Saturday Morning Tea

Good morning, dear tea friends! I’m back from my Michigan trip and am happy to sit down and share another delicious cup of tea with you again. It’s been a very busy week and I need to slow down, take a deep breath and enjoy some meditative time with a cuppa. Why don’t you join me?

My favorite tea for contemplation is white tea. In my teapot this morning is a China white called Organic Pai Mu Tan Supreme. The silvery buds reflect the uniform gray sky hanging over this misty, spring morning.

This tea’s plucking order is the new leaf shoot, or bud, plus the top 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.

I steeped the leaves for 3 minutes in 180F water.

A common question is: “what’s the difference between green tea and white tea?” The difference is in the processing of the leaves. 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. This processing contributes to a more herbaceous and much less vegetal flavor.

As I pour the golden wheat-colored liquor into my cup, I detect a honeyed fruit fragrance in the aroma. I look forward to my first sip.

My first sip reveals a very smooth, sweet flavor, with notes of fresh melon and a soft toasty hint. I breath in the fragrance and sip oh so slowly. Slowing down and slipping into the moment allows me to unwind my knotted thoughts and let them float away like the steam from my cup.

Enjoy your next cup.

“Mindfulness practice means that we commit fully in each moment to be present; inviting ourselves to interface with this moment in full awareness, with the intention to embody as best we can an orientation of calmness, mindfulness, and equanimity right here and right now.” 

~Jon Kabat-Zinn

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Saturday Morning Tea

Oh my, where did the morning go to?

I started out the day by indulging in a sleep in, getting 3 hours extra sleep than normal. Very decadent, I know. It’s the perfect day for it though – gray and dreary with heavy rain and wind. A day you want to stay under the covers a little longer.

I felt like something lighter this morning so I brewed a pot of Pai Mu Tan, an organic white tea from China. The least processed of all the teas, you can still see the downy white hairs on the leaf. Also known as Bai Mu Tan tea which literally translates to “white peony”.

I have read that the plucking rules for this tea are very strict. It is only allowed to be picked between mid-March and mid-April and only when it is dry out. No rain, no dew, no frost on the ground.

The epitome of spring in a cup of tea.

As you can see, it is a fine plucking, meaning the top two leaves and the bud. The tender leaves remind me of what is starting to peek out of the soil here in New England. Soon the crocuses will begin the blooming parade of color.

I steeped the leaves for 3 minutes in 180 degree F water. The pale gold liquor is delicate and sweet with a bloom of fruity notes in the flavor.

I am often surprised when people say that white tea has no flavor. Yes, the taste is delicate but I find it full of complexity and flavor. The expectations are not the same as those for a black or Oolong tea.

Amazing how they all come from the same plant though. It’s like people. All of us are born with the same parts, we breathe, we eat, we have blood flowing through our bodies. What happens after that, our experiences and how we respond to them contributes to what makes us different.

I love the color of this teabowl. The white tea is so pale that it shows the beautiful green color of my bowl.

What tea is in your cup this weekend?

“Nature is ever at work building and pulling down, creating and destroying, keeping everything whirling and flowing, allowing no rest but in rhythmical motion, chasing everything in endless song out of one beautiful form into another.” ~John Muir