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

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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

Saturday Morning Tea

Good morning, dear tea friends! I’m running off to take my granddaughter, Ella, to her dance class so today I leave you with a re-post from the very beginning of this year, when the icy winds were blowing outside and I was cozy inside enjoying a cup of white tea.

See you next week!

Happy New Year, dear friends! A brand new year always fills me up with feelings of hope and excitement for new adventures. So, let us sit down together and continue our adventures in tea, shall we?

This morning I’m enjoying a delicate white tea in my cup, from the Adam’s Peak estate in the Dimbula district on the island of Sri Lanka (Ceylon). A rare tea composed of the new tips of the tea bush. To preserve their unique style, this tea is entirely hand processed and dried in sunlight. I wrote about a previous lot of this tea here.

I steeped the tea in 160 degree F water for 4 minutes. Guidelines suggest 170 degree F water but I wanted to see what flavor would be revealed in the slightly cooler water.

As I lifted the infuser from my glass teapot, I caught the faint whiff of flowers from the wet leaf.

The wet leaf reminds me of small swords, probably the influence of my rapt immersion in the world of the Seven Kingdoms lately. If you haven’t read George R.R. Martin’s tale of the Game of Thrones, I highly recommend it.

More swords…but I digress from our talk of tea…

The pale straw-colored tea liquor is delicate yet quite flavorful with pronounced notes of sweet, ripe melon and the faint whisper of floral hints.

This is a simply exquisite white tea which shows us tea in its most natural and least processed state, so incredibly different from the dark tones of a more familiar Ceylon black tea.

Refreshing and soothing to the spirit while the cold winter winds blow outside.

“And now let us welcome the New Year

Full of things that have never been.”  ~Rainer Maria Rilke

Saturday Morning Tea

Good morning, dear tea friends! As promised, this morning’s tea is a white tea from the Arya estate in Darjeeling, located in northeastern India.

Called Arya Pearl, its processing is as precious as its name. The full leaf sets are plucked at dawn when the dew is still wet on the leaves. After drying in the sun for several hours they are then carefully rolled in silk cloth and then allowed more drying time.

How does this white tea differ from the China Pai Mu Tan I reviewed last week, I wonder?

Aside from the obvious – grown in different countries – I immediately see a difference in the appearance of the leaf. While both teas are composed of the new growth plucking, the Arya Pearl’s leaves appear to be greener whereas the Pai Mu Tan had more of a white-ish appearance because of the abundance of fine white hairs all over the leaves. I don’t see as many white hairs on the Arya Pearl leaf, do you?

The wet leaf is very similar, with the Arya Pearl being a little longer and thinner.

I found the most pronounced difference to be in the flavor of the hot tea. The Arya Pearl has a strong vegetal aroma and flavor when it is hot. That was all I could taste. As the tea cooled down, however, more notes came out, including that sugar cookie note I really like.

I steeped the leaves for 8 minutes in 180F water. If you plan on re-steeping the leaves, you want to reduce the time on that first steeping.

The tea liquor is the same light straw color with a hint of green.

As I enjoy my second cup, the tea has cooled down considerably and I’m discovering some tropical fruity notes.

Tea continues to amaze and delight me in my journey with it. Not only can two teas from the same category taste different from one another but the same tea can exhibit different flavor notes at different temperatures! Have you ever experienced that? If so, I’d love to hear your tea story.

My company is closed this week for our annual vacation. I’ll be heading to Michigan soon to visit with my family so there won’t be a tea post next Saturday. Enjoy your tea and I’ll see you in 2 weeks.

Happy 236th birthday to the USA!

“When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

~first paragraph, Declaration of Independence, 1776

Saturday Morning Tea

Good morning, dear tea friends! This morning’s tea is another Pre-Chingming tea from the Fujian province of China. A white tea called Pre-Chingming Top Pai Mu Tan Organic, 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.

Wow, look at that gorgeous leaf.

Many folks ask, “what is the difference between green tea and 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.

As you can see from the photo above, white tea leaves are handled as minimally as possible so that they remain in the same state as when they’re plucked.

I steeped the leaves for 3 minutes in 175F water. The aroma is light and delicate and smells just like vanilla cookies. That note comes through in the silky smooth flavor as well, along with some nuances of melon. This tea is quite sweet with no vegetal flavor at all.

I love to sip white tea out of this teabowl so I can see the spiral shape within. Do you have a favorite teamug or teabowl?

Next week I’d like to review another white tea but from another country. It’s called Arya Pearl. Can you guess what country it’s from?

Have a wonderful week!

“Your creativity is waiting for you like a dancing partner.”

~Barbara Sher

Saturday Morning Tea

Happy New Year, dear friends! A brand new year always fills me up with feelings of hope and excitement for new adventures. So, let us sit down together and continue our adventures in tea, shall we?

This morning I’m enjoying a delicate white tea in my cup, from the Adam’s Peak estate in the Dimbula district on the island of Sri Lanka (Ceylon). A rare tea composed of the new tips of the tea bush. To preserve their unique style, this tea is entirely hand processed and dried in sunlight. I wrote about a previous lot of this tea here.

I steeped the tea in 160 degree F water for 4 minutes. Guidelines suggest 170 degree F water but I wanted to see what flavor would be revealed in the slightly cooler water.

As I lifted the infuser from my glass teapot, I caught the faint whiff of flowers from the wet leaf.

The wet leaf reminds me of small swords, probably the influence of my rapt immersion in the world of the Seven Kingdoms lately. If you haven’t read George R.R. Martin’s tale of the Game of Thrones, I highly recommend it.

More swords…but I digress from our talk of tea…

The pale straw-colored tea liquor is delicate yet quite flavorful with pronounced notes of sweet, ripe melon and the faint whisper of floral hints.

This is a simply exquisite white tea which shows us tea in its most natural and least processed state, so incredibly different from the dark tones of a more familiar Ceylon black tea.

Refreshing and soothing to the spirit while the cold winter winds blow outside.

“And now let us welcome the New Year

Full of things that have never been.”  ~Rainer Maria Rilke