Saturday Morning Tea

Huang Ya Yellow Tea Dry Leaf 02-21-15

Good morning, dear tea friends! I feel like I’m living in the arctic tundra these days with towering walls of snow and sharp icicles dripping from house eaves like the jagged teeth of the abominable snow monster. Our world is frozen, and we bravely venture outside, wrapped in a multitude of layers, moving gingerly across icy walkways and parking lots. At the grocery store the other day, I had to drive around a jaw dropping mound of snow at least 20 feet tall. Oh dear, will spring ever come?

I chose a light, fresh tea from China for my morning cuppa today. It’s a yellow tea, called Huang Ya Imperial Yellow Tea.

Huang Ya Yellow Tea Steep 02-21-15

How does yellow tea differ from green tea, you might be wondering. From what I’ve researched and read, it is processed very similarly yet varies in the heating/firing steps, which results in a little more oxidation of the leaf. These steps are more time consuming than green tea processing in that the leaves are lightly fried in a pan and then wrapped in some sort of thick cloth. They’re then stored in a darkened room over a number of days and brought out periodically to be reheated/fried in a pan. It produces a tea that tastes more like a white tea than a green tea. Such an art form.

I steeped the leaves for 3 minutes in 180F water.

Huang Ya Yellow Tea Wet Leaf 02-21-15

As you can see, the long, twisted dry leaf sets relax into gently arching shapes after steeping. What a beautiful leaf.

This tea was used as an Imperial Tribute tea in China throughout many dynasties there.

Huang Ya Yellow Tea Teapot 02-21-15

The golden apple-colored tea liquor has a fresh apricot/peach fragrance with floral undertones.

Huang Ya Yellow Tea Tea Bowl 02-21-15

The flavor has those same fresh, juicy apricot/peachy notes with a vegetal whisper and a nuance of tangerine brightness. The finish lingers with a golden raisin sweetness. A truly lovely cup of tea, mmmmm…

We’re expecting warmer temperatures tomorrow, creeping up towards a balmy 40 degrees. Maybe we can get a little melting before we’re plunged into the deep freeze again.

See you in two weeks!

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Saturday Morning Tea

Doomni Estate Assam Dry Leaf 02-07-15

Good morning, dear tea friends! The last time we shared a cup of tea, I looked out my window and saw 4-5 inches of snow. Today, I’m gazing out at gently falling snowflakes that touch down on about 45 inches. Yes, you read that right. We’ve got almost 4 feet of the white stuff here. As most of us are saying, our luck ran out after a mild December and most of January. Oh well, so it goes, Mother Nature has a wicked sense of humah (as we say in New England). Ok, on to tea…

To keep winter’s frigid temps and mounds of snow at bay, I chose a hearty black tea for my cup this morning. This selection is from the Doomni Estate, located in the Assam district of northeastern India. The leaf is of the broken type with an abundance of downy golden tips threaded through the dark pieces.

Doomni Estate Assam Steep 02-07-15

I steeped the leaves for 4 minutes in boiling point (212F) water. You could probably push the steeping time to 5 minutes if you like it strong and astringent and/or are adding milk and sweetener.

Doomni Estate Assam Wet Leaf 02-07-15

The aroma is rich with a hint of malt.

Doomni Estate Assam Teapot 02-07-15

The tea liquor is a lovely, deep shade of dark honey amber. The flavor is stout, rich, and hearty, all of the above. There’s an undertone of citrus brightness that contributes to its eye-opening appeal.

Doomni Estate Assam Teacup 02-07-15

My first sips were of the tea plain but then I added a small dollop of honey and a splash of milk. My, oh my. Perfection. This is a great tea for adding milk and sweetener and/or spices to. It would be excellent as a base for your own Chai blend. Add cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, clove, and any other spices you like in a combination you enjoy.

Oh, it has quite the caffeine kick, too.

The snowflakes are multiplying and falling at a steady pace now. The weather reports are calling for another foot over the next several days. Not sure where we’re going to put another foot of snow but whatever comes, my tea will keep me warm and energized in between shoveling sessions!

Have a wonderful two weeks until we meet again, dear friends…