After a brief diversion into adventures in surreal estate, LTR is back. As anyone who has delved into the mysteries of home ownership knows, value in real estate — unlike tea — has no logic. It’ s as if an aged pu-erh is outlet cheap in one area and designer-pricey in another. Same tea, different area. The Age of Depression/Recession lives…And so does the Age of Excess…somewhere.
Which brings LTR back to tea. What tea has is ritual, calm, order, manners, and value, qualities that even a committed devotee of the way we live now must admit is lacking. Now, LTR is no fan of the “you should have seen it in my day” school, but the essence of tea is more than something to drink: it is a distillation of cultures of the past blended with a way to live in the present. To explain: You really can’t gulp down a complex, floral oolong from Taiwan. One, you would be cheating yourself out of the sensory sensation of inhaling the aroma and then tasting the slowly energizing infusion. Second, you can’t physically because only on the second or more infusion will the leaves open, or express, as they say, “the agony of the leaf.” What you can do is inhale the essence, slow down, and then let the magic of aroma, flavor and energy take over.
That is not to say that tea is only for the esthete looking for a pinkie bending experience. You can always grab a quick Earl Grey or black blend or simple green, where what’s in the cup is not intended to be center stage. Not when you have to get your day going. But unlike, say, coffee, tea’s caffeine doesn’t give you a jolt, but rather a gently shove into getting on with your life.
Simply, tea is that rare combination of artistry meet sustenance.