Saturday Morning Tea

New Vithanakande Ceylon Dry Leaf 08-23-14

Good morning, dear tea friends! Since early morning, the sun has been playing peek-a-boo, much like a child who hides behind a curtain. When she steps out, the sky is brilliant with her smile.

A black tea from Sri Lanka fills my tea bowl this morning. From the gem mining Ratnapura district in the south, it’s called New Vithanakande Ceylon.

New Vithanakande Ceylon Steep 08-23-14

Silver mixes with dark brown like snippets of thread woven through the thin, wiry leaf.

I steeped the leaves for 4 1/2 minutes in boiling point (212F) water. The distinctive aroma of cocoa rises from my glass teapot. Mmmm…

New Vithanakande Ceylon Wet Leaf 08-23-14

Dark and light meld into a chocolate brown color in the wet leaf, which exhibits more of a characteristic Ceylon aroma, bright and citrus.

New Vithanakande Ceylon Teapot 08-23-14

The dark amber colored tea liquor smells of dark notes of chocolate and malt, which spill over into the flavor ,along with a bright lemon tang that lingers into the finish. This is a great eye-opening breakfast tea.

New Vithanakande Ceylon Tea Bowl 08-23-14

Now that we’ve entered the last month of summer, the air feels less sultry, a little cooler, and the plants are showing tinges of tiredness around the edges. They’ve given forth their bounty and are beginning to whisper of decline into cooler weather. Still, I busy myself in the garden, snipping spent flowers to encourage a little more blooming and color as August fades and September approaches.

Until next time, dear friend, enjoy your tea!

“I walk without flinching through the burning cathedral of the summer. My bank of wild grass is majestic and full of music. It is a fire that solitude presses against my lips.” ~Violette LeDuc

Saturday Morning Tea

NewVithCeylonDry051813

Good morning, dear tea friends! As you can see, my morning tea is not a first flush Darjeeling this week (are some of you saying “oh, thank goodness!” haha), in fact, it’s not a Darjeeling at all. Gracing my cup on this bright, blue sky morning is a rich, dark black tea from New Vithanakande in Sri Lanka (Ceylon).

NewVithCeylonSteep051813

This tea leaf is an FBOPF Ex Spl leaf style, designated for its long, wiry, twisted leaf and unique for a Ceylon tea. You know the tea that comes in teabags from the grocery store, the kind that we might have drunk when we were sick as kids? Well, that leaf style is called “fannings”, a very finely-particled leaf that fits into those bags easily and steeps very quickly. Astoundingly, this leaf has that same designation which is what the last “F” stands for. It’s because this skinny leaf can fit through the smallest sieves during the leaf sorting process. Amazing, huh?

NewVithCeylonWet051813

This tea is grown in the Ratnapura district, located in southern Sri Lanka. I’ve read that this district is the home of gem mining as well as a crossroads where hill country and plains come together. This tea is processed at a factory supporting 6,000 small landholders and their families. You can read more about it here. So, this tea is named after the place that processes the tea not the tea garden.

NewVithCeylonTeapot051813

What a gorgeous color!

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

The aroma of the dry leaf is that classic smell that everyone thinks of as the “tea smell”. For me, it brings back comforting memories of my Mom making me tea when I was a child.

The flavor is rich and full-bodied, like an Assam, but with that classic brightness tang of a Ceylon. The tang fills my mouth and lingers on even after I take a sip. There is a thickness to the tea liquor that reminds me of dark chocolate.  This tea would definitely stand up well to milk and sweetener.

NewVithCeylonTeacup051813

As I drink the last few sips from my teacup, I look forward to an afternoon spent in my garden, planting marigold, cosmos, dahlia and daisies. Tomorrow I’m going to go see the new Star Trek movie in IMAX, an event I’ve been excitedly awaiting for months. Have a wonderful week and enjoy your tea!

“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” ~Marcel Proust