Saturday Morning Tea

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Good morning, dear tea friends! Happy New Year to you! We welcome a new tea year, too, with the harvests – Pre-Chingming, first flush Darjeeling, and more – only a few months away. I hold onto that hope of spring and new growth as I gaze out my window at the first snowflakes of a Nor’easter snowstorm making its way up the coast to us. It’s a good time to cozy inside with a pot of delicious tea, which is just what I’m doing. I’d like to introduce you to a green tea from China, called Fujian Green Snow Buds, the perfect tea name for today.

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The beautifully hand processed leaves have a goodly portion of downy tea buds. Located on the southeastern China coast, Fujian province is well known as a big tea producer. A heavily forested, mountainous environment with a subtropical climate makes it ideal for tea growing.

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I steeped the leaves for 3 minutes in 180F water. A savory aroma wafted up from the leaves as they released their flavor to the water.

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The light golden wheat colored liquor has a sweet, herbaceous fragrance, inviting me to take my first sip. The cup is delicate and buttery smooth with a lovely sweetness that envelops the flavor. I found notes of melon predominant, enhanced by a touch of honey.

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Today is a good day for a movie marathon with my knitting and a continuously filled pot of tea. Until next time, enjoy your tea!

“Snow was falling,
so much like stars
filling the dark trees
that one could easily imagine
its reason for being was nothing more
than prettiness.”

~Mary Oliver

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Saturday Morning Tea

Good morning, dear tea friends! This is the time of year when new lots of China teas arrive, one of them being a favorite of mine called Pi Lo Chun Bao Wei, a green tea. Please enjoy my review of this tea from last November and then next week I’ll review the new lot to see how the two compare. Enjoy your week!

I’ve returned from my trip to New Mexico and am glad to be here, sharing a cup of tea with you once again. As promised, today I am brewing up a pot of Chinese green tea called Pi Lo Chun Bao Wei.

Pi Lo Chun, or Green Snail Spring, is a well-known China green tea from Jiangsu province. Its distinct spiral leaf shape is created during the firing step of its processing. After the fresh leaf is plucked, usually in the morning, it is brought to the factory in either baskets or cloth pouches to protect the leaf and allow for air circulation. Once at the factory, the leaf is spread out on floor mats to air-dry and reduce the moisture content of the leaf.

As Pi Lo Chun leaf must be manipulated during the next step, the firing step, it is placed in short, round metal drums which are placed over a heat source. A gentle twist and roll motion of the hand as heat is applied coaxes the leaf into its characteristic shape, resembling a tiny fiddlehead fern shape. In fixing the leaf into a specific shape, its chi, or energy, remains fixed in the leaf until the moment of steeping when it is released into the cup of tea.

I steeped the leaves for 3 minutes in 180 degree F water. The pale golden liquor gives off a distinctly sweet aroma.

As I take my first sip, a pronounced licorice/anise flavor note surprises me in its intensity. It mellows out as my tea cools revealing a light floral note of honeysuckle. As I usually find a Pi Lo Chun to have fruity notes, this is quite unique. And yummy. Interestingly enough, there are no vegetal notes in this green tea.

As the days shorten and the nights wrap us in a longer, darker cloak, I find myself turning inward in solitude and reflecting upon the year that is flowing towards its end. I find my center and a measure of comfort in the following enduring prayer.

All shall be well,

And all shall be well,

And all manner of things shall be well.

~Dame Julian of Norwich, a 13th century English mystic

Saturday Morning Tea

This morning I was all set up to do a new tea review and as I went to snap my first photo, my camera’s battery died. No problem, I have another so I changed batteries only to discover that battery was dead, too! So, it appears that the universe is giving me a message today so I’ll share a post from my archives. Enjoy and have a great week!

Even though we are on the cusp of autumn and the temps are dropping rapidly here in New England, especially at night, I’m still in the mood for a light tea.

I introduce you to Huangshan Mao Feng Supreme, a beautiful, spring harvest Chinese green tea. Perhaps springtime in a cup can banish away the gloominess I feel on this dark, cloudy day.

The leaf is from a very fine plucking and careful processing resulting in an amazingly intact leaf set. I loved watching the leaves dance in my glass teapot as they infused.

Just the tips, the very new growth, are plucked to create this special tea.

I have read that Huangshan is another name for Mount Huang, located in the Anhui province of China. It’s a place of  granite peaks, hot springs and beautiful sunsets and sunrises. An optical phenomenon known as Buddha’s Light occurs a couple times a month there with the sunrise. Sounds like an amazing place.

This tea is quite pale in color with a vegetal whisper in the aroma.

I chose this particular teabowl because the pale liquor allows me to see the beautiful texture inside the bowl. The flavor is light yet fills my mouth with its soft, fruity sweetness. Mmmm….

As I sip my tea, I watch the gray blanket of sky and contemplate the seasonal changes to come. My cup of springtime seems to hold back the thickening clouds as it releases the scent of new growth with every sip.

“Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love.” ~Rainer Maria Rilke

Saturday Morning Tea

I’m still anxiously awaiting the arrival of this year’s first flush Darjeeling teas, as I know I’ve mentioned many times before, one of my favorite times of year. Still not here yet though. There’s been some political upheaval in Darjeeling that resulted in a strike of the workers. So, the first flush season has experienced some ups and downs. I’ve heard that tea is being plucked and processed once again but the first flush season is just about over now. I’m hoping to be able to enjoy a cup by the end of April.

All that said, we were very pleasantly surprised by the arrival of some Pre-Chingming teas from China yesterday. So, in my cup this morning, a Pre-Chingming Pi Lo Chun.

Just look at that fresh, gorgeous leaf!

Chingming, or Qingming, is a festival in China, usually celebrated on the 15th day from the Spring Equinox, or April 5th. It is a day for going outside to enjoy the return of greenery and tend to the graves of departed loved ones. So, Pre-Chingming refers to the tea being plucked before this festival time.

I steeped the leaf for 3 minutes in 180 degree F water. The delicately spiraled leaf shapes unfurled to reveal their spring green glory. Pi Lo Chun tea is one of the most famous types of green tea produced in China. I’ve written about it before here. This tea is from Fujian province.

Because of its very early plucking, the tea is quite delicate, the straw-colored liquor resembling the color of a white tea. The aroma and flavor are light, fresh and vegetal but not overly so. With my first sip, I detected a hint of smokiness that vanished as the tea cooled.

I am giving this early 2011 tea a place of honor in my Hawaiian teabowl. So smooth, so refreshing, so sweetly delicate.

This beautiful spring weekend will be spent walking on the bike path and hiking in the woods. I love getting out into nature at this time of year to smell the fresh air and celebrate all the little shoots peeking up out of the soil. So far, clumps of sunny yellow crocus and one lone daffodil are blooming out in my garden.

What’s blooming in your life?

“Smells are surer than sights and sounds

to make heartstrings crack.” ~Rudyard Kipling

Saturday Morning Tea

Good morning, dear tea friends! I’ve returned from my trip to New Mexico and am glad to be here, sharing a cup of tea with you once again. As promised, today I am brewing up a pot of Chinese green tea called Pi Lo Chun Bao Wei.

Pi Lo Chun, or Green Snail Spring, is a well-known China green tea from Jiangsu province. Its distinct spiral leaf shape is created during the firing step of its processing. After the fresh leaf is plucked, usually in the morning, it is brought to the factory in either baskets or cloth pouches to protect the leaf and allow for air circulation. Once at the factory, the leaf is spread out on floor mats to air-dry and reduce the moisture content of the leaf.

As Pi Lo Chun leaf must be manipulated during the next step, the firing step, it is placed in short, round metal drums which are placed over a heat source. A gentle twist and roll motion of the hand as heat is applied coaxes the leaf into its characteristic shape, resembling a tiny fiddlehead fern shape. In fixing the leaf into a specific shape, its chi, or energy, remains fixed in the leaf until the moment of steeping when it is released into the cup of tea.

I steeped the leaves for 3 minutes in 180 degree F water. The pale golden liquor gives off a distinctly sweet aroma.

As I take my first sip, a pronounced licorice/anise flavor note surprises me in its intensity. It mellows out as my tea cools revealing a light floral note of honeysuckle. As I usually find a Pi Lo Chun to have fruity notes, this is quite unique. And yummy. Interestingly enough, there are no vegetal notes in this green tea.

As the days shorten and the nights wrap us in a longer, darker cloak, I find myself turning inward in solitude and reflecting upon the year that is flowing towards its end. I find my center and a measure of comfort in the following enduring prayer.

All shall be well,

And all shall be well,

And all manner of things shall be well.

~Dame Julian of Norwich, a 13th century English mystic

Saturday Morning Tea

I was up quite early today for a Saturday. The day dawned bright and clear and as I sipped my tea, I thought of that fateful day 9 years ago. Another beautiful, clear September morning that turned dark and sad as the events of the day unfolded.

I raise my teacup and dedicate my thoughts today in memory of all those lives lost that day…

I’m sipping a China green tea called Jade Cloud Mist. Harvested in the spring in An Hui province, the leaf is exquisite.

The leaf is a very fine plucking of the new growth found at the tips of the tea plant stems.

Simply gorgeous.

I steeped the leaves for 3 minutes in 180 degree F water. A pronounced vegetal aroma wafted up from my glass teapot as I poured my first cup.

Even though the tea liquor is a very pale sage green, the mouth feel is very full and buttery smooth with light notes of asparagus.

A sweetness lingers with every sip.

So pale, so light, yet so very flavorful. A real treat for those who cherish their green tea.

Today I am journeying down to the coast of Rhode Island for a gathering of artist friends. Fabulous food, wonderful conversation, creative energy…the perfect day…

“…to go into yourself and see how deep the place is from which your life flows…….perhaps you will discover that you are called to be an artist….” ~Rainer Maria Rilke

Saturday Morning Tea

Here in New England, we’re in the midst of an arctic blast with temps in the teens and howling winds making it feel like the air is below zero when you step outside. Brrrr… I’m grateful to be tucked away in my little nook with a steaming mug of green tea to warm my hands and my spirit.

This morning’s tea is called, interestingly enough, Lonely Mountain White Mist. Of course I chose this tea for its poetic name, conjuring images of a faraway land with tea bushes gracing a mountainside.

This tea comes from a fine plucking (top 2 leaves and a bud) of tea bushes grown in Fujian Province located in southeastern China. Traditionally described as “eight parts mountain, one part water, and one part farmland”, its climate is very suitable for tea growing with over 1200 tea plantations scattered throughout the province. So, our image of the mountainside is right on.

I steeped the leaves for 3 minutes in 180 degree water. As I gently lift the lid of my glass teapot, the pale golden liquor imparts a fresh, clean aroma. Is spring almost here?

The tea is so pale that I can see the texture in my hand crafted teabowl. If I could choose one word for this tea it would be

sweet

A sweetness that swirls and lingers through the asparagus notes and right on into the finish. So smooth…

As I mentioned in my last post, I am itching to play with my beads in a free-form way so today I will journey into the world of bead soups, mixing colorful bowls full of beady goodness.

You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.”

~Maya Angelou

What are you creating this weekend?