Saturday Morning Tea

WhiteMonkeyDry081509

Does anyone else feel that August is cruising at warp speed towards September? It’s always felt like a “getting ready” month to me. There is a buzz, an undercurrent in the lazy haziness. That being said, this weekend stretches wide before me with its warmth and sunshine and relaxation possibilities.

Today I’m starting the day sipping a tea with a delightfully whimsical name.  White Monkey. It conjures up images of an exotic creature peeking out with keen, intelligent eyes from myth and story.

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Despite its name, this is a green tea. It is cultivated and processed in the Taimu mountains of Fujian province in China. I found this information about the mountains on Wikipedia:

“The Taimu mountains are known as the “Paradise at Sea” for its steep mountains, spectacular rock formations, secluded caves and foggy climate.”

TaimuMountain

I also read that there are over 300 rock formations on Taimu mountain, some in the shape of fish, rabbits, monks reading.

And monkeys.

It sounds like a fabulous place to go hiking.

Ok, back to my tea.

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I steeped the leaves for 3 minutes in 180 degree F water.

Yesterday a dear friend asked me what I meant by listing the temperature of the water. A very good question. Green and white tea (and some Oolongs) leaves are minimally processed, not like black tea where the leaves are allowed to oxidize and turn dark. So, the leaves are closer to their original green state and thus too fragile to steep in the temperature of boiling water. Their flavor must be gently coaxed in water of a cooler temperature.

I have an electric kettle which automatically turns off when it has reached boiling point. There is a steam tube inside the kettle that causes the mechanism to act when it detects steam. So, I allow the water to come to a boil in my kettle and then I gently prop open the lid and carefully place my thermometer in the kettle. I then monitor it until it reaches the proper temperature for the tea I’m going to brew. I use a small meat thermometer that I purchased at William Sonoma.

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I almost didn’t use this photo because it’s somewhat out of focus but there’s something dreamy about it. Plus it shows off the color of this tea very nicely.

A pale, champagne color. Lovely.

The aroma is distinctly vegetal with a flavor that is quite refreshing and smooth. Its delicate sweetness becomes more pronounced as it cools. This tea would taste wonderful iced. I also detected a whisper of pear in the finish.

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Another dreamy out of focus picture in pale colors showing a slice of the summer blue sky. Time for another cup!

“To see the Summer Sky is Poetry….” ~Emily Dickinson

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5 comments on “Saturday Morning Tea

  1. Judy says:

    I didn’t realize there was such a method to the perfectly brewed tea. I also never realized that some teas have hardly any color to it, such as the “white monkey”. Thanks for your teachings, oh wise one.

  2. artandtea says:

    There really is, Judy, my friend. When I got “into” tea, oh my, was it really 14 years ago? Anyway, I was blown away by what an art form – the processing, the steeping, the drinking – it all is. And SO many different kinds. From one plant! I feel so blessed that it has become so much a part of my way of life now.

    Ah, you ah welcome, grasshoppa.

  3. Steph W says:

    To see your tea photos is poetry!

  4. artandtea says:

    You are so kind, Steph!

  5. Thanks for the explanation about the temperatures. I’d wondered how you knew so exactly.

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