Saturday Morning Tea

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

rich

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

Saturday Morning Tea

My first full day in my new place started out bright and early with a visit from the Verizon man. A little bit of wiring magic, actually a couple of hours of plugging, unplugging, testing, and I now have an internet connection. Morning has turned into afternoon as the snow dances and swirls outside my window and I’ve finally got the chance to sit down and quietly sip a cup of Chinese green tea called Bing Yin Zhen.

Downy leaf buds, the tender new growth, are plucked and processed. The leaves are then artfully hand twisted which shows off the fine quality of the leaf to perfection.

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

The hot water steep doesn’t even touch the shape of the leaf. What gorgeous handcraftmanship!

I know that Yin Zhen translates to silver needle. I couldn’t find the translation for Bing though. Does anyone know?

The aroma of the ecru tea liquor is soft and fresh, very reminiscent of a white tea. The tea settles in my mouth with a silky feeling and then releases faint flavor notes of tobacco that linger in the aftertaste.

The rest of this weekend will be spent organizing and decorating my new place. Stay warm!

“Vitality shows in not only the ability to persist

but the ability to start over.”

~F. Scott Fitzgerald

Moving Day

Happy New Year, dear friends!

Today marks a brand new beginning for me. I am finally, permanently moving into my new place after an 8 month process – 5 months to close and 3 months to remodel the bathroom. I am approaching the day with so many feelings – excitement, joy and the thrill of owning my own place for the first time but also a profound weariness from the lengthiness of the process and a fear of being completely by myself. I know that time will smooth out some of these feelings and bring me a happiness that I’ve long sought in my life. And a joyous return to my artwork!

Verizon has assured me that my high speed internet service is turned on but I haven’t been able to test it yet. I am hoping that all connections will go smoothly and I will be back tomorrow morning to share a cup of tea with you.

“…to make an end is to make a beginning.”

~T.S. Eliot