Saturday Morning Tea

Good morning, dear tea friends! My morning tea is an Assam from the Mangalam estate, however, after I took all of my photos and inserted the card into my computer, it couldn’t read the card! Oh dear. When I inserted it back into my camera, it said that the card was damaged. So, change of plans this morning. One of my favorite herbal teas is Ginger Root so I’ll rerun my review of it. I’ll be back as soon as I get a new card for my camera. Enjoy!

My morning tea today is not a tea at all but an herbal which has a long history of many uses worldwide: culinary, medicinal and as a delicacy. The dried root of the ginger plant also makes a wonderfully spicy beverage when infused!

Technically known as the rhizome of the ginger plant, Zingiber officinale, this was grown in the Jinxuan Province of China. Ginger cultivation began in China and Southeast Asia and then spread to other parts of the world such as the Caribbean and Africa.

Its characteristic odor and taste comes from the volatile oils found in the root.

I steeped the ginger pieces for 8 minutes in boiling water. As it brewed, the water became cloudy, giving my glass teapot a mysterious, underwater appearance.

The aroma of the infused “tea” is fresh and spicy. Sometimes, herbals can be confused with real tea which comes from the camellia sinensis plant. Just like tea, each herbal comes from its own specific plant. Almost all herbals, not tea, are caffeine free.

The frosty, lemon-colored liquor tastes quite zesty with tart notes of lemon. Ginger “tea” is often used to soothe nausea and motion sickness. I am enjoying it for its delicious flavor.

Ginger has a distinctive warming quality to it, making it perfect for sipping on a cold winter’s day. That said, its warmth also has a refreshing quality that is cooling me down on this hot, muggy morning.

Try adding a splash of infused ginger to your next glass of iced tea and spice it up!

“In the sacred traditions, the first thing you do in the morning is ask for blessings from the four elements: earth, air, fire, and water. Because all of the work you are going to do that day will change the universe.”

~Laura Esquivel, Writer

Saturday Morning Tea

Good morning! I apologize for not having a new tea review for all of you today. A dear friend of mine has been in the ICU all week and I am headed into Boston to be with him. Please enjoy this tea review from last fall and I’ll be with you all next week to share a review of a new first flush Assam from the Amgoorie estate. Thanks for understanding, dear tea friends.

I was up quite early today for a Saturday. The day dawned bright and clear and as I sipped my tea, I thought of that fateful day 9 years ago. Another beautiful, clear September morning that turned dark and sad as the events of the day unfolded.

I raise my teacup and dedicate my thoughts today in memory of all those lives lost that day…

I’m sipping a China green tea called Jade Cloud Mist. Harvested in the spring in An Hui province, the leaf is exquisite.

The leaf is a very fine plucking of the new growth found at the tips of the tea plant stems.

Simply gorgeous.

I steeped the leaves for 3 minutes in 180 degree F water. A pronounced vegetal aroma wafted up from my glass teapot as I poured my first cup.

Even though the tea liquor is a very pale sage green, the mouth feel is very full and buttery smooth with light notes of asparagus.

A sweetness lingers with every sip.

So pale, so light, yet so very flavorful. A real treat for those who cherish their green tea.

“…to go into yourself and see how deep the place is from which your life flows…….perhaps you will discover that you are called to be an artist….” ~Rainer Maria Rilke

Saturday Morning Tea

Good morning! Enjoy this “oldie but goodie” tea post on a wonderful and unique white tea from Assam. See you next week, dear tea friends, when I share a brand new Assam tea review.

For my morning tea on this bright spring morning, I’ve chosen an Assam tea. Wait a minute, you might be saying as you look at my photo, that doesn’t look like an Assam tea at all! That’s because it is a white Assam. Located in northeast India, Assam is most noted for its full-bodied, rich black teas. This unique white tea is from the Mothola estate.

I have read that this tea estate was flooded back in the 60s when the banks of the Brahmaputra river eroded and water swept through the estate. Through the combined efforts of the workers and management, they were able to restore 1000 acres to grow tea once again.

This tea is meticulously crafted using only the tips of the Assamica variety of the Camellia Sinensis tea plant. Native to this lowland region, this variety has large leaves and grows to be a small tree.

When these indigenous tea plants were first identified by Major Robert Bruce around 1823, many believed that they were not capable of producing quality tea as the China variety was. You can read more about that here.

I steeped the leaves for 4 minutes in 180 degree F water. The glowing gold liquor has a distinct malty aroma, immediately identifying it as an Assam tea. However, that’s where the similarity ends.

The flavor is delicate and sweet with complex malty notes. A hint of fruitiness makes a brief appearance across my tongue.

This tea is exquisite and can be compared to a specialty white tea from China. While I do love their white teas, this tea has an extra special something that calls me back for more.

As my hands wrap lightly around my hand-crafted teabowl, I watch the trees dance in the wind outside my window. It’s a perfect day to work in the garden.

Enjoy your weekend!

I wandered lonely as a cloud

that floats on high o’er vales and hills,

when all at once I saw a crowd,

a host of golden daffodils:

beside the lake, beneath the trees,

fluttering and dancing in the breeze….

for oft, when on my couch I lie

in vacant or in pensive mood

they flash upon that inward eye

which is the bliss of solitude;

and then my heart with pleasure fills,

and dances with the daffodils.

~William Wordsworth

Saturday Morning Tea

This morning I’m heading down to Rhode Island for my art guild meeting. Please enjoy my review from last year of a wonderful tea from the Jun Chiyabari estate. I’ll be back next week to review a brand new tea. Happy tea drinking, dear friends!

Jun, “moon”. Chiya, “tea”. Bari, “garden”.

Jun Chiyabari. Moon tea garden.

It conjures up images of an exotic place, filled with lush tea bushes bathed in the dreamy light of a full moon.

Back in 2000, 2 brothers, Bachan and Lochan Gyawali, along with a former schoolmate, manifested their “moon tea garden” dream when they established the Jun Chiyabari tea garden in the hills surrounding the small town of Hile in the eastern Himalayan region of Nepal.

Working with small, local farmers to encourage and support them in keeping ownership of their land for tea cultivation, the team’s primary focus is on quality of leaf not quantity. They pay the farmers top prices for that high quality leaf, with a markup of 50-100%, a direct benefit to this small rural community.

This morning’s tea was grown in this community.

“There is an old saying that ‘tea is made in the garden’ (as opposed to at the factory).  In other words, what is produced in the garden in terms of quality, plucking, etc., will determine the nature of the end product.  We take this very seriously, and from the outset we have put the small farmer at the heart of our project.” ~Bachan Gyawali

In keeping with this philosophy, the Jun Chiyabari team expanded their vision last year with the construction of the Singalila Tea factory nearby in the town of Fikkal, at an altitude of 5,662 feet above sea level. They are constantly educating themselves and their farmers in tea cultivation skills, bio-organic farming including diversity of crops and preservation of forest areas to benefit the environment.

The beautiful amber liquor glows like a jewel in my glass teapot inviting me to pour my first cup.

The cup is quite smooth with sweet, lightly floral notes. I also detect some chestnut notes reminiscent of an Oolong tea. Mmmm…

I look forward to more delicious tea from this visionary team!

Today I’m heading down to E. Bridgewater, MA where my dear friend, Judy, is teaching her Buttons & Bellishments class. I’m looking forward to a fun ART Day!

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”

~Helen Keller

Saturday Morning Tea

Remember my post several weeks ago where I revealed that I once didn’t like green tea? Well, there’s another tea that took me awhile to, shall we say, appreciate for its unique quality. A China tea which is processed in a way very different from all other teas. Can you guess what it is?

If you guessed China Pu-erh tea then you are absolutely correct. So, in keeping with my goal of being open to all of the different kinds of teas, this morning I introduce to you China Organic 1st Grade Pu-erh tea.

Because of fermentation during its processing, this is the darkest tea I know. To look at it in my tea bowl, one would almost think that I’m having a cup of coffee instead of tea, it’s that dark. You can read more about this type of tea and its processing here and here.

I steeped the dark brown leaves for 8 minutes in boiling point  (212F) water. The tea liquor got so darkly translucent that I could hardly see the leaves as they steeped.

I’m wondering if any coffee drinkers enjoy Pu-erh tea even though the only thing they really have in common is their dark color. The aroma and flavor are worlds apart. Are you a coffee drinker who enjoys Pu-erh?

The aroma is sweet and reminds me of an autumn walk in the forest and the smell of newly fallen leaves. Very earthy.

The tea liquor is incredibly sweet, like the intense sugars of dried fruit, and silky smooth. There is a Keemun-like burgundy/smoky note but it takes a supporting role to the predominant earthy flavor. This is a tea that you need to approach with absolutely no expectations, set those aside, or comparisons to your other experiences with tea. You may find, as I have, that this is a tea that draws you in with its sweet, dark nature and you want to experience and discover more.

“All you need is deep within you waiting to unfold and reveal itself.  All you have to do is be still and take time to seek for what is within, and you will surely find it.”  ~Eileen Caddy