Friday, September 12, 2014

A Moment of Pause

There's a subtle shift in the air this week. An ongoing disturbance in the force has changed direction or is operating on a lower frequency. I can't put my finger on it exactly, but my sense is that it is a good thing.

Resolutions are slowly creeping in on a variety of fronts. Most noticeably, I saw one of the giant spiders during my run yesterday morning. As a rule, I hate those things, because every fall they build these giant, Halloween-sized webs - typically across a sidewalk - and walking into one of those is, well, I can't really talk about it. Too soon.

In any case, usually they arrive in late summer, mid August or so. But I haven't seen them this year. And the ridiculous population of flies is a testament to that fact! With their arrival, while in some ways is unwelcome, in other ways it is a relief. Small resolutions, tiny developments, subtle shifts.

Sitting in the cooler morning air, I'm soaking it all in with a Chinese Oolong from Kedocay. Wuyi Yancha Da Hong Pao Oolong has its own subtleties and shifts. As a dry, long, twisted leaf, it smells of drying hay, which feels appropriate for this harvest time of year. As the hot water is added, the scent transforms into a nutty, toasty fragrance that hints of cooler weather to come. The flavor is robust and has a toasted rice flavor, leaning toward a genmaicha profile, which is an unexpected, but pleasant twist.

I'm grateful for the noticeable reduction in flies today, I'm also grateful for the awareness that sometimes the answer that we thought was, "No," might actually just be, "Wait."

Thursday, September 4, 2014

A Moment of Firsts

My oldest daughter starts 1st grade today. I'm excited to hear what she thinks of her teacher, her classmates and her new adventure. I loved my 1st grade teacher, Miss Enderlin, who loved frogs and always had a ready laugh. She opened up the world in a new way for me through reading and writing and numbers.

I feel like it was about that age that I also began spending more time with my Great-Grandma Olive. She was another one who opened up the world for me. While my parents and grandparents attended church every Sunday, used the word, "Rats!" to express displeasure and whose vices ran along the lines of perpetual home improvement projects, Grandma Olive smoked cigarettes incessantly and sprinkled "Damn!" and "Hell!" liberally into her vocabulary. She never attended church, although she would always ask me what I had learned in Sunday school. Her idea of indulgence included a bucket of KFC original recipe and a frozen Mrs. Smith chocolate cream pie. She let me play for hours in her gigantic back yard and in her guest room (the "red room," I called it with its red velvet bedspread and hanging lamps). She also drank a fair share of tea and would occasionally serve me some. Lipton tea bags in the winter and instant peach-flavored Nestea in the summer.

Great Grandma Olive, as always,
in an impeccable pants suit
A little over 30 years later, I was in New York City when I received the phone call that Great-Grandma Olive's son, my Grandpa Don, had passed away. It was not unexpected, but it was heart-wrenching all the same. It was on that difficult day that I met yet another person who would open up my world in a new way. In a moment of darkness, here was a calming and gentle light. Her name was Jo, and she had not only recommended a tea venue for me to explore in the city, she suggested meeting me there.

See Related: A Moment In Pursuit of Tea

Jo is one of those "hubs." She knows everyone and takes great pleasure in connecting them. Through her, I've not only met an incredible and diverse community of tea experts, I've been given the opportunity to participate in her brainchild, the Tea Blogger Roundtable at the World Tea Expo, and gain access to proprietary tea tastings.

See Related: World Tea Expo Day 2 Eventful Moments

One of those tastings was of her own creation, Rose Thé Macaron Blanc. Being the hopeless francophile that I am, the name alone captured my attention. A French name MUST be an indication of bon goût in every sense of the word. My sole misgiving was that it was a white tea. I love white teas, but I often find them too delicate to be my daily pleasure. This tea, however, gently removed its kid glove and slapped me across the face. In the nicest possible way.

My Tweet moments after tasting this for the 1st time
The white teas in this blend find the unique balance of being delicately robust. White in this case doesn't equal "light." This white tea blend creates a textured backdrop onto which vanilla and rose are layered with soft brush strokes. The overall effect is that of being transported to hidden Parisian courtyard surrounded by lush, sculpted gardens. My kingdom for a croissant! Or better yet, an eclair. This tea can handle it.

As the end of my daughter's first day of school approaches, all of these thoughts and more swirl through my head. In the meantime, I'll brew up a pot of this extraordinary tea, lay out some of my Great-Grandma's sunny linen napkins and wait to hear how my baby's world is opening up this year.

Pre-order this limited production tea blend from Jo by contacting her at:
Rose Thé Macaron Blanc will be in 2 oz packages for $12 plus shipping.