The Green Tea Party continues… I have to say that I was instantly impressed that TeaSource had a ‘House’ green. When I asked owner, Bill Waddington, what green tea he would recommend he immediately recommended the TeaSource Green. Typically, one might be a bit skeptical of the ‘house’ anything, but in this case I’m feeling that the House Choice is one that deserves special attention.
This particular green tea is a “Mao Jian” tea from the Hunan province of China, where tea production is recorded as early as 350 B.C. Its name literally means “hairy tips,’ or as Bill describes it, ” a downy tip tea, a new or spring tea, and a high grade tea-perhaps not Emperor’s level high grade, but way above average. It is usually a darkish green leaf with a slight twist.”
I’ve spent my week with this house specialty, and despite Aesop’s musings that familiarity breeds contempt, I found that in this case familiarity bred harmony. I’ve had the package of this green tea for a while now, and opening it created a sense of holiday. Would I like it? Would it surprise or disappoint? As it steeped, my anticipation grew. The resulting liquid was a strong buttery yellow leaning toward a hint of amber. There was the slightest bit of sediment, but the brew was clear. I looked. I inhaled the sweetness of grass mown on a summer morning. And then… the first sip.
I have always associated the taste of cut grass with green tea. But now I am also associating an earthiness. If I could assign a taste to the rich soil composed by an organic farmer, that would be the undertones of my growing understanding of green tea.
This tea has more grassiness to it than the Dragonwell I tried before. On a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being a handful of my freshly cut lawn, the Dragonwell would be a 1.5 and TeaSource Green would be a 2. To say that I enjoyed this cup of tea would be overstating my experience. I tolerated it, knowing that my palate was biased against it. I didn’t dislike it. But if I had other choices, it would not be my first, second, or even third choice. That being said, I poured another cup on Tuesday, on Wednesday, on Thursday. Each day, I would sip on two or three cups throughout my mornings. Each cup introducing me to new nuances, new depths, even new aspects of the grass I so dislike. In my desire to understand this tea, I have found that it has become a comfortable sweater. A dog-eared book. Something that represents the safe and familiar.
I am being reminded of something as I watch Edie navigate through her second year of life. Nothing comes without practice, frustration and repetition. Whether learning to walk, saying a new word, figuring out which shoes goes on which foot, or experiencing new flavors, the first time is never a charm. It takes persistence to get to a point where one can say, “I tried this again and again, and I’ve decided I can do this well,” or “I’ve decided this is of no value to me.” Children get frustrated at new things and express that frustration often in loud and annoying ways. But they try again. They figure it out. They intuitively know they’ve got to do it this time and next time and the time after that. In that spirit, I look to the next leg of my journey. Not that drinking a new tea is ground breaking or oh-so-difficult. I completely get the fact that these musings are frivolous and privileged in several ways. But that willingness to be open, to try something new. It’s something I don’t want to lose, and this is one small way to keep that willingness alive and exercised.
Until next time, drink green and prosper!