Saturday Morning Tea

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The first month of spring has entered on a wintry note as we are experiencing a blast of snow here in New England. This morning I am sipping a cup of Darjeeling black tea from the Arya estate called Arya Ruby.

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Located in the lower range of the Himalayan mountains in northeast India, the Darjeeling district is home to many tea estates or “gardens” and is famous for the beautiful tea it produces. Called the “champagne of tea”, Darjeeling tea is prized for its delicate aroma and “muscatel” flavor notes. The Calcutta Tea Association defines the “muscatel” flavor as being “reminiscent of vineyards”, meaning a flavor like grapes and wine.

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I was in awe as I gently smoothed the large, intact leaves out on my dish. I have read that this tea is produced from superior clonal bushes, meaning that they start a new tea plant from the cuttings of tea bushes that have produced remarkable teas. I believe that most of the tea bushes grown in Darjeeling originated from China bushes, called China “jat”.

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The aroma of the dry leaf is very nutty. Since the leaf is so big, I used 2 teaspoons per cup (6 oz.) and steeped for 3 minutes in boiling water. The flavor is very characteristic Darjeeling with the fruit, muscat flavor note. I just finished my first cup so it’s time to go make another cup. It’s still snowing…

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9 comments on “Saturday Morning Tea

  1. remarkable how large the leaves were after steeping. thank you for the little darheeling lesson. i think i neeeed some tea now.

  2. artandtea says:

    I know, I was surprised to find them so large and intact. Thanks for visiting. I hope you enjoyed your tea!

  3. nina says:

    how lovely!!!! i can just taste it right now.
    i don’t mean to gloat – you know how much i love the snow – but it was in the 60’s and beautiful here today (snow is just as beautiful), so i sat out on the porch and worked on jewelry while the wind chimes sang to me. chin up – spring is just around the bend! xxxx

  4. Chingis says:

    I really liked your dedication to the Art Of Tea reflected in your work here. But I will leave the clay to the potters, especially the Yi Xing villagers in Jiangsu – and the the to us who have traveled the world in search of the ultimate cup of tea.

    What would that be like? For me I am sure the burr on both the back sides of the tongue down to the throat would have to be there… and the pungent, even fiery but very fine delicate liu -tcha green tea would be necessary. Also mo li hua(r) ‘s jasmine bouquet would be nice… or certainly others.

    But I digress.

    I have a question. Are you acquainted with the protocol of, when offering cherished guests the teas and a selection, does one offer Indian tea last? This protocol is familiar yet I am not certain as to the western / Northamerican uses of it.

    Thank you.

    Very best,

    Chingis

    china.tea.expert@gmail.com

    3MAR08

  5. artandtea says:

    Thanks Nina! Oh, how lovely that you were able to enjoy warmer temps and sit out on porch. I love the sound of wind chimes. I am so looking forward to warmer temps here and listening to the peepers sing to each other.

  6. artandtea says:

    Thanks for visiting and sharing your comments, Chingis. No, I’m not familiar with that particular protocol but I would be glad to do some research on it.

  7. Steph W says:

    Mmmm…Darjeeling is marvelous! Great photo of those leaves!

  8. […] It is said that the Arya estate was started by a group of Buddhist monks who carefully developed their tea plants from some seeds brought over from China. I reviewed another Arya Ruby several years ago on a snowy day in early spring. You can read that review here. […]

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