Saturday Morning Tea

Good morning, dear tea friends! Hot and steamy weather arrived this past week with soaring temps and the rumble of thunder in the early morning hours. As soon as she arrived, she was gone again in a few days and replaced with cooler spring weather. Welcome to our unpredictable New England weather!

More first flush Darjeelings have arrived these past few weeks. I’m enjoying a selection from Liza Hill this morning. Liza Hill is a division of the esteemed Risheehat Estate in Darjeeling. If you look at a map of India, you’ll see Darjeeling, wedged in between Nepal and Bhutan, up in northeast India. Many years ago, Tibetan Buddhist monks named this area Dorje-ling. The Dorje is a sacred ritual object of holy lamas. It symbolized strength and constancy.

The dry leaf smells fresh and invitingI steeped the leaves for 3 minutes in 212F (boiling point) water.

A lovely floral aroma drifted up from my glass teapot as the leaves steeped.

After they’ve steeped, I like to comb through the wet leaves to get a sense of the tea and its plucking order. You can see this fine intact plucking with the leaf gently twisted. Beautiful.

The liquor is a glowing golden amber, fragrant with the aroma of spring flowers, a heady scent to awaken my senses as I pour my first cup.

After a long week of very busy work, a lawnmower that won’t start, a hornet in my kitchen, a clogged dryer vent, this tea transports me to another place far from my daily worries – an exotic place of bright sunshine and cool breezes, filled with tea bushes growing in the shadow of majestic Himalayan peaks.

The flavor is rich with floral notes and tropical fruit sweetness. A refreshing pungent quality plays at the edges of the flavor, and lingers in the back of my throat. Delicious.

My weekend will be filled with family – a birthday party for my oldest son, making tea with my 6-year-old grandson and nurturing his new interest, and, of course, spending time with my newest granddaughter.

Until our next cup of tea together, have a wonderful couple of weeks!

“Were it possible for us to see further than our knowledge reaches, and yet a little way beyond the outworks of our divinings, perhaps we would endure our sadnesses with greater confidence than our joys. For they are the moments when something new has entered into us, something unknown; our feelings grow mute in shy perplexity, everything in us withdraws, a stillness comes, and the new, which no one knows, stands in the midst of it and is silent.” 

~Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

Saturday Morning Tea

Good morning, dear tea friends! April showers are gathering in big puddles outside, and it’s blooming spring in my kitchen. Do you recognize the leaf? That’s right, a brand new first flush Darjeeling, one of my favorite spring treats. This lovely selection is from the Tindharia Estate.

The Tindharia tea garden is a bio-organic estate, located in the South Kurseong area of Darjeeling district. I’ve read that the town of Kurseong, whose name means “Land of the White Orchids”, is a quiet hill station. A hill station is “a town in the low mountains of the Indian subcontinent, popular as a holiday resort during the hot season.” At elevations of 400-1000 meters, it sounds like a great destination for cooling off during the hot summer months.

I steeped the leaves for 3 minutes in boiling point (212F) water. For those of you new to tea’s delights, it’s always best to pour the water over the leaves rather than adding the leaves to the water. As you pour, it wakes up the leaves and starts the steeping process.

The aroma coming from the wet leaves is fresh and floral with a hint of vegetal. When I was just starting my tea journey many years ago, I saw a man plunge his nose right into the wet leaves and inhale deeply. At the time, I didn’t quite know what to think but now I understand completely.

The golden-amber tea liquor has a sweet fragrance with notes of flowers and a light toasty hint.

The cup is extremely well balanced with a smoothness that falls on the middle of my tongue and a refreshing pungency that wakes up the sides. Notes of flowers join a suggestion of tart fruitiness in the flavor. This tea is the second lot (EX-2) that was picked at Tindharia this spring. I’ve also tried the first lot (EX-1) and find that to have a gentler character when compared to this lot.

I’m happy and excited to share that my granddaughter, Adelyn Claire, was born on Thursday! A dear friend of mine said it perfectly: her beautiful face is one straight from heaven. I couldn’t agree more.

Saturday Morning Tea will return in 3 weeks as I’ll be in Michigan visiting my family in mid-April. Until then, happy sipping!

“Children are the rainbow of life. Grandchildren are the pot of gold.”

Irish Blessing

Saturday Morning Tea

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Good morning, dear tea friends! With my tea choice this morning, I’m traveling to the island of Java, the largest in the string of volcanic islands that make up the Southeast Asian nation of Indonesia.

This tea was grown on the Malabar Tea Estate, located in West Java, near Mount Malabar, a stratovolcano built up from many layers of lava, pumice and volcanic ash.

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This tea estate has been in existence for over 100 years. The well-known and beloved planter and philanthropist, Karel Albert Rudolf Bosscha, managed the estate for many years until his death in 1928. Sometimes called KAR Bosscha, he traveled to the Netherlands Indies in 1887, working at various jobs such as gold exploration and mining before he took on the management of Malabar in 1896. The son of a Dutch physicist, he carried on his family’s science interest by developing an astronomical observatory as well as a Cancer Center in the nearby city of Bandung. A lot of interesting history there.

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

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As I removed the infuser from my glass teapot, I detected a strong aroma of peppery spice and aromatic wood wafting up from the very dark tea liquor.

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My first sip had a caramel-like sweetness, very smooth, which wrapped around the spicy, woody notes. The liquor is quite robust with an interesting flavor that draws you in like a magic spell. It’s the kind of tea that intrigues your palate with its aromatic spicy darkness. My first cuppa went very quickly!

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If you’ve never tried an Indonesian tea before, I encourage you to give this selection a try. It’s definitely hearty enough for milk and sweetener.

My day will be spent wrapping tiny knitted things, preparing for my daughter’s baby shower tomorrow. Yes, I’m so excited to share that I’m going to be a grandma again! Life is truly filled with many blessings.

Happy sipping!

If one feels the need of something grand, something infinite, something that makes one feel aware of God, one need not go far to find it. I think that I see something deeper, more infinite, more eternal than the ocean in the expression of the eyes of a little baby when it wakes in the morning and coos or laughs because it sees the sun shining on its cradle.

~Vincent Van Gogh

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!

Saturday Morning Tea

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Good morning, dear tea friends! A heavy dampness hangs over this late fall morning, and I eagerly reach for my glass teapot to start my morning tea ritual. Today I’ve chosen a rich, fruity selection from Nepal. This tea is from the Mist Valley Estate, located at an elevation of 4,200 feet in Jitpur, Ilam district, eastern Nepal.

I’ve read that Nepal started growing tea from seeds gifted to the Prime Minister from the Chinese Emperor many years ago. Unfortunately, due to political turmoil and economic struggle under an autocratic dynasty, the tea industry failed to grow there at that time.

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In the 1950s, a new democratic constitution was written in Nepal causing a shift in the political system there and opening up the country to the rest of the world. The tea industry started to grow with help from private and public investment and has been growing there ever since.

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

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If you love a second flush Darjeeling then you will love this selection. The aroma is fragrant with dark grape notes. These notes carry on into the cup where they are joined by notes of stone fruit.

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I love the balance of honey sweetness and brisk astringency in the red-amber liquor.

Nepal produces some amazing teas, a great value compared to their pricier Darjeeling cousins.

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The warmth of this rich tea in my cup has chased away the chilly damp and restored my spirits.

What’s in your cup today?

“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.”

~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Saturday Morning Tea

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Good morning, dear tea friends! I’m so sorry for missing my tea post last week. Last Friday night, my basement flooded with 4 feet of water from a tremendous rainstorm, and I lost power and heat. In fact, I still don’t have heat but the good news is that will be fixed this week. Going through an experience like this, all I can say is – thank goodness for tea!!!!! This morning’s cuppa is a lovely black tea from the Temi Estate in Sikkim, a state in northeast India just north of Darjeeling.

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.

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I steeped the leaves for 3 1/2 minutes in boiling point (212F) water. As the tea steeped, a rich fruity fragrance emerged from my glass teapot.

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The leaf is tippy and infuses to a gorgeous dark amber color, much like a second flush Darjeeling.

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The cup is brisk yet sweet with notes of honey and fruit. It’s rich enough for a dash of milk.

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A hot cup of tea is so welcome in a chilly house! Until next time, enjoy your tea and have a Happy Halloween!

“The wind outside nested in each tree, prowled the sidewalks in invisible treads like unseen cats.
Tom Skelton shivered. Anyone could see that the wind was a special wind this night, and the darkness took on a special feel because it was All Hallows’ Eve. Everything seemed cut from soft black velvet or gold or orange velvet. Smoke panted up out of a thousand chimneys like the plumes of funeral parades. From kitchen windows drifted two pumpkin smells: gourds being cut, pies being baked.”

~Ray Bradbury, The Halloween Tree

 

Saturday Morning Tea

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Good morning, dear tea friends! As I gaze outside my window with my morning cuppa in hand, I see a blanket of light gray clouds tenting over a green landscape that’s starting to show its fall colors here and there. I’ve chosen a black tea from Sri Lanka today, called Ceylon Low Country.

Low grown Ceylon tea comes from southern Sri Lanka, where the elevations of tea growing areas are anywhere from sea level to 2,000 feet. With a warm climate and fertile soil, it’s an ideal place for the tea plants to thrive.

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

The aroma wafting up from the steeping leaves is bright and toasty with a hint of spiciness.

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The color of the tea liquor is striking, a beautiful coppery red.

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The flavor has that Ceylon brightness with a wonderful spicy richness enveloping it. A sweetness, like dark sugar, grows as the tea cools. The mouth feel is fairly robust with a dryness like a fine red wine. This tea would stand up well to milk and sweetener.

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A great choice for those cooler fall days.

See you in 2 weeks!

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”

L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables