Currently, I have over one hundred green teas here at home.
Lots of them are small samples, sure, but others I have in a pretty significant amounts.
Some I’ve never even tried at all, even after I waited sooooooo long to get the package in the mail from China or Japan or wherever.
This is the elephant in the room that pushed me to do the #GreenTeaDrinkDown challenge.
No one really has any business having 100+ green teas lying around. Not even someone who teaches about tea for a living.
Yes, some green teas can age. Yes, I need those teas for the work that I do. But only about 30% of those green teas have made their way into a teapot lately, including any daily drinking, tasting workshops, and experiments.
And the rest? I haven’t touched them in years.
I think the green tea I regret the most is a Tai Ping Hou Kui from 2016: high elevation, wild garden, first spring harvest, completely handmade.
Expensive too. The vendor doesn’t even exist anymore.
It’s a fantastic tea now, even 4 years later, but that tells me that it was probably earth-shattering when it was fresh.
I was waiting for the perfect moment to try it: maybe a slower weekend, or a better tea setup with better water. And then suddenly four years passed and the perfect moment is “right now, goddamnit, before it becomes 5 years!”
Now, I don’t mean to get so dramatic over a few old leaves. But it’s become more than just leaves: this green tea debacle has sure taught me a lot of lessons that would have been much more costly to learn somewhere else.
I think a few hundred dollars for old green tea is a small price to pay for all that.
- There’s almost never a “perfect time” for something. You don’t need to wait for a better teapot to brew the tea, or a better life situation to do the thing. Just do it.
- Nothing is true 100% of the time. So, that whole “green tea is ALWAYS better when fresh!” thing? It’s true a lot of the time, but not always. Some of my green teas have actually improved with time, and I’m going to set some aside for more intentional aging now.
- Take things as they are. Your 3 year old green tea may not taste like springtime anymore, but maybe that’s not bad: just different. I remember when old white tea was still considered plain “stale” instead of aged. Things change, and that’s OK.
- Keep just what you need. It might seem sexy to be that person with the encyclopedic tea collection, but in reality, the tea that’ll make you happy is the tea you end up actually drinking. Just buy what you enjoy. And if you don’t enjoy it, just give it away.
I have a hard time explaining this to most people who don’t drink tea, but I think I can share this with you: that a tea practice can be the cheapest, most delicious life coach in the world.