12 Books. 12 Teas: #03

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“I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.”  ― Robert Louis Stevenson,

For those of you that wander but are not lost, the quote above will reasonate deeply. A life without travel is much like a life without tea: tragic. Being a self-professed “flâneur” the idea of travel for travel sake are words to live by. Though the goal is to arrive at ones destination, it is the act of getting there that is part of the fun. And even when we do arrive at our chosen destination, we realize that each day offers its own micro-journey by the mere act of exploring. This applies to one who just travels their own city too, for it’s the act of moving through life and being present that matters.

If you look it up flâneur in the dictionary it will say: “An idler or lounger; from flâner “saunter, lounge” but indeed it is much more than that:

“It was French Poet Baudelaire who identified the flâneur in his essay The Painter of Modern Life (1863) as the dilettante observer. The flâneur carried a set of rich associations: the man of leisure, the idler, the urban explorer, the connoisseur of the street. Such a figure can be seen featured in may impressionist paintings.”

An even more profound explanation into understanding flâneur might be: “—the stroller, the passionate wanderer emblematic of nineteenth-century French literary culture—has always been essentially timeless; he removes himself from the world while he stands astride its heart.

How utterly delicious. As we take a first step into March let us work to make the goal to just enjoy the ride. Whatever that ride might be or wherever it might take us. Because there is value in even just that.

Sounds simple enough, but maybe not so easy living in a digital world. Thankfully we have books. And we have tea. And we have mobility, maybe a car, maybe access to a train, and maybe even the good fortune to be able to board a plane and just travel for travels sake to basically just enjoy the ride. And if you can’t do any of that, just walk… and see what crosses your path.

This brings us to this months choice for our third Book and Tea pairing. Though the book is is a few years old (2007), the tea is even older!

March 2019
• Book 3: Breakfast with Buddha
• Tea 3: Genmai Cha

Roland Merullo is an American author originally from Massachusetts. You can read a bit more about him and his novels by visiting his website. One of my favorite quotes of his which seems to aptly reveal much of who he is and why he writes what he does is this: “The problem for me is that I’m interested in everything and everybody.”  Many of his books work to explore questions like “What are we doing here on this spinning ball of stone?” and “What might await us after our time here is finished?”

Breakfast with Buddha

516i9qAnHeL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_“When Otto Ringling, a husband, father, and editor, departs on a cross-country drive from his home in a New York City suburb to the North Dakota farmhouse in which he grew up, he is a man on a no-nonsense mission: to settle the estate of his recently deceased parents. However, when his flaky sister convinces him to give a ride to her guru, a crimson-robed Skovordinian monk, Otto knows there will be a few bumps in the road.  As they venture across America, Otto and the affable, wise, irritating, and inscrutable holy man engage in a battle of wits and wisdom. Otto, a born skeptic, sees his unwanted passenger as a challenge: a man who assumes the knowledge of the ages yet walks a mortal’s path.”

 

Genmai Cha
4E982665-5BEB-412C-B156-DE39F7213751 2It wouldn’t be tea without some saga or story attached to it. The legend of Genmai Cha begins with a feudal lord sitting around drinking green tea when his man-servant accidentally spilled rice into his cup. Highly offended, the feudal lord cuts off the servants head. He then decides to taste the tea and discovers that its quite good. So, in honor of the servant, whose name was Genmai, the tea was named Genmaicha.

A more likely explanation is believed to be that Genmai Cha got its origins as a way to extended the life of tea that had gotten old. The story that is told in Japan is that it comes from a folk custom of roasting leftover kagami-mochi, a kind of rice cake that is eaten during the New Year holidays, and putting the roasted mochi into tea.

In any case, this tea is delicious! It offers a weight to green tea that isn’t often associated with it. Its nutty, earthy and yes, rice-y. It almost tastes like having a mini meal sip after sip because it leaves the body satiated with a feeling of fullness.

I hope you decided to join in, find a new book and tea to make you feel joyful and connected. If you don’t already follow us on InstagramFacebook and Twitter, we hope you will and share your thoughts about the book and the tea.

Tag us if you decide to post any photos of you reading the suggested book, drinking the suggested tea and be sure to use the hashtags:

#12Books12Teas
#PearlFineTeas

Lastly, please consider purchasing your book(s) from a small local independent bookshops. We have a few of these still left in DC.

March on like a lion!

Happy Reading!
Happy Sipping!
~The Chief Leaf

12 Books. 12 Teas: #03

25 Days of Tea: Day 14 (Genmai Matcha)

img_lg_genmaichaYamitsuki ni naru!

Beware of a new tea addiction. If you have not tried this hearty green tea from Japan, I encourage you to give it a chance. It’s Umai! You may have sampled it without even knowing if you’ve had tea at a sushi restaurant.  It’s a classic Japanese green tea, blended with toasted and popped rice. (Genmai means roasted rice and Cha means tea.) Ours contains added Matcha (green tea powder used in Japanese tea ceremonies). Traditionally Genmai was made with Bancha, but Sencha is often used nowadays as in our blend. It can also be made with Hoji Cha and Gyukuro but that seems to be less common. The combination of popped and roasted white rice along is delightful and is one of my all time favorite green teas to sip in the morning to start the day because of its distinctly “nutty” flavor, and that it almost feels like breakfast my cup. With the addition of matcha, it increases my energy level.

I’ve read a few different stories on how this tea originated. One being that a man from Kyoto dropped his mochi rice cake and instead of wasting it, he broke it into small pieces and added them to his tea. Another is that it originated in Korea given that they drink a roasted brown rice tisane. And still another is that rice was added to green tea during at time when tea was in short supply, thereby making it more affordable and last longer. The most legendary story dates back to the 15th century when a samurai met with warlords. Since green tea is the customary drink served in Japan, the samurai had his servant serve the beverage to his guests. As he was pouring the tea a few bits of a rice snack he had stored in the sleeve of his robe fell out and into the samurai’s cup. The samurai was so angry, he took out his sword and beheaded his servant. Then without hesitation, he sat back down to drink his “ruined” tea. To his genuine surprise, he discovered that the flavor of the Bancha was made better with the addition of the popped rice. He felt remorse and guilt for his cruelty and demanded that this new style of tea be served each morning to honor the servant whos life he took and named it after him: Genmai (rice) Cha (tea).

If you made the Full Moon Water last night, try using that water to infuse this beauty. If you didn’t get a chance, you can also still make the water tonight (Dec 14, 2016). Here are some notes about this green tea.

• Overview:   Easy to drink green tea that feels filling in the belly. A great morning send off, which could turn into a daily addiction.
• Dry Leaf:    Flat green sencha leaves, popped and brown rice. Matcha powder.
• Liquor (liquid):   Gorgeous deep green, slightly cloudy from the matcha
• Aroma:   Starchy, toasted
• Flavor notes:    Fresh, crisp, toasty, strong taste of rice. Matcha powder adds a slight astringency but there is a sweet finish to this tea.
• Brewing recommendation:     175-185° Fº – steep for 2 minutes
• Caffeine: Yes

25 Days of Tea: Day 14 (Genmai Matcha)