Yes, I live in Southern California, and yes, it is typically beautiful weather most of the year. This summer, however, has been suffering from an ongoing case of June Gloom. For those of you unfamiliar, June Gloom is the presence of a marine layer that hangs around for most of the month of June, leaving the skies looking overcast. More Seattle than San Diego. The gloom has persisted for much of July, and finally we’re seeing trace glimpses of what summer days (and in particular, mornings) are all about.
Ed (our dog) was terribly excited at the prospect of being out and about in the early morning hours. There was apparently a lot of doggy news he had been missing out on, and he had a lot of sniffing up to do.
We took our time, soaking up the sun and the quiet. We saw bunnies racing up the hills and darting under bushes, birds of every size and shape chasing each other and singing their morning songs. And then we also saw a couple of signs pleading with the good people of the neighborhood to be on the look out for a lost, small, black and white lap dog. Ed and I looked at each other sadly and shook our heads. “Coyote snacks,” we agreed. The circle of life.
With a summer morning soaked into my June-Gloomy bones, I was ready to continue my path on my green tea journey. As luck would have it, I had just received a shipment of Tamayokucha from Two Leaves and a Bud, a tea company I was recently introduced to. This tea is described as an ‘extremely green’ tea. However, it was still from China and is a Gyokuro style tea, which means it is covered for its last weeks of growth to bring out the floral notes of the tea.
I opened the package and was hit by the scent of pure summer. Early morning memories from my childhood of the neighbor’s lawn being mown at 7 in the morning. The fresh cut grass, soaked with dew. I brewed the tea, and the steeping liquid was still infused with that summer scent, but was much more mellow and slowly turned more earthy. The first sip. It’s much brighter than the greens I’ve been exploring. A hint of sweetness and bitterness at the same time. It’s… intriguing. An acquired taste. And I’m hell-bent on acquiring that taste.
I’ve spent my last few mornings now with this tea, and each day it becomes more familiar, no longer a stranger, not so abrasive. My palate is changing with this journey. I’m appreciating the new nuances, profiles and earthy flavors that I ran from in the past. And so my journey continues. I seem to keep gathering new companions along the way. But I’m also glad to have my old companions continue on, who are tried and true.