Saturday Morning Tea

Good morning, dear tea friends! Silver threads of rain fall from a leaden sky on this first Saturday in May. It’s been chilly so far this month and, while the flowers are getting plenty of water, they long for the warm sunshine, as we all do. I’ve chosen a green tea to grace my tea bowl this morning, an Organic Lung Ching from Zhejiang province, located in eastern China.

Lung Jing (Lung Ching, Long Jing) tea has a distinctive flat shape due to its unique processing. This flat shape is intentionally caused by the motion of the charcoal pan when the leaf is pan-roasted to stop oxidation. Its name means “Dragon’s Well,” referring to the place where it has been traditionally grown. Legend has it that a Taoist priest in the 3rd century advised the local villagers to pray to the dragon of a local well to bring rain and end their drought. It worked and the well was named after that dragon. The Dragon’s Well monastery still stands in that spot to this day.

I steeped the leaves for 3 minutes in 180F water. I prefer spring water because of its mineral content. I find that it imparts a liveliness to my steeped tea, which I enjoy. Different water sources can produce different qualities and flavors in the same tea. I encourage you to experiment by steeping the same tea with different water and see which you prefer.

Even on this dark and dreary day, the liquor glows in my glass teapot.

The aroma is sweetly vegetal, with hints of buttered corn.

I love the flavor of Lung Ching tea. This selection is classic, sweet and nutty, smooth and silky on the tongue, with toasty hints and a whisper of fresh corn.

I’m looking forward to a family weekend, spending time with all of my grandchildren and celebrating my youngest son’s birthday.

Until next time, I hope you enjoy many delicious cups of tea!

“I sustain myself with the love of family.” ~Maya Angelou

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Saturday Morning Tea

Long Jing Te Ji Dry Leaf 10-26-13

Good morning, dear tea friends! This morning’s tea is a well-known China green tea called Lung Jing, or Lung Ching, this particular lot called Lung Jing Te Ji. Te Ji means “superior grade.”

Long Jing Te Ji Steep 10-26-13

Lung Jing (Lung Ching, Long Jing) tea has a distinctive flat shape due to its unique processing. This flat shape is intentionally caused by the motion of the charcoal pan when the leaf is heated/fired to stop oxidation. Its name means “Dragon’s Well”, referring to the place where it has been traditionally grown. Legend has it that a Taoist priest in the 3rd century advised the local villagers to pray to the dragon of a local well to bring rain and end their drought. It worked and the well was named after that dragon. The Dragon’s Well monastery still stands in that spot to this day.

Long Jing Te Ji Wet Leaf 10-26-13

I steeped the leaf for 3 minutes in 180F water. After steeping, the leaf softened and revealed the beautiful, individual bud sets of this fine tea.

Long Jing Te Ji Teapot 10-26-13

The pale yellow-jade tea liquor has a nutty aroma with a light vegetal undertone. The flavor is clean and refreshing with notes of chestnut and sweet baby corn. The smoothness yields to a whisper of tang in the finish.

I could drink this lovely green tea all day.

Long Jing Te Ji Teabowl 10-26-13

I pulled out my Volmod Ceramics tea bowl to hold and honor this most excellent tea. I purchased it on a trip to Saugatuck, MI with my parents a couple of summers ago. So, not only do I get to enjoy a delicious tea this morning but in holding my tea bowl in my hands, I remembered some warm and wonderful memories.

Have a great week!

“Nothing is ever really lost to us as long as we remember it.”

~L.M. Montgomery

Saturday Morning Tea

Good morning, dear tea friends! It’s that time of year again when not only are the first flush Darjeelings being harvested in India but the Pre-Chingming teas are being harvested in China. In my cup this morning is a Pre-Chingming Lung Ching which I am happy to introduce to you.

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. This particular tea was harvested in China within the last few weeks.

Lung Ching tea, a very popular and well known tea from China, has a distinctive flat shape to the leaf after processing. This flat shape is intentionally caused by the motion of the pan when the leaf is heated to stop oxidation. Its name means “Dragon’s Well”, referring to the place where it has been traditionally grown. Legend has it that a Taoist priest in the 3rd century advised the local villagers to pray to the dragon of a local well to bring rain and end their drought. It worked and the well was named after that dragon. The Dragon’s Well monastery still stands in that spot to this day.

The color of the leaf while steeping is such an amazing spring green, don’t you think? I steeped the leaves for 3 minutes in 180 degree F water.

Seeing such an intact leaf is a gift. I imagine a field of women deftly plucking the delicate leaf and tossing it into the baskets strapped to their backs. They methodically make their way through the rows in the crisp spring air.

The tea liquor is so pale, like straw, with a whisper of green tinge. It’s as delicate as a white tea with a complexity of flavor showing its high quality and care in processing. The aroma is slightly nutty with a note of fresh early corn.

So very pale and delicate yet so very flavorful with notes of sweet nectar, melon, a hint of grapefruit and that delicious note of sweet corn. A very special tea indeed.

I’m so excited that my son is on leave for the next week and has come home to be embraced by his family once again.

Enjoy your week and your tea!

Saturday Morning Tea

sparrowstonguedry022809

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.

sparrowstonguewet2022809

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…