A very sad sipdown.
One of my favorite things to do as a rare treat was go to A Southern Season and browse the tea. It was so hard to pick what I wanted! There was the fine tea wall, and the loose leaf daily drinkers display, and a whole section of loose and bagged tea of brands from Lipton to Steven Smith and everything in between and sideways.
Gradually the selection got smaller and smaller but there was still always something good to try. And this was one of their best teas. It is flavorful and hearty, mild enough for me and my dodgy tummy but satisfying to the coffee drinkers who came over.
A Southern Season was billed as a gourmet grocery and had everything from a huge wine and craft beer section, to grocery items, small appliances that you don’t see just anywhere, china, candy, a deli, a restaurant, a cooking school, fine handcrafted chocolates, kitchen linens, and a gift basket department. They carried tea from a local woman who had successfully grown tea bushes in their town! Very limited quantity, of course. They were definitely expensive.
Another Steepsterite, Sandy, was the person who introduced me to the place and it was where we bought our first ever puerh (a low quality mini tuo that smelled of shrimp but tasted okay) and where I started building my loose leaf stash.
And now they are gone. Not because of Covid. They closed before quarantine.
But how I will miss the smells of that place. Walking in at the coffee department and being enveloped in the aroma of the coffee beans they were grinding and knowing that my beloved tea section was just up ahead. If I close my eyes and imagine the smell, the feeling of excitement of all the possibilities of lovely tea discoveries floods my memory. I don’t know of any other place that has made me feel that way!
Now my Zhen Quo is gone, and I must eventually try to find another source. I will miss the light bitterness, the way it paired beautifully with desserts.