Every experience is just that, an experience. For some, getting a cup of tea or any beverage, like a cup of coffee, or a meal is just standard operating procedure. For me, the tea drinking experience is one of the most spiritual of all. I see it as more than just drinking tea. There’s a sense of zen and calming that usually happens for me, especially when I’m not looking for it. This isn’t always case. But more times than not a feeling comes over me.
If I’m feeling down or bummed out about something, a cup of tea can slowly lift my spirits and re-energize my soul. It’s a gradual process. If it’s rapid, it’s only because the experience is pure. Otherwise it’s inauthentic and unnatural. And that contradicts the journey of a tea lover. So this post really embodies why tea means so much to me. And I knew it was going to happen as soon as I found….
How fitting that I get to write about Matcha Time Cafe just days before Thanksgiving.
Once again my travels bring me to one of my favorite parts of the state of Maryland, Ellicott City. I’ve made mention recently about my love for this town and I’m blessed and thankful to have another opportunity to write about EC and as an added bonus, this remarkable cafe.
For all the times I’ve been in town, I’ve never actually been here. I’ve never noticed it. Nestled in the heart of town (and I mean heart) almost seems fitting. It’s in the center where some other charming shoppes and restaurants are located. It’s the epitome of the beautiful small town settings you read about, or sometimes seen portrayed positively in television shows or cinemas. Here I go again raving about a place and I haven’t even walked in and tried a thing.
But like I said earlier. I knew this would be special. After literally getting goose bumps walking towards Matcha, I finally walked in.
I figured that based on the name and the decor, that the store is Japanese owned and operated. This adds an authenticity you don’t get everywhere.
I wish I talked to the manager more. She was as friendly a person as I’ve ever come across. She and the friendly person at the register let me sample their seasonal teas.
Tis the season, so holiday themed teas are a must. My first scent was the Cinnamon Plum and without any hesitation that’s what I went with. I ordered a pot because I figure let me take this all in. I’m not in any rush. The rush will come as we approach Christmas. Right now (well it should be like this most of the time) is a time to rest, relax, and be at peace with myself and my surroundings. And that’s exactly what I did.
I had a few minutes before my pot would be ready. So I did some browsing…
There’s a beautiful gift shop within the cafe. I took pictures for your viewing pleasure. For those local to the area, keep that in mind for your small business shopping. I intend to be back soon.
Before I completely digress I want to make mention that I’m fascinated with Japanese culture so I felt right at home and not everything looked unfamiliar to me. I don’t want to make this too much about me but what did this do is enhance this experience. And yes this is all without having a sip of tea.
My new friend had asked me where I wanted to sit. It was nice enough outside that I gladly found a seat on the front patio.
This is where charming goes to a whole new level. She gave me a timer with a countdown clock, essentially telling me that after 5 minutes the tea will be perfect enough to drink. Otherwise it may get lost with how hot it would be. This is taking customer service to a whole new level. I was so happy in that moment.
She even gave me a holder for my strainer after each cup was well, strained. I got a good three plus cups out of it. And I took my time. I mean I really took my time. I was alone but I wasn’t. I felt like I was the only man on earth but I was with spirits. Whether they were angels or something else I don’t know. But I felt an energy field around me that words will never give it justice. It’s one of those things that I almost left out. It’s also one of those experiences that maybe I keep to myself and in my internal memory bank.
But no, this is a small business, this is Ellicott City, and this is a world class operation that deserves all the praise in the world. And oh yes the tea was incredible. The cinnamon and plum combination is one that rejuvenated me by cup number three. Like I said before, it was organic and ethereal. It’s something that can never be recreated. I’m glad I took a lot of photos. But after a while I said enough, this is for me. It can be for you too. It can be for any of us. If you’re within driving distance, you’ve got to come here.
I think I was here a good hour, maybe more. Where that time went I don’t know. Time stood still. My vantage point was pretty awesome. Some photos I will keep to myself but I’ll definitely post some to give you the impression of what I was feeling.
But what I said in the beginning rings true. Every experience is different and can be similar. It’s all what we choose to see. I chose to see the best in this when it was already breathtaking to begin with.
As I was returning my pot and cup, the manager actually bowed to me. It was so flattering, but all I could think is I should be bowing to her. I know it’s Japanese tradition but it should have been me humbling myself to her. So this is me bowing to Matcha and saying thank you, Happy Thanksgiving, and Happy Holidays.
It’s going to be a great holiday season. On this experience alone, it’s already first class. I can’t wait to see what’s in store next.