18 November 2012

Brewing Tea by the Roadside

A friend who I met years ago over Japanese tea (at Ito En) now has his own company, Tea Wing, sourcing some incredible senchas and gyokuro from a farm in Yame, in Fukuoka Prefecture. The matcha from here is lovely, too, especially when enjoyed outside after a leaf-viewing walk through Prospect Park.

The tea ceremony itself was informal, which, as a self-taught rather than formally-trained drinker, I enjoyed- when it comes to any tea, actually, I favor accessibility over obfuscation. I had matcha prepared in both traditional styles: usucha or thin (grassy and sweet), and koicha or thick (intensely vegetal, with a texture of melted iced cream). The tea was characteristically both soothing and invigorating, especially after the long walk and about 45 minutes of sleep the night before.

This matcha is also described as having notes of chocolate, moss and meadowgrass; I can't imagine a better diet to dream of.

Brewing tea by the roadside
fragrance rising from the pot
a marvelous refined pleasure
a flavor found nowhere else.
The soft shrilling of the pine wind
moving through the northern fields
billowing steam from the brazier
dispersing into the western clouds.
- Baisao, Brewing Tea at Saiun-ji in Kitano (1675-1763)


Unknown said...

Ana! This is Logan, one of the folks who occasionally stopped by the pop-up store. Your pictures and write-up from the leaf-and-tea trip to the park are wonderful. And old Baisao... Thanks!

notesontea said...

What a great way to use a park! There's a sheltered green space nearby -- I just need to get my camping stove out of storage.