This morning we travel from Japan, where we’ve been tea-wise for the last month, to Sri Lanka. In contrast to the vegetal greens I’ve been enjoying, this morning I chose a dark, rich black tea with beautiful silver tips from New Vithanakande.
Its FBOPF leaf style, designated for this long, wiry, twisted leaf, is 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?
The good news is that, unlike last week, this leaf fits nicely into my glass infuser and doesn’t fall through the narrow slits at all. The leaf swells during steeping but doesn’t unfurl from its tightly rolled shape.
The wet leaf looks like a bunch of twigs but it’s actually twisted tea leaves. The aroma is bright with a sweet molasses note.
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. In this respect, the tea is similar to a Japanese tea in that it is named after the place that processes the tea not the tea garden.
The rich, dark amber liquor has the brightness of a Ceylon tea along with notes of caramel and molasses, a rich, sweet taste. I put a drop of milk in my second cup to smooth out the brightness.
One of my favorite color combinations – a blend of orange and dusky purple, like dark clouds against an autumn sunset.
A light gray blanket of clouds hangs from the sky, lighting the last of the dark copper leaves clinging to the tree branches. Despite the gloominess of the day, my thoughts are on next spring as I hope to plant some daffodil and tulip bulbs into the earth today.
My hours at work have lengthened as the light of the days grows shorter. This has resulted in much less time in my studio which I’m sure you’ve noticed as I haven’t posted any artwork in awhile. Sometimes when I stop and think about it, a wave of sadness washes over me and I yearn for a stretch of time where I had nothing to do except to play in my studio. But it is what it is and I take comfort in creating some holiday gifts from my pointy sticks in the evenings, hot cup of tea by my side.
Today is my granddaughter Ella’s second birthday and I am looking forward to traveling out to New Mexico very soon to see her and also my new grandson, Landon, who is due to arrive in this world this week. I take so much joy in these blessed family events!
Have a wonderful weekend, dear tea friends.
“But if you have nothing at all to create, then perhaps you create yourself.” ~Carl Jung