Good morning, dear tea friends! I hope that you had a great week and stayed warm if you’re experiencing a bitterly cold winter as we are here in New England. Oh my. Each day has started with these numbers – 3, 8, 10…brrrr! I need some serious warmup here! So, with that in mind, I chose a dark, rich China black tea to grace my teabowl this morning. Meet Organic Black Monkey, with its fuzzy golden tips threading through long, twisted, dark leaves.
I steeped the leaves for 5 minutes in boiling point (212F) water. As I lifted the infuser from my glass teapot, a strong aroma of sweet pipe tobacco greeted my senses. With the name “Monkey”, I thought this tea might be more like a Golden Monkey, with those rich, cocoa notes, however, I found this tea to be more like a Bohea in aroma and flavor.
The long, twisted leaf reminds me of a dark Oolong tea, one that has been oxidized at 40-50%, in fact, there are some of those toasty, woody nuances in the flavor as well.
The dark-russet tea liquor is thick and bittersweet, like a very dark chocolate, leaving the suggestion of cocoa in my mouth. The tobacco notes that I found so pronounced at first mellowed out as the tea cooled. Aside from that cocoa bitterness, the tea is quite smooth, leading me to think that this tea would be fun to “monkey” around with the steeping times.
This tea did a great job of warming my bones, a perfect cuppa for a frigid, mid-winter’s day.
I started playing around with my polymer clay stash last weekend and want to continue that this weekend. I had purchased a DVD from polymer clay artist, Barbara McGuire, on her version of mokume gane, involving gold leaf, alcohol inks and poking the clay with geometric shapes. I’ve been imagining ways to combine the beautiful, watercolor effect of this technique with either free-form beading or bead embroidery. Stay tuned to see what manifests!
As always, I so enjoy our time together, sharing a cup of tea. Thanks for stopping by!
“I dream a lot. I do more painting when I’m not painting. It’s in the subconscious.” ~Andrew Wyeth
Looking forward to your explorations with Mokume Gane. I know they will be beautiful, no matter what you do.