Saturday Morning Tea

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Good morning, dear tea friends! After last week’s blizzard that dumped 2 feet of snow on us, it’s great to be back with you sharing a cup of tea. Today’s cuppa is a black tea from the Guranse Estate in Nepal. The beautifully intact leaves have been hand-rolled and processed.

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From the tea estate’s website:

“Guranse Tea Estate is situated at an altitude between 3300 and 7300 feet above sea level. Probably the highest tea garden in the world which produces one of the best teas. In order produce exquisite tea enriched with delectable ‘muscatel’ flavor with superb aroma, the bushes need to grow breathing pure mountain air, filled with just the right combination of sun, shade and rain that are abundant in the eastern hills of Nepal, below the majestic Mount Everest and mount Makalu.”

I steeped the leaves for 3 minutes in boiling point (212F) water.

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Look at this fine plucking of the top two leaves and bud. Amazing.

As I lifted the infuser from my glass teapot, a fresh floral aroma wafted up.

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The glowing amber tea liquor is silky smooth with sweet, floral notes. It’s mellow and light.

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There’s more snow falling this afternoon, flakes gently floating to earth, no accumulation, thank goodness. This is the perfect tea, the perfect moment to sit and gaze out at the world of white.

“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

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Saturday Morning Tea

Good morning, dear tea friends! For my US friends, I hope that your Thanksgiving was warm and wonderful. What is your favorite tea for the Thanksgiving table? I was avoiding caffeine and drinking Rooibos that day, Earl Grey with dinner and Lemon with dessert.

With my morning tea today, we travel to the country of Nepal, where I’ve read they started growing tea from seeds gifted to the Prime Minister from the Chinese Emperor. At an altitude of 5,000 feet above sea level, the first tea plantation was set up in the 1860s, called the Ilam Tea Estate, after the district where it was located. Unfortunately, due to political turmoil and economic struggle under an autocratic dynasty, the tea industry failed to grow there at that time.

My tea this morning is from the Sakhira Estate, which is located in a remote area of Nepal, not far from Ilam Bazar.

I steeped the leaves for 3 minutes in boiling point (212F) water. As the tea steeped in my glass teapot, I found the large, tippy leaf to be very Darjeeling-like in aroma.

In the 1950s, a new democratic constitution was written in Nepal causing a shift in the political system there and opening up the country to the rest of the world. The tea industry started to grow with help from private and public investment and has been growing ever since.

My teapot appears to contain a world frozen in its glowing amber liquid.

A pronounced fruity aroma portends the rich muscatel flavor, very smooth and sweet. This tea goes down so easily with its silky smoothness, without any astringent bite. In comparison, I find that a Darjeeling tea with this much body usually has some astringency.

Well, I’ve just taken my last sip and it’s time to get on with my day. I just might put up my Christmas tree today. How are you spending your weekend?

My grandchildren will be with me all next weekend so I’ll be back with Saturday Morning Tea in two weeks. Until then, dear friends, enjoy this magical holiday time of year with many cups of tea!

“Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time.”  ~Laura Ingalls Wilder

Saturday Morning Tea

I awoke this morning to rumbles of thunder and teeming rain that have continued on into the morning. A sudden cool breeze lifts my curtains from the windows revealing sharp flashes of lightning that dance across a low sky filled with bruised clouds. As I wrap myself in a warm robe,  I reach for a black tea but not a typical black tea. It is a black tea that actually tastes like an Oolong tea.

From the Jun Chiyabari estate in Nepal, its leaf designation is one that I have never seen before, GHRHT. Meaning Golden Hand Rolled Himalayan Tips, the picking is of only the first two leaves and a bud from the end of the stems, the tender new growth. The tea is created from a secret process that results in a black tea with the characteristics of a fine Silvertip Oolong tea.

Since the tea is grown in the Himalayan mountains in the same part of the world as Indian Darjeeling tea, I steep the leaves for 3 minutes in boiling point water.

As I lift the steeped leaves from my teapot, a rich, fruity aroma greets me. Mmmm…

The wet leaves reveal whole intact leaf in various stages of unfurling from the hand rolling that was done during their processing.

The deep amber liquor is quite sweet with notes of apricot and peach and a whisper of rosemary in the finish. A colleague of mine, with a very fine palate for tea tasting, has also detected fennel notes in her cup.

For this special tea, I bring out my teamug purchased in Arroyo Seco, NM last fall. You can see the fingertip imprints of the potter on the side of the mug from when they dipped the mug in glaze. That is my favorite part of this beautiful russet and charcoal teamug.

While I had originally thought that I’d be able to work on removing a bush stump from my garden today and prepare the soil with some loam for planting, it looks like it’s going to be an indoor day. Oh dear, I guess I’ll just have to play in my studio then!

Happy Mother’s Day!

“Women need solitude in order to find the true essence of themselves: that firm strand which will be the indispensable center of a whole web of human relationships.”

~Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Saturday Morning Tea

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I wanted to share an iced herbal infusion this morning but it’s such a gray, dreary day outside that I will save that for a hot, sunny day in the future.

It’s a perfect morning for a cup of hot tea to ward off the cool dampness.

This morning’s tea was a very pleasant surprise. First of all, the leaf is absolutely beautiful in all of its variegated, tippy glory. It’s a Nepalese tea from the Kuwapani estate. Kuwa means “well” and Pani means “water”. The estate grows tea at elevations of 5,200-6,000 feet above sea level.

Like the Darjeeling district in northeast India, Nepal sits high in the Himalayan mountains. It is the home of Mount Everest, the highest peak on Earth, at 29,029 feet above sea level.

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Like a Darjeeling tea, I steeped the leaves for 3 minutes in 212 degree F (boiling) water. The tea steeped to a deep, rich amber with a honeyed aroma and flavor notes of fruit and chestnut.

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For those of you who do not enjoy the astringent “bite” of a Darjeeling, this tea is a perfect alternative. The liquor is very smooth with a tad more body. Mmmmm….

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I love my new bamboo placemats, purchased at Joann Fabric’s at 2 for $5!

Today my parents arrive from Michigan and tomorrow we’ll head down to the beautiful island of Nantucket, located 30 miles off of the Massachusetts coast. A ferry ride will bring us over to go deep sea fishing and shopping, to a whale museum and then a nature hike and, of course, partaking in some fabulous food. I’ll be sure to bring my camera and take lots of pictures so I can share some photos of my island adventure!

“At last the anchor was up, the sails were set, and off we glided. It was a sharp, cold Christmas; and as the short northern day merged into night, we found ourselves almost broad upon the wintry ocean, whose freezing spray cased us in ice, as in polished armor.” ~Moby Dick, Herman Melville