Saturday Morning Tea

Hello again, my dear tea friends! This morning’s tea is a very special treat, in fact, I was only able to obtain 2 1/2 grams of it because so little was produced. I’ve mentioned the ancient tea forests in China’s Yunnan province before. This tea was produced from ancient tea trees located in the Wuyi Mountain Eco-Reserve. The Wuyi mountain range runs along the northern border of Fujian province in China. The mountain range acts as a barrier to the cold air coming in from the northwest. Warm moist air coming in from the sea creates a climate with high humidity and rainfall so the area is enveloped in fog most of the time. It’s an ideal climate for growing tea.

So, without any further ado, I introduce you to Pre-Chingming Ancient Forest Bohea tea.

This tea was harvested before the festival of Qingming (Chingming), usually celebrated on the 15th day from the Spring Equinox. Any teas harvested before that date are referred to as Pre-Chingming teas. In other words, harvested in very early spring. I reviewed a Pre-Chingming green tea about a month ago here. This Bohea tea is a black tea.

I steeped the leaves for 5 minutes in boiling point (212F) water.

The whole leaves after steeping have an interesting aroma of wet stones. I’ve read that this is because of the high mineral content of the soil in which the tea trees grow in. It is referred to as “Yan”, or rock, flavor. I know that doesn’t sound too appealing but it is a very fresh, slightly green, almost toasty quality which I find quite appealing.

The deep amber tea liquor is velvety smooth and quite complex with notes of rock and earth, a rich sweetness, a whisper of vegetal and a hint of cinnamon which lingers into the finish.

This is a tea unlike any tea I’ve had before.

I know it’s quite an expensive selection but I encourage anyone who is curious to try a sample of this very special black tea. I liken it to having the opportunity to try a very rare wine vintage but, in this case, you don’t have to buy the whole bottle. 😉

Have a wonderful week and enjoy your tea!

“Ritual is the way we carry the presence of the sacred. Ritual is the spark that must not go out.”  ~Christina Baldwin, Writer

Saturday Morning Tea

Taxation without representation.

238 years and one day ago, a group of colonists in Boston made a choice that changed the face of history. They refused to pay tax on tea without fair representation in the government and when the governor refused to allow the tea to be returned to England, they took matters into their own hands by dumping all the tea into Boston Harbor.

Boston Tea Party by Nathaniel Currier

All of the tea thrown into the harbor was from China. The bulk of the shipment was called “Bohea tea”, a common China black tea. John Adams recorded in his diary on December 17, 1773:

“Last Night 3 Cargoes of Bohea Tea were emptied into the Sea. This is the most magnificent Movement of all. There is a Dignity, a Majesty, a Sublimity, in this last Effort of the Patriots, that I greatly admire.

However, true Bohea tea is in a class by itself, being grown and handcrafted in Wuyi Shan (the Bohea Hills) in Fujian Province. So, without any further ado, I introduce you to Bohea Imperial Organic, the tea I’m enjoying in my cup this morning.

The beautifully handcrafted leaf is rather large and twisted. I steeped it for 4 minutes in boiling point (212 F) water.

As I poured the tea into my mug, a Keemun-like burgundy aroma greeted me. I also detected an underlying smokiness which reminded me of Lapsang Souchong.

I love the way the bare winter branches are reflected in the deep amber liquor in my glass teapot.

The flavor is rich and smooth with pronounced flavor notes of burgundy and smoke. This would be a most excellent choice for those wanting a tea a tad less smoky than regular Lapsang Souchong. I think it would also stand up very well to any additions like a splash of milk and pinch of sweetener. It does have its own dark sweetness so I would first try it without.

The holidays are fast approaching and I’m looking forward to celebrating with my family in Michigan. I hope that in this bustling time that you are able to find some quiet peaceful moments with a cherished cup of tea.

“You can have anything you want if you want it desperately enough.  You must want it with an exuberance that erupts through the skin and joins the energy that created the world.”  ~Sheila Graham

Saturday Morning Tea

I just love my little glass teapot.

This morning dawned clear and bright so I ventured out onto our backyard deck with my teapot and my camera. The light is fabulous out there before the sun rises over the trees and the deck becomes bathed in full sun.

My teapot holds a China black tea called Bohea Classic. You can see why Chinese black teas are also called red teas. The liquor is a gorgeous warm reddish brown.

The name Bohea, pronounced bu-i or boo-hee, comes from the name of the hills in Fujian province in China where this tea originated and is grown. I have read that Bohea black tea was created because the Chinese needed a way to preserve the green leaf on its voyage from Canton to London. Thus, they oxidized and dried the leaf more than they had been doing and Bohea black tea was born. It is listed in newspapers and shipping records of the American colonies from the 1700s. You can read more about that here. It was also part of the shipment tossed into Boston Harbor during the famous Boston Tea Party. So, this tea has quite the history.

The leaf is very dark and even colored and has a faint smoky aroma. The liquor has an earthy fragrance and silky smooth full mouth feel with smoky nuances. This would be a good tea for the addition of milk and sweetener as it is very rich and strong. I steeped the leaves for 4 minutes in boiling water but you could steep them longer. I have never experienced a China black tea turning bitter from oversteeping. Another bonus if you don’t use a timer and get lost in a project while you’re making tea!

The color of the liquor matches the clay in my tea bowl. Time to go sit on the deck and enjoy another cup…

A good neighbor, even in this,

Is fatal sometimes, cuts your morning up

To mince-meat of the very smallest talk,

Then helps to sugar her Bohea at night

With your reputation.

-Elizabeth Barrett Browning

“Aurora Leigh”, Book 4