Saturday Morning Tea

Good morning, dear tea friends! For my US friends, I hope that your Thanksgiving was warm and wonderful. What is your favorite tea for the Thanksgiving table? I was avoiding caffeine and drinking Rooibos that day, Earl Grey with dinner and Lemon with dessert.

With my morning tea today, we travel to the country of Nepal, where I’ve read they started growing tea from seeds gifted to the Prime Minister from the Chinese Emperor. At an altitude of 5,000 feet above sea level, the first tea plantation was set up in the 1860s, called the Ilam Tea Estate, after the district where it was located. Unfortunately, due to political turmoil and economic struggle under an autocratic dynasty, the tea industry failed to grow there at that time.

My tea this morning is from the Sakhira Estate, which is located in a remote area of Nepal, not far from Ilam Bazar.

I steeped the leaves for 3 minutes in boiling point (212F) water. As the tea steeped in my glass teapot, I found the large, tippy leaf to be very Darjeeling-like in aroma.

In the 1950s, a new democratic constitution was written in Nepal causing a shift in the political system there and opening up the country to the rest of the world. The tea industry started to grow with help from private and public investment and has been growing ever since.

My teapot appears to contain a world frozen in its glowing amber liquid.

A pronounced fruity aroma portends the rich muscatel flavor, very smooth and sweet. This tea goes down so easily with its silky smoothness, without any astringent bite. In comparison, I find that a Darjeeling tea with this much body usually has some astringency.

Well, I’ve just taken my last sip and it’s time to get on with my day. I just might put up my Christmas tree today. How are you spending your weekend?

My grandchildren will be with me all next weekend so I’ll be back with Saturday Morning Tea in two weeks. Until then, dear friends, enjoy this magical holiday time of year with many cups of tea!

“Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time.”  ~Laura Ingalls Wilder

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Saturday Morning Tea

Good morning, dear tea friends! Are you wondering where the tea leaves are today? Well, this morning’s tea is a unique beverage greatly enjoyed in Japan, called Ku-Ki Ho-Ji Cha, which translates to roasted twig tea.

The stems, stalks and twigs from the Camellia Sinensis plant are used for this beverage. Usually, they are unoxidized and green with small bits of green leaf mixed in. In this particular version, the “Ho-Ji” part refers to roasting, like Ho-Ji Cha tea, which is roasted bancha tea, a common green tea that has been roasted. So, these twigs have been roasted, giving them a toasty flavor.

I steeped the twigs for 3 minutes in 180 degree F water. The steeping tea filled my kitchen with a warm, toasty aroma.

Most Japanese green teas are steamed. I have read that Ho-Ji Cha tea is roasted over charcoal at a very high heat.

The whisky-colored liquor is creamy smooth and woody/toasty with nutty notes. Because most of the caffeine in the tea plant is located in the leaf, especially the new growth, the twigs contain a negligible amount so this tea is very low in caffeine.

I’ve read that this tea is one of the beverages recommended in a macrobiotic diet, an eating lifestyle that concentrates on natural grains and vegetables, avoiding highly refined foods.

There’s something about the flavor of this tea that reminds me of coffee, maybe even chicory. Perhaps it’s the toastiness that fills my mouth with each sip. Please keep in mind though that I’m not a coffee drinker at all. I much prefer its wonderful aroma to the jittery feeling I get when I drink it.

It’s a beautiful, sunny day outside today so I’m going to take the opportunity to do some cleanup in the garden and mulch the perennials for their winter rest.

As we approach our Thanksgiving holiday, I want to thank all of you, dear readers, for your visits to my little corner of the blogoshere.  They mean so much to me. Happy Thanksgiving!

“To give thanks in solitude is enough. Thanksgiving has wings and goes where it must go. Your prayer knows much more about it than you do.” ~Victor Hugo

Saturday Morning Tea

Good morning, dear tea friends! Another week has gone by, we’re into November now and Thanksgiving is less than 2 weeks away. Do you feel like time seems to speed up as we approach the end of the year? I’ve been feeling that way lately. Ok, on to our tea…

Well, I think I was longing for the warm, fragrant days in my garden when I reached for this tea selection from China, called Jasmine Silver Tips. To create this lovely tea, tea masters took a Silvertip green tea from Fujian province, and scented it with jasmine blossoms.

The tea leaves are plucked in the springtime, processed as green tea and then stored until the jasmine plants get ready to bloom in the summer. The flower buds are plucked in the early morning and kept cool all day. As early evening approaches, the flower buds are mixed with the tea leaves. As the night blooming jasmine flowers open, the tea leaves absorb their scent. This process is repeated every day over the course of a week. Quite a bit of dedicated work goes into creating this unique tea!

This tea is called “Silver Tips” because the tea itself has the silvery-white new growth, or tip, from the tea plant mixed in with the green leaf. After steeping, I found mostly large, broken leaf pieces but I did manage to find one of the tips, which you can see in the photo above.

I steeped the leaf for 3 minutes in 180 degree water (F).

The tea liquor is a beautiful pale amber color with a tinge of pink. As I lifted the infuser out of my glass teapot, the floral scent was quite pronounced and I felt as if I had placed my nose into a large, fragrant bouquet of flowers.

The flavor is silky smooth and very sweet with just enough jasmine flavor to enjoy without it being cloying. I can also taste the green tea in the clean, fresh vegetal undertone.

We had snow in our area from the storm mid-week, which then changed into a cold rain, so nothing is left of our first snowfall of the season. This weekend is supposed to be filled with warmer temps and glorious sunshine. I’m headed out for another hike in the woods with a dear friend. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.

Thanks for stopping by and sharing a cuppa with me!

“And the day came when the risk [it took] to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” 

~Anais Nin

Spacetime Necklace

A fusion of an earthy past with an abstract future in the spacetime continuum, this necklace is completely out of the box for me. None of the “out of the box “steps came easily, in fact, one could even use the word “struggle.” I had an image in my mind that I didn’t quite know how to go about manifesting, especially the way I wanted the lentil beads to hang with the stone jasper spears.

The polymer clay lentil beads were formed from a caned sheet I had made after a demo at a polymer clay guild meeting a couple of years ago. I used one of those beads in my “Spacetime” bracelet, posted about here.

Instead of drilling a hole through the beads themselves, I attached a piece of clay to the back and wired through that so the spears would appear a bit recessed from the lentils.

The hand-forged copper chain was inspired by 2 of my favorite wire artists, Cindy Wimmer and Kerry Bogert. The copper clasp came out of my clasp treasure box, created earlier this year in Deryn Mentock’s online class, “The Art of Closure.”

As always, thanks for visiting  and sharing in my creations!

Saturday Morning Tea

Good morning, dear tea friends! Wow, are we really into the month of November already? This morning I’m enjoying a dark, rich cuppa from China, called Yunnan FOP Select. Hey, there’s the letters again in the name. FOP means “flowery orange pekoe”, a leaf designation meaning a whole leaf tea with some tip interspersed. The tip is the golden-colored part.

From the mountainous Yunnan province in southwestern China, Yunnan teas have traditionally been plucked from very large, old tea trees but I have heard that some of those trees are being cut down or cut in half to make way for monoculture plantings. Hearing that makes me sad but I also know that demand is up for these teas and perhaps that is how they’re accommodating that demand.

I steeped the leaves for a full five minutes in boiling point water (212F). I’m glad I did because the longer steeping time brought out the rich cocoa aroma.

The dark-amber liquor is silky smooth and sweet with notes of cocoa, spice and a hint of fruit. This is a great tea for warming up on a cool autumn afternoon after raking leaves or taking a long hike in the woods. Speaking of which, that’s my plan for tomorrow – I love hiking in the woods at this time of year!

Well, my first cup is already gone so I’m off to refill my mug. Have a wonderful weekend and I’ll see you all next Saturday to share another cup of tea!

“Everything in the universe is within you. Ask all from yourself.”

~Rumi