The Tea Shoppe

But for all those years when I wanted coffee, and searched it out like a panacea, the perfect espresso, or a macchiato, something that transformed the everyday into more than just ordinary, so that for a moment, for a distilled moment, like an alchemist, for all transmutation to be in balance, between the concept and the creation, the fulcrum, whilst knowing that all is process, yet fetishising the product, hoping, wanting that things can be true, and reveal bliss, but knowing, all the time, that this is a fatuous, idiotic search for the sublime, and holding any moment was an infantile quest for stillness, shielding the child from reality, all this I was thinking as I entered the Tea Shoppe. The coffee era had come to an end, with the quintessential these days no more than warm milk, so the Tea Shoppe, with its promise of subtlety, and nuances, and perfumes and an exotic hint of Japan, and China, the cast iron teapots, a design that has barely evolved for a thousand years, the bamboo whisk, the ornamental bowl, a conversation piece, the tea house, the quietude. Consider the time it takes to boil the water, then allow it to cool, green tea, particularly, will taste bitter if the water is poured at or near boiling point so allow the water to cool, then allow the tea to steep, these minutes preceding the imbibing of this most delicate and fragrant of beverages, these minutes when you are allowed to wait, and in waiting time is held, perhaps in the sand timer or whatever archaic contraption the man in the Tea Shoppe has sold to you so that like one who seeks to focus on his breathing you focus on the seconds and the minutes.  Espresso seeks to trap time, tea acknowledges its passing.


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