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a taste of before

The last of the shepherd’s tea, τσάι του βουνού, won’t leave the mug with just a splash from the tap and a swirl and a wipe of the cloth. Its strange, compelling fragrance – a unresolved interplay of floral, herbal and citrus – asserts itself for a while as the topnote to whatever’s poured in afterwards as if infused into the glaze, a dissonant challenge even to strong coffee or black tea. To banish it before it chooses to fade means scrubbing the entire surface, re-rinsing, then testing another cupful. And sometimes that’s insufficient when with lips at the brim, the memory of its scent returns.