Peace and Joy

On this Christmas morning, I wish you all peace, joy and many cups of delicious tea!

Saturday Morning Tea will return on Saturday, January 8th.

Take care, my dear tea friends!

 

Saturday Morning Tea

A week of settling in. I sit here in one of my straight backed kitchen chairs, looking out onto a robin’s egg sky and ponder how I fit into this new place. My own place. Sometimes I feel like it is not real and I am living in a dream. And I sip my tea…

This morning I crave a tea to wake my mouth (and the rest of me) and chose the best tea for that job, a second flush Darjeeling from The Namring Upper estate. Located in northeast India amidst the majestic, towering Himalayan peaks, this estate is one of the more well known in Darjeeling district. I reviewed last year’s Namring second flush here.

Second flush Darjeelings are harvested in the summer after the leaves have “flushed” back from the first flush (spring) harvest. Usually, the appearance and taste is darker, richer, fuller.

This tea is all that and more.

After spooning the tea into my small glass teapot, I steeped the leaves for 3 minutes in boiling point (212 F) water. I like to use bottled spring water for steeping. I find that gives the most consistent, true taste. The tap water in my town is unreliable for brewing tea.

The aroma is rich and fruity with a taste of ripe muscatel grapes. The finish has notes of wood and nut in a pungent bite that lingers, drawing all of the moisture out of my mouth.

Oooo…this would be marvelous with rich desserts.

While many folks are making resolutions this time of year, there are others who choose a word for the year. A word to guide. A word to contemplate. A word to open awareness. If I had to choose one word for this tea, it would be

rich

Even the color is rich, a dark amber which glows like a precious jewel. Serve this tea with dessert at your next dinner gathering.

Today I am spending the whole day in my new studio, unwrapping the many boxes piled in there and finding a place for each precious art supply.

“There are times to cultivate and create, when you nurture your world and give birth to new ideas and ventures. There are times of flourishing and abundance, when life feels in full bloom, energized and expanding. And there are times of fruition, when things come to an end. They have reached their climax and must be harvested before they begin to fade. And finally of course, there are times that are cold, and cutting and empty, times when the spring of new beginnings seems like a distant dream. Those rhythms in life are natural events. They weave into one another as day follows night, bringing, not messages of hope and fear, but messages of how things are.” ~Chogyam Trungpa

Saturday Morning Tea on Sunday

Well, I scurried around all day yesterday and gathered as many acorns as I could amidst traffic jams filled with many other squirrels doing the exact same thing. And now I sit quietly, cup of tea in hand, watching the snowflakes fall. What a difference a day makes…

On this cold, snowy morning, I’m sipping an Oolong tea from the other side of the world, Thailand.  Called “Gue-Fei” which I have read, interestingly enough, translates to “concubine tea”. It has an interesting story from Taiwan.

In 2000, there was a devastating earthquake on the island of Taiwan and the tea farmers in Luku township concentrated all of their efforts on rebuilding their homes. The tea bushes were neglected and an insect known as a “tea leafhopper” set in and munched on the leaves. When they finally were able to harvest the leaves and process them, they discovered that the leafhopper had activated the plant’s natural defense system which changed the flavor of the leaf, unexpectedly and delightfully yielding a liquor with a distinctive floral, honey-like quality.

Wow, what a silver lining there.

You can read about the history of how tea came to be grown in Thailand here. Not only is Thailand’s terrain and weather very similar to Taiwan, their tea bushes originate from there.

I steeped the leaves for 3 minutes in 190 degree F water. The aroma is lightly floral with sweet notes of honey.

The honeyed color of the tea liquor holds promise of what is to come – rich, sweet, nectar flavor with notes of flower blooms and a light caramel finish.

The white world outside lights up my teabowl as I watch the snowflakes fall and dream…

There is nothing in the world more beautiful than the forest
clothed to its very hollows in snow.
It is the still ecstasy of nature, wherein every spray,
every blade of grass, every spire of reed,
every intricacy of twig, is clad with radiance.

~William Sharp

Happy solstice, dear tea friends!

Saturday Morning Tea

Hello, tea friends!  This morning I am up before the sun to get ready for a day at the Middlesex Community College annual Arts & Crafts Fair in Bedford, MA.  It’s from 10-4 and is filled with handmade items perfect for holiday gift giving.  I am quite partial to the handmade soaps myself. Please come visit if you are in the area!

I invite you to join me for tea tomorrow morning as I will be sipping and reviewing a very unique Earl Grey tea. See you then!