Saturday Morning Tea

Kaimosi Estate Kenya Tea Dry 8-17-13

Good morning, dear tea friends! I’m finishing up my explorations of African black tea with another visit to Kenya. In my cup on this warm summer morning is Kaimosi Estate GFBOP, a broken leaf tea with flecks of tip sprinkled amongst the dark leaf.

Kaimosi Estate Kenya tea Steep 8-17-13

The Kaimosi tea farm, along with 3 other farms, is owned by Williamson Tea. At an altitude of just under 6,000 feet, this 3.2 square mile farm is located in the North Nandi district of Kenya. They started planting tea there in the 1940s and most of the tea harvested today comes from the original plantings.

Kaimosi Estate Kenya Wet Leaf 8-17-13

I steeped the leaves for 4 minutes in boiling point (212F) water.

This tea was plucked in the early morning hours while the dew was still fresh on the leaf. It takes ten days to pluck the whole of the tea farm. Because they sit so close to the Equator where the sun is quite hot, the leaves need to be transported to the factory quickly, where they are dried, withered, rolled and oxidized all within a 30-hour period from picking to cup.

Kaimosi Estate Kenya in Teapot 8-17-13

The other day, I responded to an e-mail from a customer asking for a red tea. I have found that most of the black teas I photograph are varying shades of amber. Even though this tea is also a dark amber color, it comes pretty close to being red that I’ve seen.

It simply glows in my teapot like a rich jewel.

Kaimosi Estate Kenya in Teabowl 8-17-13

The aroma is warm and inviting with a whisper of citrus. The robust flavor reminds me of a smooth Assam, with light malty hints and and nuances of warming spices. At a 4-minute steep, this tea was quite smooth. I believe it could take a longer steep time, 5 or 6 minutes, especially if you’re adding milk and sweetener.

I’m looking forward to going to a painting class with a dear friend tonight. Mixing colors and painting connect with a deep passion I’ve had since I was very young and played with watercolors. It’s one of those activities that makes time stand still and the regular day-to-day world recedes for a little while. A lot of fun!

As always, thanks for stopping by and sharing a cup of tea with me!

“There are painters who transform the sun to a yellow spot, but there are others who with the help of their art and their intelligence, transform a yellow spot into sun”

~Pablo Picasso

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Saturday Morning Tea

I had a wonderful start to my morning today. The phone rang as I was preparing my tea and, as I said hello, I was greeted to a happy birthday song from my parents. My heart smiled as I poured water over the tea leaves. Thanks Mom and Dad. I’m so blessed.

The tea I’ve brewed up this morning is a Kenyan black tea from the Milima tea estate. I’ve found conflicting information regarding this tea estate. Some say that it’s a compendium of 3 tea estates and other information indicates that it really is its own tea estate located in the Kericho Highlands of western Kenya. The Kericho region is where most of the tea is grown in Kenya and it lies west of the Great Rift Valley.

I steeped the leaves for 4 minutes in boiling point (212 F) water. Most of the tea that comes from Kenya these days is of the CTC variety. CTC means crush, tear, curl, a mechanized processing of the leaf which results in a consistent granular structure.

This leaf, however, has an intact structure though it is broken, not whole. Its leaf designation is BOP which means broken orange pekoe.

The tea liquor steeps up very dark and full-bodied. It makes a great breakfast tea that would certainly hold up well to any additions like milk and sweetener.

I enjoyed my tea plain so I could discover the interesting fruit and spice flavor notes. Mmmm…apple…nutmeg….soft but there.

I’ve written about another Kenyan tea here.

While this tea is very smooth compared to its CTC counterparts, there is a zip in the finish. Look at that dark liquor, almost like coffee.

I am looking forward to a day of hanging out, shopping and lunch with my lovely daughter. A perfect birthday celebration. We plan on visiting the bead store which I’m hoping will jumpstart my dormant creativity. Now that I’m all moved in, my studio is ready and waiting to embrace me once again.

May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art — write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.  -Neil Gaiman

Saturday Morning Tea

The white blanket sky gives me the feeling of being enclosed in a light tent as it gently illuminates our back deck and garden, bringing the gorgeous color of this morning’s tea leaf into sharp saturation. I’m sipping an African black tea from the Malaika estate in Kenya. The word Malaika means “angel”.

The leaf is dark with a minimum of tip and an aroma of sweet chocolate drifted up when I first opened the pouch. The steeped liquor is a deep reddish brown after 5 minutes in boiling water. The taste is hearty and slightly astringent with a hint of malt and a sweet lingering finish.

Tea has been grown in Kenya for about 100 years with a surge in the last 10-15 years that has brought it to be one of the world’s largest tea producers. You can read more about it here.

Yesterday my company closed for its annual shutdown so I am on vacation for the next 9 days. My parents have invited me down to the Jersey shore again where they have rented a condo right on the beach. Lovely! So, tomorrow morning I head out for the 5 hour trip down to the Shore. As I don’t have a laptop computer, I won’t have any computer access while I’m down there for the week. As I’m on a computer all day at my job, it will be a blessed break away from the electronic world. I’ll return next Saturday afternoon so my morning tea will be postponed until the following day, Sunday July 8th. I’m bringing my camera with me so I’ll have lots of pictures to share of my adventure when I return home.

I hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday week!