From now on, when someone is going to ask me when I discovered tea, I’m not going to tell them about the first time I had a cup of Silver Needle or a smooth Oolong or even when I walked into Teavana and started asking questions and walked out feeling like I had reinvented myself and started walking down a new path in life. No, it won’t be any of those.
I’ll tell them that I discovered what tea truly is on the day I opened my pouch of my 2012 Autumn Laoshan Green and inhaled the aroma. That was the moment I realized what tea can be, what I had been missing out on, when everything I thought I knew about what tea was shifted. That was the day everything changed.
If that sounds intense, that’s because it is. I’ve never had an experience like I did when I saw the handwritten note from David, thanking me for my order, making a personal connection that I didn’t expect. Not when I smelled the dry leaves, when I caught a whiff of the leaves steeping, when I saw the most delicate, beautiful liquor the color of the first stages of oxidized apple flesh, like a fading memory you don’t want to forget. I’ve never seen a color like that.
The leaves smell like dark chocolate and earth. There’s a bright sugary smell mixed with pumpkin and cedar. Its sweet but heavy but delicate. It smells like a contradiction that makes sense.
The wet leaves emit farm fields. Not dry dirt and twigs, like I smelled in my first Pu-erh, but real soil, actual dark earth, musty and deep and gorgeous. Its like I could smell the farm where this was growing. I’ve never been transported somewhere I’ve never been through my sense of smell. My memories have been triggered by shampoo or perfume that makes my heart hurt for the ones I’ve loved and lost but (and this is going to sound crazy but I don’t care) I had this image of somewhere that probably doesn’t exist of a tea farm, of hands picking the leaves off the plant. There was a connection, a transcendant experience that I thought was just a figure of speech (“the smell whisked me away to…”) that I’ve never had. It was like I was on drugs for a moment.
The sip. Its buttery smooth, butterscotch, cool melon, honey, pear, faint vanilla, warm cedar, calm spinach and fresh leaf. Its milky and smooth and light and my god I don’t deserve this. I can’t believe I have this. This is what tea is.
I needed this. I’ve been tearing myself up over her and why she won’t catch on and see that I’m worth it. I keep telling myself that “all I need are books and tea…and someone to share them with me” and I want to believe that its her.
Anyway, this tea couldn’t have come at a more perfect time. I found new bands (“Green or Blue” and “City and Colour”) that are helping me through this, the leaves are melting their colors down the trees, and I finally got my diploma in the mail, making my second Masters officially irrelevant ;)
This is the tea that allowed me to redefine what tea is to myself. Thank you David and everyone at Verdant. You’ve got a customer for life.