tea & transience

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This morning as I rifled through my teas to search for something just right, I couldn't help but miss a few old teas that no longer sit in my cabinet.  The Formosa Wuyi is long gone, yet its sweet, delicate fragrance and the way its chocolatey round body moved across the back of my tongue still lingers in my memory.  So too does the Eastern Beauty that is now sold out and which I can no longer purchase at any price.  Dang!

If it were a favorite blended tea that I could buy at Whole Foods or a great loaf of bread or candy bar or even a kind of pasta dish, I could re-buy it or recreate it at will. But these teas that were so fabulous and were such great companions in my morning meditation are now gone forever.  This is what makes them so precious, beyond just the price paid for them.  And this is why I love tea enough to write about and sell it.

High quality artisan teas like the ones I drink and sell  cannot be found in the supermarket on a shelf or at tea and coffee bar chains.  The teas come in one season as hand-plucked, often hand-crafted beauties, and when the stash is gone, it is gone forever. The loss is sometimes sudden and unexpected, just as it was when I went to buy more Eastern Beauty on a site and found that it had sold out.   

Why are teas like this so rare, special and evanescent? First, the terroir (the climate and mood of environmental influences on the tea) shifts, as does the processing for each batch, and no two teas will ever be the same. Even teas that are harvested and crafted by the same farmer on the same plot of land will taste different if they are plucked on different dates and/or at different times of day or in different seasons.  In fact, sometimes teas harvested only a few days apart are not even similar enough to consider them the same kind of tea.  I would love to drink and buy one harvest, but the other I might not really even wish to cook with.  There are that many differences from harvest to harvest.

I miss these teas that have vanished from my cabinet forever and rue their loss, just as I celebrate the teas that still await me. With this I will promise myself to buy up as much as I think I might need in a year when I next find something special.
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Thank you for sharing knowledge, to educating a person such as I. Drinking tea for a very long time and never realizing that the world was so heavily enamored in the taking of tea.

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