Good-bye, Sencha!

Every morning for the past month, I’ve been waking up and making tea, first thing and then sitting quietly with my thoughts.  It’s one of the best ways to start your day, even though most of the time my days begin at 11 or 12 o’clock, but hey…that’s how it goes for late night folk, right?  And not just any old tea either, but a beautiful Japanese greed tea called, Sencha Fukamushi Special from a fantastic little store down in San Diego, Halcyon Tea. You gotta go there.

Beautiful wooden tea shelves at Halcyon (photo courtesy of hautenature.com)
Sencha Fukamushi Special green tea from Japan --delicious!

My good buddy, James opened up this shop a few years ago and has been kicking butt and when I went down there last month for a visit, he treated my friend (who surprised everyone with his knowledge of leaf) and I to one of the best cups either one of us had ever tasted.  Exquisite flavor, very mild and not too strong but a wonderful aroma.  I absolutely love this stuff and for the past four weeks or so, it’s been waking me up and helping me get it together.  Until today, that is cause I emptied the bag and drank the very last spoonful.  Bummer.

empty mug

I guess I’m gonna have to call James and have him mail me another bag of it cause I think I might be addicted.  I should mention that this little teapot/mug combo from Forlife has made the morning ritual easy and hassle-free.  Comes with a stainless-steel tea infuser built-in, which makes cleaning a breeze.

tea, steamer & mug

Honestly, as much as I love coffee (and I do mean LOVE), getting back into drinking green tea has had some positive effects and I’ve noticed my disposition throughout the day is much more relaxed, I feel calm.  Hmm…

I was on the Halcyon blog today and found this fantastic post from one of their new employees regarding her experience with discovering the joys of tea…

“I was not much of a tea drinker before starting at Halcyon Tea back in September, and I certainly never dealt with the loose leaf.  I’d have the occasional, once-per-month bag of Lipton black tea.  So, I’ll be honest—when asked to observe the various tea notes and characteristics (e.g. sweet, floral, dry, smooth,  bright, earthy, fruity, etc.), or front-of-the-mouth versus back-of-the-mouth sensations—I felt like I was being asked to speak a foreign language.  I’d take a sip of a tea, and not be able to make a single discerning statement except, “tastes good!”  I wondered if I’d ever be able to appreciate all of our magnificent teas, or be able to help someone find exactly the right one.

Then, over the course of a few months of steady tea drinking, it happened!  I began to pick up on those subtle notes and sensations, and my palate began to transform.  “Sweet” was no longer the teaspoon of sugar “sweet” that I formally connected with that taste.  Notes that are considered “earthy” became more appealing, and I found myself being temporarily transported to a garden, or a grassy field of flowers when sipping from my cup.

To truly understand tea’s subtlety, I needed to drink it more slowly.  I had to take my time, and really search for the various notes and mouth feels (e.g. light or full-bodied, smooth, crisp, buttery, dry, clean, etc.) of each tea.  This conscious appreciation made me realize how interesting tea really is, and also how different one tea is from the next. Tea drinking has even changed the way I eat food!  I now find myself taking smaller bites, and noting the various flavors and textures like I’d never had before.

So, the lesson I’ve learned from drinking tea?  Slow down, take small sips, and be curious. Sounds like one I can apply to every corner of my life.

Cheers!
Jena”

My good friend, James showing you how it's done. (photo courtesy of sandiegofoodstuff.com)

Good stuff.

Oh yeah…I should mention James is also a super sick drummer, but more on that later.  HA!

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