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

Saturday Morning Tea

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Good morning, dear tea friends! It’s a hot and steamy August so far, the kind of weather where the air is so thick you can taste it and towering dark clouds build up in the afternoon sky. I love this time of year.

I’ve traveled to the Ruhuna district of southern Sri Lanka with my cuppa this morning. This selection is from the Lumbini Estate.

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The Lumbini Tea Estate was founded in 1984 by Mr. Dayapala Jayawardane. It’s located in the hilly village of Pallegama, close to the Sinharaja forest reserve, a small national park that’s home to many endemic species, including the purple-faced langur monkey.

The leaves are small with a profusion of beautiful golden tips. I steeped them for 4 minutes in boiling point (212F) water.

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The aroma is fragrant and sweet. The liquor has a rich, syrupy quality with notes of dried fruit and hints of cocoa and spice. There’s a crispness that identifies it as a Ceylon black tea, however, I’ve always found this “spider leg” leaf style to be more reminiscent of a black tea from China. I love the mouth feel, thick and sweet.

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I have a lovely afternoon planned with my grandkids. With more thunderstorms on the way, it’ll probably be best enjoyed indoors, maybe a movie and popcorn, which is always fun.

Enjoy your tea!

“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass…It’s about learning to dance in the rain.”

~Vivian Greene

Saturday Morning Tea

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Good morning, dear tea friends! My morning tea today is a rich Ceylon black tea with a fun name, Victorian Brew BOP1. Even though the days are still summer warm, the nights are turning cool and crisp, perfect weather to sleep with the windows thrown wide open. The day when the light and dark are equal here in the Northern Hemisphere is only 4 days away.

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This tea is a blend of Ceylon black teas so I couldn’t find any background information on it. I steeped the leaves for 4 minutes in 212F (boiling point) water.

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Look at that beautiful amber color!

The aroma has a dried fruit fragrance with hints of spice, enticing me to take my first sip.

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The flavor is rich and smooth with a light brightness that plays at the edge of my palate. The tea liquor has a hot cocoa thickness and a spicy profile with hints of cherry. There’s a citrus-like brisk quality that lingers in the finish. Is this high-grown or low-grown tea? It exhibits characteristics of both, which leads me to suspect it’s a blend of both.

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As always, thanks for joining me in a cup of tea! Enjoy this last summer weekend!

Saturday Morning Tea

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Good morning, dear tea friends! It’s lovely to be back to share a cup of tea with all of you. My visit to Michigan was a welcome and relaxing break, moreso than usual as I caught a spring cold on the plane ride out there. Despite cooler than normal temps here in New England, the landscape is painting over winter’s dull colors with a palette of fresh greens and splashes of yellow as the daffodils and forsythias start blooming. Oh, welcome spring!

Today’s tea is an interesting Ceylon black tea. Of the “spider leaf” style, with long, wiry dark leaf and a touch of silver tips , it’s called St. Clair FBOPF Ex Spl.

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St. Clair is located in the Talawekellie District of south central Sri Lanka. It’s the home of one of the widest waterfalls in Sri Lanka, called St. Clair’s Falls after the tea estate, and also known as the “Little Niagara of Sri Lanka.”

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

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The aroma is sweet and winey with that Ceylon brightness.

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The tea liquor is a deep, dark amber color with a flavor reminiscent of the cocoa earthiness of a China black tea. That said, it has the tangy bright flavor notes that wake up the tongue and clearly identify it as a Ceylon tea. Nuances of blackberries emerge as the tea cools. The finish is long and brisk.

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The sun is shining in a light blue spring sky, a perfect day for taking a long walk to enjoy the blooms. Have a wonderful two weeks!

Saturday Morning Tea

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Good morning, dear tea friends! Since early morning, the sun has been playing peek-a-boo, much like a child who hides behind a curtain. When she steps out, the sky is brilliant with her smile.

A black tea from Sri Lanka fills my tea bowl this morning. From the gem mining Ratnapura district in the south, it’s called New Vithanakande Ceylon.

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Silver mixes with dark brown like snippets of thread woven through the thin, wiry leaf.

I steeped the leaves for 4 1/2 minutes in boiling point (212F) water. The distinctive aroma of cocoa rises from my glass teapot. Mmmm…

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Dark and light meld into a chocolate brown color in the wet leaf, which exhibits more of a characteristic Ceylon aroma, bright and citrus.

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The dark amber colored tea liquor smells of dark notes of chocolate and malt, which spill over into the flavor ,along with a bright lemon tang that lingers into the finish. This is a great eye-opening breakfast tea.

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Now that we’ve entered the last month of summer, the air feels less sultry, a little cooler, and the plants are showing tinges of tiredness around the edges. They’ve given forth their bounty and are beginning to whisper of decline into cooler weather. Still, I busy myself in the garden, snipping spent flowers to encourage a little more blooming and color as August fades and September approaches.

Until next time, dear friend, enjoy your tea!

“I walk without flinching through the burning cathedral of the summer. My bank of wild grass is majestic and full of music. It is a fire that solitude presses against my lips.” ~Violette LeDuc

Saturday Morning Tea

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Good morning, dear tea friends! And a Happy 4th of July weekend to my US friends. It’s a clear, bright day after a soggy 4th of July yesterday. Hurricane Arthur reached his outer fingers towards New England as he moved northwards and we got soaked. Firework celebrations got rescheduled, and it turned out to be a good day for the ducks and the gardens.

This morning’s tea is a black tea from Sri Lanka, specifically from the St. James Estate in the Uva district of Ceylon. The “Pekoe” style leaf has been rolled into loose pellets, giving an interesting shape to the dry leaf.

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I have read that the southeastern Uva province is the second least populated of Sri Lanka’s provinces, with only 1.1 million people. They have two main agricultural crops there: tea, grown in the hills, and sugar, grown on the plains. The St. James tea garden is located in the Malwatta Valley in that province.

I steeped the leaves for 4 minutes in boiling point (212F) water. This tea has that comforting “tea” aroma, what most folks associate as a tea smell. It’s what you can smell if you ever came to visit my company. People walk through the front door and always remark, “It smells SO good in here!”

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While the dry leaf has a grayish cast, after steeping, the wet leaf unfurled slightly to reveal large, chocolate-colored pieces of broken leaf.

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The rich amber tea liquor has a sweet fragrance and a smooth, rich flavor with whispers of rose and toast. When I brew this tea again, I’m going to push the brew time to 5 minutes and see if I can coax more briskness into the flavor. No need for milk and sweetener, this tea is wonderful straight up.

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There’s nothing like a delicious cup of tea to start a beautiful day.

Until next time, dear friends, enjoy your tea!

“Liberty is the breath of life to nations.”  ~George Bernard Shaw

Saturday Morning Tea

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Good morning, dear tea friends! Now that summer has officially arrived, the temperature has started to creep up again into the 80s and it’s time for a refreshing glass of iced tea. I think that Ceylon black teas taste fabulous iced so this morning’s tea is just that, from the Aislaby Estate in southeastern Uva province, Sri Lanka.

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I have read that Uva province is the second least populated of Sri Lanka’s provinces, with only 1.1 million people. They have two main agricultural crops there: tea, grown in the hills, and sugar, grown on the plains. This particular tea estate has been owned by a British planting family that emigrated to Sri Lanka in the 1880s and has owned the estate since the 1920s.

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The leaf is graded as pekoe (pronounced pe, as in pet, and koe, rhymes with toe), the definition being “a grade of black tea consisting of the leaves around the buds.” As I took photographs of both the dry and wet leaf, its chunkiness reminded me of a CTC grade, with its granular appearance.

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To steep my tea leaves for iced tea, I used double the amount I normally would as for hot tea preparation, so 2 rounded teaspoons in my little glass teapot. I steeped for 3 minutes in boiling point (212F) water.

As the tea steeped to a beautiful deep amber color, a pronounced minty aroma wafted up from my teapot.

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After steeping, I poured the hot tea into a Pyrex glass filled with ice cubes. The Pyrex brand of glass is a borosilicate glass (mainly silica and boron oxide), a glass resistant to thermal shock.  Once the tea had cooled down, I then filled my Mermaid glass (which isn’t boro glass).

The tea tastes rich and full-bodied with an interesting, pronounced wintergreen minty note. Some of my favorite Ceylon teas have this flavor note and I find it especially refreshing in an iced tea. I imagine adding a slice of lemon or some lemon balm leaves to add a citrus note to the mint. Fabulous!

My company is shutting down for our annual vacation June 29-July 7. I’m traveling to Michigan that week to visit with my family. So, there won’t be a new Saturday Morning Tea post for 3 weeks. That said, I’ll be happy to rerun some posts the next two weeks.

Thanks so much for joining me today and I look forward to sharing another cup of tea with you in July!

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

~Henry James