Saturday Morning Tea

I sit here quietly and sip my tea, the sounds of summer all around me – the faint buzzing of a lawn mower, the electric sound of the cicadas in the trees, the caw-caw of one crow to another as they fly over my house. As we enter the warm, hazy days of late summer, the fuschia impatiens dress my garden in their rich color.

In my cup this morning is a very dark tea, a China tea called Organic Pu-Erh 2nd Grade. Back in June, I wrote about the 1st grade here.

I steeped the leaves for 8 minutes in boiling point (212 F) water and, as you can see, the water quickly gets very murky on its way to becoming as black as night. Pu-Erh goes through a “composting” step during its processing. The leaves are piled into heaps, much like a compost pile, creating a heat in its core and transforming the leaves into this very unique tea.

Everything about this tea is so dark – the dry leaf, the wet leaf and the tea liquor after steeping. A rich, sweet, earthy aroma rises from my glass teapot as I remove the infuser basket.

I find that if I gaze at the tea liquor long enough, I can see a mulberry tinge around its edges. Can you see it?

The flavor is mellow and quite smooth, not as strong as its aroma. Characteristic notes of autumn leaf and forest floor mingle with a sweet molasses syrup flavor. I find myself enjoying it more and more with each sip.

While I was visiting my family in Michigan last month, we visited a quaint little village called Saugatuck, located on a river very near Lake Michigan. As we were strolling the shops, I came upon a pottery shop and purchased a few teabowls there. The artist’s name is Jeff Blandford and his business is called Volmod Ceramics. Voluptuous. Modern. Ceramic. He had some really cool pieces. As he was ringing my purchase, he told me that the teabowls I chose were created during a very creative time at the end of his student days at Michigan State University, over 3 years ago. So, I’d like to think that these lovely teabowls were sitting on the shelf patiently waiting for me to come along and bring them home to Massachusetts with me so I could enjoy many tea moments with them.

Until next week, dear tea friends…

“The world is round and the place which may seem like the end may also be only the beginning.” Β  ~Ivy Baker Priest

9 comments on “Saturday Morning Tea

  1. Judy Shea says:

    This is a rich looking tea, Karen.. the darkest I’ve seen you post. How nice that you have one of a kind bowls forever.

  2. Alyssa says:

    Your blog is my favorite tea blog! I love the photos and your description of each tea! Oh and your tea mugs! I love it all

  3. ScottTeaMan says:


    Very informative about the “composting” of the tea. Alas, no Pu-Erh im my most recent tea order. Maybe next time. The only Pu-Erh I’ve tried was the tou cha “Teabowls”. Those also exhibit similar qualities as you describe here. Earthy, yet I found it very sweet. Dark…’s funny you mentioned a mulberry tinge around the edges. I remember drinking my Tou Cha-several years ago now-except I thought, “Hey, the liquor has a purple hue to it!”. It was surprising…and yes, I do see it here too.

    The teabowls are beautiful, and you were so lucky to find them. They compliment the tea so well. I do believe they were meant for you…”waiting” for you! πŸ™‚ That happens at times throughout life. In Oct 2006 my Mom lost her cat Brandy. A month later she was driving and was near a pet store. She was not ready for, & had no intentions of getting another cat. As she passed a cage, not really paying attention, Ruby reached out and pawed my Mom. Ruby found her!! Ruby has been with her for almost 5 years now. Maybe your Teabowls found you! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

    I hope you enjoy them for decades and many cups of tea. Cheers my friend. πŸ™‚

  4. Scott from Ohio says:


    This is Scott from Ohio, and the above post is mine. I use ScottTeaMan on Steepster. All my posts here on your blog have been listed as Scott from Ohio. I don’t know why my Steepster name was used here. Now you can look me up on Steepster-IF you have time. πŸ™‚

  5. Scott from Ohio says:

    What happened to my ScottTeamMan post? Is it lost?

  6. Scott from Ohio says:

    Now I see it!

  7. artandtea says:

    Thanks so much for your kind words, Alyssa. I’m so glad to hear that you enjoy my blog! πŸ™‚

  8. artandtea says:

    Thanks so much for your comments, Scott, and for sharing that story about your Mom and her cat! cheers…

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