Saturday Morning Tea

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Good morning, dear tea friends! Now that summer has officially arrived, the temperature has started to creep up again into the 80s and it’s time for a refreshing glass of iced tea. I think that Ceylon black teas taste fabulous iced so this morning’s tea is just that, from the Aislaby Estate in southeastern Uva province, Sri Lanka.

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I have read that Uva province is the second least populated of Sri Lanka’s provinces, with only 1.1 million people. They have two main agricultural crops there: tea, grown in the hills, and sugar, grown on the plains. This particular tea estate has been owned by a British planting family that emigrated to Sri Lanka in the 1880s and has owned the estate since the 1920s.

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The leaf is graded as pekoe (pronounced pe, as in pet, and koe, rhymes with toe), the definition being “a grade of black tea consisting of the leaves around the buds.” As I took photographs of both the dry and wet leaf, its chunkiness reminded me of a CTC grade, with its granular appearance.

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To steep my tea leaves for iced tea, I used double the amount I normally would as for hot tea preparation, so 2 rounded teaspoons in my little glass teapot. I steeped for 3 minutes in boiling point (212F) water.

As the tea steeped to a beautiful deep amber color, a pronounced minty aroma wafted up from my teapot.

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After steeping, I poured the hot tea into a Pyrex glass filled with ice cubes. The Pyrex brand of glass is a borosilicate glass (mainly silica and boron oxide), a glass resistant to thermal shock.  Once the tea had cooled down, I then filled my Mermaid glass (which isn’t boro glass).

The tea tastes rich and full-bodied with an interesting, pronounced wintergreen minty note. Some of my favorite Ceylon teas have this flavor note and I find it especially refreshing in an iced tea. I imagine adding a slice of lemon or some lemon balm leaves to add a citrus note to the mint. Fabulous!

My company is shutting down for our annual vacation June 29-July 7. I’m traveling to Michigan that week to visit with my family. So, there won’t be a new Saturday Morning Tea post for 3 weeks. That said, I’ll be happy to rerun some posts the next two weeks.

Thanks so much for joining me today and I look forward to sharing another cup of tea with you in July!

“Summer afternoon-summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.”

~Henry James

Saturday Morning Tea

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Good morning, dear tea friends! The pollen has been quite high in our area this spring, causing all sorts of allergy symptoms with many I know. Besides the upper respiratory symptoms, it’s really been knocking me out energy-wise so this morning I’m feeling the need for some quiet, restful meditation time with a cup of white tea.

In my cup is a white Darjeeling tea called Victoria’s Peak Estate White Tea.

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This tea was grown in the Victoria’s Peak section of the Steinthal Estate in Darjeeling, located in northeastern India. Even though it was grown in India, it has been entirely hand processed in the style of a Chinese white tea called Yin Zhen Downy White Pekoe. You can read about that China white tea here.

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The leaf is all new growth from the tea plant, the buds, and, since it’s been entirely hand processed, it remains in pristine condition from the day it was plucked. Gorgeous. They remind me of little smiles.

I steeped the leaves for 4 minutes in 180F water.

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The tea steeps up to a whisper of color in my glass teapot, like a pale winter wheat. The aroma is delicate with wisps of sweet melon.

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The silky smooth flavor has a clean taste with notes of melon and a sweetness like sugar cookie, which becomes more prominent as it cools.

A perfect cuppa to slow down with, to sit with and sip gently. ..

“The mind can go in a thousand directions, but on this beautiful path, I walk in peace. With each step, the wind blows. With each step, a flower blooms.”

~Thich Nhat Hanh

Saturday Morning Tea

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Good morning, dear tea friends! I chose another Pre-Chingming tea for my morning tea – a Yunnan black tea called Dian Hong Yunnan Gold. I have read that “Dian” is the old name used for the Yunnan province and the word “hong” translates to “red” or “red tea”. Black teas from China are often referred to as red teas because of their intense “brassy red” color.

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You can see that color starting to come out in the steeping. I steeped the leaves for 5 minutes in 212F (boiling point) water. This is a great tea for multiple steepings if you’d like to try that.

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The fine plucking is evident in the intact leaf sets. I opened this bud up to reveal the little baby leaves inside.

The downy hairs are visible, even on the wet leaf. When the tea is dried and packaged, the hairs will dry and turn into dust. So, if you open your tea packet and see a bunch of dust, that is a good thing as it indicates a fine plucking.

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There’s that beautiful “brassy red”, which I prefer to call deep amber.

The aroma is sweet and spicy with a whisper of floral perfume and a hint of cocoa.

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I find this tea to be on the lighter side for a Yunnan tea and very smooth in the cup. With flavor notes of spice and cocoa, this tea gets sweeter as it cools. I find that the abundance of golden tip lends a delicacy to the mouth feel, like the liquor is lightly dancing across my palate.

We are celebrating a wonderful family event this weekend – my daughter and her boyfriend have just purchased their very first house. Very exciting! I’m looking forward to helping them clean and paint and turn their new house into a wonderful home.

As always, thanks for stopping by and sharing a cuppa with me. I am just finishing a beaded project that has taken me almost 2 months to complete! Stay tuned for pictures soon…

“Home is the nicest word there is.”  ~Laura Ingalls Wilder

Saturday Morning Tea

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Good morning, dear tea friends! I did something a little different with my morning tea today. You’ll see very soon…

I’ve chosen a spring green tea from China this morning, called Pre-Chingming Jun Shan Yin Zhen. As you can see, it was harvested in the spring before Qingming day. Its name translates to Jun Mountain Silver Needle. Described as “produced at Jun Mountain in the Dongting Lake region of Hunan, this tea is made from traditional Camellia sinensis cultivars.

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I steeped the beautiful, hand processed leaf in my little glass teapot for 3 minutes in 180F water. I used double the amount of leaves that I normally would, about 4-5 teaspoons per cup. You’ll see why soon…

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I am in love with this leaf.

It has been processed entirely by hand and gently dried/roasted in baskets over a charcoal fire.

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The tea liquor is a delicate pale green with a fresh, vegetal aroma reminiscent of baby corn.

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And here is why I used double the amount of leaf! While I do love my hot tea, I just wanted something cool and refreshing in this 90+ degree heatwave we’re having. I filled a Pyrex measuring cup with ice and poured in my green tea, then poured into my Mermaid glass.

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The flavor is light and cool with whispers of sweet corn and flowers. Very refreshing!

It’s too hot to putter around in my garden today so I’ll head out to someplace air conditioned that serves ice cream. Mmmm…

As always, thanks for stopping by and sharing a cup/glass of tea with me. Have a great week!

“My love for ice cream emerged at an early age – and has never left!”

~Ginger Rogers