A tasting note, wrapped in a story, wrapped in an event.
This may be my most difficult review to date. It will be off the cuff, unbridled and from my heart. If this is not to the liking of everyone, there are other reviews and no need to read mine. I’m not preaching my religion either, but it is who I am and I’m not ashamed.
How do I write a review when there has been another tragic death on a day when we are still mourning the losses of 9-11?
In my own lifetime the assassination of John F. Kennedy, Bobby Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Vietnam and Desert Storm, bombings and kidnappings of U.S. Citizens. I’ve learned that you can’t ever let the bad things that happen in life win by turning you into a hateful, bitter person.
Life goes on. There’s always good in the World even though good news doesn’t get much time in the Press.
This Tea and My Story
The Oolong tea leaves were so large (and almost black) that I held them in my hand, juggling an amount that was almost 1.5TB. That was just enough for the Finum tea basket and mug method of brewing.
The steepings are so short, 3-5 seconds and increasing 1 second each steep, making sure to control the timing.
I brought my electric kettle filled with spring water to the boil, rinsed the leaves once and began the first steep.
The aroma of the wet leaves were like roasted short ribs with caramelization on them and everything! (Now of course I wanted some ribs…they smelled so good!)
I put my nose down close to the liquor and inhaled.
The scent was like incense in an old Church when the wood has been permeated with candle soot and resinous incense.
Then I took a sip of tea, curious about how this incense scent would taste.
The flavor was sweet deep mango and floral incense (but not bitter), vibrating in my mouth with intensity. I was having a difficult time pinning down the floral notes because the complexity and power of the tea was distracting me. There was great robust flavor and smooth softness at the same time, then a cool camphor-like vapor, arriving after some time of contemplation.
The scent and flavor made me think of the All Night Vigil during Holy Week (Easter). I signed up to read a portion of the Psalms usually at 1 or 2AM.
I entered the Church which was completely dark other than 1 Vigil light on the Altar and 1 light on the Readers Stand. The whole Church was filled (even petals on the floor) with the scent of roses, gardenias, carnations, laurel and flowers from services held every day during Holy Week. And of course INCENSE! (All incense is natural such as the one this tea reminds me of, ancient Ethiopian Frankincense…which is in little light pinkish pellets.)
As I would stand reading the Psalms until the next person arrived, all was quiet and intensely fragrant. My mouth was reading out loud, but my heart was praying. It was tranquil and beautiful.
When I was drinking this tea through several additional steepings, and began to taste a little of the cinnamon flavor (not sweet cinnamon or bitter but the dry kind), fuzzy textured fruit and floral honey, I could not stop remembering standing in the church smelling the incense and flowers.
The Vigil wasn’t mournful. It was hopeful.
With every tragic event that has happened and will continue to happen in the world, the choice we each have is to be angry, seek revenge, be depressed or, be wise and love each other in the face of it all.
I pray that we are wise enough to love each other.