Saturday Morning Tea

I know that I’ve mentioned this before but if someone asked me the question – what’s your favorite tea? – I would have to be honest and admit it. Darjeelings have a special place in my heart. What is it about them, you might ask, that puts them at the top of my list? Well, there are so many wonderful characteristics but I would have to say that it’s their fragrance that transports me to another place. A quiet, calm place. To me, tea is more than just its flavor. It is an experience and a Darjeeling definitely fulfills that for me.

So, without further ado, this morning’s tea is a Darjeeling from the Arya estate and is called Ruby. A gem of a cuppa, for sure.

As you can see, the leaves are much larger than an average Darjeeling. They are plucked from specially grown clonal tea bushes and carefully processed by hand to ensure their leaf remains intact and the flavor is developed.

I used twice the amount of tea I usually spoon into my glass teapot and steeped the leaves for 3 1/2 minutes in boiling point water.

Just think – this leaf started its life in another part of this world. A land of towering, majestic mountains and a climate that nurtures its careful growth into something unique that produces a delicious brew.

It is said that the Arya estate was started by a group of Buddhist monks who carefully developed their tea plants from some seeds brought over from China. I reviewed another Arya Ruby several years ago on a snowy day in early spring. You can read that review here.

A customer told me this past week that he loves Darjeelings for their beautiful amber color. I agree!

A pronounced fruity, grape aroma wafts up as I pour my first cup.

The fruitiness carries on into the flavor with rich notes of muscatel. This tea is a second flush harvest, picked in the summertime. With each sip, I’m transported to a warm, sunny time where swollen, ripe fruit are just ready to be picked. Mmmmm…

Today I’m attending a holiday concert where a good friend is performing with her harp. I can’t think of anything better to get into the spirit of the season than to close my eyes and settle into the lovely angelic strains of harp music.

What are you doing to get into the spirit of this holiday season?

“Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.” ~Francis P. Church

Saturday Morning Tea

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This morning I am indulging in a cup of another brand new first flush Darjeeling. This one is from the Arya estate. I wrote a little bit about the origins of this tea garden here.

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I steeped the leaves for 3 minutes in 212 degree F (boiling) water. The leaves revealed their spring nature and the liquor bloomed into a delicate amber color.

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The aroma is so fresh that it reminds me of mint.

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The taste is clear and bright with that almost ripe fruity quality. Sometimes I catch hints of banana.

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I am enjoying my cuppa with some Irish Soda Bread cookies. I made them for our International Food Day at work yesterday. I found the recipe here. I substituted raisins for currants and made my buttermilk by mixing 1/2 T. of fresh lemon juice into 1/2 cup of milk. The caraway seeds give them such an interesting flavor.

Today is Art Day with 2 dear friends, a whole day devoted to creating art and chatting, chatting, chatting. Oh yes, a wonderful pasta and salad lunch is planned and I’m bringing strawberries and cream for dessert.

Time to pack up my art supplies!

The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched.  Thet must be felt with the heart.

~Helen Keller

Saturday Morning Tea

I think I mentioned this before but one of the experiences I love the most about springtime besides all of the colorful blooms, is the arrival of the first flush Darjeelings. This morning I am sipping a cup of Arya estate Aroma Darjeeling. The Arya tea garden is located in the Darjeeling district in northeast India. I wrote a little about its history in a former post. To me, its name even conjures up images of a fairytale kingdom high in the misty mountains.

I was so excited to find this intact large leaf in my cup. The color and quality of the leaf is outstanding. The amber colored liquor smells like delicate fruit and flowers and its taste fills my mouth with a slight hint of sweet bananas and other tropical fruits. A heavenly treat to start out the long holiday weekend.

Today I am attending my polymer clay guild meeting where I will try and get some work done on my March journal page. “Try” is the key word here as I will probably be visiting and sharing with my fellow guild members for the first few hours! A veritable gab fest, if you know what I mean. I’ll post a photo soon of the progress I make today on my page.