A week of settling in. I sit here in one of my straight backed kitchen chairs, looking out onto a robin’s egg sky and ponder how I fit into this new place. My own place. Sometimes I feel like it is not real and I am living in a dream. And I sip my tea…
This morning I crave a tea to wake my mouth (and the rest of me) and chose the best tea for that job, a second flush Darjeeling from The Namring Upper estate. Located in northeast India amidst the majestic, towering Himalayan peaks, this estate is one of the more well known in Darjeeling district. I reviewed last year’s Namring second flush here.
Second flush Darjeelings are harvested in the summer after the leaves have “flushed” back from the first flush (spring) harvest. Usually, the appearance and taste is darker, richer, fuller.
This tea is all that and more.
After spooning the tea into my small glass teapot, I steeped the leaves for 3 minutes in boiling point (212 F) water. I like to use bottled spring water for steeping. I find that gives the most consistent, true taste. The tap water in my town is unreliable for brewing tea.
The aroma is rich and fruity with a taste of ripe muscatel grapes. The finish has notes of wood and nut in a pungent bite that lingers, drawing all of the moisture out of my mouth.
Oooo…this would be marvelous with rich desserts.
While many folks are making resolutions this time of year, there are others who choose a word for the year. A word to guide. A word to contemplate. A word to open awareness. If I had to choose one word for this tea, it would be
Even the color is rich, a dark amber which glows like a precious jewel. Serve this tea with dessert at your next dinner gathering.
Today I am spending the whole day in my new studio, unwrapping the many boxes piled in there and finding a place for each precious art supply.
“There are times to cultivate and create, when you nurture your world and give birth to new ideas and ventures. There are times of flourishing and abundance, when life feels in full bloom, energized and expanding. And there are times of fruition, when things come to an end. They have reached their climax and must be harvested before they begin to fade. And finally of course, there are times that are cold, and cutting and empty, times when the spring of new beginnings seems like a distant dream. Those rhythms in life are natural events. They weave into one another as day follows night, bringing, not messages of hope and fear, but messages of how things are.” ~Chogyam Trungpa
Bottled water, even when advertised as spring water, usually is just tap water. Often it comes from a community’s public drinking water just like what comes out of your faucet. The bottles themselves are also an enormous waste. Even when recycled, you are still using using large amounts of energy to haul and recycle the bottles.
Hi Alex, thanks for stopping by and sharing your opinion on that. Ever since our town water supply was contaminated with e.coli last year and we had to boil all water coming out of the tap, I’ve been buying the 2.5 gallon jugs of spring water for drinking and making tea. I recycle the plastic jugs. The bottled water tastes so much better than the overly chlorinated (and possibly contaminated) water that comes out of my tap! 🙂
Sounds like you are settling into your new place. How wonderful for you, Karen. There is nothing like having a brand new room to put all your goodies in.
Do you place the glass teapot on a stove or how do you manage to maintain the water at boiling point for 3 minutes?
Hi Jake, thanks for visiting! I boil the water first and then use that water to steep the tea leaves. I apologize. I should have been more specific that the water is not boiling while steeping but that I use water that has been brought to boiling point first.
wishing you many, many peaceful days, evenings, years ahead in youir new home, my friend…..xx
Amen to that, Arline, thanks!
Thank you, dear Nina…xo
I’m amazed at the dark color of the brew. I happened to have had a 2nd flush darjeeling tea this morning as well. It did not steep up that dark. That looks really nice in your last photo of it in the cup! How many ounces of water do you add for that many leaves? That filter appears pretty packed for a small pot. Maybe it’s just the magnifying image that curved glass pot gives off.
Isn’t it a beautiful color, Bruce? My little teapot is about 10-12 ounces so I use a couple of teaspoons of tea leaves. I have to confess that I don’t have a scale so I’m not precise with my measurements. I’ve had some Makaibaris that have gotten dark like that, especially the ones with the Muscatel designation. I know you don’t put milk in your tea but they’re definitely strong enough for milk for those who do.
Yes it’s a beautiful color!
As a side note I am having a mug of the Golden Tips Congou from Hubei Province that you recommended (ZK68) and wow it’s outstanding tea! It’s excellent and makes me wonder why it’s not from Yunnan province where most golden tipped teas similar in flavoring to this come from. I think this is the first tea I’ve had from Hubei that I recall. If you have reference material online that could provide an overview of this tea and others from this province that would be interesting. Again, thanks for the recommendation on this one.
Lovely post. Glad you explained ‘flush’. I’ve wondered.
And I LOVE the part about choosing a word for the year. So much better than resolutions.