Saturday Morning Tea

Marinyn Est Kenya Dry Leaf 080313

Good morning, dear tea friends! I’m continuing my exploration of African black teas this morning with a visit to Kenya, the Marinyn Estate, to be exact. This tea has some nice tip mixed in with the leaf, as you can see in my photo above. The tip is the newest growth on the tea plant and is covered by tiny white hairs.

Tea has been grown in Kenya for 110 years, however, it wasn’t until 1924 when the crop was commercialized, leading this country to be the third largest tea producer in the world today, behind China and India. The land has the ideal climate for tea growing – long sunny days with well distributed rainfall and rich red volcanic soil.

Marinyn Est Kenya Steep 080313

I steeped the leaf for 4 minutes in boiling point water.

Marinyn Est Kenya Wet Leaf 080313

I found a tiny leaf tip as well as a larger leaf that had been rolled. As the leaf steeped these rolled leaves unfurled to reveal a set of accordion pleats. The leaf is rolled during the tea processing to release its volatile oils for flavor.

Marinyn Est Kenya in Teapot 080313

The tea liquor is a rich, medium-amber color with a mellow aroma and a hint of tang. The flavor is smooth and well-balanced with light sweet malty notes. I enjoyed the tea plain in my cup but I think that it would stand up well to a light addition of milk and sweetener.

Marinyn Est Kenya in Teamug 080313

This is one of my favorite teamugs, given to me by my daughter, Aimee. I love the way the glaze drips down the side of the mug like rain upon a window. Beautiful color!

The skies are starting to cloud up, a great day for taking photos outside in my garden. The perennial hibiscus are blooming in gorgeous colors of mulberry and pale pink. What do you have planned this weekend?

Thanks for stopping by and sharing a cuppa with me.  Have a wonderful week!

“There is something in the nature of tea that leads us into a world of quiet contemplation of life.”

~Lin Yutang, The Importance of Living

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Saturday Morning Tea

LupondeEstDry072713

Good morning, dear tea friends! I’ve been told that this season has not been a very good one for Indian teas, Darjeelings and Assams alike. So, I decided that I would expand my horizons and start exploring the African teas, which I’ve been told are excellent this year, at reasonable prices. I’d like to introduce you to a black tea from the country of Tanzania – Luponde Estate GFOP Organic.

LupondeEstSteep072713

I quote from the Luponde website:

“The Luponde Tea Estate is one of the oldest organic tea estates in the world and the climate is perfect for growing tender leaves and flowers which are handpicked, bringing you the highest quality single estate teas. The estate is situated in the stunning Livingstonia Mountains in Southern Tanzania and at an altitude of 7,000 feet. Tea was first planted on the estate in 1954 and today covers 2,212 hectares. There are 730 hectares of planted tea, of which 401 are organic and there are currently 20 hectares of herbal plants. The estate produces on average 2 million kilograms of black tea a year and the majority of this is tea bag grade. The Luponde estate is the only steady source of income for the people who live in this area and in peak season 80 kilograms of wet leaf will be picked per day by one person.”

You may read more about this tea estate here.

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I steeped the leaf for 4 minutes in boiling point (212F) water. The aroma of the brewing leaves was of a lemony freshness, portending its crisp flavor.

LupondeEstTeapot072713

Look at that gorgeous deep amber color! Magnificent.

The smooth flavor is well balanced with notes of lemon and cedar.  If you like a more pronounced briskness, steep the leaves for 5 minutes. Fair warning though. We recently did that at work and one of my colleagues remarked that it tasted like he was licking a cedar block. Oh my.

This tea would make a wonderful iced tea. Its flavor reminds me of a high quality Ceylon black tea.

LupondeEstTeacup072713

On this beautiful summer day, I’ve captured a puffy white cloud in my teacup.

Have a wonderful week!

“So fine was the morning except for a streak of wind here and there that the sea and sky looked all one fabric, as if sails were stuck high up in the sky, or the clouds had dropped down into the sea.”

~Virginia Woolf, To The Lighthouse