1. I’ve been wondering the same thing.

      I am curious if he’s altered the strategies and techniques he mentioned in FHWW.

      I need to sleep better, and I’m sure many others to do. Tim’s updated input would be greatly appreciated.

  29. Hey Tim,

    quick question: What are you saying when describing the tea – “one of my favorite teas, fantastic for (…)”??

    Just couldn’t hear it. Thanks!

  30. Tim! Nice vid. If you like your tea and you’re lazy with it, use a coffee cafeteria as a tea filter! That way tea still stays warm, but doesn’t get any stronger once you push the contraption down! Enjoy 🙂

  31. Tim, you mention Vagabonding was one of the two books you took with you during your travels. What was the other book?

  32. Hey everybody,

    I just wanted to know if I’m the only one who’s Pu-Erh tea smelled fishy? I tried to look up the reason and found out it could be because of low quality tea. But I don’t see ‘Red Blossom Tea Company’ as a low quality brand.

    So is there another explanation for this?


  33. If you ever get a chance, I’d recommend moving from raw pu-er tea to dahongpao from Wuyishan in Fujian, which is a type of Oolong.

    To compare these single-origins to a single malt is the most idea analogy so far. If Pu-er is an islay, then dahongpao would be a speyside.

  34. I’m going to have to train myself to like coffee, So many people make it sound so nice but the taste its just a no no … for me but if it boosts the brain i think i need it haha

  35. I was wondering if you would ever allow for us to get access to your past mailings. Some of us are poor (just for the moment) and didn’t have the money to spend when this first started but would love to not only grab your next mailing but perhaps get the old ones too.

    I hope you will make that available. Pretty please with brain wave enhancing, zero glycemic index rated sugar on top?!?!?!?

    1. I’ll check on how much we have left! Typically, we only order enough inventory to cover the subscribers, but you never know….

  36. Tim, I had trouble understanding what you were taking on the mug. Could you pass me the recipe (I would also like to sleep faster).

  37. Tim, I had trouble understanding what you were drinking on the mug. Could you pass me the recipe (I would also like to sleep faster).

  38. I’ve been trying to find your video on making pu’erh tea with green tea, coconut oil, and…, can’t recall, please help me locate it. I read over Seth’s Blog about honey and apple cider vinegar and Stuart said coconut oil gave him stomach cramps, we use coconut in traditional Hawaiian medicine as a laxative which may have caused that effect, too much coconut water may do the same thing, so if it happens to anyone out there try cutting back before cutting out. Guava has the opposite effect but I haven’t tried combining the two.

  39. Hey if I wanted to get 6 gift boxes to give to my groomsmen for my wedding would that be possible? Or would I have to mail it to them individually? Thanks.

  40. Tim, just want to throw a glucometer out there. I’ve been using one recently to monitor my responses before/after eating and I totally get your OCD-ishness. I’m going to look into the implant. It really hits home after I eat a slow carb meal and see my body react over the next 60, 90, 120, and 180 minutes. It keeps me in check.

    Anywho, I doubt you’d be able to include a top of the line model, and the Jazz isn’t on the market anymore (from what I could find), so you may be limited in reliable options. But I think it would definitely hit home for a lot of your slow-carbers who haven’t been tracking their blood glucose.

    On another note, I don’t always know what I want, but I know what I don’t. I’m an avid reader BUT, with the exception of Vagabonding, I didn’t bother to read the other books you shipped out. I had a kind of you-Tube inspired “ain’t nobody got time for that” reaction. I read Vagabonding in small chunks during Sauna sessions, so it’s now in pieces rubber-banded together; quite fitting for the nature of the book.

    I don’t always post on blogs, but when I do it’s long.

    As always, you’re an inspiration!


  41. Tim, I’m a big fan of yours. Like many interesting things, I heard about Quarterly mailings through you, and of course, I ordered yours. Funny story that speaks to your power!: My first box was #5. I don’t want to give anything away because I don’t see the items listed yet, but one thing shocked me and I was never going to try it. I actually unsubscribed, thinking that I couldn’t handle you! But then… magic. I trusted you and tried everything in the box–yes, everything!–and immediately signed back up. Thank you for challenging me! I had a lot of fun exploring all the goodies, which are all fantastic, and I was very moved by the theme and what you did to give back. Also, your video letter alone was amusing and entertaining enough to change my mind. Looking forward to the next one!

  42. Hey Tim – how has this subscription model biz been working for you and do you have any recommendations for “Quarterly Co” like platforms for the startup / everyman – or not yet well known?

  43. What teapots/kettles do you use for brewing your tea? Do you use different ones depending on the type of tea?

  44. Tim,

    are you still doing the quarterly ( packs? or have you stopped your involvement with these?


    Matt S

  45. I want to see more music recommendations… I love the unique music recommendations that Tim puts up, when I open a five bullet Friday email and don’t see a music recommendation am disappointed! Can you create a separate section with links to the music recommendations that you have made? Although I know it is not your focus, you’ve come across so many unique and interesting music items that I’d love if there was a space to see an overview of them all.