Bancha

6 March 2017 § 1 Comment

6 March 2017

I have a bancha things to say, yet I will limit myself to a small musing and a tea note, which will illuminate which tea I prefer to drink on Ash Wednesday.  Thinking about bancha leads me to thinking about the point of thinking about tea at all.  Without consideration—a leisurely earnest contemplation done in one’s real or imaginary silk dressing gown—tea doesn’t matter at all, and one may well drink hot water infused with caffeine.  This is the same way I think about getting dressed; the clothes themselves can be lovely, yes, but without a setting and a story, a background and a trajectory, they are simply random pieces of material.

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Bancha (Japan)
This tea smells like dried grass, which I suppose is not too far from its actual essence.  I enjoy drinking bancha because it is a reliable old friend, with the perfect comfortable strength, slightly less than robust so as not to distract you while you’re reading the newspaper or writing or drawing or whatever.  It is good, but not too good.  Not delicious, yet satisfying.  Palais describes it as both robust and delicate, and that is just like an old friend—someone who brings beauty to a day and who also holds up to the day.  Its delicacy, I think, comes not from a flowery evanescence or a quality of refinement, but from its understated leafyness.  Drink it when you feel ordinary (and are enjoying that feeling), when you are focusing calmly on one task, or when you are having a wild day and are seeking some anchor of comfort.

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One thing I am enjoying very much these days is the isolated stripe.  Bold stripes overwhelm me and my rose-ivory complexion, but gentle stripes or, here, a few slim stripes, elegantly underline whatever I am doing.

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§ One Response to Bancha

  • blacklabowner says:

    i love to read your writing. Always a bonus to see pictures of you (and Mary Lamb of course). 🙂

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