Saturday Morning Tea

Black TGY Dry Leaf 08-30-14

Good morning, dear tea friends! This morning’s tea is a black tea created from a Chinese cultivar usually reserved for Oolong. It’s called Black Tie-Guan-Yin, from Fujian province. I imagine that its processing would be very similar except for the lengthier oxidation.

Guanyin, also known as Quan Yin or Kwan Yin, is the East Asian Goddess of Compassion and Mercy. I’ve read that Guanyin is a shortened version of Guanshiyin, which means “observing the sounds (or cries) of the world.” Some Buddhists believe that when they depart this world, Guanyin will place them in the heart of a lotus flower. What a lovely image.

Black TGY Steep 08-30-14

I steeped the long, twisted leaves for 5 minutes in boiling point (212F) water. A distinct chocolate aroma was evident in the dry leaf and also while steeping.

Black TGY Wet Leaf 08-30-14

You can see how the leaf is rolled and twisted in this closeup photo. It looks like the pleats on a girl’s dress.

Black TGY Teapot 08-30-14

The tea liquor is a dark, rich amber color, very similar to the Ceylon tea I reviewed last week. A spicy, cocoa aroma wafts up from my glass teapot.

The flavor is deep, full-bodied, and satiny smooth with tangy notes of bittersweet cocoa and hints of spices – nutmeg, cinnamon and a whisper of mace. If I had to speak only one word about this tea, it would be – yummy.

Black TGY Tea Bowl 08-30-14

Summer is officially over as Labor Day weekend passes and the kids return to school. How did that happen so fast? Thoughts of sweater weather ahead cause me to turn to the darker, rich-bodied teas. This is a great selection to add to my cupboard.

Enjoy the long weekend!

“Autumn seemed to arrive suddenly that year. The morning of the first September was crisp and golden as an apple.”

~J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows

 

 

Saturday Morning Tea

New Vithanakande Ceylon Dry Leaf 08-23-14

Good morning, dear tea friends! Since early morning, the sun has been playing peek-a-boo, much like a child who hides behind a curtain. When she steps out, the sky is brilliant with her smile.

A black tea from Sri Lanka fills my tea bowl this morning. From the gem mining Ratnapura district in the south, it’s called New Vithanakande Ceylon.

New Vithanakande Ceylon Steep 08-23-14

Silver mixes with dark brown like snippets of thread woven through the thin, wiry leaf.

I steeped the leaves for 4 1/2 minutes in boiling point (212F) water. The distinctive aroma of cocoa rises from my glass teapot. Mmmm…

New Vithanakande Ceylon Wet Leaf 08-23-14

Dark and light meld into a chocolate brown color in the wet leaf, which exhibits more of a characteristic Ceylon aroma, bright and citrus.

New Vithanakande Ceylon Teapot 08-23-14

The dark amber colored tea liquor smells of dark notes of chocolate and malt, which spill over into the flavor ,along with a bright lemon tang that lingers into the finish. This is a great eye-opening breakfast tea.

New Vithanakande Ceylon Tea Bowl 08-23-14

Now that we’ve entered the last month of summer, the air feels less sultry, a little cooler, and the plants are showing tinges of tiredness around the edges. They’ve given forth their bounty and are beginning to whisper of decline into cooler weather. Still, I busy myself in the garden, snipping spent flowers to encourage a little more blooming and color as August fades and September approaches.

Until next time, dear friend, enjoy your tea!

“I walk without flinching through the burning cathedral of the summer. My bank of wild grass is majestic and full of music. It is a fire that solitude presses against my lips.” ~Violette LeDuc

Saturday Morning Tea

Saemidori Sencha Dry Leaf 08-09-14

Good morning, dear tea friends! It’s great to be back and share a cup of tea with you. My vacation to Michigan was restful and restorative, very welcome after the challenging times of this past spring. As I gaze out my window, I see the lush green world of high summer. Rich, ripe vegetables are being harvested.  Flower gardens are vibrant with hot color. My morning tea reflects this colorful time of year with its own bright green color. A spring harvested first flush Sencha from Kagoshima prefecture in Japan, it’s called Sencha Saemidori Superior.

Saemidori refers to the specific cultivar (tea plant variety) this tea comes from. Developed and created in the 1960s from two other cultivars, it gained recognition in 1990 when it was added to the official Japanese tea cultivar list.

Saemidori Sencha Steep 08-09-14

When this tea was processed, it was deep steamed to stop the oxidation of the leaf and keep it green. That deep steaming helps the leaf to retain an intense green color, a dark lustrous green dry leaf and a rich kelly green wet leaf.

I steeped the leaf for 3 minutes in 175F water in my new glass teapot.

Saemidori Sencha Wet Leaf 08-09-14

The wet leaf smells like freshly steamed spinach.

Saemidori Sencha Teapot 08-09-14

While this tea has a beautiful leaf, what I think is most distinctive about it is its intense spring green tea liquor. My photo doesn’t do it justice. It’s even greener than that. Some customers ask for a green tea that is a true green color when steeped. Most green teas steep up more of a yellow or brown color than green. The deep steaming helps to retain a true green color in the liquor, too. What do you think?

The aroma in my cup is of fresh steamed vegetables, like broccoli, and sweet seagrass.

Saemidori Sencha Tea Mug 08-09-14

The flavor is fresh and sweet and smooth as silk with only a hint of tang that doesn’t linger. The notes of vegetables and seagrass are there but much more subtle than the notes in its aroma. As I drink this tea, my body feels lighter and more alive as if its “greenness” is permeating every cell. For those of you looking for a green tea for health, this is a great selection, I think.

Thanks for stopping by to share a cuppa with me. Have a great tea-filled couple of weeks!

I walk without flinching through the burning cathedral of the summer. My bank of wild grass is majestic and full of music. It is a fire that solitude presses against my lips.

~Violette Leduc, Mad in Pursuit