Saturday Morning Tea

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Good morning, dear tea friends! I’m back this week with a revisit to our 2012 harvest Glenburn Estate first flush Darjeeling. Last week, I reran my post from last April, when I reviewed it shortly after its arrival.

This tea is a very early harvest from the first flush season. The leaf is quite green with silvery white tips threaded throughout the green leaf. That said, this tea has been processed as a black tea.

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Last year, I steeped the leaf for 3 minutes in just under boiling point water (200F). This year I steeped the leaf for 4 minutes in boiling point water (212F).

As I lifted the infuser from my glass teapot, I inhaled a delicate floral aroma from the pale gold tea liquor, as last year.

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Last year, I photographed a pile of the wet tea leaves. This year, I wanted to see what a leaf pile consists of so I lifted out some individual pieces. I see tiny buds (baby leaf) mixed with broken pieces of whole leaf. Look at the serrations on the edge of that leaf to the right.

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The tea liquor color is lighter than the first flush tea I reviewed 2 weeks ago, from the Thurbo Estate. I’m not sure why but it could be because this tea was harvested quite early in the season. The tea estates assign “DJ” numbers to the tea lots. This tea’s “DJ” number is 4 whereas the Thurbo lot is 45. Perhaps the Thurbo was harvested a couple of weeks later in the season?

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At 4 minutes, the tea is quite smooth and very flavorful with pronounced floral notes, just like last year. I even remarked in last year’s post that it would be interesting to push the steeping time as the tea was quite smooth. I think I’m going to try 5 minutes on my next steep. I’ll let you know next week how it tasted.

So, my experiment was a success in that it showed how amazingly well this tea has held up a year later. Sometimes I talk to customers who tend to shy away from the teas from older harvests. I say – try a sample. You will probably be most pleasantly surprised!

I’ve just heard this week that we have three 2013 first flush Darjeelings arriving within the next several weeks. Oh, happy day! I will post a review as soon as they arrive.

“It is spring again. The earth is like a child that knows poems by heart.”

~Rainer Marie Rilke

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Saturday Morning Tea

Good morning, dear tea friends! This morning I am re-running a post from last April on the Glenburn Estate first flush Darjeeling, harvested in 2012. Enjoy reading it again and stay tuned for next week when I’m going to steep up a pot and review it again.

Hello again, my dear tea friends! I’m happy to be back to share another cup of tea with all of you. This morning I’m enjoying another first flush Darjeeling, this selection from the Glenburn estate. So far, 5 first flushes have arrived and I have to say that this one is my favorite so far. The leaf is from the first plucking of the season and, as you can see from my photo, it’s filled with the silvery white tips of the tea bush. So new, so tender.

The leaf shows off its gorgeous green color as it steeps. I steeped for 3 minutes in just under boiling point water, around 200 degrees F. Remember that this is not a green tea but has been oxidized and processed as a black tea.

My online tea friend, Steph, had the opportunity to visit the Glenburn tea estate during a trip to India last year. She shares her wonderful adventure on her blog, Steph’s Cup of Tea, here. To visit a tea estate in Darjeeling would definitely be a dream come true for me. Someday…

Ok, back to the tea. The tea liquor steeped up to such a pale, delicate golden color. A sweet aroma of flowers wafted up from my glass teapot as I gently removed the infuser basket.

While I do love notes of tropical fruit and banana in a first flush tea, my first love has always been the floral notes. This tea is a perfect example of that – in the aroma and pronounced in the flavor. The liquor is so smooth that you could probably experiment with pushing the steeping time a little bit. If you do, please let me know what you think.

Have a wonderful week filled with many delicious cups of tea!

“One of the secrets of a happy life is continuous small treats.”

~Iris Murdoch, Writer

Saturday Morning Tea

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Good morning, dear tea friends! Today I’m conducting an experiment, which I hope to continue over the course of the next several months. In my cup this morning is a 2-year-old first flush Darjeeling from the Thurbo Estate. Yes, that’s right. It was harvested in the spring of 2011.

The 2013 first flushes haven’t arrived yet and it sounds like they had a drought, which has resulted in the season getting started later. Samples so far of those teas harvested have been green and not very flavorful. Ok, let’s get started.

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Interestingly enough, I reviewed this very tea on April 23, 2011 here. Wonderful! Let’s compare. Back then, I steeped the leaves for 3 minutes. Today I steeped the leaves for 4 minutes in boiling point (212F) water. I love the amazing variegation of leaf size and color of this tea!

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I didn’t have my micro lens back then so now I can get closer to see the different leaf sizes. Look at the fine hairs on the tiny leaf.

Back in 2011, I found this tea to be very fragrant with an aroma of celery. Today, I found the tea to be still quite fragrant, however, I didn’t detect any celery aroma. The tea smelled quite green (vegetal) with a floral nuance.

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The tea liquor is still a light caramel color with a very smooth, light flavor and notes of tropical fruit, like an unripe banana. I often find this flavor note in first flush teas.

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It is obvious to me that this tea has been stored very well and it’s still quite flavorful. The main difference I detected was in the astringency factor. I was able to steep the leaves for a minute longer without it developing that characteristic “bite” so it appears to have mellowed out, a positive thing for me.

This is a perfect example of how you can take the same tea and need to adjust the steeping time as the tea ages. This tea has satisfied this first flush lover!

Stay tuned for more experimentation and, hopefully, a review of a 2013 first flush by April! Have a great week!

“There is a certain part of all of us that lives outside of time. Perhaps we become aware of our age only at exceptional moments and most of the time we are ageless.” ~Milan Kundera

Saturday Morning Tea

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Good morning, dear tea friends! My morning tea today is an infusion from the Camellia Sinensis plant, however, it is not from its leaf but from its beautiful white flower.

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Franz Eugen Köhler, Köhler’s Medizinal-Pflanzen

These tea flowers are from Nepal, plucked from tea bushes in full bloom and then sun dried. The blooms turn yellow as they dry.

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I steeped the dried flowers for 8 minutes in boiling point (212F) water. As I lifted the infuser from my glass teapot, I was greeted by the scent of honey and flowers.

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The golden liquor tastes quite sweet with notes of buttered corn and honey. I also detected faint nuances of caramel and citrus fruit.

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Tea flowers do contain caffeine, about 1/4 of what is found in the leaf, making them a perfect choice for caffeine sensitive tea lovers. The infusion is full of flavor yet mellow and soothing, a great before bedtime beverage.

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I’m loving that blue sky reflection in my teabowl. We got another 20 inches of snow dumped on us yesterday but spring is right around the corner (we hope!) and the melting has already started.

If you ever get a chance to try a cup of infused tea flowers, I highly recommend it. Have a great week!

“Arthur blinked at the screens and felt he was missing something important. Suddenly he realized what it was.

“Is there any tea on this spaceship?” he asked.”

~Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Saturday Morning Tea

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Good morning, dear tea friends! Welcome to the month of spring! Here in New England, we have become weary of the cold and snow and are looking for the signs that spring is on its way. A cheery robin’s song, some pale green shoots poking up through the sodden earth, watery sunshine melting the piles of snow.

This morning’s tea, called Fujian Green Needle, is a beautifully handcrafted green tea from China. The leaf is a fine plucking of the upper two leaves and bud, processed in an artful way so that the two leaves envelop the inner downy bud. The leaves look like tiny peapods to me.

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I steeped the leaf for 3 minutes in 180 degree F water. Most of the leaves floated on the top of the water but some hung down vertically from the water’s surface. They looked like little sea creatures.

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After steeping, the leaves stayed tight in their outer leaf so I opened one up to look inside. A perfect little leaf came out of the outside leaf, like a nested doll. There is a bud inside of that leaf but I decided to go no further because as gentle as I was, I still tore the outer leaf a bit.

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The tea liquor is oh so pale – a light straw color with a faint spring green tinge. The aroma is fresh and sweetly vegetal with a hint of flowers. The flavor is delicate and sweet with a whisper of flowers and vanilla cookie.

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This is not the tea for you if you’re looking for a robust green tea, however, if you enjoy the delicate subtlety of a white tea, you will love the experience of this gentle cup.

I’m making progress on my beaded necklace, whose color palette is reminding me of a visit to New Mexico a couple of years ago to meet my brand new grandson, Landon. Hopefully, I can share my creation with you soon and share that story.

Have a wonderful week and enjoy your tea!

“Gentleness, self-sacrifice and generosity are the exclusive possession of no one race or religion.”

~Mahatma Ghandi