Saturday Morning Tea on Sunday

The weather couldn’t have been better at this time of the year – sunny and near 50 degrees! – for the move yesterday. They’re all moved in and now the unpacking and settling into a new home begins. There’s a lot of moving energy around me these days, including a company move coming up this summer.

I am sipping a cup of green Ceylon tea this morning, from the Idalgashinna estate, located in the Uva province in southeastern Sri Lanka.

Tea growing on the island of Sri Lanka was started in the late 1800s by a Scottish gentleman named James Taylor. Up until that time, coffee was the number one crop on the island until a rust fungus killed the majority of coffee plants. Starting with a basic tea cultivation knowledge learned in Northern India and 19 acres of land, he soon turned a small business into a very successful one, selling his tea for the first time at the London auction by 1873.

As you can see, this particular green tea has quite a large leaf. After steeping for 3 minutes in 180 degree F water, some of the twisted full leaf releases that shape and some stay tight. As I poured my first cup, a distinct vegetal aroma rose from my glass teapot.

A teapot full of sunshine.

The liquor is light and more delicate than other green teas, with a floral note reminiscent of a “green” Oolong. Its brightness, characteristic of Ceylon high grown teas, is revealed as the tea cools.

With deep blue skies and fast moving fluffy clouds, today is the perfect day for a hike into the late winter woods. I like to go every Sunday afternoon for my weekly dose of nature.

As I started down the woodsy path last week, I sensed a gradual awakening that tells me that we are almost at spring’s glorious door.

The fields are snowbound no longer;
There are little blue lakes and flags of tenderest green.
The snow has been caught up into the sky–
So many white clouds–and the blue of the sky is cold.
Now the sun walks in the forest,
He touches the bows and stems with his golden fingers;
They shiver, and wake from slumber.
Over the barren branches he shakes his yellow curls.
Yet is the forest full of the sound of tears….
A wind dances over the fields.
Shrill and clear the sound of her waking laughter,
Yet the little blue lakes tremble
And the flags of tenderest green bend and quiver.

~Very Early Spring by Katherine Mansfield

Saturday Morning Tea

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It’s a wet, misty morning outside that speaks of mystical adventures. I’m almost expecting a unicorn to step out from the line of trees.

I felt like I was in a drippy, green cocoon when I stepped out onto our backyard deck. The trees embrace our backyard world in a protective sway.

This morning’s tea is from the Oliphant tea estate, located in the Nuwara Eliya district on the tropical island of Sri Lanka, better known as Ceylon in the tea world. I have found information that this estate was the first to grow 30 tea plants brought over to the island from China. Sir Anthony Oliphant was a chief justice on the island around the time of his son’s, Laurence Oliphant, birth in 1829. Both men are credited with being the first to grow tea on the island.

Ceylon is well known for its black tea production. Think a “brisk” cup of a well known teabag. However, I have chosen a green tea instead and it is a delight with its large broad leaves and golden yellow tea color.

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At the highest altitude for tea growing on Sri Lanka, the Nuwara Eliya tea growing district is an emerald green world due to its high rainfall.

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The leaf of this tea reminds me of the large leaves found in a China Yunnan tea. Here is one that took on a most interesting shape during processing.

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A duck for a wet day.

The aroma is slightly vegetal with a very smooth flavor with hints of toast and fruit. This would be a perfect green tea for those not enjoying the vegetal quality that a green tea usually posesses.  That quality is extremely light in this tea.

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Today I’m off to an Art Fair with a friend. Hopefully, the sun will peek out this afternoon.

Enjoy the weekend!

Saturday Morning Tea

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When I opened the pouch to inhale the dry leaf aroma of this morning’s tea, I felt like I had just opened a bag of semi-sweet chocolate bits. You know the kind you use to make toll house cookies. I have many wonderful memories of mixing up batches of cookie battah (said in my Mom’s Brooklyn accent) on rainy afternoons and then eating the cookies warm and gooey right out of the oven. It isn’t raining today, in fact, we are having a “January thaw” here in New England with temps climbing into the mid 50s by Tuesday. As with all weather experiences here, it won’t last for long so we will savor the moments of mild springlike temps while we can.

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Dumbara estate Green Curls, this green tea is from the Kandy district of Sri Lanka, known by its old world name of Ceylon in tea company. The dry leaf is a dark green which lightens up to its true color after the leaves are steeped for 3 minutes in 180 degree F water. This would be the perfect green tea for someone wanting to try green tea but unfamiliar with its vegetal notes and light body.

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The liquor looks like a Darjeeling with its gorgeous amber color. The flavor is strong with interesting fruity notes. The vegetal quality is very subtle, unlike a Chinese or Japanese green tea. I wish I had known about this tea the other day when I was talking with a customer who gave her candid opinion of green tea as tasting like “dirty dish water”. Well, I’ve never sampled dirty dish water myself but I think she was probably saying that she thinks green tea is too light for her. As I recall, she was an Assam lover.

So, if you are strictly a black tea lover, this would be a good first choice to start your journey into the green tea category.