Saturday Morning Tea on Sunday

banaspatyassamdry112308

This week we’ve experienced January weather with temps down into the high teens at night and a slight rise to the 20s during the day. Brrrrrr. A cold wind has swept all of the remaining leaves from the trees so I gaze out upon a stark, winter-like landscape as I sip my morning tea, a dark, rich Assam from the Banaspaty estate.

banaspatyassamwet112308The tea leaves are fully oxidized, giving the wet leaf a deep mahogany color. When I first opened my tea packet, I was treated to a darkly sweet, malty aroma with hints of fruit. This tea has been cultivated organically at the Banaspaty tea estate, located in the heart of the Assam Valley in northeastern India. Fair Trade certification has given estate workers the opportunity to establish a wide range of social initiatives such as a scholarship fund so their children may attend school and a local pharmacy that helps raise the standard of their healthcare.

Here is an interesting 1850 engraving showing the stages of Assam tea production.

assamteaproduction1850

banaspatyassamteapot112308The russet tea liquor glows like a rich jewel in my glass teapot. A strong malty aroma wafts up as I remove the lid to pour my first cup of the day. This tea is very full-bodied with a malty flavor and characteristic Assam astringency. To smooth out the astringency, I add a dollop of milk to my cup after a few sips. Even though I will add a little milk to most full-bodied black teas such as Assams, Ceylons and China blacks, I like to taste the tea plain first so I can detect some of the subtle flavor notes. This tea has a hint of fruitiness which I had originally detected in the dry leaf aroma.

banaspatyassamteacup112308I have a confession to make. I have developed quite a fondness for Social tea biscuits lately, especially for dunking in my milk laced black teas. I am discovering that there is an art to how long to leave the biscuit in the tea. Too short and the biscuit is still hard, too long and it falls in your teacup (oh my!). So, I have been working on my timing to achieve the right melt in your mouth softness to my biscuit.

My jewelry show yesterday went very well and I had a lot of fun. I caught up with old friends, made some new ones and sold a bunch of jewelry. My primary observation is that these challenging economic times have caused shoppers to be more discerning with their choices, with most looking in the lower end of the price range spectrum. I sold mostly earrings in the $5-$30 range and a few bracelets in the $40-$50 range. I didn’t sell any necklaces, including the faux jade chokers I created a couple of weeks ago. I have been considering opening an Etsy shop for awhile now and this just might be the right time to do it.

What is your Etsy experience?