Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Pale Fire

A light rain drizzled on my face as I wended my way to a teahouse/coffeehouse several blocks from the nursing home. It was one of the rare times that I had seen her, my patient, indulge in a hearty belly-laugh at (what else but) a joke that we had shared about tea. I was a little surprised when she told me that she had never drank a cup of green tea. She was willing to give it a try, she gingerly said. Would I bring some for her to taste? No promise that she'd like it, as she is wedded to her kosher Sprecher root beer.

A little aghast by the bluegrass piping overhead (not a favorite), I perused the impressive list of loose-leaf teas. Attracted by its floral scent, I ordered Chun Mei (precious eyebrows), a Chinese high-grown tea from Yunnan province.

Indeed, those darkened, curvaceous eyebrows brewed a sencha-subtle amber hue with that familiar grassy taste that had me invoking cherry-blossomed verdure.

A little addled by the roasty scent from the other beverage served here, I ambled up to the counter after my second infusion of the Chun Mei and asked for a cup of the recommended Jade Fire, another Chinese green.

I watched the leaves -coiled dark green pellets- brew in its much-too-tight mesh infuser. Little tendrils, rosette-like, loosened their curls coyly in the golden liquor, imparting a vegetal aroma. The taste was decisively that of a Chinese green. Present was a slight astringency but with a soothing softness.

I bit into a fulsomely caloric cookie. Studded in its every cranny were chunks of white and dark chocolate amidst the denseness of oatmeal. It was good.
The fiddling was now beginning to sound musical to me as I savored the last sips. With the doorbell clinking behind me as I walked outside, I pondered on what tea I would proffer her at my next visit to the nursing home.


A. said...

This is wonderful -- and maybe the start of a new project! After all you've done to help us appreciate tea, the least D and I can do is show you the wonders of great bluegrass music.

Cha sen said...

You have a project on your hands, A!