Saturday Morning Tea

WhiteNeedleDryLeaf082915

Good morning, dear tea friends! As August winds down and we head into the cooler days of September, I’ve chosen a contemplative tea for my cup this morning. I’ve been experiencing a lot of change in my life recently, I’m sure you’ve all known a time like that in your own lives, where everything seems to be happening at once. Anyway, I’ve made a pot of a China white tea called Organic White Silver Needle, to help me slow down and unwind so I can get in touch with that inner place.

WhiteNeedleSteep082915

This tea is made up of just unopened leaf buds, the baby growth on the tea bush. The buds undergo a minimal amount of processing and are dried in sunlight.

I steeped the buds for 4 minutes in 180F water.

WhiteNeedleWetLeaf082915

Each bud is covered in soft white hairs that give it a silvery appearance. After steeping, the now sleek hairs reveal more detail on the buds.

The aroma is delicate and sweet with a whisper of melon.

WhiteNeedleTeapot082915

The pale straw-colored tea liquor is light and sweet yet it has a very solid mouth feel. Fruity hints like melon and nutty hints like pistachio glide across my palate in a silky smooth dance.

WhiteNeedleTeaBowl082915

This is the perfect tea to enjoy when you need the regular day-to-day to recede for a few special moments by yourself or with a fellow tea lover.

Have a wonderful weekend. See you in two weeks!

Advertisements

Saturday Morning Tea

Risheehat Est. FF Darjeeling Dry Leaf 04-04-15

Good morning, dear tea friends! As I took a step outside the other day, the air smelled fresh and clean with that earthy aroma of growing things. It smelled like spring at last!

This is always a lovely time of year, a time of rebirth and awakening and……..first flush Darjeeling! I’m excited to introduce you to my first cuppa of the 2015 season –Risheehat SFTGFOP Ch. First Flush Organic.

Risheehat Estate FF Darjeeling Steep 04-04-15

The Risheehat Tea Estate is located in a valley with the perfect temperature and rainfall for producing high quality Darjeelings. It’s close to the Darjeeling city area and Kanchanjangha peak to the north. Here’s some information from their website:

“Risheehat literally means “Home of Holy Saints”. The Garden was established by British planters in the mid 19th century and was known as Tsering Bagan because of local population of the Tsering tribe.

Acquired by Jayshree Tea management in 1955, the garden is divided into two major divisions – Rishihat main division and Liza Hill Division. The estate today produces more than 180 tons per year of certified bio-organic teas and healthy zero% vacancy on its estate. The estate has Fair Trade certification, ISO 1901:2008 awarded by TUV NORD and also HAACCP, not to mention organic certificates for NPOP, POP and JAS by IMO.”

Risheehat Est. FF Darjeeling Wet Leaf 04-04-15

Here’s a lovely plucking of new growth. I steeped the leaves for 3 minutes in just under boiling point (212F) water.

Risheehat Est. FF Darjeeling Teapot 04-04-15

The tea liquor is the color of golden sunshine. The aroma of the wet leaf is of fresh steamed baby peas with fragrant floral hints. The aroma of the tea is fresh and flowery with notes of tropical fruit.

Risheehat Est. FF Darjeeling Teacup 04-04-15

The flavor is light and fresh, awakening my mouth with its gentle astringency. Notes of flowers and tropical fruit intermingle and linger in a long finish. This tea has a decent caffeine hit, which makes it a great choice for the morning or when you need an extra lift during the day.

I have crocus lifting their yellow cups to the sky in my front yard. They seem to have multiplied since last year. I’m headed out into the garden this afternoon to clear away the winter mulch and debris. Even though it’s dirty work, I’m always rewarded with the sight of what’s starting to peek through the soil. Another garden year has begun!

I’ll be returning next week to share a cup of tea with you as I’m making my spring trek to Michigan the following week.

Have a wonderful week!

 

 

Saturday Morning Tea

Keemun Ji Hong Dry Leaf 03-21-15

Good morning, dear tea friends! Happy Spring to everyone in the northern hemisphere as we celebrated (finally!) the arrival of the Spring Equinox yesterday. The Equinoxes come twice a year, a time when the light and the dark are equally balanced. We’re now entering a time when the days will be longer than the nights, always welcome after a long, dark, snowy winter here in New England. Unfortunately, we still have glaciers of snow everywhere but those glaciers are slowly but surely receding to reveal peeks of dirt and grass at their edges. Now all we need are some spots of colorful crocus to liven up the dingy gray and brown landscape!

On to tea… I chose a China black tea today. It’s called Keemun Ji Hong Top Grade Organic, an impressive name, for sure. The long, brown leaves have a crimped appearance, as if each leaf was carefully pleated like the pleats on a little girl’s frock.

Keemun Ji Hong Steep 03-21-15

I steeped the leaves for 4 minutes in boiling point (212F) water. It’s amazing how the dark brown color quickly turned that distinctive red during steeping. Hence the name for China black teas – “red tea” or “hong cha.”

Keemun Ji Hong Wet Leaf 03-21-15

The leaves kept their “crepe paper” look even after steeping.

Keemun Ji Hong Teapot 03-21-15

The aroma is fragrant with a whisper of orchid and a stronger note of cocoa.

The flavor is rich, velvety smooth and medium-bodied with notes of cocoa, stone fruit, and just a hint of sweet smoke. The tea liquor fills my mouth with a thick, solid presence, what’s called a “full mouth feel.”

Keemun Ji Hong Tea Bowl 03-21-15

This tea would stand up well to additions, like milk and sweetener. That said, as it cools, a lovely sweetness, like sweet wine, comes out. I recommend trying it plain first so you can discern and enjoy the many facets of its flavor.

Oh dear, I’m gazing out my window at gently falling snowflakes. Despite what the calendar says, winter isn’t ready to let go quite yet.

Until we meet again, enjoy many delicious cuppas!