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  • Writer's pictureAlexandra Mena

The art of tea

I’ve always been a huge fan of tea and tea culture.  It’s my thing.  I think it began in Argentina, when my family would start the day with mate for breakfast. Afternoon tea is also a big thing in Buenos Aires, with tea houses serving tea starting at five.  One of my favorite memories of my time there, is of having afternoon tea with my cousins in one of the many confiterías in the city.  The menu usually included a list of black teas, and an array of delicious tea sandwiches and pastries.  It was a social gathering of stylish men and women of all ages coming together for tea.


Once I moved back to the beautifully diverse Bay Area, I was exposed to a wider variety of teas and turned into a huge green tea fan.  I became fascinated with the Japanese tea ceremony, learned about the perfect water temperature for each variety, aesthetics of presentation, and the tools of the trade.  Equally interesting was the history of how green tea made its way to Japan, about its place in the culture, and its evolution from medicinal drink to one for pure enjoyment.  Imagine my surprise, and utter joy, when I stumbled onto Stonemill Matcha, in the Mission District, on a lovely Monday morning.  A trendy Japanese tea house, where they take their tea very seriously.  An oasis of Japanese minimalism from the decor down to their menu, specializing in all things matcha. They also offer other varieties of green teas, along with a small menu of scrumptious food items like Shokupan Toast, pork katzu, and my favorite, Matchazuke.  So if you’re a tea person, like me, this is a must!  And don’t forget to try their matcha amaretti. 😉  

Hard work deserves the enjoyment of these little moments in life, which remind us that life is not just about work.  It is also about enjoying and preserving customs, traditions and, more importantly, the artisanal culture, which has been lost in a time of mass production.  Seeing the men and women in this teahouse working to create the perfect cup of tea gives me inspiration, and tremendous respect for their art.  

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