Saturday, April 30, 2011

The tea garden that began a life's journey with tea

Peter G., in Amarillo, TX, sent this to share with all of you:

You ask when I first "met" tea. Well, when I was a youngin' in the mid- to late 1970s, my mom would take my bro and me to the Japanese Tea Garden in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. Inside was a tea house, where kimono-clad women would serve green tea, rice crackers, and fortune cookies.

(That's right — fortune cookies. It may seem incongruous now, but it didn't then, and now it turns out the Tea Garden served the first fortune cookies of which there is evidence in the U.S.)

At home in those days, I had no interest in the black tea that my parents' occasionally drank, but for some reason, I would drink the Tea Garden's green tea. Perhaps because of the fancy presentation ... or because it was the only beverage my mother ordered.

I remember the tea's wonderful green color and clean, subtle flavor, with a nutty aroma. (I'm pretty sure the green tea served was genmaicha. Or I at least drank genmaicha there a couple of time.)

The tea house was open on the sides, so you could look out onto the garden and the pond as you sipped your tea [see photo]. Even then, I realized that the garden was a special place. And my bro and I had a blast climbing the high-arched moon bridge, too.

Thirty years later, I am absolutely hooked on tea, and I'm convinced that my experiences at the Tea Garden got me started on the right foot.

Today, I am enjoying your green tea immensely. It really takes me back to those fond days. Thanks for the great tea, and for the memories!

You are most welcome, Peter. I'm glad that tea garden path eventually led you to us.

—Mellow Monk


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