Saturday Morning Tea

Good morning, dear tea friends! On this misty, late spring morning, I’ve chosen a dark, rich China black tea for my teapot. Meet Pre-Chingming Yunnan Black Snail. As I’ve shared with you before, Pre-Chingming teas are harvested in China on very early spring days when the tea bushes start to flush with new growth after their winter dormancy.

From Yunnan province, this tea is produced from a large leaf varietal. The leaves are rolled into spiral shapes, reminiscent of snails. After a 5 minute steeping in boiling point (212F) water, take a look at these unfurled and partially unfurled leaf sets. This tea would do well with multiple steepings.

The fragrance reminds me of powdered unsweetened cocoa with a hint of malt.

The red-amber liquor is rich and oh so smooth. Pronounced notes of cocoa are embraced by a dark honey sweetness that lingers into the lightly spicy finish.

This tea would make a terrific iced latte with a little milk and sweetener, a great refresher for the hot summer days to come.

I remember when I received my Nikon’s micro lens. It was about 4 years ago, a gift from the love of my life who passed away 3 years ago. Anyway, I remember the joy and delight I felt when I opened this lovely unexpected gift and I entered a whole new world of closeup photography. I could now shoot closeups of my beloved tea leaves! It’s hard to believe that I’ve been sharing tea with you on my blog for over 10 years now. As I look back over all of the tremendous changes I’ve experienced since I started my blog, I see the one constant thread that has stitched my days together with strength and purpose – my tea journey and my deep passion for sharing it with others, through my cupping notes and my photography. I’ve been honored to do so and hope to continue for many more years to come. Whether you’ve been with me for years or have just joined, thank you for sharing the journey with me!

“I began to realize how important it was to be an enthusiast in life. He taught me that if you are interested in something, no matter what it is, go at it at full speed ahead. Embrace it with both arms, hug it, love it and above all become passionate about it. Lukewarm is no good. Hot is no good either. White hot and passionate is the only thing to be.”

~Roald Dahl

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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

 

Saturday Morning Tea

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Good morning, dear tea friends! I love this spring time of year when I can throw open my windows to the sweet smelling breezes that bring in a chorus of birdsong. This morning I’m enjoying a cup of white tea called White Needle. It’s from the early Pre-Chingming harvest in China.

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This tea is all silvery-sage downy tea buds that have been dried in the sun.

I steeped the buds for 3 minutes in 180F water. A delicate aroma of flowers drifted up from my glass teapot.

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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 (around April 5th). 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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The tea liquor is silky smooth and very sweet with notes of honeydew melon and a clean, refreshing pine essence. The flavor is delicate and mellow. A tea of contemplation.

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My tea graces one of my favorite tea bowls, the one my dear friend, Dave, brought back from Hawaii years ago.

Today I’m going to a local ice cream place that makes handmade micro-batches. Yum! Have a great weekend and enjoy your tea!

“Be still, while the music rises above us; the deep enchantment

Towers, like a forest of singing leaves and birds,

Built, for an instant, by the heart’s troubled beating,

Beyond all power of words.”

~Conrad Aiken, At a Concert of Music

Saturday Morning Tea

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Good morning, dear tea friends! I’m sharing a new tea with you this week because next Saturday I’m leaving early to go visit a dear friend in her new place up on the north shore in Newburyport, MA. It will feel great to go and breath in the fresh sea air and have a wonderful visit with my friend. On to tea…

This morning’s tea has a unique appearance as it is all tea buds. Harvested in Hunan province in China before April 5th, it is called Pre-Chingming Ya Bao white tea.

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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.

I steeped the Ya Bao buds for 3 minutes in 175 degree F water. As you can see, the buds retain the same appearance after steeping.

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The essence of spring – a new bud just beginning to open.

Can you see the fine downy white hairs on the bud? That’s what gives white tea its name.

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The tea liquor is so pale that it looks like water. It has a fresh melon-y aroma that carries over into its sweet delicate flavor. A vegetal hint lingers into the finish.

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This is the perfect tea for this tea bowl as it reveals the beautiful spiral shape on the inside of the bowl.

As the tea cools, more sweetness comes out. This would taste lovely iced, with a slice of fruit.

Thanks for joining me for a cuppa today. See you in 2 weeks!

“A friend is someone who knows all about you and still loves you.”

~Elbert Hubbard

 

Saturday Morning Tea

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Good morning, dear tea friends! I chose another Pre-Chingming tea for my morning tea – a Yunnan black tea called Dian Hong Yunnan Gold. I have read that “Dian” is the old name used for the Yunnan province and the word “hong” translates to “red” or “red tea”. Black teas from China are often referred to as red teas because of their intense “brassy red” color.

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You can see that color starting to come out in the steeping. I steeped the leaves for 5 minutes in 212F (boiling point) water. This is a great tea for multiple steepings if you’d like to try that.

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The fine plucking is evident in the intact leaf sets. I opened this bud up to reveal the little baby leaves inside.

The downy hairs are visible, even on the wet leaf. When the tea is dried and packaged, the hairs will dry and turn into dust. So, if you open your tea packet and see a bunch of dust, that is a good thing as it indicates a fine plucking.

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There’s that beautiful “brassy red”, which I prefer to call deep amber.

The aroma is sweet and spicy with a whisper of floral perfume and a hint of cocoa.

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I find this tea to be on the lighter side for a Yunnan tea and very smooth in the cup. With flavor notes of spice and cocoa, this tea gets sweeter as it cools. I find that the abundance of golden tip lends a delicacy to the mouth feel, like the liquor is lightly dancing across my palate.

We are celebrating a wonderful family event this weekend – my daughter and her boyfriend have just purchased their very first house. Very exciting! I’m looking forward to helping them clean and paint and turn their new house into a wonderful home.

As always, thanks for stopping by and sharing a cuppa with me. I am just finishing a beaded project that has taken me almost 2 months to complete! Stay tuned for pictures soon…

“Home is the nicest word there is.”  ~Laura Ingalls Wilder

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

Happy first day of fall, dear tea friends! The gray blanket sky has broken up into wisps of cotton fluff revealing a deep blue sky and the promise of a warm day. This morning I’m enjoying a cup of China Oolong tea. Harvested this past spring, it’s called Pre-Chingming Da Hong Pao. Da Hong Pao translates to “Big Red Robe” and I’ve written about it before here.

Are you wondering what big red robes have to do with this tea? Well, there’s a legend that the mother of an emperor fell ill and was cured by a certain tea. The emperor sent big red robes to clothe and honor the bushes from which the tea originated, in the Wuyi mountains of Fujian province. The legend goes on to say that three of the four bushes still survive today and are highly venerated.

As you can see, the leaves of this tea are huge and mainly intact. I steeped them for 4 minutes in 190F water. Because of their immense size, I used 3 teaspoons of tea leaves in my glass teapot.

Right away, I could smell the orchid fragrance as the tea leaves steeped. As I poured my first cup, I also detected honey and a slight vegetal fragrance as well.

The golden-colored tea liquor is smooth and buttery with notes of orchid, peach and honey. Ambrosia! It is suggested to do multiple steepings with this tea as the flavor develops even further with subsequent steepings. Wow, I think this tea is bursting with flavor on the first steep.

This is a lovely tea.

Today will be spent signing up for a hosting plan for my new website, downloading WordPress and starting to learn how to design it. I’m excited and nervous at the same time as I venture into this unknown territory. I know that I eventually want to sell some of my jewelry online. The question is: where do I sell it? On my own website? On Etsy and provide a link on my website to the Etsy shop? I do know that I want to do this but also know that I want to take the route that is less maintenance work so I can fit it in with my full-time job. If anyone has any experience/feedback about this, I’d love to hear from you.

Thanks for visiting and enjoy your week and your tea!

“All our dreams can come true – if we have the courage to pursue them.”  ~Walt Disney