Saturday Morning Tea

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Good morning, dear tea friends! It’s a quiet, gray-sky day, a good day for sitting with a cup of tea, and remembering those fallen on that fateful day 15 years ago tomorrow. I have my favorite tea for contemplation, a white tea from China, this selection called Jinggu Spring Buds.

Located in the Pu-Erh prefecture in Yunnan province, Jinggu County has a subtropical, monsoon climate with steep, high mountains, ideal for tea growing. This tea is made up entirely of tender spring tea buds. Beautiful.

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I steeped the buds for 3 minutes in water a little under 180F.

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The aroma is soft and delicate with a toasty, nutty fragrance.

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The tea liquor is the color of winter wheat.

I stop and pay attention as I take my first sip. Let the tea sit quietly in my mouth for a moment. Let the flavor reveal itself.

It’s light and smooth, silky in the mouth feel. First, I taste a toasty herbaceousness. Next, a nutty hint. The finish imparts a suggestion of green melon but it’s fleeting, doesn’t linger. The toastiness does linger.

As the tea cools, a honey-like sweetness grows, suggesting the possibility of a lovely iced tea.

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After a quiet morning spent with my tea, I’m spending the afternoon with my grandchildren today. I love seeing the world through their eyes as we play games and laugh and eat ice cream.

Have a great couple of weeks enjoying many cups of tea!

“No day shall erase you from the memory of time.” ~Virgil

Saturday Morning Tea

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Good morning, dear tea friends! I love this spring time of year when I can throw open my windows to the sweet smelling breezes that bring in a chorus of birdsong. This morning I’m enjoying a cup of white tea called White Needle. It’s from the early Pre-Chingming harvest in China.

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This tea is all silvery-sage downy tea buds that have been dried in the sun.

I steeped the buds for 3 minutes in 180F water. A delicate aroma of flowers drifted up from my glass teapot.

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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 (around April 5th). Any teas harvested before that date are referred to as Pre-Chingming teas. In other words, harvested in very early spring.

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The tea liquor is silky smooth and very sweet with notes of honeydew melon and a clean, refreshing pine essence. The flavor is delicate and mellow. A tea of contemplation.

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My tea graces one of my favorite tea bowls, the one my dear friend, Dave, brought back from Hawaii years ago.

Today I’m going to a local ice cream place that makes handmade micro-batches. Yum! Have a great weekend and enjoy your tea!

“Be still, while the music rises above us; the deep enchantment

Towers, like a forest of singing leaves and birds,

Built, for an instant, by the heart’s troubled beating,

Beyond all power of words.”

~Conrad Aiken, At a Concert of Music

Saturday Morning Tea

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Good morning and Happy New Year, dear tea friends! I hope everyone had a lovely holiday season. I’m feeling full of hope, with a generous dollop of joy thrown in, as we start this brand new year. How about you?

A China white tea, called Pai Mu Tan Special Grade Organic, graces my cup this morning. Its plucking is of the new leaf shoot, or bud, plus the top two leaves. Pai Mu Tan, or Bai Mudan, translates to “white peony,” some say because of the shape of the leaves, others because of its fragrance.

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Many folks ask, “what is the difference between a green tea and a white tea?” After all, look at the leaf in the photo above. It’s green, right? Well, it’s all in the processing of the leaf. Whereas green tea leaves are heated up pretty much right away, whether steamed or pan fried, for example, to halt the oxidation of the leaf, white tea leaves are allowed to wither naturally in the sun, sometimes for several days. So, the leaves aren’t heated to halt oxidation. In fact, after withering, the leaves are piled and allowed to oxidize a little bit before they are baked to dry the leaves out for packing and transport.

I steeped the leaves for 3 minutes in 180F water. A gentle, sweet fragrance wafted up from my glass teapot as the leaves released their flavor into the water.

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The tea liquor is the light golden color of the morning sky right before the sun breaks the horizon.

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A ripe melon note is present in both the aroma and the silky smooth flavor. A lovely tea that’s sweet, fruity and light.

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Bits of down from the white hair on the tea leaf float in my tea bowl.

Outside my window, thick, winter white clouds sprinkle down a fine, damp mist, foretelling of the wind and rain storm expected here tomorrow. It’s a good weekend to stay inside, wrapped in a cozy blanket with a hot cup of tea in hand. I just started a new knitting project I’ll work on, a jasper green cardigan sweater with cables for myself. I love new projects!

“Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. And on a quiet day, if you really listen, you can hear her breathing.”  ~Arundhati Roy

 

Saturday Morning Tea

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Good morning, dear tea friends! As August winds down and we head into the cooler days of September, I’ve chosen a contemplative tea for my cup this morning. I’ve been experiencing a lot of change in my life recently, I’m sure you’ve all known a time like that in your own lives, where everything seems to be happening at once. Anyway, I’ve made a pot of a China white tea called Organic White Silver Needle, to help me slow down and unwind so I can get in touch with that inner place.

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This tea is made up of just unopened leaf buds, the baby growth on the tea bush. The buds undergo a minimal amount of processing and are dried in sunlight.

I steeped the buds for 4 minutes in 180F water.

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Each bud is covered in soft white hairs that give it a silvery appearance. After steeping, the now sleek hairs reveal more detail on the buds.

The aroma is delicate and sweet with a whisper of melon.

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The pale straw-colored tea liquor is light and sweet yet it has a very solid mouth feel. Fruity hints like melon and nutty hints like pistachio glide across my palate in a silky smooth dance.

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This is the perfect tea to enjoy when you need the regular day-to-day to recede for a few special moments by yourself or with a fellow tea lover.

Have a wonderful weekend. See you in two weeks!

Saturday Morning Tea

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Good morning, dear tea friends! The autumnal equinox has come and gone this past week, pushing us into the fall time of year, with its glorious colorful foliage and cooler temperatures. This weekend, however, we’re experiencing warmer temperatures, in the 80s, a lingering taste of summer much welcomed.

I’m feeling very quiet today so I chose a quiet sort of tea, the kind of tea that complements my meditative mood. From the northern mountainous region of Fujian province, this white tea, called Drum Mountain White Pekoe, was grown on a small tea farm nestled in the heart of the mountain.

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From the China Facts Tours website:

“Drum Mountain, an important scenic area in Fuzhou, has enjoyed a long history and reputation. As early as the Jin Dynasty, it was appraised as one of “The Two Matchless Scenic Beauties in Fujian Province.” Lying 8 km southeast of the city on the northern side of the Min River, the beautiful mountain with four peaks nemed Lion, White Cloud, Alms Bowl (of a Buddhis monk) offers over 160 sites of interest, centred by the Gushing Spring Temple (aka Fountain Temple). Since ancient times, men of letters and celebrities vied to visit the place, wrote poems and had their inscriptions carved on rocks, adding to the attraction of the mountain.”

It sounds like a beautiful place.

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

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The tea liquor is of the palest yellow with a whisper of spring green. Its flavor is lightly vegetal and silky smooth with notes of tangerine and flowers. Mmmmm…

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One of the many things I love about tea is its ability to bring my focus into the present moment, to my cup of tea. I gently pick up my tea bowl and cradle it in my hands and just dwell in a peaceful place for awhile.

It’s always a pleasure to share a cup of tea with you. See you in 2 weeks!

“I said to my soul, be still and wait without hope, for hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love, for love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith, but the faith and the love are all in the waiting. Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought: So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.”

~T.S Eliot

 

Saturday Morning Tea

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Good morning, dear tea friends! I’m sharing a new tea with you this week because next Saturday I’m leaving early to go visit a dear friend in her new place up on the north shore in Newburyport, MA. It will feel great to go and breath in the fresh sea air and have a wonderful visit with my friend. On to tea…

This morning’s tea has a unique appearance as it is all tea buds. Harvested in Hunan province in China before April 5th, it is called Pre-Chingming Ya Bao white tea.

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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.

I steeped the Ya Bao buds for 3 minutes in 175 degree F water. As you can see, the buds retain the same appearance after steeping.

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The essence of spring – a new bud just beginning to open.

Can you see the fine downy white hairs on the bud? That’s what gives white tea its name.

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The tea liquor is so pale that it looks like water. It has a fresh melon-y aroma that carries over into its sweet delicate flavor. A vegetal hint lingers into the finish.

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This is the perfect tea for this tea bowl as it reveals the beautiful spiral shape on the inside of the bowl.

As the tea cools, more sweetness comes out. This would taste lovely iced, with a slice of fruit.

Thanks for joining me for a cuppa today. See you in 2 weeks!

“A friend is someone who knows all about you and still loves you.”

~Elbert Hubbard

 

Saturday Morning Tea

White Mao Feng Dry Leaf 10-12-13Good morning, dear tea friends! As I sip my tea and glance out my window, I spy a flock of pigeons wheeling around against a sky of pale gray clouds. The high dome of cloud cover filters and softens the light so the changing fall colors on the trees really pop in fiery tones of red, orange and yellow. I’m not sure where that pigeon flock live. I see them now and again congregating on my neighbor’s high pitched roof.

This morning’s tea is from the Hunan province of China, a white tea called Organic China Mao Feng White tea. My first experience with a Mao Feng (translates to Hairy Mountain, hairy referring to the downy white hairs on the leaf) leaf was with a green tea and then with a black tea. Traditionally, Mao Feng, which refers to the large leaf’s processing and shape, was always processed as a green tea but is now being produced in black and white tea as well.

White Mao Feng Steep 10-12-13 I steeped the leaf for 4 minutes in 180F water. Because of the enormous size, I used approximately 2-3 teaspoons per cup in my glass teapot. It’s challenging to measure out tea leaf this big with a spoon so I pinch it and estimate. A tea scale would come in very handy with this tea. It’s on my wish list!

White Mao Feng Wet Leaf 10-12-13This particular leaf is a great example of how it’s twisted during processing. The length of the leaf, its twisted shape and the downy white hairs all contribute to its unique Mao Feng designation.

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The tea liquor is a light golden color with a wonderful fruity aroma. I detected honeydew melon notes with my first sip and, as I sipped some more, the flavor progressed with some delicate peachy notes. The pronounced fruity flavor lingers long into the finish.

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The tea is light enough to show the interesting cracks in one of my favorite handmade bowls.

With the cool, cloudy weather outside, it’s the perfect afternoon to curl up with a good story and a big pot of tea. Have a great week!

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

~C.S. Lewis