Saturday Morning Tea

Good morning, dear tea friends! I steeped a special tea in my glass teapot this morning. Hint: it was harvested in China before April 5th and its name references a small creature that lives in a shell.

The photo above is what the leaves look like after steeping.

Here’s a before steeping shot.

If you guessed Pre-Chingming Pi Lo Chun, you are correct!

I’ve read that creating the distinctive curly shape of Pi Lo Chun leaf requires five hand motions, a combination of a gentle twist and roll that’s repeated three times. This is done while the leaves are fired in short, round metal cylinders, heated from below. The goal of the “tea firer” is to fix the leaf in its unique curly shape during firing in such a way that this shape will relax during steeping and the leaf will return to its original shape after steeping. In looking at the two photos above, you can see that goal was definitely accomplished. You can see the leaves relaxing during steeping here.

The pale gold infusion has a delicate yet complex aroma, vegetal and buttery with a faint toasty hint.

The cup is silky smooth, sweet and refined. The sweetness is reminiscent of fruit and there’s a nutty suggestion that comes out and lingers in the finish. Mmmm…

This is a great choice for a fresh, elegant green tea that’s not very vegetal.

I took a walk downtown this morning. The air was fresh and cool and the sun was shining. Then I returned home and made myself a pot of tea. Focusing on these small acts helped me to relax in the moment and let go of a very busy, very challenging week.

Until next time, enjoy your tea!

“We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided.”

~J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

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Saturday Morning Tea

PCMGreenNeedleOrgDryLeaf Good morning, dear tea friends! It’s a glorious spring day today, and I enjoyed sitting outside in the morning sunshine sipping my tea. In my cup is a Pre-Chingming tea from China, a green tea called Pre-Chingming Green Needle Organic. PCMGreenNeedleOrgSteep052315 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. PCMGreenNeedleOrgWetLeaf052315 This tea is aptly named as the leaves do look like long, thin needles. I steeped the leaves for 3 minutes in 180F water. PCMGreenNeedleOrgTeapot052315 The tea liquor is a beautiful spring green color. The aroma is sweet and lightly vegetal, like a whisper of sweet baby peas. PCMGreenNeedleOrgTeaBowl052315 The flavor is complex, meaning there are multiple layers of flavor notes that intermingle in a very pleasing way. I taste light sweet corn as well as a faint fruity hint, like apricot. The liquor is smooth and leaves a buttery feeling on my tongue. There’s a quick tang in the finish. A lovely tea to slowly sip and enjoy on a beautiful spring morning. I wish everyone a great Memorial Day weekend filled with lots of relaxation and fun.  See you in two weeks!

Saturday Morning Tea

Qing Zhen Dry Leaf 06-21-14

Good morning, dear tea friends! Today dawned cool and bright with low humidity (thank goodness!), the perfect first day of summer here in New England. In keeping with the theme of my last few posts, I’ve brewed up another Pre-Chingming tea this morning, a green tea from Hunan province. It’s called Qing Zhen, which translates to “dark green needles.” As you can see from my photo, it’s the perfect name for this tea leaf. For you GoT fans, I’m reminded of Arya’s sword.

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I steeped the tea needles for 3 minutes in 180F water. A whisper of flower fragrance drifted up from my glass teapot as the tea steeped.

Qing Zhen Wet Leaf 06-21-14

The wet needles have a sweet, softly vegetal aroma with an underlying hint of tobacco.

Qing Zhen Teapot 06-21-14

The tea liquor sparkles a pale yellow in the morning light. The flavor is fairly robust with notes of sweet tobacco and a faint hint of melon. There’s a slight nuance of fruitiness in the finish, which lingers for quite awhile in my mouth.

Qing Zhen Tea Bowl 06-21-14

The gentle breeze coming in my window is abuzz with the sounds of lawn mowers and weed wackers as my neighbors tend to their landscapes. I myself am headed out into my garden soon to see what new blooms have opened in the sunshine. Have a lovely tea-filled weekend, my dear friends. I’ll be back in two weeks!

“The festival of the summer solstice speaks of love and light, of freedom and generosity of spirit. It is a beautiful time of year where vibrant flowers whisper to us with scented breath, forests and woodlands hang heavy in the summer’s heat and our souls become enchanted with midsummer magic.”  ~Carole Carlton

 

 

Saturday Morning Tea

PCMPiLoChunDry042713

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.

PCMPiLoChunWet042713

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 hope that you all had a fabulous week. This morning’s tea comes from Fujian province in China and was harvested in March of this year. Please allow me to introduce you to Pre-Chingming Snow Dragon, a green tea.

For more information about Pre-Chingming teas, I’ve written about them here and here.

The leaves consist of what are called “bud sets”, the fine plucking of the new growth on the tea plant. So, in other words, delicate baby leaves.

You can see what I mean in this photo of the wet leaf.

I steeped the leaves for 3 minutes in 180F water. The aroma was quite vegetal as I poured my first cup. Vegetal like your first bite of new asparagus in the spring.

The tea liquor is a delicate greenish straw color, as light as a white tea. The flavor isn’t delicate though. It’s rich with floral notes and a pronounced sweetness which lingers in my mouth.

I’ve read that the producer of this tea describes the flavor as a “wild green” taste. While I find this tea vegetal but not overly so, I’m not sure what that description means. Does anyone know?

Today is my granddaughter’s dance recital. Very exciting! Have a wonderful week!

“I fear the venture into the unknown. But that is part of the act of creating and the art of performing.” ~Martha Graham, Dancer