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Tencha Pinnacle (30g/1.06oz)

US$29.00

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Author Witold Riedel   (United Kingdom)
Review Please do not think that I am an expert in tea. I have enjoyed tea all my life, and this entire time has been a learning process. I wanted to try Tencha, maybe because it appears to be a tea that it not as commonly available as some over expressions of tea.
Thanks to Hibiki-An I have been able to discover fine teas I never imagined I could have access to. So this Tencha was a bit like the next step.
I do not think I truly understand Tencha, but I think over time I am going to learn more and more.
It is not the exact tea I had expected, but it is perfect at what it is, once one thinks about the process and the journey. It is a perfect window into the way matcha is created. It is a small window perhaps, as I know that there are many processes before and after. But it is an important window.

Trying to describe how Tencha feels I looked for flavors in my memory. And then I realized that it is not really just a flavor that I am experiencing. It is a sequence of flavors, but it is also a sequence of sensations. In the cup, Tencha is lighter in color than many other teas I know. It unfolds into a set of flavors that in the very first stepfeel completely smooth yet also grainy, just to turn around and then become more textured, and then to leave with something of a citrusy memory of a freshly broken leaf.

The flavor also shifts from cup to cup. But not in the expected way. The flavors do not become too strong, but their proportions and durations shift. A different amount of the broken leaf experience is tangible. And then stays. Then it is more of the surface of a fresh leaf. It is a memory that lingers.
Even for quite some time after the cup is empty and the water has cooled down.

For me, the first cup is a bit like the view of a landscape. The second and third cup feel as if I had been pulled closer to the tea plant. Then closer, closer than I have ever had the chance to be.

And I think that’s probably why Tencha is used in its unique way. It has such closeness to the actual tea plant, the leaves are so tangible, so close, so honestly present. This experience of Tencha for me today feels like the closest I can be to the actual living tea plants of Hibiki-An, without leaving my home here in New York.

I love the various grades of Matcha I get from Hibiki-An. But Matcha is an experience that is comparable closer to culture, while Tencha to me feels like an experience closer to nature. But it is not the nature that can be presented on a picture, or described in a story. It is an actual closeness to the actual plant.
It is a story in that the plant has been given a stronger voice.

I think I understand better now. Even if I do not understand much.
But I understand a bit more about the actual tea plants near Kyoto.
I might not understand them well enough yet. And it might take years until I understand them well enough perhaps. But they are much more tangible to me now.
Matcha will have a different complexity for me from now on.

And I am sure that I am not preparing Tencha perfectly. But the experience is definitely special, subtle, unusual, unexpected, and yet once felt, it is one that helps with the understanding of tea.
The beverage. The plant. The idea.

I should not forget to mention that the leaves look very beautiful. And the aroma of the leaves themselves, before they are even exposed to water, is superb.
Please do not think that I understand much about tea. I am very thankful that I had the chance to try this particular Tencha Pinnacle.
And the experience might be very different for everybody else, of course. But what helped me to enjoy this tea much more, was to allow its experience to bring me closer than ever to the actual plant from which it was created. Thank you Hibiki-An for making this possible.
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Date August 20, 2012

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