We all have those incredible sensory memories where just the slight aroma sends us back to a treasured moment. Our minds are suddenly flooded with images and a sense of time and place that once was. While I have many of those memories tucked away in my heart, there is one in particular that plays to a tea tune.
It was one of those perfect fall days in New York when the air was crisp but not nearly close to cold. Running down the streets of SoHo to meet a dear friend, I found her waiting with a smile in front of In Pursuit of Tea’s shop (which I must sadly say is no longer open). We opened the glass door to the tiny store with exposed brick walls that seemed to glow like autumn leaves on the treeless street.
Shelves were lined with traditional cups and teapots, and a blackboard displayed what teas were being sampled that day. Within seconds, my whirlwind of joy calmed as my eyes settled on the word “oolong” written across the board. For those of you who have followed me on my tea journey, you know that oolong tea makes my heart sing. I turned to face the woman pouring tea from a gaiwan and gently approached her. She extended a delicate cup and before I brought the sip to my lips, I heard her share that it was their high mountain oolong tea. Even though I was grounded in fall just moments before, my senses shifted to spring as the floral notes escaped through the steam. With just one sip I found myself lost in a field of honeysuckle flowers. It was at that very moment that I knew I had found a treasured tea, a transformative tea.