Monday, January 28, 2008

Lupicia and my new obsession with fancy tea

To adopt the Thomas Jefferson quote on the back of all of Kermit Lynch's wines, "Caffeine is a necessity of life for me." I love dark chocolate as much for its flavor qualities as for its abilitiy to make me feel alert, energetic and clear headed. After a meal I do enjoy a well made espresso (which as you may know is not as easy to come by as one might think). Despite my enjoyment of caffeine, I have never been a regular coffee drinker. The flavors of the roasted coffee bean can be rather harsh, especially in the morning when I need caffeine the most. And the quality and abundance of the coffee caffeine buzz is just too intense for me. Call me a wimp, but coffee is just too much for me, the caffeine equivalent of a big, medium+ toast oaky Napa Cabernet. Yes, I know that there are nuances of flavors to be found in different types of beans, but I have not fully explored them for the reasons mentioned above. Right now, and I would think for the foreseeable future, it's all about TEA.

Lupicia is a Japanese based retailer of fine teas. They've got a wide variety - over 400 types to be exact - so there is plenty to explore. Here are a few current favorites:

Seiran no Homare Gyokuru Green Tea

Also labeled as 'Pine breeze,' this Japanese green tea has a beautiful, soft, avocado green color. There are aromas of damp earth and baked sweet potatoes. It is similarly earthy on the attack, with a short period of not much flavor after swallowing giving way to a very clean, lengthy fresh grass flavored finish. The tea is complex yet subtle, and really quite thought provoking and invigorating. This is tea to rejuvenate the spirits and get your mind right for the day ahead.

Lupicia First Flush Darjeeling Tea

Here is a tea that shows more clean and high-toned floral notes on the nose. It is an amber colored tea, with refreshing citric tones and a touch of astringency on the finish. Drinking this brew in the morning turns my grog into blog. It makes me want to do stuff, gently but firmly urges me to have a productive day.

Look for more posts on tea in the future.