Saturday Morning Tea

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Good morning, dear tea friends! Today I’m conducting an experiment, which I hope to continue over the course of the next several months. In my cup this morning is a 2-year-old first flush Darjeeling from the Thurbo Estate. Yes, that’s right. It was harvested in the spring of 2011.

The 2013 first flushes haven’t arrived yet and it sounds like they had a drought, which has resulted in the season getting started later. Samples so far of those teas harvested have been green and not very flavorful. Ok, let’s get started.

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Interestingly enough, I reviewed this very tea on April 23, 2011 here. Wonderful! Let’s compare. Back then, I steeped the leaves for 3 minutes. Today I steeped the leaves for 4 minutes in boiling point (212F) water. I love the amazing variegation of leaf size and color of this tea!

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I didn’t have my micro lens back then so now I can get closer to see the different leaf sizes. Look at the fine hairs on the tiny leaf.

Back in 2011, I found this tea to be very fragrant with an aroma of celery. Today, I found the tea to be still quite fragrant, however, I didn’t detect any celery aroma. The tea smelled quite green (vegetal) with a floral nuance.

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The tea liquor is still a light caramel color with a very smooth, light flavor and notes of tropical fruit, like an unripe banana. I often find this flavor note in first flush teas.

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It is obvious to me that this tea has been stored very well and it’s still quite flavorful. The main difference I detected was in the astringency factor. I was able to steep the leaves for a minute longer without it developing that characteristic “bite” so it appears to have mellowed out, a positive thing for me.

This is a perfect example of how you can take the same tea and need to adjust the steeping time as the tea ages. This tea has satisfied this first flush lover!

Stay tuned for more experimentation and, hopefully, a review of a 2013 first flush by April! Have a great week!

“There is a certain part of all of us that lives outside of time. Perhaps we become aware of our age only at exceptional moments and most of the time we are ageless.” ~Milan Kundera

Saturday Morning Tea

Good morning, dear tea friends! It’s great to be back sharing another cup of tea with you. And I’m incredibly happy to report that today’s tea is…..drum roll, please…….

a first flush Darjeeling!

The first arrival of the season from the Thurbo estate.

Oh my, oh my.

I’m just savoring every sip of this marvelous tea, the quintessence of springtime in a cup.

Have I ever mentioned that first flush Darjeelings are my favorite tea??

The leaf is bold and quite tippy, meaning the plucking has been from the very new growth on the tea plant. Even though there are  spring green-colored bits of leaf, this tea has been processed as a black tea. Still, the newness of the growth renders the processed leaf and steeped tea liquor very light and “green” tasting. However green, it’s still very different from an actual green tea.

I steeped the leaves for 3 minutes in just under boiling point water. As I lifted the lid of my glass teapot to remove the infuser basket, a fragrant aroma reminiscent of the crisp spiciness of celery greeted me.

The light caramel-colored liquor has a sweet flavor with a mild pungency and whispers of tropical fruit like banana.

What a special treat to enjoy just back from my Michigan trip.

I had another fabulous visit with my family and visited 2 bead stores while I was there, Bead Haven in Frankenmuth and Munro’s in Berkeley. I’ll share photos of my piles of treasure very soon. For now, it’s time to make another pot of tea and get my bones back into my studio.

Happy Easter and Passover to all who celebrate!

Redeem

The time. Redeem

The unread vision in the higher dream…”

~T.S. Eliot

Saturday Morning Tea

Good morning, dear tea friends!

A world of white greets me these days as I walk out my front door and carefully negotiate my way to my car along channels cut into the snow. After all was said and done, 19 inches of the white stuff fell last Wednesday. And now our temps have sunk down into single digits. 5 degrees…brrrr..

I’m glad to be inside right now, hot cup of tea warming my hands. In my cup is a second flush Darjeeling from the Thurbo estate. It is considered a “silver tip” Darjeeling because of the profusion of tips, the new silvery growth on the plant.

I steeped the leaves for 3 minutes in boiling point temp (212 F) water. In the picture above, you can see some of the huge mounds of snow we have.

The Thurbo estate is located in the Mirik valley in Darjeeling district in northeastern India. I’ve read that it got its name because long ago the British set up camp there to invade Nepal which is close by. The local dialect word for “camp” is “tombu” which could have morphed into Thurbo.  An interesting little bit of trivia.

When the sky is clear, the snow glows blue and purple at twilight. It’s a magical sight. I think those colors have seeped into my consciousness.

The rich amber liquor has a predominant chestnut aroma which carries on into its flavor. Hints of ripe fruit round out the very smooth cup.

This tea is perfect for this frosty, frigid January morning.

Despite the hours of shoveling and clearing away, the snow has brought some positive benefits with it. A snow day from work this past Wednesday pushed me right into my studio (yay!) and I finally finished my Towers and Turrets pendant. Now I’d like to turn it into a necklace so it’s off to the bead store I go today, armed with a very generous gift certificate from my oldest son (thanks Justin!).

I know that I’ve spoken about the art side of my blog being sorely lacking these past months. I’ve been thinking about that a lot this week, even reading art posts from past years and wondering where that motivation and passion went. Buried underneath a full-time job, I guess.

Anyway, one of my personal goals for 2011 is to share more of my artwork with you once again and I’d love for you to share your creations with me.

What are you creating?

The Eskimos had fifty-two names for snow because it was important to them: there ought to be as many for love. ~Margaret Atwood