I have to say; I'm very encouraged. In certain of my other blogging incarnations, posting was something I had to force; something I would squeeze, wheedle, or bludgeon out of myself. Today, however, it occurs to me that I'm writing a new entry to cheer myself up. Will wonders never cease?
One of the most cheering parts of blogging about tea is drinking tea. And one of the few ways a person can improve upon drinking tea, is to drink the particular tea that is particularly well matched to its particular day: the mood, the weather, the season, the meal... Today is beautiful, with the early springtime sun out again; but it's a two-sided thing, reminding a person how long the winter has been, at the same moment it's warming you out of it.
In any case, there's something about a good Japanese green that makes more sense on a shimmering, mid-April day than it does just about any other time of year. Maybe it's because so many of these teas are picked around now, and they find a sort of poignant kinship in the bright air and tentative warmth of their season.
What I made for myself today was the Jasmine Pearl's Bancha* Supreme, and it hit the proverbial spot. This tea is a rich (in a Japanese-green-tea sort of way), nutty, mouthful of umami. The aroma is umami-ful, too, and beyond oceanic — it's straight-up salty
. I didn't do the best job steeping it, so it was more bitter than I usually like my tea, but the other qualities are hearty enough to balance even a less-than-ideal preparation.
One of the qualities of a Japanese green that strikes me as so appropriate for vernal consumption is the way it leaves me feeling after
I've drunk it. When I'm done with a tea such as this — especially if I've had one cup too many — my insides feel sort of drenched, almost blasted, clean; like a meltwater-swollen stream just flash-flooded my guts, flushing the body-warm dirt and debris out of every nook and cranny in its path, and leaving me not quite raw, but a little shivery. You might not read that as a positive, and I can understand where you're coming from. But to me, it's only as uncomfortable, and every bit as refreshing, as any other spring cleaning.
* Actually, bancha
is picked between summer and autumn, but none the less; it still tastes good in spring... This particular bancha is not listed on the Jasmine Pearl's site