As an award-winning author of nine cookbooks, chef and expert on Asian cuisines, a certified holistic health and nutrition counselor, and yoga and meditation instructor with over 20 years in personal practice, it was only a matter of time until tea started flowing through my lips. Tea came to me at an early age, though it wasn't until much later in life that I started truly appreciating this elegant beverage of humble beginnings.
As a child, I remember my parents always offering tea to guests, and being offered tea when visiting friends and family. In Asian culture, tea is a way of life, and no greeting, no visit, personal or professional, is complete without a cup of tea. I have come to love it so much that a few years ago I started incorporating tea drinking into my daily spiritual practice. I have spent long hours contemplating the leaves, learning about them with the guidance of wonderful tea masters. I am fascinated still...
How is it that a single plant, camellia sinensis, and the caring hands that come in contact with it from harvest to technique, have brought to life dozens of tea varieties over many centuries?
Big or small, twisted, curled, or rolled, smooth or fuzzy, the colorful leaves are truly beautiful. The way they unfurl before your eyes as they undergo several steeps, the varied textures and flavors, some with a thick buttery mouthfeel that lingers, awakening the senses while salivating.
The characteristics of tea are many from delicate to robust, savory to sweet, buttery to grassy, and so much more. Like music, there are crescendos, peaks, overtones, undertones, and I become more curious as I select the teas you will find here. Out of the hundreds I have tasted, you will only find 20 or so on my menu. Quality over quantity is my motto. I look for top quality leaves that are beautiful when dry and equally so when wet. To please the eyes is essential. I expect multiple steeps, at least 5 and often experience 9 or more with every tea you see here. The "soup" should always be crystal clear, whether yellow, green, orange or red (depending on the type of tea). I also look for a flavor that is balanced and clean. The ch'a qi will reveal itself gradually and when it does there will be a certain "ah ha" moment. We love a fragrant bouquet (nose) but sometimes, like wine, the flavor and aroma surprise you. I promise that my teas will surprise you in the most wonderful ways over and over again. Last but not least, because I want to keep it interesting and fun, I only acquire small quantities from select farmers. When the tea is gone, it is gone; a practice in non-attachment. To appreciate the taste in the present moment and be able to let go and move on is a gift. Tea facilitates this practice. The yearning may be there for a little while, but curiosity grows and makes it possible for us to try something new.
When I sip tea, I am transported to a different place and time. Indeed, tea is filled with secrets revealed over time and time we all have.
Welcome to Liquid Gold Tea and the way of tea. I am available for private tastings and have traveled near and far to ensure an experience you will not soon forget. Please browse the current menu and check back occasionally for it will change. I will run sales to make room for new finds and keep us all excited for what the next sip has in store for us. For now I look forward to drinking tea with you.
member, Les Dames D'Escoffier - NY Chapter