Tea Travels to Japan!
Spring is in full swing! Tea gardens around the world are busy with the grand task of producing some of best teas of the year, and Stone Leaf Teahouse is gearing up for another adventure to the far east! This year, we will be traveling to Japan for a two week jaunt through the jade tea fields and humble tearooms of the world’s most complex and fascinating tea culture. Our mission for this trip is to find great new teas to share with our communities at home and connect with the farmers, producers, artists, and tea lovers of Japan. Using Uji, the birthplace of Japan’s tea culture, as a home base, we will explore central Japan’s tea gardens, research new and exciting developments in tea cultivation, search for beautiful and functional teaware, and learn the secrets of brewing and tasting high quality, delicate green teas. Relationships are best built face to face over a cup of fresh tea and this trip is the best way to connect you to some great people on the other side of the world. Stay tuned for updates from the road, pictures, and tastings!
Reduced hours May 22nd – June 5th
Because of this great adventure, the Teahouse will have slightly reduced hours. We will be closed for the next 3 Tuesdays (May 22nd, 29th and June 5th). We will continue to be open our normal hours from Wednesday through Saturday for the next three weeks (May 23rd-26th, May 30th-June 2nd, and June 6th-9th). We will continue to ship mail orders, but packages will only go out Wednesday through Saturday. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.
New Taiwanese Oolongs!
In other news, fresh spring Taiwanese teas are here! We have just received a shipment of fresh spring Li Shan High Mountain Oolong, a wonderfully crisp and refreshing spring Bao Chung, and an exciting new Premium Tie Guan Yin. Stop by next week to try these great new teas!
We leave you with some ruminations on spring tea from the 18th century Japanese Zen poet and wandering tea merchant, Baisao, and we look forward to sharing a fine cup of spring tea with you soon!
A gift of “immortal buds” sent from an old friend
“first spring picking from the Ekkei fields,” he said
Opening the packet, color and fragrance filled the room,
Proud ‘banners and lances’ of outstanding quality.
Clear water dipped at the banks of the Kamo
Well boiled on the stove, just right for new tea.
The first sip revealed an incomparable taste,
Purifying sweetness refreshing the soul.
No need wasting time on ‘butterfly dreams,’
Rising up, utterly cleansed, beyond the world,
I smile, not a single word in my dried-up gut,
Just a ‘wondrous meaning’ beyond all doctrine.
I’ve been poor so long, pinched with hunger,
Now a kind gift to soothe my parched throat,
Dewdrops so sweet they put manna to shame:
The fresh breeze rises round me, lifting me upward.
It doesn’t take seven cups like Master Lu says,
My guests get old Chao-chou’s ‘one-cup tea’;
And whoever can grasp the taste in that cup
Whether stranger or friend, knows my true mind.
Sake fuels the vital spirits, works like courage,
Tea works benevolently, purifying the soul.
Courageous feats that put the world in your debt
Couldn’t match the benefit benevolence brings.
A tea unsurpassed for color, flavor, and scent,
Attributes the Buddhists like to call “dusts,”
But only through them is the true taste known,
They are the Dharma body. Primal suchness.
The Old Tea Seller