Saturday Morning Tea

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Between work and visiting with my granddaughter, this past week has flown by. The almost daily rain pattern has finally left us and it’s felt more like summer these days. The air was even quite brisk this morning when I got up, a reminder that summer is winding down towards the fall. Even though August is a rich month full of color and harvest, it always makes me feel a little bit wistful.

This morning’s tea is quite the treat – a very high grade of Oolong Extra Fancy tea from Taiwan. Its leaf is very large and twisted, all processed by hand. After steeping, many of the leaves unfurl to reveal a whole, intact structure. This style is often referred to as “Champagne Oolong” and I can see why.

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Using 190 degree F water, I steeped the leaves for 4 1/2 minutes. Because the leaf is so large, I used 3 generous teaspoons for my small teapot.

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My oldest son gave me this beautiful leather journal. Isn’t it yummy? I love to write down my daily thoughts as I sip my tea.

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My glass teapot glows like an amber jewel in the early morning light. A light floral aroma drifts up, sweetening the cool air.

As I slowly sip from my cup, I taste juicy ripe peaches, warm in the sun, and a honeyed wine note fills my senses. Mmmmm…

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I invite you to read about other Oolong teas I’ve enjoyed and reviewed here.

This weekend I hope to get more granddaughter time in before they return home on Tuesday. I think that this picture from our zoo trip yesterday says it all – one joyful gramma!

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“If a child is to keep his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement and mystery of the world we live in.”

~Rachel Carson

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Saturday Morning Tea

What a marvelous day – warm, not too humid with brilliant sunshine. Here in New England this past week, we’ve had some wild weather, including a couple of tornadoes that touched down in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. We experienced vivid lightning, crashing thunder and torrential downpours like I saw when I traveled to the Hawaiian rainforest. On our walk last night, we collected quite a few branches that had been knocked down. They’ll make great kindling for our fireplace once they’re dried out and seasoned. With all of this fire energy flying about, I decided to try a new type of tea for me – a smoky tea. I know that there are a lot of Lapsang Souchong fans out there but, alas, I am not one of them. That said, this tea has always intrigued me and I keep searching for one that I will enjoy. At my company, it is one of our best selling types of tea. I’m not reviewing a Lapsang this morning. Not yet. I have one in mind for an August review. This morning I am sipping a Formosa Oolong called Heavy-Baked Tie-Guan-Yin.

The full leaf is first processed as a Jade Oolong which is a slightly oxidized leaf. Still considered an Oolong tea, it is much more green in character than other Oolongs. This is because the leaf is allowed to oxidize only a little bit, approximately 10%, give or take. Some other Oolongs are oxidized 40-50%, giving them a much darker flavor and fuller body. I looked back on my tea archives and was surprised to discover that I haven’t reviewed a Jade Oolong yet. I’ll do that in August, too. I did review a Spring Dragon Oolong, another “greener” Oolong.

Once this tea is processed as a Jade Oolong, it is then roasted to give it a much different flavor. As you can see, the leaf is so very dark. In the processing, the leaf rolls up into little bundles which then release their shape a little during the steeping. I steeped the leaves for 4 minutes in 190 degree F filtered water.

The liquor is a deep reddish brown with a smoky aroma that has hints of tobacco. The taste is sweet and smoky but not overly so. For me, the smokiness is at just the right level. The full-bodied taste would probably stand up well to milk and sweetener. I am enjoying it plain.

Today is the perfect day for enjoying my tea out on our backyard deck. So, I will go sit and relax and work on a jewelry project. I have to set all of my other projects aside for the day and work on creating some jewelry to match a white and gold dress I have because tomorrow…………

My youngest son is getting married!