Saturday Morning Tea

Drum Mountain White Dry Leaf 09-27-14

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.

Drum Mountain White Steep 09-27-14

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…

Drum Mountain White Tea Bowl 09-27-14

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

PCM Ya Bao Dry 05-31-14

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.

PCM Ya Bao Steep 05-31-14

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.

PCM Ya Bao Teapot 05-31-14

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.

PCM Ya Bao Tea Bowl 05-31-14

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.

White Mao Feng Teapot 10-12-13

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.

White Mao Feng Teabowl 10-12-13

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

Saturday Morning Tea

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Good morning, dear tea friends! The pollen has been quite high in our area this spring, causing all sorts of allergy symptoms with many I know. Besides the upper respiratory symptoms, it’s really been knocking me out energy-wise so this morning I’m feeling the need for some quiet, restful meditation time with a cup of white tea.

In my cup is a white Darjeeling tea called Victoria’s Peak Estate White Tea.

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This tea was grown in the Victoria’s Peak section of the Steinthal Estate in Darjeeling, located in northeastern India. Even though it was grown in India, it has been entirely hand processed in the style of a Chinese white tea called Yin Zhen Downy White Pekoe. You can read about that China white tea here.

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The leaf is all new growth from the tea plant, the buds, and, since it’s been entirely hand processed, it remains in pristine condition from the day it was plucked. Gorgeous. They remind me of little smiles.

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

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The tea steeps up to a whisper of color in my glass teapot, like a pale winter wheat. The aroma is delicate with wisps of sweet melon.

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The silky smooth flavor has a clean taste with notes of melon and a sweetness like sugar cookie, which becomes more prominent as it cools.

A perfect cuppa to slow down with, to sit with and sip gently. ..

“The mind can go in a thousand directions, but on this beautiful path, I walk in peace. With each step, the wind blows. With each step, a flower blooms.”

~Thich Nhat Hanh

Saturday Morning Tea

SnowBudsSuperiorDry011213

Good morning to you, dear tea friends! I woke up to a misty, foggy world outside, probably the result of warmer temps, called a January thaw. I love a January thaw! It feels so pleasant to go outside and not be assaulted by a sharply cold breeze and instead feel an almost balmy quality to the air. On now to our tea…

In my cup this morning is a delicate, white tea called Snow Buds Superior. Described as a fine plucking processed similarly to a Pai Mu Tan, it has a greater concentration of downy buds, as seen in my photo above. I love how my new lens has captured those fine silvery-white hairs on the leaf, which is what gives white tea its name.

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This leaf is so bold that I used 3 teaspoons in my glass teapot and steeped for 3 minutes in 180 degree F water.

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I imagine small, delicate hands plucking the tea leaf and careful hand-processing, which has resulted in this beautifully intact leaf that has traveled thousands of miles to be in my kitchen.

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The pale, ecru tea liquor has the faintest tinge of green. The aroma is fresh and quite vegetal for a white tea. A light sweetness mellows out the vegetal tang. The cup is delightfully refreshing.

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I love to show off one of my teabowls when I drink a white tea as the pale liquor reveals the beautiful glazing patterns inside. I feel calmer after a gentle tea meditation with a white tea. There’s something about its delicate quality that soothes and comforts. What do you think?

As always, thanks for visiting and I look forward to our next cup of tea together!

“Be like a duck. Calm on the surface, but always paddling like the dickens underneath.”

~Michael Caine