After lamenting the sorry state of iced tea in the cosmopolitian borough of Brooklyn, I was a bit apprehensive about a week and half's journey on the road and into the lush depths of Kentucky.
I was pleasantly surprised, however, by what I could rustle up in rest stops and otherwise unimpressive restaurants along the way. It may be a far cry from what I make here, but Southerners do know their iced tea.
Combined with my now practiced cold-brew technique (and armed with a few ounces of Megami sencha), I didn't go a day without tea, even if it meant setting up a plastic bottle of Kentucky tap water and green tea in a mud-encrusted cooler in the back of an increasingly ripe van for the night.
When I retrieved it each morning at 6 a.m. and sat on a curb to watch the sun rise over the verdant, ancient Appalachian mountains, I thought about the essential role place plays in enjoying any food. Sipping tea to a cacophony of chirping birds and bats, instead of bus horns and babel, I could have been halfway across the world from New York.
Just the act of making and consuming tea, though, connects me to wherever I find myself. It requires a patience and concentration that fosters an incredible appreciation of where you are when you drink it.