Saturday Morning Tea

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Good morning, dear tea friends! As you can see, my morning tea is not a first flush Darjeeling this week (are some of you saying “oh, thank goodness!” haha), in fact, it’s not a Darjeeling at all. Gracing my cup on this bright, blue sky morning is a rich, dark black tea from New Vithanakande in Sri Lanka (Ceylon).

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This tea leaf is an FBOPF Ex Spl leaf style, designated for its long, wiry, twisted leaf and unique for a Ceylon tea. You know the tea that comes in teabags from the grocery store, the kind that we might have drunk when we were sick as kids? Well, that leaf style is called “fannings”, a very finely-particled leaf that fits into those bags easily and steeps very quickly. Astoundingly, this leaf has that same designation which is what the last “F” stands for. It’s because this skinny leaf can fit through the smallest sieves during the leaf sorting process. Amazing, huh?

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This tea is grown in the Ratnapura district, located in southern Sri Lanka. I’ve read that this district is the home of gem mining as well as a crossroads where hill country and plains come together. This tea is processed at a factory supporting 6,000 small landholders and their families. You can read more about it here. So, this tea is named after the place that processes the tea not the tea garden.

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What a gorgeous color!

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

The aroma of the dry leaf is that classic smell that everyone thinks of as the “tea smell”. For me, it brings back comforting memories of my Mom making me tea when I was a child.

The flavor is rich and full-bodied, like an Assam, but with that classic brightness tang of a Ceylon. The tang fills my mouth and lingers on even after I take a sip. There is a thickness to the tea liquor that reminds me of dark chocolate.  This tea would definitely stand up well to milk and sweetener.

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As I drink the last few sips from my teacup, I look forward to an afternoon spent in my garden, planting marigold, cosmos, dahlia and daisies. Tomorrow I’m going to go see the new Star Trek movie in IMAX, an event I’ve been excitedly awaiting for months. Have a wonderful week and enjoy your tea!

“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” ~Marcel Proust

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Saturday Morning Tea

Good morning, dear tea friends! I’m running off to take my granddaughter, Ella, to her dance class so today I leave you with a re-post from the very beginning of this year, when the icy winds were blowing outside and I was cozy inside enjoying a cup of white tea.

See you next week!

Happy New Year, dear friends! A brand new year always fills me up with feelings of hope and excitement for new adventures. So, let us sit down together and continue our adventures in tea, shall we?

This morning I’m enjoying a delicate white tea in my cup, from the Adam’s Peak estate in the Dimbula district on the island of Sri Lanka (Ceylon). A rare tea composed of the new tips of the tea bush. To preserve their unique style, this tea is entirely hand processed and dried in sunlight. I wrote about a previous lot of this tea here.

I steeped the tea in 160 degree F water for 4 minutes. Guidelines suggest 170 degree F water but I wanted to see what flavor would be revealed in the slightly cooler water.

As I lifted the infuser from my glass teapot, I caught the faint whiff of flowers from the wet leaf.

The wet leaf reminds me of small swords, probably the influence of my rapt immersion in the world of the Seven Kingdoms lately. If you haven’t read George R.R. Martin’s tale of the Game of Thrones, I highly recommend it.

More swords…but I digress from our talk of tea…

The pale straw-colored tea liquor is delicate yet quite flavorful with pronounced notes of sweet, ripe melon and the faint whisper of floral hints.

This is a simply exquisite white tea which shows us tea in its most natural and least processed state, so incredibly different from the dark tones of a more familiar Ceylon black tea.

Refreshing and soothing to the spirit while the cold winter winds blow outside.

“And now let us welcome the New Year

Full of things that have never been.”  ~Rainer Maria Rilke

Saturday Morning Tea

Good morning, dear tea friends! The tea that I’m drinking this morning is so smooth that I’m already on my second cup in a matter of minutes. Grown at the Nildiya Valley estate in the Matara District of southernmost Sri Lanka, this black tea is the perfect example of an Orange Pekoe, or OP, tea.

Contrary to what the name implies, it is not a flavor but a term used to designate the leaf grade of the tea, in this case, a whole leaf tea. This leaf grading term is typically used in black teas from India and Sri Lanka.

You can see the rolled whole leaf clearly in the photo above of the wet leaf.

I steeped the leaf for 5 minutes in boiling point (212F) water. This tea is so smooth that I think the steeping time could be pushed another minute or two, especially if you’re adding milk.

The fragrance of sweet raisins drifted up from my glass teapot as I poured my first cup.

The dark-amber tea liquor flows like silk over my tongue. As the tea cooled, a hint of fruit was revealed along with a light toasty note.

Summer is hanging on here in New England with warm, humid weather. I’m enjoying it as much as I can because I always find it challenging to give up those warm, lazy, hazy days. Soon it’s time to sharpen those pencils and get to work!

Speaking of getting to work, I just signed up for this online course with the fabulous Susan Lomuto, creator of Daily Art Muse and art curator extraordinaire. Susan will teach us how to create a website to showcase our artwork. With a full-time job and so little free time, I was hesitant at first but then I listened to that small voice inside and took the plunge. This is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time – improve and expand my online presence and even start selling my jewelry again. This past year has been quite challenging personally and has led me on a journey of looking at what is really important in my life. I’ve been working hard on letting go of negative experiences of the past and moving forward with my art. I’m looking forward to discovering what the future holds!

As always, thanks for taking the time to visit and share a cup of tea with me. Until next week, dear friends…

“Just don’t give up trying to do what you really want to do. Where there is love and inspiration, I don’t think you can go wrong.”

~Ella Fitzgerald

Saturday Morning Tea

Good morning, dear tea friends! It’s great to be back here with you, enjoying a cup of tea again. Today’s tea is of the spider leaf variety, a Ceylon black tea from the Tea Bank estate, located in the Ruhuna district, on the southern end of the island of Sri Lanka. Spider leaf, or spider leg teas, are so named because of their long twisted shape.

Tea growing in Sri Lanka was started in the late 1800s by a Scottish gentleman by the name of James Taylor. Up until that time, coffee was the number one crop until a rust fungus killed the majority of coffee plants. Starting with a basic tea cultivation knowledge learned in Northern India and 19 acres of land, he soon turned a small business into a very successful one, selling his tea for the first time at the London auction by 1873.

I steeped the tea for 4 minutes in boiling point (212F) water. Usually, I find this Ceylon black leaf style to exhibit characteristics more reminiscent of a China black tea, however, this particular tea definitely smells and tastes like a Ceylon.

Its deep amber liquor has a light cedar-y aroma which is present in the taste. The flavor is very smooth and rich with just a whisper of caramel and raisin. I drank it plain, however, it would stand up very well to milk and sweetener with a longer steep time.

We’re experiencing another wave of heat this weekend, with temps approaching 90. I personally don’t mind the heat. It’s the humidity that I find hardest to tolerate. So, I’ve got all of the fans going – ceiling, window and one directly on me to stay cool while I venture into my studio for an afternoon of play.

Have a great week!

“Synchronicity holds the promise that if we will change within, the patterns in our outer life will change also.” 

~Jean Shinoda Bolen, Author and Wise Woman

Saturday Morning Tea

Hello again, my dear tea friends! This week I’ve stepped off the first flush Darjeeling path for just a bit, in fact, completely off the caffeine path, and am enjoying an herbal infusion in my cup this morning. I’ve recently noted that it’s been awhile since I’ve shared an herbal with you and wanted to do that. This particular selection is an herbal which I have shared with you before, however, in iced tea form. Today I’m enjoying it prepared hot.

Hello again South African Green Rooibos Superior Organic.

South African Rooibos is a bush grown in the Cedarberg mountain region of South Africa. The leaves are harvested and processed much like the tea plant, creating both “green” and “red” Rooibos. The Afrikaans word Rooibos means “red bush”. When the leaves are allowed to oxidize (similar to black tea), they turn a beautiful reddish brown. Left in an unoxidized state, the leaves are variegated flecks of light olive, yellow and brown.

Even though it is “green”, you can steep it in boiling point water (212F). I steeped the leaves for 8 minutes. It’s very forgiving and doesn’t become bitter if left to steep too long. The wet leaf looks much like the dry leaf – small, chopped up needle-like pieces.

The infusion steeps up to a beautiful amber. The aroma and flavor remind me of a very mild Ceylon black tea. Very smooth and sweet yet brisk and flavorful with hints of toast. This is a fabulous choice for those tea lovers looking for a caffeine-free infusion that tastes like tea. It’s not exact but the similarities are definitely there.

This Rooibos is my current favorite for the evening and, just between you and I, it’s perfect for dunking cookies. 😉

As always, thanks for stopping by and have a wonderful week!

“What you love is a sign from your higher self of what you are to do.”

~Sanaya Roman, Writer

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

Happy New Year, dear friends! A brand new year always fills me up with feelings of hope and excitement for new adventures. So, let us sit down together and continue our adventures in tea, shall we?

This morning I’m enjoying a delicate white tea in my cup, from the Adam’s Peak estate in the Dimbula district on the island of Sri Lanka (Ceylon). A rare tea composed of the new tips of the tea bush. To preserve their unique style, this tea is entirely hand processed and dried in sunlight. I wrote about a previous lot of this tea here.

I steeped the tea in 160 degree F water for 4 minutes. Guidelines suggest 170 degree F water but I wanted to see what flavor would be revealed in the slightly cooler water.

As I lifted the infuser from my glass teapot, I caught the faint whiff of flowers from the wet leaf.

The wet leaf reminds me of small swords, probably the influence of my rapt immersion in the world of the Seven Kingdoms lately. If you haven’t read George R.R. Martin’s tale of the Game of Thrones, I highly recommend it.

More swords…but I digress from our talk of tea…

The pale straw-colored tea liquor is delicate yet quite flavorful with pronounced notes of sweet, ripe melon and the faint whisper of floral hints.

This is a simply exquisite white tea which shows us tea in its most natural and least processed state, so incredibly different from the dark tones of a more familiar Ceylon black tea.

Refreshing and soothing to the spirit while the cold winter winds blow outside.

“And now let us welcome the New Year

Full of things that have never been.”  ~Rainer Maria Rilke