Saturday Morning Tea


Good morning, dear tea friends! As I write this, I’m joyfully listening to James Taylor sing “Here Comes the Sun”. Here in the northern hemisphere, the sun has returned and the days will get longer now with the arrival of the Winter Solstice yesterday. The light of the holiday season is upon us.

On this blustery, early winter morning, I’ve brewed up an unusual cup of tea. Well, unusual for me. A China black tea that has been smoked over pine root fires. Can you guess what it is? If you guessed Lapsang Souchong, you are absolutely correct. To be honest, I’m not partial to the extreme smokiness of this tea, a flavor that tastes of burning pine.


Lapsang Souchong tea, grown in the Wuyi region of the Fujian province of China, is known for its distinctly very smoky aroma and taste. During its processing, the leaves are dried over pinewood/root fires, which impart that smoky quality to the leaf. In essence, the leaves are “smoked’ in their drying. The story goes that many years ago the tea processing had to be sped up as armies marched through that region so the villagers dried the tea leaves over open pinewood fires. A new type of tea was born.


I often thought that Lapsang Souchong leaf was very big but this leaf doesn’t appear so. The leaves used for this tea are found lower down on the tea plant and, since most of the caffeine is concentrated in the new growth, the caffeine content of this tea is found to be lower than usual.


I steeped the leaves for 4 minutes in boiling point (212F) water. An interesting thing occurred as I poured the water over the leaf in my glass teapot. It started smoking quite a bit. At first I thought it was due to the water being very hot but the tea liquor was smoking like crazy as I pulled out the infuser basket 4 minutes later. Has that happened to anyone else?


The aroma is quite strong – a piney, smoky, campfire smell. The amber-colored tea liquor is quite sweet and smooth with, of course, the predominant smoky flavor. As the tea cooled, the flavor became sweeter and less smoky. That said, the smoky flavor lingered in my mouth for quite a long time and, despite all that smokiness, I found myself beginning to enjoy the tea.

I’m very proud and happy to share that two of my very dear art friends are teaching classes in the new year.

My friend, Amy Crawley, is a polymer clay artist who creates the most wonderful and whimsical sculptures. She’s teaching a class called “Polymer Clay Boot Camp”. If you live in the Concord, MA area and are interested in learning all about polymer clay, you may read all about it here.

My friend, Judy Shea is a mixed media artist extraordinaire, best known for her colorful and innovative canvas pieces, incorporating paint, stencils, stamps, mixed media components and polymer clay. She’s teaching online at Joggles and you may read all about it here.

I’m heading out to visit family in Michigan for the holidays so my tea posts will return in 2 weeks time. I look forward to sharing another cup of tea with you then.

I wish you and yours all the peace and joy of this magical season!

Saturday Morning Tea


Good morning, dear tea friends. My heart is feeling very heavy this morning. Before I talk about tea, I’d like to take a moment to send thoughts and prayers out for the family and friends of the victims of yesterday’s horrific tragedy in CT. And thoughts and prayers that we as a nation can work together to prevent this horror from happening again. Thank you for listening and virtually joining in to hold my hand and offer your own thoughts and prayers.

This morning’s tea is called Tai Mu Long Zhu, a green tea from Fujian province in China. The tea is harvested in the spring and then the leaves are processed and carefully rolled into small “pearls”. Most of the “pearl” tea I’ve seen is usually scented with jasmine flowers. This tea has no scenting.


I steeped the pearls for about 3 minutes in 180F water. This tea tastes very smooth so you can probably experiment with a longer steep time, if you wish.


I have to say that the wet leaf amazed me. I didn’t expect it to be so large! The “pearls” unfurled gently during steeping to reveal loose spirals of long tea leaf.

As I meditated on the beauty of this tea leaf, I thought of how we can unfurl and open our hearts to face this tragedy together and, using this open heart energy, admit and accept that something is gravely broken in our country and needs to be healed.


The light straw-colored tea liquor has a sweet aroma, lightly vegetal and fruity. The flavor has a very light vegetal flavor with nuances of melon and a sweetness that lingers.


This is a great tea for those who do not enjoy the vegetal flavor of green tea. Well, time to go fill up my tea bowl again.

It is a morning to just sit quietly with a cup of tea…

“The only work that will ultimately bring any good to any of us is the work of contributing to the healing of the world.” 
~Marianne Williamson 

Saturday Morning Tea


Good morning, dear tea friends! In honor of the beauty of this Yunnan Rare Grade leaf, I open with a quote from one of the oldest books on tea, the Ch’a-Ching (The Classic of Tea) by Lu Yu.

“There are a thousand different appearances of tea leaves. Some have creases like the leathern boot of a Tartar horseman, curl like the dewlap of a mighty bullock, unfold like the mist rising out a ravine, gleam like a lake touched by a zephyr, and be wet and soft like fine earth newly swept by rain.”

Isn’t that so true? This beautiful golden-tip black tea is from Yunnan province in China.


Because the leaves are big, I used twice as much leaf as I normally do in my little glass teapot and steeped for a full five minutes. If you’re adding milk to your tea, you might want to consider a longer steep time.


Just look at that amazing intact leaf, evidence that a lot of care went into its processing. Many folks were joyful when this tea returned to our stock and I can certainly understand why.


The deep-amber tea liquor has an enticing, earthy sweet aroma with nuances of autumn leaf, making me eager for my first sip. The flavor is silky smooth yet very full-bodied and rich with notes of dark molasses and spice. Yum…


Samples of this tea are definitely making their way into some tea lovers’ stockings!

I hope that you’re finding some calm, quiet time to yourself during this magical yet hectic time of year to enjoy sipping something delicious and hot.

Until next week, dear friends…