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在纽约当一名“茶党”不再是难事

更新时间:2015-7-12 9:28:55 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Tea Culture Blossoms in New York
在纽约当一名“茶党”不再是难事

For decades, to be a tea lover in the United States was to wander in a wasteland. Even as Americans discovered fine coffee, with specialty coffee shops springing up across the country and debates over the merits of pour-over and cold brew, tea remained a largely pedestrian choice among mass-produced brands.

几十年来,在美国当一个爱喝茶的人就如同在荒原中徘徊。美国人发现了高品质的咖啡,专业咖啡店迅速遍布全国,人们开始讨论手冲咖啡和冷泡咖啡的优劣,但是要想喝茶,还是只能在大批量生产的品牌中选择一般的东西。

“When I was growing up, tea was drunk by old people and sick people,” said Dr. Andrew Weil, 72, director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine. “It was Lipton and it was terrible.”

“我小时候,茶都是给老人和病人喝的,”72岁的安德鲁·威尔博士(Dr. Andrew Weil)说,他是亚利桑那整体医学中心的主管,“他们喝的都是立顿(Lipton),非常难喝。”

No longer. Online tea purveyors and tea salons offer a dazzling range of loose leaf teas from around the world, sponsor tea preparation classes and sell artisan teaware. Chain-store tea salons are appearing across the country, too: In 2012, Starbucks bought Teavana, which has 301 stores in the United States.

现在已经不是这样了,网络茶叶销售者和茶吧提供大量来自全球各地的茶叶原叶,主办茶道班,贩卖艺术化的茶具。连锁茶吧也开始在全国出现:2012年,星巴克收购了Teavana,目前它在美国拥有301家连锁店。

The Tea Association of the USA reported that retail sales of tea have soared from just under $2 billion in 1990 to nearly $11 billion last year, and a broad array of brands and styles can be found on supermarket shelves.

据美国茶叶协会报道,美国茶叶零售额已从1990年的20亿美元增长到去年的接近110亿美元,超市货架上也有了各种品牌与品种。

In New York, high-end restaurants such as Eleven Madison Park, Atera, Blanca and Betony have extensive tea lists, often with tasting notes to match. Matcha in particular is in vogue; the frothy powdered Japanese green tea is featured at shops like MatchaBar in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

在纽约,麦迪逊公园11号(Eleven Madison Park)、阿特拉(Atera)、布兰卡(Blanca)和贝托尼(Betony)等高端餐厅都提供丰富的茶水单,通常还提供风味提示。抹茶尤其流行;布鲁克林威廉斯堡的抹茶吧(MatchaBar)就专门提供这种带泡沫的粉末状日本绿茶。

Tea’s partisans cherish its complexity of flavors; the calming, often meditative, nature of tea drinking; and the subtleties of tea growing, processing and aging. Many can remember the moment they realized drinking tea could go beyond black tea bags.

“茶党”们喜爱茶水丰富的口感;他们认为品茶的精髓在于平心静气,通常也有令人沉思的功效;茶叶生长、加工和发酵的过程亦极为微妙。很多人都记得自己发现品茶原来不仅仅限于黑乎乎的茶包时的那一刻。

Dr. Weil was 17 when he visited Japan in 1959 and discovered sencha and matcha. For Christopher Day, who runs the tea program at Eleven Madison Park, the epiphany was a sip of rose tea in a Chinese apothecary on a back street in Philadelphia. And for Sebastian Beckwith, a tea importer, it came while shepherding tourists around the tea plantations of Bhutan and Sikkim when he served as an adventure travel guide.

1959年,17岁的威尔访问日本,发现了煎茶和抹茶。在麦迪逊公园11号茶的克里斯托弗·戴(Christopher Day)则是在费城小巷的一家中药店里品尝到玫瑰茶,从而顿悟茶叶的美妙。茶叶进口商塞巴斯蒂安·贝克维斯(Sebastian Beckwith)是在不丹与锡金当导游带团的时候,在当地茶叶种植园里品尝到茶叶的妙处。

For many restaurateurs in New York, the guide to these nuances has been Mr. Beckwith, who founded In Pursuit of Tea in 1999 and now supplies more than 180 restaurants, a number that he said has accelerated in the last year. “It does seem like there’s a tide changing,” he said.

1999年,贝克维斯成立了“寻访好茶”(In Pursuit of Tea)公司,是他引导很多纽约的很多饭馆经营者认识到茶叶之间的微妙区别,从去年开始,向他订购茶叶的餐厅出现激增,如今他向180家餐厅供货。“好像风潮真的在变,”他说。

Customers trust their palates more, he believes, and so they are asking for higher quality tea. Restaurants, in turn, are responding both to the demand and to the competition: “Everyone else has better tea, so I better up my game,” as he put it.

他相信,消费者们更加信任自己的味觉,所以在不断要求质量更高的茶叶。餐厅一方面要对顾客的要求作出反应,一方面也要应付竞争,用他的话说:“现在所有的人都在买好茶叶,我也得赶快升级才行。”

Mr. Beckwith, an engaging, unpretentious and encyclopedic tea maven, presides over tea tastings in a spare, serene apartment and office in the Flatiron district. On one wall is an oak pharmacy chest with dozens of small drawers containing tea samples. On the other, a glass container of water supplies his bubbling teapot.

贝克维斯是个迷人、朴实而又无所不知的茶叶专家,他在自己熨斗区宽敞宁静的住宅兼办公室举办品茶会。他家里一面墙边有一个橡木药柜,上面有几十个小抽屉,里面装的是茶叶样品,另一面墙边是一个玻璃容器,里面是用来煮开泡茶的水。

One recent morning, he set out the elements of a Chinese style of tea service known as gong fu cha: a slatted wooden tea tray to catch excess water and tea, a lidded dish called a gaiwan for steeping, a pitcher to hold the steeped tea, and a few small porcelain teacups. As he deftly poured, steeped, discarded and resteeped, he provided a guided tour of tea, describing how it is grown, picked, processed and tasted.

不久前的一个早上,他展示了一种中国茶道,名为“功夫茶”:一只木板条制成的茶托,用来盛放溢出来的茶水;泡茶的是一只带盖的茶杯,名叫“盖碗”;还有一个罐子,用来盛泡过的茶叶;另外还有几个小小的瓷茶杯。他娴熟地冲水,泡茶、倒水、重泡,同时还描述茶叶的生长、采摘、加工和品尝,仿佛在引导大家进入茶的世界。

Mr. Beckwith set out an oolong, a partly oxidized tea prized by enthusiasts for its complexity of flavors. Picking up the steeped leaves, he pointed to bite marks. They are made, he explained, by a small green insect called a leafhopper. The bites expose that part of the leaf to air, changing its chemistry and giving the resulting tea a distinctive sweetness that has traces of honey.

贝克维斯泡了乌龙茶,这是一种半氧化茶,热心的饮茶者最爱它丰富的口感。他拿起一片经浸泡的茶叶,指点上面被啃咬过的痕迹。他说,这是一种名叫“叶蝉”的绿色小昆虫咬的。这些咬痕让部分叶片内部暴露在空气里,从而改变它的化学成分,让茶叶有了一丝隐约的甜味,带来蜂蜜般的口感。

In a side room, he set up five types of oolong, ranging in styles from lightly to more fully oxidized or more aggressively roasted, steeping them multiple times. At each stage, the smell of the leaves and the taste of the tea changed, much as wine changes character as it sits in the glass, exposed to air.

在侧室,他拿出五种乌龙茶多次冲泡,它们的氧化程度不等,有微微氧化过的,也有完全氧化过的,还有经过深度焙火的。每一泡,叶片的香气和茶水的味道都会改变,就像红酒放在玻璃杯里,口味也会随着暴露在空气中的不同时间而改变。

In fact, said Richard Betts, a master wine sommelier and friend of Mr. Beckwith’s, there are striking similarities between fine tea and wine. Just as wine varies depending on where, how and when the grapes are grown and processed, tea varies with elevation, leaf size, soil quality, origin and age. Even the leafhoppers in oolong have analogues to botrytis, the fungus linked to great Bordeaux. There are tea collectors every bit as avid to stock their equivalent of cellars; for example, aged pu-erh, a tea prized by connoisseurs, can sell for $45,000 a cake.

贝克维斯的朋友,品酒大师理查德·贝茨(Richard Betts)说,好茶和红酒有着惊人的相同之处。葡萄产地、生产方式和时间的变化,以及加工方式会影响红酒的风味;茶叶生长的海拔、叶片大小、土壤质量、茶叶产地和年份也会影响茶的口味。就连乌龙茶叶上的叶蝉也和波尔多葡萄上生长的贵腐霉菌颇有相似之处。也有茶叶收藏家像红酒收藏家一样,把茶叶储存在地下室里,比如说深受品茶专家喜爱的陈年普洱,如今一块茶饼可以卖到45000万美元。

As with wine, it is easy to spend hours tasting and talking. When Mr. Day first met Mr. Beckwith, who supplies Eleven Madison Park with many of its teas, they drank samples until 2:30 a.m.

茶也和红酒一样,可以一边品尝,一边消磨时间和闲聊。戴第一次和贝克维斯相遇时,贝克维斯卖给麦迪逊公园11号很多种茶叶,两人品尝样品一直到凌晨两点半。

At Eleven Madison, Mr. Day has adapted the same gong fu style of tea serving to the more formal and less leisurely demands of a restaurant. Its offers change with the season, with 32 types of tea served by the pot and five different teas available for tableside tastings for two people priced from $26 to $65.

在麦迪逊公园11号,为了适应餐厅那种正式、不那么休闲的需求,戴对功夫茶的冲泡做了调整。茶水单按季节变化,提供32种由茶壶呈上的茶,以及五种供桌边品尝的二人份茶饮,价格从26美元到65美元不等。

Mr. Day began one of the earliest restaurant tea programs in New York City in 2002, while working at RM, with the chef Rick Moonen, and started the tea service nearly five years ago at Eleven Madison, where he is the dining room manager. “Why is it that we as restaurant professionals spend so much time making sure every aspect of a meal is perfect and then at the end serve tea bags in a wooden box?” he said.

2002年,戴在RM餐厅工作时,和大厨里克·穆安(Rick Moonen)一起推出了茶饮服务,是纽约市最早提供茶水的餐厅之一。大约五年前,他来到麦迪逊11号,担任餐厅经理,同样推出了茶饮。“我们这些餐厅专业人士花了那么多时间,确保就餐的每个环节都完美无缺,为什么要用木盒子装的茶包泡茶给客人喝呢?”他说。

He has created the opposite experience with his tableside tastings, where a waiter wheels out a cart with the same basic equipment as Mr. Beckwith’s to present and prepare the teas. This spring, the restaurant offers three oolongs (“The height of the teamaker’s art,” in Mr. Day’s estimation, because of the way varying oxidation and roasting compress and layer the flavors), a black tea and a 2003 aged pu-erh.

他以桌边品尝的方式创造了一种截然不同的体验——一位侍者推着小推车,上面放着贝克维斯展示的那套基本设备,为客人准备茶饮。今年春天,餐厅提供三种乌龙茶(“它们是制茶艺术的巅峰之作,”戴评估道,因为不同的氧化和焙火方式,令茶叶风味更为浓缩,更有层次感)、一种黑茶和一份2003年的普洱陈茶。

But there are as many settings to enjoy great tea in New York as there are tea varieties. Far from the soaring ceilings of Eleven Madison Park, a modest storefront on Flushing’s Main Street houses Fang Gourmet Tea, long a gathering spot for Chinese tea aficionados.

但是茶饮有很多种,在纽约也有很多不同的地方可以喝到好茶。离麦迪逊公园11号高大的天花板很远的地方,有一家中等规模的茶室,名叫“芳茗轩”(Fang Gourmet Tea)。其坐落在法拉盛大街一处店面,是中式茶饮爱好者们长久以来的聚集地。

Fang, run by a Taiwanese family whose expertise spans generations, offers tastes of more than 70 teas at $5 to $10 for several steepings, and stocks dozens more. Pierra Cheung, gentle and authoritative, pours tea from a gaiwan in a room decorated with Chinese paintings and glass cases of prized teaware that can run hundreds of dollars (or, in some cases, thousands).

芳茗轩由一个台湾家庭祖传几代经营,这里提供70种茶饮,几泡茶的价格从5美元至10美元不等,此外他们还储存了几十种茶。皮埃尔·张(Pierra Cheung)温和却又威严,从一个盖碗里往外倒着茶,房间里装饰着国画,还有放着昂贵茶具的玻璃柜。它们价值高达几百美元,有的甚至在几千美元。

And in Williamsburg, next door to the Vice Media offices, MatchaBar dispenses everything from hot and iced classic matcha whipped frothy with an electric blender to “signature” drinks like Fuji Apple Ginger Matcha and Cinnamon Hemp Latte. With a Brooklyn-like fealty to origin, it sources its matcha directly from an independent family farm in Nishio, Japan. The shop was packed one recent Sunday with a young crowd, drinking tea and hanging out. Eli Libman, its chief financial officer, who was doing double duty as a server, said that Vice staff members are frequent customers, drawn by matcha’s effective but slower-acting burst of caffeine. (“They work really long hours,” he noted).

在威廉斯堡,就在Vice传媒公司办公室隔壁,抹茶吧供应各种茶饮,从热茶到用电动搅拌棒搅拌发泡的经典冰抹茶,还有富士苹果姜汁抹茶和肉桂麻仁拿铁等招牌茶饮。它拥有一种布鲁克林式的、对原产地的忠诚,抹茶都直接来自日本西尾一家独立家庭农庄。最近某个星期天,店里挤满了年轻的顾客,他们喝着茶,打发时间。抹茶吧首席财务官艾利·利伯曼(Eli Libman)同时也兼任服务员。他说,Vice的员工们经常光顾,他们喜欢抹茶中那种见效稍慢、但却效果明显的咖啡因 (他说:“他们的工作时间真的很长”)。

The caffeine in matcha is released more slowly into the bloodstream, allowing for a calmer energy boost, said Graham Fortgang, the bar’s 23-year-old co-founder. “The millennial generation is really looking for an alternative to a cup of coffee, espresso or energy drinks,” he said. “It’s their morning fuel.”

抹茶吧联合创始人格雷厄姆·福特冈(Graham Fortgang)今年23岁,他说,抹茶中的咖啡因释放到血液中的过程更缓慢,带来更平静的提神功效。“千禧一代确实正在寻找咖啡、特浓咖啡以及能量饮料的替代品,”他说。“茶是他们清晨的燃料。”

Back in Manhattan, Ippodo, a branch of a renowned Kyoto tea exporter, offers a serene alternative. Here a Japanese-speaking server whisks the matcha in pottery bowls with a chasen, or bamboo whisk, much as the Japanese have done for centuries for the formal tea ceremony.

回到曼哈顿。在那里,日本京都著名的茶叶出口商Ippodo在分店内提供了更宁静的替代品。店里一位讲日语的侍者用茶筅——竹制的搅拌棒在陶碗里搅动抹茶,这在很大程度上依然是日本几个世纪以来正式茶道的做法。

It’s a long way from the elderly tea drinkers of Dr. Weil’s childhood. “There is a tea culture developing in America,” he said, “that was never here before.”

而这离威尔斯童年时期那些喝茶的长者们已经十分遥远。“美国确实发展出了一种前所未有的茶文化,”他说。

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