Oh holy hell. I just received a gift of Guyokuro Japanese tea, Tsuen Tea from a friend. It is a 100g bag of hand picked, shade grown high-grade leaves, of which matcha powder is derived. Tsuen Tea is Japan's oldest and most distinguished Tea company. Tsuen literally means: "A Tea Master who serves tea for travelers by the Uji River." The first tea master created this company, and is where the Japanese tea ceremony was born.
The anticipation was half the pleasure. Upon opening the sealed package, the aroma enveloped my senses, and I literally took a minute (or two) to sink my self into its intoxicating scent.
I knew it would be an exhilarating experience when I saw how luxuriously dark green and moist the leaves were!! The anticipation was building and building now. I selected my "comfort cup" which is actually a coconut shell crafted into a tea bowl and prepared this dark green delight with the truest of intentions and eager curiosity to what sensations awaited.
I've never had the honor of drinking high grade before. The mere fact that it was also acquired as a gift added to the meaning and appreciation of this tradition-honored, highest of high, teas.
Now I don't usually light a candle or 'set a mood' to enjoy my tea, but wanted to envelop as many senses in this experiences as I could, with the sincerest of intentions. This way, I believe, will imprint added levels to my first time of trying this time honored tea. I smiled with an extra glow as I pulled out a Japanese incense that a dear friend gave me for my last birthday, rolled out a bamboo matt, placed the tea in front of me, while sitting cross-legged.
I teetered in my decision between meditation music or a heavenly Thunderstorm soundtrack. Considering the affect thunderstorms have on my senses, I chose the thunderstorm.
I closed my eyes, took a minute to mentally thank the individual who spoiled me with this treat, placed my hands on my happy coconut tea-bowl, raised it to my face after the slow hand under hand half turn, breathed in the intoxicating aroma which really did send my eyes rotating up and back from the almost erotic under tones of its olfactory effects.
This alone sent my energy into a near meditative state. Refocusing myself, I bonded with my tea bowl and partook of what I had built all this anticipation and suspense for.
It was everything I hoped it would be, and more. I didn't close my eyes on purpose this time, it happened naturally as the soft, sweet, ever so delicate flavor washed over my unworthy taste buds. I did not swallow right away, letting my mouth embody every layer of flavor and sensation this silky liquid blessed it with.
Reflecting on my appreciation of this encounter, I realize my description and choice of words is a bit over the top, but what can I say, I'm a leo, and am extremely passionate about matcha. So, my first encounter with the "mother" of my green god-send deserves my highest respect and sincerity.
Even if you don't have the same passion or love for this incredible species of the botanic kingdom, I assure you, that you will have a new appreciation for tea, if not an entirely different respect for it.
As I don't take my recommendations lightly, if you decide to try this diva of teas, I promise, unless you are an experienced tea connoisseur, comparing this creature to your typical teas found in the grocery store or tea shop, is akin to comparing Ahi tuna to the common shredded, pale version you find canned in the super market.
You will love this tea, no matter your back ground, insight, or expectations on the nature of tea.
x-posted to my lj, matcha_matcha