Saturday Morning Tea

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Hello friends! It’s wonderful to be back, sharing a cup of tea with you again. It seems that while I have been away in New Mexico, Fall has arrived on our doorstep and established itself here in New England.

While in Taos, I purchased a lovely lotus plate to display my tea leaves. The color reminds me of melted caramel, all ready to drizzle on a crisp red apple. Mmmm…

This morning I am sipping a cup of China green tea called Dong Yang Dong Bei.  The intact leaf sets show the fine plucking and meticulous hand crafting that takes place during its processing.

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The tea is grown at approximately 2500 feet above sea level in Dong Yang county in Zhejiang Province in China. It is picked in the spring months of April and May right as the tea bushes are coming out of their winter dormancy.

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I steeped the leaf for 3 minutes in 180 degree F water. As I lifted the lid of my teapot to remove the steeping basket, a delicate, floral aroma greeted me. As you can see, the tea liquor is quite pale.

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The first word that came to mind as I poured my first cup was “soft”.

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Everything about this tea is so soft – the color, the aroma, the taste. It is the kind of tea that brings you fully into the present moment to enjoy its wonderfully delicate qualities. I detected sweet and floral in the flavor notes. As there is only a whisper of vegetal quality, this would be a perfect tea for those tea lovers who don’t especially enjoy a pronounced vegetal (green) flavor.

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After being constantly on the go during my 10-day vacation and then returning to work the day after my evening return, today is a good day for resting, relaxing and enjoying a gentle cup of tea. Or two. Or three.

Stay tuned, dear friends, for tales of my Taos journey…

There are only two ways to live your life.  One is as though nothing is a miracle.  The other is as though everything is a miracle.

~Albert Einstein

Saturday Morning Tea

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Wow, we made it through the month of February! Time is marching on and we are poised to enter the month when Spring officially starts. Hoo-ray!

There are already small signs of Spring’s imminent arrival.

It’s light out when I rise at 6am every morning.

Where there was once a hushed silence there is now birdsong here and there.

When I go outside, the air feels softer, milder.

Yesterday I saw the tip of a hyacinth gently nudging its way up through the earth.

People are smiling more…

This morning’s tea is a China green called Sparrow’s Tongue Lung Ching. Grown in Zhejiang province, its name comes from its resemblance to bird beaks.

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This little beak is closed for the moment. The leaf is a fine plucking of the first 2 leaves and a bud at the tip of each tea bush stem, the new tender growth. It is minimally processed so the leaf retains its original appearance. It looks freshly plucked, a beautiful spring green.

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Lung Ching tea is a popular green tea from China. You can read more about it in one of my previous posts here.

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I steeped the leaves for 3 minutes in 180 degree F water. The aroma is very clean, fresh and light. The tea liquor is a pale muted yellow with a smooth vegetal taste. There’s something about this tea that is very calming.

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Can you see the whisper of steam rising from my teabowl? I love its speckled glazing. It reminds me of the speckling on a birds egg.

As I gently sip my tea, I listen to a CD called “Silk and Bamboo”, an ensemble by harpist Patricia Spero and flautist Tim Wheater. Here is the description from the CD cover:

“Silk and Bamboo brings together the meditative sounds of the traditional silk strings of the Chinese Harp or Cheng and the wonderful sounds of bamboo and wooden flutes.”

The achingly beautiful sounds of the harp and flute weaving their magic together is lovely to listen to while sipping this gentle green tea.

A moment of serenity after a busy week…

Saturday Morning Tea

While the woods outside my window are swelling with green, the weather remains cool and cloudy, much like April days instead of May days. As I listen to the sweet song of a robin in the early morning quiet, I am sipping a cup of a China green tea called Xia Zhou Bi Feng. Produced high in the mountains of Hubei province, the full leaves have been rolled into thin strands. Hubei province’s rich, fertile hills and mountains are ideal for growing tea.

I steeped the leaves in 180 degree F water for 3 minutes. While some of the leaves uncurled a little, most remained curled in their originally processed state. Their color reflects the beautiful spring green of our trees. The liquor is a very pale brownish olive green with a distinct vegetal aroma.

The liquor has a pronounced tangy astringency to it reminiscent of a Japanese green. However, that is where the similarity ends because it is also sweet with that sweetness lingering in the aftertaste.

Mmmmm, time for another cup!

Saturday Morning Tea on Friday

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I’m in Michigan visiting family this weekend so my tea post is a day early. I’m using my Dad’s laptop and I absolutely love it.  Note to self: purchase a laptop this year!

This morning I am sipping a cup of Tai Ping Hou Kui, a China green tea, and gazing out at the 4 inches of snow that fell over night.  Even though the sun is shining brightly on the sparkling snowfall, winter is not over here in the Detroit metro area.  Back home in Massachusetts, I think the forecast was for more springlike weather, rain and temps in the 40s.

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The long hand-crafted leaf is amazingly intact. After steeping the leaves for 3 minutes with 180 degree F water, I found a leaf set with 4 leaves attached. The aroma is fresh and mildly vegetal and the liquor feels surprisingly thick and full in my mouth even though the taste is mild and sweet.  This tea was first produced at the beginning of the 20th century by a venerable Tea Master.  Its name translates to Great Green Monkey King and it is produced in An Hui province.  The criss-cross pattern on the leaves is stamped from the cloth used to press and flatten the leaf.  The fine crafting and care in its processing is apparent in its beautiful appearance and taste.

Yesterday, my Mom (who is an avid needlepointer and knitter) and I visited a fiber arts shop in Macomb, MI, called Crafty Lady Trio.  We purchased some scrumptious wool and silk yarn, Mom to knit a scarf and I to try my hand at a felted bowl pattern I found in the book One Skein by Leigh Radford. I have visions of colorful felted bowls filled with beads adorning my new studio!  I’ll post photos of the yarn, along with some rubber stamps I purchased for my next mosaicon, when I return from my trip.