Saturday Morning Tea

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Good morning, dear tea friends! The light gray clouds are heavy with the promise of snow as I pour my first steaming cup of tea, a China Oolong called Feng Huang Dan Cong Supreme.

Feng Huang translates to “phoenix,” referring to the mountain in Guangdong province  where this tea is grown. Dan Cong means “single tree,” referring to the tea trees this tea comes from.

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These venerable old trees grow amongst the rocks of the mountain. This harsh environment causes the leaves to grow very slowly, and a rich store of minerals develops from this slow rate of growth. The trees grow randomly on the mountain and the area is never weeded. The leaves from native plants fall and decompose, thus enriching the soil and the tea trees with nutrients.

I steeped the large leaves for 3 minutes in 190F water.

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The golden liquor has a rich, fruity aroma, foretelling of the burst of flavor to come.

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With my first sip, pronounced notes of ripe stone fruit, with woody hints, greet me and linger long into the finish, leaving a light silky feeling on my tongue.

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It’s amazing to me that such a fruity flavor could be naturally occurring. The perfect conditions come together to create this truly wonderful tea.

See you in two weeks and enjoy your tea!

“A sailor lost at sea can be guided home by a single candle. A person lost in a wood can be led to safety by a flickering flame. It is not an issue of quality or intensity or purity. It is simply an issue of the presence of light.”

~Kent Nerburn

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Saturday Morning Tea

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Good morning and Happy New Year, dear tea friends! I hope everyone had a lovely holiday season. I’m feeling full of hope, with a generous dollop of joy thrown in, as we start this brand new year. How about you?

A China white tea, called Pai Mu Tan Special Grade Organic, graces my cup this morning. Its plucking is of the new leaf shoot, or bud, plus the top two leaves. Pai Mu Tan, or Bai Mudan, translates to “white peony,” some say because of the shape of the leaves, others because of its fragrance.

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Many folks ask, “what is the difference between a green tea and a white tea?” After all, look at the leaf in the photo above. It’s green, right? Well, it’s all in the processing of the leaf. Whereas green tea leaves are heated up pretty much right away, whether steamed or pan fried, for example, to halt the oxidation of the leaf, white tea leaves are allowed to wither naturally in the sun, sometimes for several days. So, the leaves aren’t heated to halt oxidation. In fact, after withering, the leaves are piled and allowed to oxidize a little bit before they are baked to dry the leaves out for packing and transport.

I steeped the leaves for 3 minutes in 180F water. A gentle, sweet fragrance wafted up from my glass teapot as the leaves released their flavor into the water.

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The tea liquor is the light golden color of the morning sky right before the sun breaks the horizon.

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A ripe melon note is present in both the aroma and the silky smooth flavor. A lovely tea that’s sweet, fruity and light.

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Bits of down from the white hair on the tea leaf float in my tea bowl.

Outside my window, thick, winter white clouds sprinkle down a fine, damp mist, foretelling of the wind and rain storm expected here tomorrow. It’s a good weekend to stay inside, wrapped in a cozy blanket with a hot cup of tea in hand. I just started a new knitting project I’ll work on, a jasper green cardigan sweater with cables for myself. I love new projects!

“Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. And on a quiet day, if you really listen, you can hear her breathing.”  ~Arundhati Roy