Saturday Morning Tea

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Good morning, dear tea friends! Happy Christmas Eve to all who celebrate!

With thoughts of a white Christmas, I’ve pulled out my cherished Christmas tea mug and brewed up a pot of tea that has “snow” in its name – a first flush Darjeeling from the Singbulli Estate called “Snow White.” Its name derives from the abundance of tender white tips showcased in this lovely selection.

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Located in the picturesque Mirik area of Darjeeling in northeastern India, the organically certified Singbulli Estate was established in 1924 by British planters. Its 9 rolling hills are spread out over 14 miles, at an altitude that ranges from 1,200 feet to 4,100 feet.

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I steeped the leaves for 3 minutes in just under boiling point water. I noticed a lot of dust with this tea. The dust comes from the white hairs on the tips. When the leaves/tips are dried during processing, the hairs dry out, too, and create a “bloom” of fine particles.

The aroma has a fresh tropical fruit fragrance with hints of flowers. Mmmm….

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The tropical fruitiness carries over into the flavor of the golden liquor, with notes of pineapple. This tea has an intense “wake up your mouth” feel with a characteristic Darjeeling “bite.” It lifts up the fruity notes, adding a slight vegetal feel to them, and helps those notes to linger awhile in your mouth.

Another quintessential first flush tea from Singbulli, a tea garden that consistently produces stellar teas.

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I’m making my Christmas journey to Michigan in a couple of days. Another year is drawing to a close and what better way to celebrate than to gather together with those we love and share many cups of tea and good cheer.

To all of my dear tea friends who visit me here, have a wonderful holiday season!

I look forward to sharing more tea with you in 2017!

“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!” 

~Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

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Saturday Morning Tea

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Good morning, dear tea friends! A frigid wind is blowing in from the north and it’s beginning to feel more December-like around here. A great time for drinking lots of tea.

I came across a lovely tea this week, a perfect selection to slow down with and, hopefully, ease the stress that sometimes comes with the holiday season. Plus, I love its name – Jasmine White Monkey. From Fujian province in China, this silver tip green tea has been scented with jasmine flowers.

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The tea leaves are plucked in the springtime, processed as green tea and then stored until the jasmine plants get ready to bloom in the summer. The flower buds are plucked in the early morning and kept cool all day. As early evening approaches, the flower buds are mixed with the tea leaves. As the night blooming jasmine flowers open, the tea leaves absorb their scent. This process is repeated every day over the course of a week. Quite a bit of dedicated work goes into creating this unique tea.

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Most of the time, the dried flowers are separated from the leaves after scenting. Sometimes, the dried blossoms are left mixed in with the tea leaves. Since they’re dried out, their scent is gone so perhaps it’s for decoration? I find that the dried flowers may lend a sourness to the tea liquor so I prefer just the scented leaves for steeping my tea.

I steeped the leaves for 3 minutes using 180F spring water. As the leaves steeped, my kitchen smelled like a spring garden. mmmm….

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The leaves infused a golden wheat colored liquor. This tea is much more robust than some of the delicate jasmine selections. You can really taste the green tea so the jasmine scenting isn’t the predominant flavor. These two flavors, vegetal and floral, balance nicely. I also found a balance of sweetness with astringency that lingers into the finish.

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This afternoon, I’m getting together with some dear art friends who I haven’t seen in years. Just like taking a break and sitting down with a cup of tea, it’s important to jump off the carousel of busy day-to-day life and connect with good friends. It rejuvenates my spirit.

Enjoy the season and many delicious cups of tea!