Saturday Morning Tea

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Now that all of the leaves have been swept off the trees, the weather has turned much quieter, with only the slightest movement of the stark branches that reach up to the deep blue sky.

Today dawned bright and brisk, just like the morning tea I’ve selected to share with you. Kenilworth estate Ceylon is a black tea from one of the best known tea gardens in the Kandy district in Sri Lanka. This 700-acre estate lies in the heart of Ceylon, at about an altitude of 4,000 feet above sea level.

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I’ve made it known before that Ceylon black teas are not among my top favorites. Some are too astringent and not particularly complex for my taste buds. That being said, they can be perfect for an everyday tea because of their reasonable price when compared to Assams and Darjeelings. They also make a fabulous iced tea as well because of their good strength and lemon flavor notes.

This particular tea has interesting complexity, a delightful surprise.

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My backyard deck hovers suspended in the gorgeous amber color of this tea.

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I steeped the leaves for 4 minutes in 212 degree F water (boiling point). As I lifted the lid from my teapot, a tart lemony aroma greeted me.

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The brisk liquor wakes up my mouth to taste the intriguing notes of toast and lemon, cedar and sweet raisin. While this tea is full-bodied enough to enjoy British style with milk, I prefer it plain.

With a corn muffin.

KenilworthBOPTeacup110709This weekend will be spent moving bookcases over to my new home and choosing a marble for the vanity top in my bathroom. Something warm, to go with my copper sink. Originally, I was going to go with a granite top but I much prefer the interesting vein/cracking formations of marble than the “speckly” look of granite. How about striations the color of my tea?

Have a great weekend and happy tea drinking, my friends!

“Tea! thou soft, sober, sage and venerable liquid;- thou female
tongue-running, smile-smoothing, heart-opening, wink-tippling cordial, to whose glorious insipidity I owe the happiest moment of my life, let me fall prostrate”

~Colley Cibber (English actor and playright, 1671-1757)

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Saturday Morning Tea

There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged

to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.

-Nelson Mandela

Have you ever been in a situation where all of a sudden something happens, you are given a new piece of information and then it’s like something clicks into place inside of you and you’re looking at your world with whole new eyes? Well, it’s been that kind of eye opening week for me that has rocked the very foundation of my psyche. The universe is showing me a whole new direction these days. Maybe that is part of turning 50. So, after my week, this morning I decided on a nice strong cup of tea, a Ceylon black from Homadola estate.

This tea is produced in the Ruhuna district of Sri Lanka, an area located in the southwestern tip of the island, with an elevation between sea level and 2,000 feet. Most Ceylons black teas are produced in a higher elevation which gives them a lighter, brisk flavor. Most people are familiar with Ceylon tea in a teabag.

This low growing district produces very strong, dark teas that are usually accented with silver tips. Their flavor reminds me more of a China black than a Ceylon tea. The aroma is very rich and sweet with a slight hint of cocoa. The leaves are large broken pieces, some uncurling after steeping. I brewed this tea in boiling water for 4 minutes. The liquor is very rich and dark with earthy, cocoa notes. It stands up very well to milk or cream.

This tea reminds us to be strong, fill our lives with richness and be grounded in our connection to the earth.

Saturday Morning Tea

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On this cool, rainy almost Spring morning, I am sipping a Ceylon (Sri Lanka) black tea from the Tea Bank estate. The tightly twisted leaves in the “spider leg” style are not characteristic Ceylon nor is the flavor. It reminds me more of a China black tea.

Tea growing in Sri Lanka was started in the late 1800s by a Scottish gentleman by the name of James Taylor. Up until that time, coffee was the number one crop 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.

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Even after a full 5 minute steep in boiling water, the leaves are still tightly curled. The aroma is darkly sweet, like a winey Keemun. The liquor is very dark, almost like black coffee, with rich notes of vanilla and caramel.

This would be an excellent choice for anyone switching from coffee to tea. Time for another cup!