Saturday Morning Tea

St Clair Ceylon Dry Leaf 04-25-15

Good morning, dear tea friends! It’s lovely to be back to share a cup of tea with all of you. My visit to Michigan was a welcome and relaxing break, moreso than usual as I caught a spring cold on the plane ride out there. Despite cooler than normal temps here in New England, the landscape is painting over winter’s dull colors with a palette of fresh greens and splashes of yellow as the daffodils and forsythias start blooming. Oh, welcome spring!

Today’s tea is an interesting Ceylon black tea. Of the “spider leaf” style, with long, wiry dark leaf and a touch of silver tips , it’s called St. Clair FBOPF Ex Spl.

St  Clair Ceylon Steep 04-25-15

St. Clair is located in the Talawekellie District of south central Sri Lanka. It’s the home of one of the widest waterfalls in Sri Lanka, called St. Clair’s Falls after the tea estate, and also known as the “Little Niagara of Sri Lanka.”

I steeped the leaves for 4 minutes in boiling point (212F) water.

St Clair Ceylon Wet Leaf 04-25-15

The aroma is sweet and winey with that Ceylon brightness.

St  Clair Ceylon Teapot 04-25-15

The tea liquor is a deep, dark amber color with a flavor reminiscent of the cocoa earthiness of a China black tea. That said, it has the tangy bright flavor notes that wake up the tongue and clearly identify it as a Ceylon tea. Nuances of blackberries emerge as the tea cools. The finish is long and brisk.

St Clair Ceylon Tea Mug 04-25-15

The sun is shining in a light blue spring sky, a perfect day for taking a long walk to enjoy the blooms. Have a wonderful two weeks!

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Saturday Morning Tea

Assam Oolong Dry 04-11-15

Good morning, dear tea friends! It’s a blustery, blue sky spring day, and I’m having a new tea experience. In my cup this morning is a tea I’ve never tried before – an Oolong tea from Assam. I’m delighted to introduce you to Belgachi Special Assam Oolong.

The Assam tea growing region is located in northeastern India. It’s well known for producing rich, full-bodied black teas. This special tea is a rare production where the leaves have been processed in an Oolong style. They aren’t oxidized as long as a black tea, resulting in a lighter cup.

Assam Oolong Steep 04-11-15

I brewed the long, twisted leaves for 5 minutes in 190F water. As they steeped, I could see them relaxing their twisted shapes into loose pleats.

Assam Oolong Wet Leaf 04-11-15

The leaves have been entirely hand-processed using old time methods and have been dried over a charcoal fire.

Assam Oolong Teapot 04-11-15

The tea liquor is the color of a chunk of amber, fossilized tree resin revered for its beauty since ancient times.

The aroma is fragrant with a hint of sweet honey and a faint whisper of smoke.

Assam Oolong Teacup 04-11-15

The flavor is lighter and smoother than a black Assam tea, with notes of caramel and a suggestion of pipe tobacco. Its honey syrup-y sweetness reminds me of an Eastern Beauty Oolong.

After a week of cold rain and even some snowflakes, warmer weather is forecasted for this weekend, with temps supposed to climb into the 60s. Hoo-ray! I’ll head out into my garden this afternoon and see what’s coming up, what’s survived the harsh winter we had. I’m getting excited to take a peek into my compost drum, too, and, hopefully, see some great compost there that I can work into my garden beds. It’s such a satisfying feeling to be able to recycle my used tea leaves into nourishment for my garden.

I’m traveling to Michigan this week to visit with my family. Enjoy your tea and I’ll see you in two weeks!

 

Saturday Morning Tea

Risheehat Est. FF Darjeeling Dry Leaf 04-04-15

Good morning, dear tea friends! As I took a step outside the other day, the air smelled fresh and clean with that earthy aroma of growing things. It smelled like spring at last!

This is always a lovely time of year, a time of rebirth and awakening and……..first flush Darjeeling! I’m excited to introduce you to my first cuppa of the 2015 season –Risheehat SFTGFOP Ch. First Flush Organic.

Risheehat Estate FF Darjeeling Steep 04-04-15

The Risheehat Tea Estate is located in a valley with the perfect temperature and rainfall for producing high quality Darjeelings. It’s close to the Darjeeling city area and Kanchanjangha peak to the north. Here’s some information from their website:

“Risheehat literally means “Home of Holy Saints”. The Garden was established by British planters in the mid 19th century and was known as Tsering Bagan because of local population of the Tsering tribe.

Acquired by Jayshree Tea management in 1955, the garden is divided into two major divisions – Rishihat main division and Liza Hill Division. The estate today produces more than 180 tons per year of certified bio-organic teas and healthy zero% vacancy on its estate. The estate has Fair Trade certification, ISO 1901:2008 awarded by TUV NORD and also HAACCP, not to mention organic certificates for NPOP, POP and JAS by IMO.”

Risheehat Est. FF Darjeeling Wet Leaf 04-04-15

Here’s a lovely plucking of new growth. I steeped the leaves for 3 minutes in just under boiling point (212F) water.

Risheehat Est. FF Darjeeling Teapot 04-04-15

The tea liquor is the color of golden sunshine. The aroma of the wet leaf is of fresh steamed baby peas with fragrant floral hints. The aroma of the tea is fresh and flowery with notes of tropical fruit.

Risheehat Est. FF Darjeeling Teacup 04-04-15

The flavor is light and fresh, awakening my mouth with its gentle astringency. Notes of flowers and tropical fruit intermingle and linger in a long finish. This tea has a decent caffeine hit, which makes it a great choice for the morning or when you need an extra lift during the day.

I have crocus lifting their yellow cups to the sky in my front yard. They seem to have multiplied since last year. I’m headed out into the garden this afternoon to clear away the winter mulch and debris. Even though it’s dirty work, I’m always rewarded with the sight of what’s starting to peek through the soil. Another garden year has begun!

I’ll be returning next week to share a cup of tea with you as I’m making my spring trek to Michigan the following week.

Have a wonderful week!