Good morning, dear tea friends! In a few days, it will be Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year, or the longest night of the year, depending upon your perspective. In my little corner of the world, it occurs on December 21st at 11:49pm. I always try and imagine what is was like for the ancients witnessing the darkness growing with each passing day, not knowing whether the light would ever return. But, of course, it did and they came to celebrate the “birth of the Sun” on this day.
I’m celebrating the holiday season today with a special Darjeeling in my cup, called Victoria’s Peak Gold Organic. It really doesn’t look like a Darjeeling at all, does it? The leaf reminds me of a very tippy Assam or China Black Mao Feng.
This tea was grown on the Steinthal Estate in Darjeeling, northeastern India.
I steeped the leaves longer than I normally do with a Darjeeling – 4 minutes in 212F water. 5 minutes would work well, too, especially if you like to add milk to your tea.
Here’s some information about Victoria’s Peak from the grower.
“This is a division within the Steinthal Tea Estate, named after Queen Victoria. Located next to Victoria’s Falls and Victoria Park as a memoir of one of the Queens who visited Darjeeling. It is a picturesque area – on the north side we can see the Himalayan mountains on the east of this are the Botanical Gardens..and just above is the Darjeeling town. A very small quantity of tea is produced every year from this division, which are manufactured at the adjacent Steinthal factory.”
In looking at the intact leaf sets and whole leaf, you can see that it was processed with great care and artistry. The cup aroma is rich with notes of cocoa.
The red amber liquor has a mouth feel with majestic presence. The flavor is complex with notes of cocoa and spice and just a hint of malt. A warm toastiness lingers on my tongue. A very enjoyable tea experience!
In honor of Winter Solstice and this holiday season of light, I’m happy to share with you my beaded journal page from years past.
My December journal page is entitled “The Birth of the Sun”, in honor of the Winter Solstice and the long celebrated “return of the sun.” Inspired by the beautiful color palette of the sunrise, my piece symbolizes the light of the holiday season. The days are now getting longer and my sun contains the seed/embryo of the warmer months to come and its continuing journey towards light. For me personally, I meditated on the light within my own heart as I set down each bead.
I’m traveling to Michigan for the holidays so Saturday Morning Tea will return in 3 weeks time. Have a lovely holiday season!
You darkness, that I come from,
I love you more than all the fires
that fence in the world,
for the fire makes
a circle of light for everyone,
and then no one outside learns of you.
But the darkness pulls in everything;
shapes and fires, animals and myself,
how easily it gathers them!–
powers and people–
and it is possible a great energy
is moving near me.
I have faith in nights.
~Rainer Maria Rilke, On Darkness