Saturday Morning Tea

PiLoChunDry101015

Good morning, dear tea friends! Since we last shared a cup of tea together, I’ve moved again. This is my fourth move in a little over a decade. Moving does seem to be a part of my life’s path, and I’m trying my best to embrace it. Again. That’s a story for another time, however. Today’s story is about a well-known and well-loved tea from China, a green tea called Pi Lo Chun Imperial.

The name Pi Lo Chun translates to “green snail spring”, so named because the leaf is rolled into spiral shapes resembling snail shells. I have read that they roll the leaf this way to retain its freshness.

PiLoChunSteep101015

I steeped the leaves for 3 minutes in 180F water. The water turned murky as the silvery dust released from the tippy leaf.

As I lifted the infuser from my glass teapot, a sweet, vegetal fragrance was released.

PiLoChunWet101015

The leaves were loosely rolled so steeping released them into their original leaf bud shape.

PiLoChunTeapot101015

The golden yellow tea liquor has a fresh buttery mouth feel with notes of sweet melon and flowers and sea-grassy vegetal hints.

PiLoChunTeaBowl101015

As I sip my tea, I gaze out the window at the colorful autumn leaves swaying in the breeze and think about change. The change of seasons. The changes in one’s life. The change from a spiral shaped leaf to a delicious cup of tea.

Thanks for your patience with my sporadic tea posts as I get used to this newest change in my life. Enjoy your tea!

 

Saturday Morning Tea

PCMGreenNeedleOrgDryLeaf Good morning, dear tea friends! It’s a glorious spring day today, and I enjoyed sitting outside in the morning sunshine sipping my tea. In my cup is a Pre-Chingming tea from China, a green tea called Pre-Chingming Green Needle Organic. PCMGreenNeedleOrgSteep052315 As I’ve shared with you before, Pre-Chingming teas are harvested before the festival of Qingming (Chingming), usually celebrated on the 15th day from the Spring Equinox. Any teas harvested before that date are referred to as Pre-Chingming teas. In other words, harvested in very early spring. PCMGreenNeedleOrgWetLeaf052315 This tea is aptly named as the leaves do look like long, thin needles. I steeped the leaves for 3 minutes in 180F water. PCMGreenNeedleOrgTeapot052315 The tea liquor is a beautiful spring green color. The aroma is sweet and lightly vegetal, like a whisper of sweet baby peas. PCMGreenNeedleOrgTeaBowl052315 The flavor is complex, meaning there are multiple layers of flavor notes that intermingle in a very pleasing way. I taste light sweet corn as well as a faint fruity hint, like apricot. The liquor is smooth and leaves a buttery feeling on my tongue. There’s a quick tang in the finish. A lovely tea to slowly sip and enjoy on a beautiful spring morning. I wish everyone a great Memorial Day weekend filled with lots of relaxation and fun.  See you in two weeks!

Saturday Morning Tea

Yunnan Silver Tip Dry Leaf 11-22-14

Good morning, dear tea friends! We’ve experienced our first below freezing weather this past week, cold enough for me to pull out my down coat. Of course, nothing like what the poor folks in Buffalo are experiencing right now. My thoughts and prayers go out to them as they dig out of all of that snow.

In my cup this morning is a green tea from China, called Yunnan Silver Tip Mao Feng.

Yunnan Silver Tip Steep 11-22-14

As you can see, the Mao Feng leaf is threaded with a plethora of silver tips (new growth). It brings a taste of spring with its fresh, light dry leaf aroma.

Yunnan Silver Tip Wet 11-22-14

Located in the southwest corner of China, Yunnan province has a long and venerable history of tea growing. There are quite a few native tea trees growing wild in the forests there. A 1,700-year-old wild tea tree, called the king of the tea trees, was found growing in the rainforest. Discovered in 1961, it is 105 feet tall! That kind of age is hard to wrap my head around, wow.

Yunnan Silver Tip Teapot 11-22-14

A green vegetal aroma, like fresh peas, wafted up from my glass teapot as the leaves steeped for 3 minutes in the 180F water.

As the pale golden tea liquor cooled, a fragrance of ripe apricots revealed itself in the aroma. The flavor is clean and light, with a slight citrus tang, and gentle, fruity notes of peach and apricot, which linger long into the finish.

Yunnan Silver Tip Tea Bowl 11-22-14

My tea bowl from Hawaii is perfect for showing off the delicate color of this tea. Whenever I bring this tea bowl out, I remember my dearest best friend who generously gifted it to me. Hawaii was one of his most favorite places on earth.

As we enter Thanksgiving week, I would like to express my deep gratitude for all of my dear tea friends who come and visit here. Thank you all for being there and sharing a cup of tea with me. Happy Thanksgiving!

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

~Marcel Proust

 

Saturday Morning Tea

Huangshan Mao Feng Dry Leaf 09-13-14

Good morning, dear tea friends! I’m back from Michigan and happy to share another cup of tea with you. Today’s tea is a green tea from An Hui province in China. It’s called Huangshan Mao Feng.

The Mao Feng (translates to “Hairy Mountain” or “Fur Peak”) leaf style is long and wiry, created by twisting the leaves during processing. I have read that Huangshan is another name for Mount Huang, located in An Hui province. It’s a place of  granite peaks, hot springs and beautiful sunsets and sunrises. An optical phenomenon known as Buddha’s Light occurs a couple times a month there with the sunrise. Sounds like an amazing place.

Huangshan Mao Feng Steep 09-13-14

These huge leaves are always tricky to measure so I usually take a pinch rather than use a measuring teaspoon. I used a couple of pinches per cup and steeped for 3 minutes in 180F water.

Huangshan Mao Feng Wet Leaf 09-13-14

You can really see the twisting of the leaf in this photo after steeping. Beautiful.

Huangshan Mao Feng Teapot 09-13-14

The aroma has a distinctive fresh floral note, like walking through a spring garden after it rains. The pale greenish hay-colored liquor is smooth and light with a harmonious blend of  flavors – floral like lilacs, vegetal like fresh peas and a whiff of pipe tobacco in the finish.

Huangshan Mao Feng Tea Glass 09-13-14

I am absolutely in love with our new tea glass. Even though the tea is hot, the glass is cooler to the touch because of the double walls. The tea looks like it’s floating on air, so lovely and elegant. I’m imagining a cupping with these glasses lined up so you can enjoy the beautiful colors of a range of different teas. I love color!

The day started off without a cloud in the azure sky but now a bank of billowing gray clouds have moved in, bringing with them some much needed rain for my garden. It’s a perfect day to stay inside and curl up with a good book. I’m reading a great fantasy story, called The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. What book can’t you put down these days? Tea and books go so well together, don’t you think?

See you in 2 weeks!

“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me. ”

~C.S. Lewis

 

Saturday Morning Tea

Saemidori Sencha Dry Leaf 08-09-14

Good morning, dear tea friends! It’s great to be back and share a cup of tea with you. My vacation to Michigan was restful and restorative, very welcome after the challenging times of this past spring. As I gaze out my window, I see the lush green world of high summer. Rich, ripe vegetables are being harvested.  Flower gardens are vibrant with hot color. My morning tea reflects this colorful time of year with its own bright green color. A spring harvested first flush Sencha from Kagoshima prefecture in Japan, it’s called Sencha Saemidori Superior.

Saemidori refers to the specific cultivar (tea plant variety) this tea comes from. Developed and created in the 1960s from two other cultivars, it gained recognition in 1990 when it was added to the official Japanese tea cultivar list.

Saemidori Sencha Steep 08-09-14

When this tea was processed, it was deep steamed to stop the oxidation of the leaf and keep it green. That deep steaming helps the leaf to retain an intense green color, a dark lustrous green dry leaf and a rich kelly green wet leaf.

I steeped the leaf for 3 minutes in 175F water in my new glass teapot.

Saemidori Sencha Wet Leaf 08-09-14

The wet leaf smells like freshly steamed spinach.

Saemidori Sencha Teapot 08-09-14

While this tea has a beautiful leaf, what I think is most distinctive about it is its intense spring green tea liquor. My photo doesn’t do it justice. It’s even greener than that. Some customers ask for a green tea that is a true green color when steeped. Most green teas steep up more of a yellow or brown color than green. The deep steaming helps to retain a true green color in the liquor, too. What do you think?

The aroma in my cup is of fresh steamed vegetables, like broccoli, and sweet seagrass.

Saemidori Sencha Tea Mug 08-09-14

The flavor is fresh and sweet and smooth as silk with only a hint of tang that doesn’t linger. The notes of vegetables and seagrass are there but much more subtle than the notes in its aroma. As I drink this tea, my body feels lighter and more alive as if its “greenness” is permeating every cell. For those of you looking for a green tea for health, this is a great selection, I think.

Thanks for stopping by to share a cuppa with me. Have a great tea-filled couple of weeks!

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, Mad in Pursuit

 

 

Saturday Morning Tea

Qing Zhen Dry Leaf 06-21-14

Good morning, dear tea friends! Today dawned cool and bright with low humidity (thank goodness!), the perfect first day of summer here in New England. In keeping with the theme of my last few posts, I’ve brewed up another Pre-Chingming tea this morning, a green tea from Hunan province. It’s called Qing Zhen, which translates to “dark green needles.” As you can see from my photo, it’s the perfect name for this tea leaf. For you GoT fans, I’m reminded of Arya’s sword.

Qing Zhen Steep 06-21-14

I steeped the tea needles for 3 minutes in 180F water. A whisper of flower fragrance drifted up from my glass teapot as the tea steeped.

Qing Zhen Wet Leaf 06-21-14

The wet needles have a sweet, softly vegetal aroma with an underlying hint of tobacco.

Qing Zhen Teapot 06-21-14

The tea liquor sparkles a pale yellow in the morning light. The flavor is fairly robust with notes of sweet tobacco and a faint hint of melon. There’s a slight nuance of fruitiness in the finish, which lingers for quite awhile in my mouth.

Qing Zhen Tea Bowl 06-21-14

The gentle breeze coming in my window is abuzz with the sounds of lawn mowers and weed wackers as my neighbors tend to their landscapes. I myself am headed out into my garden soon to see what new blooms have opened in the sunshine. Have a lovely tea-filled weekend, my dear friends. I’ll be back in two weeks!

“The festival of the summer solstice speaks of love and light, of freedom and generosity of spirit. It is a beautiful time of year where vibrant flowers whisper to us with scented breath, forests and woodlands hang heavy in the summer’s heat and our souls become enchanted with midsummer magic.”  ~Carole Carlton

 

 

Saturday Morning Tea

SpringHarvestSenchaDry01191

Good morning, dear tea friends! As the wind howls outside my windows, I dream of spring and those thoughts have led me to my morning tea – a Japanese green tea called Spring Harvest Sencha. This tea is a rare treat as a tea of this high grade is usually not exported outside of Japan.

SpringHarvestSenchaSteep011

As the name suggests, it is a spring harvest, like a first flush Darjeeling. The most well known Japanese green tea is Sencha, which is harvested after Shincha, the very first tea of the spring. With each subsequent harvest, the tea becomes stronger and darker with leaves of lesser quality and price. The exceptional quality of this tea shows that it was an earlier harvest.

SpringHarvestSenchaWet01191

Japanese teas are recognizable by their grassy, needle-like shape. The shape is attained by sending the leaf through a series of rolling machines. Paddles move the tea back and forth over metal ridges while heat is applied so the leaf is slowly formed into its needle shape.

I steeped the leaf for 2 minutes in 175 degree F water. Some Japanese tea lovers will use a lower temp and steeping time when preparing their tea. I have found that this works best for my taste.

SpringHarvestSenchaTeapot01

The tea liquor is a pale spring green with a delicate vegetal aroma. The flavor is quite sweet and light with only a whisper of a vegetal note. I usually find Japanese green teas to be much more vegetal tasting than this tea is.

SpringHarvestSenchaTeamug01

This tea allows me to show off my new Cherry Blossom mug, a wonderful birthday gift from my lovely daughter. It came with a ceramic infuser basket but I don’t really see myself using that basket as the holes are much too large.

I’ve been fighting off a virus this week, which has left me feeling tired and washed out. I feel refreshed and rejuvenated after several cups of this wonderful tea.

As always, thanks for stopping by and sharing a cuppa with me!

“If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.”

~Anne Bradstreet