Saturday Morning Tea

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Good morning, dear tea friends! Since we last shared a cup of tea together, I’ve moved again. This is my fourth move in a little over a decade. Moving does seem to be a part of my life’s path, and I’m trying my best to embrace it. Again. That’s a story for another time, however. Today’s story is about a well-known and well-loved tea from China, a green tea called Pi Lo Chun Imperial.

The name Pi Lo Chun translates to “green snail spring”, so named because the leaf is rolled into spiral shapes resembling snail shells. I have read that they roll the leaf this way to retain its freshness.

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I steeped the leaves for 3 minutes in 180F water. The water turned murky as the silvery dust released from the tippy leaf.

As I lifted the infuser from my glass teapot, a sweet, vegetal fragrance was released.

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The leaves were loosely rolled so steeping released them into their original leaf bud shape.

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The golden yellow tea liquor has a fresh buttery mouth feel with notes of sweet melon and flowers and sea-grassy vegetal hints.

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As I sip my tea, I gaze out the window at the colorful autumn leaves swaying in the breeze and think about change. The change of seasons. The changes in one’s life. The change from a spiral shaped leaf to a delicious cup of tea.

Thanks for your patience with my sporadic tea posts as I get used to this newest change in my life. Enjoy your tea!

 

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Saturday Morning Tea

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Good morning, dear tea friends! This week I’m moving away from Indian teas and have steeped up a China green tea in my glass teapot. A China tea whose leaves were still on the bush, unfolding and reaching towards the sunlight a mere few months ago.

I introduce you to Pre-Chingming Pi Lo Chun.

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The name Pi Lo Chun translates to “green snail spring”, so named because the leaf is rolled into tight spiral shapes resembling snail shells. I have read that they roll the leaf this way to retain its freshness.

As I’ve shared with you before, Pre-Chingming teas are harvested before the festival of Qingming (Chingming), usually celebrated on the 15th day from the Spring Equinox. Any teas harvested before that date are referred to as Pre-Chingming teas. In other words, harvested in very early spring.

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Just as this tightly rolled leaf has unfurled and opened up to reveal its beauty, spring is a time of opening up, of blossoming, when everything comes back to life. I feel infused with new energy at this rebirth time of year. How about you?

This tea tastes like a fresh spring day.

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The words that come to mind as I gently sip from my tea bowl are:

delicate. pale. fresh. new.

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The pale spring green tea liquor gives off a fresh vegetal fragrance. The flavor is also fresh and vegetal with a natural sweetness that softly greets my mouth.

This is the perfect cuppa to celebrate the spring. What tea are you enjoying in your cup today?

“Can words describe the fragrance of the very breath of spring?”

~Neltje Blanchan

Saturday Morning Tea

Good morning, dear tea friends! I’ve returned from my trip to New Mexico and am glad to be here, sharing a cup of tea with you once again. As promised, today I am brewing up a pot of Chinese green tea called Pi Lo Chun Bao Wei.

Pi Lo Chun, or Green Snail Spring, is a well-known China green tea from Jiangsu province. Its distinct spiral leaf shape is created during the firing step of its processing. After the fresh leaf is plucked, usually in the morning, it is brought to the factory in either baskets or cloth pouches to protect the leaf and allow for air circulation. Once at the factory, the leaf is spread out on floor mats to air-dry and reduce the moisture content of the leaf.

As Pi Lo Chun leaf must be manipulated during the next step, the firing step, it is placed in short, round metal drums which are placed over a heat source. A gentle twist and roll motion of the hand as heat is applied coaxes the leaf into its characteristic shape, resembling a tiny fiddlehead fern shape. In fixing the leaf into a specific shape, its chi, or energy, remains fixed in the leaf until the moment of steeping when it is released into the cup of tea.

I steeped the leaves for 3 minutes in 180 degree F water. The pale golden liquor gives off a distinctly sweet aroma.

As I take my first sip, a pronounced licorice/anise flavor note surprises me in its intensity. It mellows out as my tea cools revealing a light floral note of honeysuckle. As I usually find a Pi Lo Chun to have fruity notes, this is quite unique. And yummy. Interestingly enough, there are no vegetal notes in this green tea.

As the days shorten and the nights wrap us in a longer, darker cloak, I find myself turning inward in solitude and reflecting upon the year that is flowing towards its end. I find my center and a measure of comfort in the following enduring prayer.

All shall be well,

And all shall be well,

And all manner of things shall be well.

~Dame Julian of Norwich, a 13th century English mystic