Good morning, dear tea friends! The leaves that still cling to their branches are darkening and curling as the late autumn winds dry them. Where October was a riot of warm colors, November brings more of a burnished look to the landscape. My morning cup is an Oolong tea from Fujian province in China. It’s beautifully named Wu-Yi Water Fairy Oolong. Also known as Shui Hsien, which translates to “water sprite”, this type of tea is traditionally grown in the Wu-yi mountain area.
I’ve finally done something I’ve been thinking about for awhile now – I got a tea scale! For an enormous leaf like this, it makes measuring a breeze.
After turning on the scale, I set it to cup weight mode, placed my glass teapot infuser on the pad and pressed the Tare button to zero it out.
I added tea leaves until the digital display read 3 since my glass teapot is 17 oz., one ounce shy of 3 cups. I measure everything according to a 6-ounce cup measure.
I steeped the leaves for 5 minutes in 190F water. This tea was oxidized approximately 60% and then heated, by roasting, to stop the oxidation process.
I love the story about how this tea got its name.
About 900 years ago, a Song dynasty emperor was traveling with his entourage to southern China to inspect a tea garden. It was a hot summer’s day and everyone soon became very thirsty. They searched high and low for water but could find none. One of the scouts spotted a bush with bright green leaves and his extreme thirst led him to place one of the brightly colored leaves in his mouth. The leaf was very juicy and he found that it quenched his thirst as he chewed it. Soon, everyone was chewing the leaves of this magical plant. Of course, it was the tea plant that produced Shui Xian tea. So, the emperor named the tea “Water Fairy” for its magical thirst quenching powers.
The aroma is fragrant with chestnuts and sweet pipe tobacco. The flavor is smooth and sweet with a pronounced chestnut note and whispers of fruit. The pipe tobacco nuance shows up again in the lingering finish.
The whisky-colored tea liquor has a gentle smokiness I find quite pleasant for a chilly November morning.
Until next time, dear tea friends, may your tea keep you warm and cozy!
“October extinguished itself in a rush of howling winds and driving rain and November arrived, cold as frozen iron, with hard frosts every morning and icy drafts that bit at exposed hands and faces.”
~J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix