Saturday Morning Tea

Yunnan FOP Select Dry Leaf 01-10-15

Good morning, dear tea friends, and Happy New Year to you all!

A year just started, all shiny and new, filled with possibility and, of course, many cups of tea.

In my cup this morning is a black tea from Yunnan province in south China. I’m happy to introduce you to Yunnan FOP Select.

As I’ve shared with you before, there are ancient tea trees growing in Yunnan province, one of the places in the world where tea is indigenous. These trees produce enormous leaves with a distinct flavor when processed.

Yunnan FOP Select Steep 01-10-15

Because the leaf is larger on this whole leaf selection, I steeped for 5 minutes in boiling point (212F) water.

Yunnan FOP Select Wet Leaf 01-10-15

I’m enjoying some closeups today. I think that tea leaves tell a story, not the “read your tea leaves” type of story, but a story of where they come from and how they were processed. Look at this leaf. It tells a story of how it was rolled and twisted during processing.

Yunnan FOP Select Teapot 01-10-15

The tea story continues in its aroma and flavor. The deep russet-brown tea liquor has a rich, earthy aroma with a hint of spice and smoke.

Yunnan FOP Select Tea Bowl 01-10-15

The first sip fills my mouth with a thickness reminiscent of very dark chocolate. The flavor is velvety smooth with notes of earth, spice, chocolate and a whisper of lingering smoke. Each sip warms me on this frigid day when temps will barely reach 20 degrees.

Two of my very dear friends are coming to visit me today. I’m looking forward to an afternoon filled with conversation, laughter and tea!

See you in two weeks!

“Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind. “Pooh?” he whispered.
“Yes, Piglet?”
“Nothing,” said Piglet, taking Pooh’s hand. “I just wanted to be sure of you.”

A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

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Saturday Morning Tea

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Hello, my friends. The week has flown by and we are back together sharing another cup of tea.

I awoke very early this morning to the sound of a steady rain persistently tap, tap, tapping at my bedroom windows. As I prepared myself to get up, my sleep fogged brain remembered that it was the weekend and, oh joy, I could indulge in some extra sleep. Don’t you love those kind of mornings, especially when the rain can gently lull you back into your dreams?

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On this gray, drippy morning, I am warming myself with a cup of China black tea called Hubei Province Golden Tips. The profusion of beautiful, golden buds are shown off above on a paint chip called Caribbean Sunset. What do you think of the color?

All of this golden goodness is sure to ward off the dreariness of this sodden day.

Hubei Province is located right in the heart of central China. Its name means “north of the lake”, referring to Lake Dongting, famous for the origin of Dragon boat racing.

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Only the new growth, the tea buds, are plucked to produce this tea. The appearance of the dry leaf reminds me of a golden Yunnan black tea but, after steeping for 4 minutes with boiling point (212 F) water, I discover that the flavor is very different.

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I’ve been pouring over these paint chips trying to decide on a color to paint my new place. I want to be surrounded with warm, bright color.

The aroma of this tea is dark and sweet. As for its flavor, I have one word.

Smoky. Like hickory smoked bacon smoky.

That being said, it does not overwhelm in its smokiness but gently teases and entices you to want to try another cup.

And another. And another.

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Despite, or rather I should say because of, this flavor note, this unique tea has become a fast favorite amongst my colleagues and I and we have been drinking it for our morning tea everyday this past week. It seems strange that my vegetarian nature would enjoy the flavor note that lingers on in my mouth for quite some time like the memory of a haunting melody.

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This is the kind of tea that needs to be savored over a period of time so one can slowly get to know and appreciate it.

I thought that I would be painting my new place this weekend but still, no closing. Hopefully, I will be washing Caribbean Sunset onto my walls very soon. Instead, I will be putting the finishing touches on my Taos shrug. Photos soon!

A Voice Through the Door

Sometimes you hear a voice through

the door calling you, as fish out of

water hear the waves, or a hunting

falcon hears the drum’s come back.

This turning toward what you deeply

love saves you.  Children fill their

shirts with rocks and carry them

around.  We’re not children anymore.

Read the book of your life which has

been given you.  A voice comes to

your soul saying, Lift your foot;

cross over; move into the emptiness

of question and answer and question.

~Rumi