Good morning, dear tea friends! Happy Spring to everyone in the northern hemisphere as we celebrated (finally!) the arrival of the Spring Equinox yesterday. The Equinoxes come twice a year, a time when the light and the dark are equally balanced. We’re now entering a time when the days will be longer than the nights, always welcome after a long, dark, snowy winter here in New England. Unfortunately, we still have glaciers of snow everywhere but those glaciers are slowly but surely receding to reveal peeks of dirt and grass at their edges. Now all we need are some spots of colorful crocus to liven up the dingy gray and brown landscape!
On to tea… I chose a China black tea today. It’s called Keemun Ji Hong Top Grade Organic, an impressive name, for sure. The long, brown leaves have a crimped appearance, as if each leaf was carefully pleated like the pleats on a little girl’s frock.
I steeped the leaves for 4 minutes in boiling point (212F) water. It’s amazing how the dark brown color quickly turned that distinctive red during steeping. Hence the name for China black teas – “red tea” or “hong cha.”
The leaves kept their “crepe paper” look even after steeping.
The aroma is fragrant with a whisper of orchid and a stronger note of cocoa.
The flavor is rich, velvety smooth and medium-bodied with notes of cocoa, stone fruit, and just a hint of sweet smoke. The tea liquor fills my mouth with a thick, solid presence, what’s called a “full mouth feel.”
This tea would stand up well to additions, like milk and sweetener. That said, as it cools, a lovely sweetness, like sweet wine, comes out. I recommend trying it plain first so you can discern and enjoy the many facets of its flavor.
Oh dear, I’m gazing out my window at gently falling snowflakes. Despite what the calendar says, winter isn’t ready to let go quite yet.
Until we meet again, enjoy many delicious cuppas!