Saturday, 17 July 2010

turtle pee

It's a rainy Saturday evening after weeks of unbearably hot weather. I'm drinking a simple Bancha tea, and listening to the rain pitter patter on the window.

The little bit of research I've done about this tea is that it's a simpler/coarser form of Sencha, but even if this is a lower grade tea, I really like the way it tastes. It's grassy and rather bitter. But the second and third infusions lose the bitterness while keeping the flavour.

Years ago, someone told me that the taste of green tea was what they assumed turtle pee would taste like. It was on a trip to Japan, and she had one sip of green tea, decided she didn't like it, and from then on referred to it as turtle pee.

Only on reflection did I realise I should've asked her how she knew how terrapin urine tasted, but I think it was just the worst thing she could think of to compare it to. At least that's how I remember it.

But somehow over time because I love the taste of green tea more and more, I've started to imagine that maybe turtle urine isn't that bad. I know that it's madness, but that's where my thoughts take me this evening.

Read a book years ago by Rudolfo Anaya called Tortugas in which the waters from Turtle Mountain healed the wounded protagonist. The characters in the book saw the waters that came from the mountain as healing and I think they also referred to the waters as turtle pee.

Regenerative green tea. Low quality Bancha or not, this is delicious.


  1. I have stated on many occasions that I don't like any from of Japanese tea.
    There are so many wonderful teas in the world that aren't bitter and grassy.
    "Lawn clippings" is my favourite description for most Japanese teas.

  2. Keep the focus or not.
    I do wonder too how anyone could know what turle pee tastes.

  3. I wouldn't spend too much time pondering over turtle waste matter Lahik - but I know the mind goes where it wants to go ;)

    If you liked the Bancha, that's good - whether it's "officially" good or not.


  4. I find it funny the analogies people use.

    I love the Japanese herb Shiso, which is often blended with green tea. Here in Delaware, it has naturalized; you can find it growing wild in the woods. It seems to have integrated well into the local ecology: it fares well, but does not dominate or shut out other plants, and it seems to be eaten by a number of insects.

    One of my friends once said, when I was growing Shiso, that it smelled like cat urine. It's hard for me to say if she really meant that, or if it was just a generic expression to mean that its smell was very displeasing to her.