“A high quality first green tea of the year from the famous tea area Shizuoka. The young and tender leaves have a fruity aroma. A very delicate and sweet sencha from Otsuka, the multiple prize winning company for best tea of Japan.”
Color of liquid: light yellowish green, with small particles of leaf dust swirling around. Beautiful.
I take a sip and close my eyes: grassy summer slopes with the sea visible from the hills, sun shining gently on top of everything, a warm slight breeze keeping the air fresh. I´m taking a nap beneath a giant lemon tree. There are no worries here. Soft but light. Umami.
I went to get some new teas today and battled my way through late- autumn Helsinki. The wind was so bitter I was sure my face would just fly off any minute. Somehow I made it back home and this tea was the first one I prepared of the batch of six I brought home with me. I´m happy I chose this nice Japanese wonder.
Sitting here after the first cup I feel acutely present in this moment. Being present is perhaps the only thing a human should strive for in this life. It is painfully difficult, though. Or maybe it´s more like that not being present in the moment is what is actually painful? Or running away from the pain that is present… I lost it.
Steep number 2: Only 20 seconds at 70 C. A lot darker mossy green and cloudy liquid. A conifer forest. Dash of citrus, a little spinach, not too much to make it vegetabley (?). The taste: now we are definitely in a moist shadowy forest, with moss covered logs and stones. Shiitake mushrooms. It´s that umami taste of sweetness without being sugary. A remarkable change between steepings. I´m starting to feel really pretty high with all the caffeine, L- theanine, antioxidants and what not.
A lot of the plants that are native to Japan also grow somewhat well here in Finland. I have a rare dwarf form of the Japanese rhododendron, for example, growing in my yard. Unfortunately the prettiest Japanese tree, the Acer palmatum, or Japanese maple is too tender to grow here. I´ve killed three of them being stubborn and just trying to plant them against what I know is inevitable. There´s something in Japanese plants that is very special; they look “Japanese” no matter where you grow them…
Steep no 3. 40 sec at 70 C. Gets more fruity and lemony. The flavors are mellowing out, comfortable and round. I´m a bit disappointed that the greatness stopped here, maybe a little bit short? But those first two cups were really special, so I won´t complain.