Thursday, 16 August 2007

A nice cup o' tea

抹茶

Contrary to Japanese sentiment, my blunt European palette had never been able to discern the nation's mystical heart in a cup of tea. On tasting Shizuoka green tea this morning, though, I think I may have come a step closer to tisanical enlightenment. As one looks through the pond-green murk to the black heart of leaves that slides at the bottom of the cup, subtle flavours gradually emerge through the overall nutty plasticene aroma; on the tip of the tongue, something floral, rose or lavender, rolls back to almond and leaves a lasting freshness in the mouth until the next sip. Tastes rise and swirl like life's episodes and emotions perceived through a glass darkly, hints of light refracted through an overall harmony of shadowy oneness. This very Japanese aesthetic could also be Christian. The plenitude of God's confections and our fractured experience of them do not contradict His overall unity: taste and see, the Lord is good.