Saturday Morning Tea

Good morning, dear tea friends! As I opened my front door this morning, the sunshine had that sparkling quality that comes as August starts to make way for September and the breezes turn crisp and refreshing. In my cup is a black tea from the Putharjhora Estate, an organic tea garden located in the alluvial floodplains of northern India. This area is known as the Dooars (translation: doors), a gateway between the the plains of India and the hills of Bhutan.

An alluvial plain is a flat landform created from sediment (alluvium, or silt) that has built up over time from the flooding of nearby rivers. Floodplain land is rich in nutrients, making it valuable for agriculture.

I steeped the leaves for 3 minutes in boiling point (212F) water.

The golden amber liquor has a creamy almond fragrance with a hint of apricots, inviting me to take my first sip.

The cup is smooth and light with a full, round mouth feel. Notes of flowers, almonds and a pronounced sweetness all linger into the finish. The apricot hint makes another appearance as the finish winds down.

I wonder what it would taste like at 4 minutes? Enjoy!

“People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don’t even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child — our own two eyes. All is a miracle.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh

Saturday Morning Tea

Good morning, dear tea friends! I’m sitting here savoring my morning tea, as the sky bruises with a threatening storm. In reviewing my posts of the last several months, I noticed that I had been visiting China teas quite a lot. It’s time for a change and I’ve now turned back to India teas.

This lovely selection is from the Temi Estate in Sikkim, a tiny state in northeast India. Sikkim is surrounded by 3 countries: China to the north, Bhutan to the east, and Nepal to the west. Nestled in the Himalayan mountains, this high-altitude area is ideal for tea growing. Sikkim is home to the third-highest peak on Earth, the majestic Mount Kangchenjunga (28,169 ft).

As you can see, the leaves are well-made with silvery tips peeking out here and there.

Originally a Sherpa village, the Temi Tea Garden was established by the Sikkim government in 1969 and is the only tea estate there. Its gently sloping hills cover about 440 acres.

I steeped the leaves for 3 1/2 minutes in boiling point (212F) water. I use Poland Spring water from Maine, my favorite natural spring water, for steeping all of my tea leaves.

The wet leaves have a rich, honeyed fruit aroma. This inviting fragrance carries over into the tea liquor’s aroma.

With its dark, rich aroma and flavor, this tea reminds me of a second flush Darjeeling. That said, the cup is quite smooth without any “bite” to it. I’m tasting honey as well as many layers of fruit: first, a dried fruit/raisin aspect, then stone fruit/peaches, and lastly, a muscatel flavor leading into the crisp finish. With all of its fruity flavor, this tea would taste wonderful iced.

Hopefully, this storm will pass by quickly and the sun will break through and shine once again.

Until next time, happy sipping!

“By early evening all the sky to the north had darkened and the spare terrain they trod had turned a neuter gray as far as the eye could see. They grouped in the road at the top of a rise and looked back. The storm front towered above them and the wind was cool on their sweating faces. They slumped bleary-eyed in their saddles and looked at one another. Shrouded in the black thunderheads the distant lightning glowed mutely like welding seen through foundry smoke. As if repairs were under way at some flawed place in the iron dark of the world.”

~Cormac McCarthy, All the Pretty Horses

Saturday Morning Tea

Good morning, dear tea friends! It’s lovely to be back with you, sharing and enjoying another cup of tea. We’re embraced by sultry July weather here in New England, with temps and humidity both in the 90s. I’m camped up in my 2nd floor studio room, gazing out at the leaden sky and savoring a pot of China Oolong Choicest Organic, a more oxidized (60-70%) Oolong, processed in the style of a Bai Hao (white tip or white hair).

This tea comes from Huangshan (the Yellow mountains) in southern Anhui province. This mountain range is named after the mythical Yellow Emperor, Huang Di, who ruled from 2698-2598 BC. This is a land of uniquely-shaped pine trees twisting out of towering rock formations, swimming in a sea of clouds. In my mind’s eye, I can imagine the venerable old tea bushes growing here and there in the rock crevices.

I steeped the leaves for 4 minutes in 190F water.

The golden amber liquor is fragrant with notes of peach and honey. mmmmmm…..

The cup is quite smooth with a pronounced honey flavor. As the tea cools, ripe stone fruit notes come forward, enhanced by the honey sweetness.

With its sweet, fruity character, this Oolong would make a great iced tea for these sweltering days of summer. Or, enjoy it hot as I’m doing. I find that sipping hot tea on a hot day refreshes me, rather than making me hotter.

It was great to join you for another cup of tea. As my long-time tea friend and kindred spirit, Anna, always says: Enjoy your next cup!

“Courage and perseverance have a magical talisman, before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish into air.”

~John Quincy Adams


Saturday Morning Tea

Good morning, dear tea friends! As we approach the 4th of July this week, I’m reading a great book about the birth of American independence, called Revolutionary Summer, purchased at the gift shop of our local national park, site of where it all began, the old North Bridge and “the shot heard round the world.” I’ve always been fascinated by American Revolutionary history, and how a group of passionate patriots rose up and joined together to create a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the pursuit of happiness. On to our tea…

My morning cup is a black tea from China, called Yunnan Black Needle Imperial.

As you can see, the large leaves and golden buds have been twisted into long, distinctive needle shapes. Plucked from the large-leafed tea trees that grow in Yunnan province, this lovely tea is a work of art.

I steeped the leaves for 5 minutes in boiling point (212F) water.

This tea is so smooth that you could try steeping the leaves for longer, if you like, or experiment with multiple steepings.

The liquor glows like newly polished copper.

Its aroma is warm and toasty with rich earthy hints.

The cup is smooth and sweet with notes of honey and toast and hints of spice that play along the edges of the flavor, whispering into the finish. This tea has a light and refined character, perfect for any time of day.

In 2 weeks, I’ll be away visiting family so my next tea post will be in 3 weeks. Until then, happy sipping!

“Is it not a saying of Moses, ‘Who am I, that I should go in and out before this great People?’ When I consider the great events which are passed, and those greater which are rapidly advancing, and that I may have been instrumental in touching some Springs, and turning some small Wheels, which have had and will have such Effects, I feel an Awe upon my Mind, which is not easily described.”

~John Adams to Abigail Adams, May 17, 1776

Saturday Morning Tea

Good morning, dear tea friends! On this misty, late spring morning, I’ve chosen a dark, rich China black tea for my teapot. Meet Pre-Chingming Yunnan Black Snail. As I’ve shared with you before, Pre-Chingming teas are harvested in China on very early spring days when the tea bushes start to flush with new growth after their winter dormancy.

From Yunnan province, this tea is produced from a large leaf varietal. The leaves are rolled into spiral shapes, reminiscent of snails. After a 5 minute steeping in boiling point (212F) water, take a look at these unfurled and partially unfurled leaf sets. This tea would do well with multiple steepings.

The fragrance reminds me of powdered unsweetened cocoa with a hint of malt.

The red-amber liquor is rich and oh so smooth. Pronounced notes of cocoa are embraced by a dark honey sweetness that lingers into the lightly spicy finish.

This tea would make a terrific iced latte with a little milk and sweetener, a great refresher for the hot summer days to come.

I remember when I received my Nikon’s micro lens. It was about 4 years ago, a gift from the love of my life who passed away 3 years ago. Anyway, I remember the joy and delight I felt when I opened this lovely unexpected gift and I entered a whole new world of closeup photography. I could now shoot closeups of my beloved tea leaves! It’s hard to believe that I’ve been sharing tea with you on my blog for over 10 years now. As I look back over all of the tremendous changes I’ve experienced since I started my blog, I see the one constant thread that has stitched my days together with strength and purpose – my tea journey and my deep passion for sharing it with others, through my cupping notes and my photography. I’ve been honored to do so and hope to continue for many more years to come. Whether you’ve been with me for years or have just joined, thank you for sharing the journey with me!

“I began to realize how important it was to be an enthusiast in life. He taught me that if you are interested in something, no matter what it is, go at it at full speed ahead. Embrace it with both arms, hug it, love it and above all become passionate about it. Lukewarm is no good. Hot is no good either. White hot and passionate is the only thing to be.”

~Roald Dahl