Well, I scurried around all day yesterday and gathered as many acorns as I could amidst traffic jams filled with many other squirrels doing the exact same thing. And now I sit quietly, cup of tea in hand, watching the snowflakes fall. What a difference a day makes…
On this cold, snowy morning, I’m sipping an Oolong tea from the other side of the world, Thailand. Called “Gue-Fei” which I have read, interestingly enough, translates to “concubine tea”. It has an interesting story from Taiwan.
In 2000, there was a devastating earthquake on the island of Taiwan and the tea farmers in Luku township concentrated all of their efforts on rebuilding their homes. The tea bushes were neglected and an insect known as a “tea leafhopper” set in and munched on the leaves. When they finally were able to harvest the leaves and process them, they discovered that the leafhopper had activated the plant’s natural defense system which changed the flavor of the leaf, unexpectedly and delightfully yielding a liquor with a distinctive floral, honey-like quality.
Wow, what a silver lining there.
You can read about the history of how tea came to be grown in Thailand here. Not only is Thailand’s terrain and weather very similar to Taiwan, their tea bushes originate from there.
I steeped the leaves for 3 minutes in 190 degree F water. The aroma is lightly floral with sweet notes of honey.
The honeyed color of the tea liquor holds promise of what is to come – rich, sweet, nectar flavor with notes of flower blooms and a light caramel finish.
The white world outside lights up my teabowl as I watch the snowflakes fall and dream…
There is nothing in the world more beautiful than the forest
clothed to its very hollows in snow.
It is the still ecstasy of nature, wherein every spray,
every blade of grass, every spire of reed,
every intricacy of twig, is clad with radiance.
Happy solstice, dear tea friends!