Saturday Morning Tea

Tonganagaon Est Assam Dry Leaf 01-18-14

Good morning, dear tea friends! I’m glad to be back with a new tea post to share with you. My poor desktop is gone, replaced by my laptop, which is actually much faster. My biggest challenge was finding a new photo editing software that didn’t break the bank. I’m trying out Photoshop Elements on a free trial and, so far, it’s doing everything I’d like it to do. I hadn’t realized how slow my old desktop was. She served me well for 15 years. Ok, on to tea…

This morning’s tea is an Assam tea from the Tonganagaon Estate. This black tea from northeastern India has been cultivated without the use of synthetic pesticides and herbicides so it’s a certified organic tea. I couldn’t find much information about this tea garden other than it’s small and located near the Namdapha National Park, one of the richest areas of biodiversity in all of India.

Tonganagaon Est Assam Steep 01-18-14

I steeped the variegated, tippy leaves for 4 minutes in boiling point (212F) water. If you enjoy milk in your tea, I recommend steeping for a minute or so longer. A pronounced toasty aroma wafted up from my glass teapot as the leaves steeped.

Tonganagaon Est Assam Wet Leaf 01-18-14

This tea is considered a whole leaf tea but all I saw were large broken pieces of leaf. I think that a tea can be designated as whole leaf if the leaf bits are above a certain size as they’re running them through sieves during processing.

Tonganagaon Est Assam Teapot 01-18-14The tea liquor is a gorgeous, glowing orange. The flavor is silky smooth with light notes of spice and malt, along with some toasty nuances. This is the most complex organic Assam tea I’ve tasted in a long time, quite a pleasure.

Tonganagaon Est Assam Teamug 01-18-14

A little while ago, it was teeming rain and now big fat flakes of snow seem to be pouring out of the sky, coating everything with an icy white frosting. I’m spending an afternoon with my family this afternoon, celebrating another birthday and looking forward to a wonderful year to come!

Have a great week and enjoy your tea!

“With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come.”  ~William Shakespeare

Saturday Morning Tea

Halmari Estate Assam Dry Leaf 09-21-13

Good morning, dear tea friends! A blanket of clouds covered the sky as I poured my first cup of morning tea but now as I sit down to write, I see peeks of blue here and there. Tomorrow marks the Autumnal Equinox here in my corner of the world, the Northern Hemisphere, however, I’ve felt the winds of seasonal change for several weeks now. Going with that change, I’m enjoying an Assam tea today, a tea I enjoy most as the cooler weather comes. This one is a broken leaf selection  from the Halmari Estate. Look at all that beautiful golden tip interspersed among the leaves!

Halmari Estate Assam Steep 09-21-13

It seems like the color orange pops out and surrounds us in the fall – pumpkins, butternut squash, autumn sunsets, chrysanthemums, even the light has a crisp golden-y orange hue. This tea fits right into the the colors of fall, with its wonderful russet glow. I steeped the leaves for 4 minutes in boiling point (212F) water.

Located on the plains of upper Assam in northeastern India, the Halmari Estate was started in the 1940s and is owned by the Daga family. You can see some cool pictures of their factory, where the tea processing takes place, here. That’s where it all happens, leaf to cup.

Halmari Estate Assam Wet Leaf 09-21-13

Most of the leaf particles are broken, however, I found some little tips, which had turned the same color as the rest of the leaf, during steeping.

The aroma has light malty hints with a whisper of red wine.

Halmari Estate Assam Teapot 09-21-13

The burnt orange colored tea liquor reflects the changing colors of the leaves on the trees. The flavor is silky smooth, one of my favorite qualities to find in an Assam tea. The notes are dark honey sweet with hints of spice that linger in the finish. If you enjoy milk in your Assam tea, I recommend steeping this one longer than 4 minutes.

Halmari Estate Assam Teamug 09-21-13

The clouds are now moving swiftly, dark grey with tufts of white higher up. The glimpses of blue sky are growing as the moving clouds part. It’s a fine day for a long walk on the bike path, methinks…

I’ve been lately enjoying the audiobook version of The Fellowship of the Ring during my work commute. I leave you with one of my favorite poems from the book.

Have a wonderful week and enjoy your tea!

All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king

-J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

Saturday Morning Tea

NahorhabiDry022313

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.

NahorhabiSteep022313

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.

NahorhabiWet022313

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!

NahorhabiTeapot022313

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!

NahorhabiTeabowl022313

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

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