Saturday Morning Tea

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Good morning, dear tea friends! Today we’ll talk about the northeast of India, the Assam region to be precise, and a rich, dark cup from the Nahorhabi Estate. I have read that this tea estate, one of several owned by Jay Shree Tea, got its name because it used to be the site of a forest of “Nahor” trees, a tree native to that area of the world. The tea leaf is quite tippy, as you can see from my photo.

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The Assam tea growing region lies on either side of the Brahmaputra river, one of the major rivers of Asia. That area of the world has a monsoon period when they can receive up to 10-12 inches of rain per day. Wow, that’s a lot of water.

Speaking of water, I used boiling point (212F) water to steep this tea for 4 minutes.

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If you’re going to add milk or cream to this tea, I recommend steeping for 5 minutes. We’ve been enjoying this tea with half and half at work the past several days. What a treat!

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The aroma is rich and toasty, malty. The flavor is quite stout but with a smoothness I didn’t expect. So flavorful and complex, I am already on my second cup!

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The day outside is cold and gray with about 6 inches of snow expected to fall in our area later on. It’s one of those forecasts that change every time I watch the news – will it be rain or snow and when? Well, I’m all cozy and warm here with my pot of tea and the farthest I’m going to travel is into my studio to work on a new necklace design.

Have a lovely week!

“Being with people who warm us, who endorse and exhault our creativity, is essential to the flow of the creative life. Otherwise we freeze…When women are out in the cold, they tend to live on fantasies instead of action.”

~Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Jungian Analyst and Writer

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Saturday Morning Tea

Good morning, dear tea friends! After a week of rain and fog, this morning dawned clear and bright but quite cold for this time of year. The forecast last night called for a freeze, which means a temp of below freezing for several hours or more. Brrr! The temperature decline is always inevitable at this time of year but is still a shock after being warm for so long. On to tea…

I chose a strong, bracing Indian black tea this morning to chase away the chill, a broken-leaf Assam tea from the Doomni estate.

The Doomni tea estate is one of 3 tea gardens located in the Nalbari district of western Assam in northeast India. The leaf has been plucked and processed with a bounty of golden tips which I find lends a complexity and depth to the flavor of the tea.

I steeped the leaves for only 3 minutes in boiling point water (212F). Even at this lower steeping time, this tea has an astringent kick that I can feel in my teeth.

The aroma is strong and malty with a whisper of walnut and blackberries.

The beautiful, deep-amber tea liquor is hearty and thick with strong notes of malt and a light sweetness. I experienced a burst of flavor in my mouth, which lingered for quite some time.

This is one of those Assams that is perfect for adding milk to smooth out the astringency and bring the flavor forward even more. For those of you who don’t put milk in your Assam, perhaps try a shorter steep if you want to smooth out that astringent bite.

What’s up for your weekend? Well, my spring bulbs have arrived, a whole box of them, and they’re calling to me to plant them in the ground today. So, on go the overalls and garden gloves and it’s out into the sunshine-y fall day to plant for the afternoon. I am looking forward to the burst of color in my garden come next spring!

As always, thanks for visiting and sharing a cup of tea with me.

“Boldness has genius, power, and magic. Engage, and the mind grows heated. Begin, and the work will be completed.”

~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Saturday Morning Tea

Good morning, dear tea friends! I hope that everyone had a wonderful week. This morning I am finally able to return to that Mangalam estate Assam and share a cup of it with you.

This is a clonal tea which means that it came from a tea bush created from cuttings of a superior tea bush. Have you ever clipped a cutting from a friend’s houseplant, placed it in water until roots started growing and then planted it in soil in its own pot? I would imagine the process is very similar to that.

You can read more about the Mangalam estate as well as how the tea bush is indigenous to this part of northeast India in my post here.

This broken leaf tea has a lot of yellow tip, making it a higher grade offering and also giving it more complexity of flavor. I steeped the leaves for 3 minutes in boiling point (212F) water.

The fragrant aroma is rich and malty, enticing me to take my first sip. The flavor is thick and stout with a lovely smoothness that allows the sweet, dried fruit notes to come forward. The fruity nuance lingers in my mouth.

The dark-amber tea liquor would stand up very well to a longer infusion and the addition of milk and sweetener, if you like that.

I tend to shy away from the sometimes pronounced astringency of an Assam tea. I find this cup to be well-balanced with just a hint of astringency. It’s the perfect cup of Assam for me!

We are deeply entrenched in the long, hot and hazy days of summer still, however, I have noticed that it’s not as light out in the mornings anymore. The days grow shorter but there’s still no hint of the cooler weather to come. My garden is bursting with blooms – hydrangea, coneflower, roses, hibiscus, petunias and snapdragons. Even the chrysanthemums are starting to show a peek of their rusty bronzes and burgundies. I just love this colorful time of year!

As always, thanks for joining me and sharing a cup of tea. Have a great week!

“Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.” 

~Henry James

Saturday Morning Tea

Happy St. Paddy’s Day! Top of the mahrnin to one and all. I’m celebrating this day with a rich Irish Breakfast blend in my cup. A blend of hearty Indian Assam tea and brisk Ceylon tea, it’s called River Shannon Breakfast Blend, a perfect blend for today.

It’s a broken leaf selection so it’s best to steep the leaves for 3 minutes when drinking it plain. I wanted a little tang in my cup so I pushed the brew time to 4 minutes. It’s dark and stout with a hint of malt and a bright whisper of lemon.

When I visited Ireland back in 1999, this was the kind of tea served at all of the B&Bs we stayed at. It was a wonderful respite from our busy touring schedule to sit down and enjoy a “cuppa”, always served with a tray of delicious scones.

The deep amber tea liquor would go wonderfully with a spot of milk and a little sweetener.

Aside from a teapot of Irish style tea, I’ll be celebrating today with a long walk along the bike path and then some precious time in my studio. How are you celebrating?

Let’s all raise our teacups to the Emerald Isle and enjoy the day!

Saturday Morning Tea

Good morning, dear tea friends. It’s great to be sharing a cup of tea with you once again. On this brisk, blue sky morning, I’ve brewed up a pot of a broken-leaf Assam from the Daisajan estate. As you can see, the broken bits of leaf are fairly large with a sprinkling of tip (the yellowish leaf).

I’ve read that this estate’s name derives from the Assamese words “Doichha Jaan”, meaning “the river with two heads”. It’s located in the Doom Dooma district in the northeast tip of Assam in India, an area once covered in jungle and populated by elephants.

I steeped the leaves for 3 1/2 minutes in boiling point water. As I lifted the infuser from my glass teapot, I noted a rich malty aroma with nuances of red wine. The aroma hinted a stout cup and, to me, that usually means astringency, the kind you can feel in your teeth. Boy, was I surprised.

I was amazed at the silky smoothness of the tea liquor. All of the broken-leaf intensity was there with a fullness suggesting incredibly dark chocolate, the 88% cocoa kind (my favorite).

So dark yet so amazingly smooth. Notes of malt and red wine mingled with the dark chocolate fullness.

If you enjoy milk in your Assam, I would recommend experimenting with pushing the steep time on this one, perhaps 4 minutes or so.

This is a great selection for coffee drinkers who want to transition over and explore the world of tea. Now, I don’t drink coffee anymore because of my sensitivity to its caffeine but I remember that bitterness in a cup of coffee that isn’t quite astringency but could be likened to the bitterness of dark chocolate or a really dark beer. To me, anyway. That is present in this cup but I don’t want to use the word bitter because, in tea, it is used to describe oversteeping. Forgive me if my description falls short of clarity. The bottom line is I love this Assam, in fact, I’d go so far as to say it’s my current favorite.  And for this Darjeeling fanatic, that’s saying a lot!

Enjoy your week and your tea!

“I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself.”

~Maya Angelou

Saturday Morning Tea

Good morning, dear tea friends! For this last Saturday in October, I’ve chosen an Assam which has been described as “a stout cup”. I wanted to review an Assam that knocks your socks off in strength and body.

Meet Langharjan estate TGFBOP Tippy.

Langharjan estate is located near the town of Naharkatiya in extreme northeastern India.

As you can see from the dry leaf above and its leaf designation, TGFBOP or “Tippy Golden Flowery Broken Orange Pekoe”, this is a tea with a lot of leaf tip. I find that the tippier Assams are a lot smoother. And this one is so incredibly smooth.

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

The aroma is lightly malty and rich with a hint of toastiness.

Despite the greyness of the day outside, my teapot glows as if a fire is burning inside of it.

This tea delivers in every way. Rich, malty, smooth as silk, my type of Assam. You could probably coax some astringency out of it by pushing the steep time to 5+ minutes. At that point though you might want to add some milk or cream.

Unbelievably, especially after the winter we had last year, a snowstorm is predicted for our area tonight and into tomorrow. I am not ready for this type of weather again so soon! I will need many cups of tea for comfort as the white stuff descends upon us so unseasonably early.

Stay warm, dear friends, with your hands curled around your favorite cup of tea!

“I like living.  I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow, but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing.” ~Agatha Christie

Saturday Morning Tea

Good morning, dear tea friends! In continuing Assam month here at Art and Tea, I have an unusual Assam filling my cup today, a first flush selection from the Amgoorie estate.

Most Assams are harvested during the summer months, or the second flush season. They are well known and loved for their characteristic full-bodied, hearty, malty flavor profile. This first flush was harvested in the springtime, the first growth of the tea leaves. While the characteristic Assam flavor notes are still there, it usually has a much lighter body.

Even though it’s a whole leaf tea, I steeped the leaves in boiling point (212F) water for only 3 minutes because it’s a first flush and since I wasn’t planning on adding milk. It can be steeped for a longer time if adding milk and/or sweetener, or if you like a brighter quality to your plain tea.

I found this photo of the Amgoorie estate factory. Being a confessed clean freak myself, I’m greatly comforted to know how clean their operation is there. Yes, tea leaves are usually sorted and piled on floors.

The wet leaf has a hint of cocoa aroma that is revealed in its flavor as well. The tea liquor is quite smooth with a fuller body than what I was expecting.

The color in my glass teapot reflects the myriad of oranges and reds flaming across our New England fields and forests.

The flavor is lightly malty with a kick of brightness in the finish.

The last 2 weeks have taken me on a journey I’ve never experienced before. Someone very close to me had major surgery and was in a Boston hospital for 10 days, 5 of those in the ICU. I was brought to a place of seeing and then knowing how your life can change forever in an instant revelation of news we all dread to hear. I felt my heart crack wide open as I traveled each step of the recommended path with my beloved friend and observed the compassionate caring of everyone there to help him through the long process. He is finally home and the healing has begun. Nothing is certain in this life, things change constantly and the best we can do is to live and treasure the moments each one at a time. Until next week, dear tea friends…

“It is by going down into the abyss that we recover the treasures of life. Where you stumble, there lies your treasure.” ~Joseph Campbell