February 09, 2010

Understanding The Romance of Tea

A few years ago Seth Godin was asked to name some books he liked, he mentioned The Republic of Tea, and within a few minutes I had purchased an out of print copy on Amazon.

After a few chapters I put the book down, I didn't understand what the obsession with tea was. It did not help that the breadth of my experience with tea consisted of tea bags, a soda fountain, and an Arnold Palmer.

Then last year Mario began obsessing over tea. Around the same time Dr Weil pointed to some of the research that highlighted some of the health benefits of Green Tea. That piqued my interest.

You probably already know this but drinking a cup of green tea everyday helps protect against heart disease and cancer. With that in mind, I decided in 2010 I would strive to drink a cup of green tea everyday and hopefully find one that I like without wanting to add sugar or lemonade to it.

Mario suggested we visit Halcyon in South Park for a tea tasting. I was lucky that James was free to recommend a few teas, and gracious enough to perform a GungFu tea ceremony.

The ceremony, the teaware, and the nuances in the tea leaves and flavors won me over. I am now beginning to understanding the romance of tea. I love how the native environment and the processing of one plant, Camellia sinensis, can yield such a diversity of flavors.

First Tea Tasting at Halcyon

Huang Shan Mao Feng

Green tea from China. This tea has mellow lingering taste, and was my favorite of the three we tasted.

Shencha Shan Isumi

Green tea from Japan. This tea has a strong maize like flavor. I would be interested to see how Sencha pairs with sushi, and miso soup.

Tung Ting

Oolong Tea from Taiwan. This tea either tastes like a milder Sencha or my palette was overwhelmed by the Sencha I drank before.

If you look through the archives of Halcyon's blog, and read through their first year of posts you can see how they spent almost a full year building out their vision for a tea shop. If you like tea and have not been to Halcyon in South Park, you are missing out.