Saturday Morning Tea

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Good morning, dear tea friends! Even though the calendar still says spring, we’re experiencing hot and hazy summer-like weather here in the northeast. Perfect weather for the holiday weekend.

In my cup this morning is another Pre-Chingming tea, called Fairy Oolong. This tea was grown in Hunan province, China.

Hunan province is located in south central China. Its name means “south of the lake,” referring to Lake Dongting, a flood basin for the famous Yangtze River and one of the largest freshwater lakes in China. This beautifully scenic province has been a major center of agriculture for thousands of years, growing rice, tea and oranges. The earliest rice paddies were discovered on the western edge of the lake.

It sounds like a place with a lot of natural beauty and interesting history.

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I steeped the leaves for 3 minutes in 190F water. They’re quite large and very green.

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The leaves steeped an infusion the color of pale gold.  A fragrant lilac aroma drifted up from my glass teapot.

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As I took my first sip, I found the tea liquor to be light yet it filled my mouth with flavor. Softer notes of lilac are in the cup with a fresh vegetal character and a pronounced sweetness. What a lovely tea this is.

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I have a marvelous 3-day weekend ahead of me, filled with family, garden time, knitting and lots of tea and ice cream. I hope you all have a great weekend!

Morning in a New Land

In trees still dripping night some nameless birds

Woke, shook out their arrowy wings, and sang,

Slowly, like finches sifting through a dream.

The pink sun fell, like glass, into the fields.

Two chestnuts, and a dapple gray,

Their shoulders wet with light, their dark hair streaming.

Climbed the hill. The last mist fell away,

And under the trees, beyond time’s brittle drift,

I stood like Adam in his lonely garden.

On that first morning, shaken out of sleep,

Rubbing his eyes, listening, parting the leaves,

Like tissue on some vast, incredible gift.

~Mary Oliver

 

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Saturday Morning Tea

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Good morning, dear tea friends! On this cool, overcast morning, I’m enjoying another Pre-Chingming tea in my cup, an Oolong called Fenghuang Dan Cong. This tea has been plucked from centuries old “single trunk” tea trees in China’s Guangdong province, rather than from cultivated tea bushes. Also know as Phoenix Oolong, this is a venerable tea indeed.

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I steeped the large, twisted leaves for 4 minutes in 190F water.

A sweet, fruity aroma wafted up from my glass teapot as I removed the infuser. The wet leaf smells like peaches and lemon. Mmmmm…

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The long leaves stayed twisted even after steeping. They lightened up to an olive green from the dark brown color of the dry leaf.

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The light golden tea liquor has a fruity flavor, like fresh juicy apricots and peaches. There’s a slight vegetal note with a silky smoothness that lasts into the finish.

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On the oxidation scale, I think this Oolong falls between the more oxidized chestnut/woody Oolongs and the less oxidized fragrant, floral Oolongs. It would be a great choice for multiple steepings, if you like to do that.

I’m off to my granddaughter’s softball game this morning. Watching the little ones play and have so much fun gives me great joy.

See you in 2 weeks. Enjoy your tea!

Saturday Morning Tea

 

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Good morning, dear tea friends! For those of you in my part of the world, I hope you’re enjoying some beautiful, warm late spring weather. It’s been rainy this week in my area, and my garden is in full blooming glory, soaking up all that moisture. Watching flowers bud and come alive in bloom is so rewarding and healing.

Speaking of flowers, my morning tea today is a floral tasting Oolong called “New Style” Fairy Oolong, a special Pre-Chingming production from Hunan province in south-central China. The name Hunan translates to “south of the lake”, the lake referring to Dongting Lake, a floodbasin for the famous Yangtze river. Dongting Lake is famous as the place of origin of Dragon boat racing, a watersport with ancient roots going back 2,000 years. The boats are decorated with Chinese dragon heads and tails for competition events. So much rich history in China!

PCM Fairy Oolong Steep 06-14-14As you can see, the leaves of this tea are enormous and filled up the infuser of my little glass teapot. I steeped the tea for 4 minutes in 190 F water. The aroma of lilacs wafted up, its fragrance filling my kitchen. Lovely.

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After steeping, this leaf released its tightly rolled shape to reveal an amazingly intact leaf.

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The pale yellow-green liquor has a soft floral fragrance reminding me of lilacs and orchids. This floral aspect carries over into the taste as the main flavor note. The taste is also rich and buttery smooth with some creamy hints. There’s a whisper of vegetal quality, like fresh greens, in both the aroma and the flavor.

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I’m sipping this fragrant tea out of one of my favorite tea bowls, purchased here. The birds are singing merrily outside my window, and I believe I spy a few peeks of blue as the clouds slowly clear. The promise of a walk on the bike path is in the air.

I’ll be back again next week with a new tea to share with you as my daughter is having her house warming party in two weeks. I hope that you all have a wonderful week filled with many cups of delicious tea!

“And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.”  

F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

Saturday Morning Tea

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Good morning, dear tea friends! This morning I’m enjoying another tea that was harvested before Qingming (Chingming) day, an Oolong called Fenghuang Don Cong, from Fujian province in China. Having a long and auspicious history, this tea was once given in tribute to Chinese Emperors.

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Its leaves are enormous, each about an inch and a half long and well twisted. The dry leaf is dark, however, as you can see from the above photo, they lighten up to a beautiful olive green as they’re steeping.

I steeped the leaf for 4 minutes in 190 F water and used about 3 teaspoons per cup. The leaf is so big that it doesn’t even fit in my teaspoon so I used my fingers and estimated. One of these days I’ll have to get myself a tea scale. Do any of you have one? If so, do you like it? Sure would make measuring huge tea leaves like this so much easier!

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I love the russet edging on this leaf. That must happen as the leaf is allowed to oxidize. I’m not sure exactly how much percentage-wise this leaf is oxidized. The tea liquor is similar in color to that of a lighter first flush Darjeeling.

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The fragrant aroma smells of peaches and flowers. The flavor is smooth and light with notes of peaches and apricots and a pronounced honey sweetness. It feels silky on my tongue.

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It’s a gorgeous spring day outside, the deep blue sky reflected in my teabowl. My garden is abloom with phlox, daffodils, tulips, pansies and white bleeding heart. We haven’t had much rain lately so I’m going to spend the afternoon spreading a thick layer of brown mulch in all of the beds.

As always, thanks for stopping by and sharing a cuppa with me!

“A garden to walk in and immensity to dream in–what more could he ask? A few flowers at his feet and above him the stars.”

~Victor Hugo, Les Miserables