Saturday Morning Tea

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Good morning, dear tea friends! I’m happy to be sharing a cup of tea with you from my new home. After unpacking all week, it feels great to sit down and savor a cuppa. This morning’s tea is a second flush harvest from the Teesta Valley Estate in Darjeeling, India.

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Teesta Valley Estate was named for the nearby Teesta, a turbulent mountain river. Along with the Gielle Estate, Teesta Valley was laid out gradually from 1841 to 1856, using carefully selected China bushes. Stretching upwards from 2500 to 6500 feet above sea level, this lovely garden is located at the highest point above the valley and blessed by cool mists, bright sunshine and crisp winds, the perfect growing conditions for great teas.

I steeped the leaves for 3 minutes in 212F (boiling point) water.

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The leaves steeped up to a beautiful amber color. The aroma wafting up from my glass teapot is sweet and floral. This tea is a bit lighter and smoother than a typical second flush selection. With that in mind, I think I’ll experiment with increasing the steeping time and see what happens.

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The flavor has a pronounced sweetness, especially as it cools, with notes of fruit and flowers. A suggestion of apricot lingers in the crisp finish.

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I’ve enjoyed this peaceful respite with you. Now it’s time to return to the stacks of boxes piled up in my new space.

Have a wonderful weekend and enjoy your tea!

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Saturday Morning Tea

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Good morning, dear tea friends! It’s a chilly, overcast autumn day here in my corner of New England. On a day like this, I’m happy to warm my hands as well as my spirit with a hot cup of tea. Or two. Or three. Today’s tea is a second flush selection from the Castleton Estate in Darjeeling, northeastern India. This renowned estate produces high quality, classic Darjeelings every year.

Here’s some interesting information about the estate from an article by Shyamali Ghosh on World Tea News:

Castleton Tea Estate, perched in Darjeeling’s misty Kurseong South Valley, actually has a castle of sorts, as well as a history colored by storybook details. No one is sure of the castle’s origin, though it’s probably just a building left behind by a long-ago money lender.

Originally planted in 1885 by an enterprising Englishman, the estate has passed through the hands of Calcutta royalty, and still uses names rather than numbers to designate specific areas in the garden. The original name of this garden was Kumseri. The various sections of this gardens are known as Bhalu Khop (bear cave), Jim Basha (the erstwhile manager’s domain), Dhobitar (washerman’s clothes line) and Baseri (resting place).

I love reading stories about tea and its history.

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I steeped the leaves for 3 minutes in 212F (boiling point) water.

A marvelous fruity fragrance greeted me as I poured my first cup.

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As you can see, the liquor is a beautiful amber color. The flavor is rich with that characteristic Darjeeling “bite” awakening my palate.

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I detected notes of muscatel, a warm toastiness and bright highlights, reminiscent of citrus, in the flavor. This tea is definitely strong enough to add a splash of milk but I encourage you to try it plain first and see what notes you find. This would make a lovely companion to a rich dessert.

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I’m going to relax today and work on a new knitting project, a rosey pink cardigan for someone special. How are you spending your day?

The next time I join you for a cup of tea, I’ll be moved in to my new home. Until then, enjoy your tea!

 

 

Saturday Morning Tea

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Good morning, dear tea friends! We’ve entered the month when spring arrives and begins to soften the air with her gentle touch. The snow is starting to melt, the days are expanding with light and there’s hope in the air after a long, hard winter here in New England. The first lots of first flush Darjeelings over in northeast India are beginning to be plucked and processed. There’s much to look forward to.

In celebration of the beginning of the Darjeeling season, a second flush Darjeeling from the Thurbo Estate graces my cup this morning. This tea was harvested in the summer of 2013 on the Thurbo estate, which is located in the Mirik valley in Darjeeling district. I’ve read that this tea estate got its name because the British set up camp there long ago to invade Nepal, which is close by. The local dialect word for “camp” is “tombu” which could have morphed into Thurbo.  An interesting little bit of trivia.

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The leaf is a gorgeous variegated mix of color – browns, greens and silvery white tips. I pushed the steeping time a little longer than normal, 3 1/2 minutes in boiling point (212F) water.

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The  vibrant amber-colored tea liquor has a light, fruity fragrance.

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The flavor is rich with light fruity nuances of pineapple and a tang reminiscent of fresh evergreen/pine. The lingering finish invites you to take another sip of this lovely tea.

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I sit and quietly sip my tea, dreaming of the day not that far away when little green leaves start to emerge from the soil after their long winter’s sleep. I can’t wait to get my hands back into gardening!

Thanks for sharing another cuppa with me. Until we meet again, have a wonderful two weeks!

It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.

~Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

Saturday Morning Tea

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Good morning, dear tea friends! A steady rain is falling from the leaden sky on this October morning. The fiery palette of autumn is muted as I look through the curtain of water sheeting down outside my kitchen window. I’m watching the rain and sipping a second flush Darjeeling, newly arrived from India. Let me introduce you to Puttabong Estate STGBOP1 (DJ-261) Organic. As you can see, the leaf is of the broken variety. I usually find broken leaf Darjeelings too astringent for my palate, however, this offering is silky smooth and oh so drinkable. I’ve already had two cups!

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I steeped the leaf for 1 1/2 minutes in boiling point (212F) water. As with all broken leaf teas, especially Darjeelings, a quick steeping is all that’s needed to extract full flavor.

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Also known as the Tukvar Estate, this tea garden was first planted in 1852 and is nestled in the foothills of the Himalayan mountains near Kanchendzonga peak. With altitudes ranging from 1,500 to 6,500 feet above sea level, it is one of the highest elevation tea gardens in Darjeeling district, in northeastern India.  Its tea plants consist mainly of clonal bushes and China jat, meaning tea bushes with origins from China.

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The aroma of the glowing amber-colored liquor is toasty with honey sweet hints. The first sip fills my mouth with rich flavor. Notes of fruit are highlighted by a citrus-like brightness. A lovely sweetness greets you throughout, lingering long into the finish and becoming more pronounced as the tea cools.

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A truly satisfying cup of tea.

Today is the perfect day to stay inside and work on my watercolor pencil class. My next assignment – draw a ribbon and all its highlights and shadows. I’m looking forward to the challenge. What’s up for your weekend?

Have a great tea-filled day and I’ll see you in two weeks!

“The rain to the wind said,
You push and I’ll pelt.’
They so smote the garden bed
That the flowers actually knelt,
And lay lodged–though not dead.
I know how the flowers felt.”

~Robert Frost

Saturday Morning Tea

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Good morning, dear tea friends! As I gaze out my window at the puffs of clouds floating across the cold, blue sky, I’m enjoying a very special tea called Sunrise.

From the 1,662 acre Steinthal Estate, located in the Darjeeling district in northeast India, the leaves were plucked at sunrise during the second flush season. I have been told that the dew that collects on the leaves overnight delays the photosynthesis process. This delay causes maximum flavor retention in the leaves so plucking in the early morning hours is desirable for optimum flavor.

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Sunrise is such a hushed, magical time when the world still sleeps and beautiful colors bloom across the sky. During the week, I rise at 5:30am so I’m able to see the sunrise most mornings. The beauty of nature is truly awe-inspiring.

I steeped the leaves for 3 minutes in boiling point (212F) water. The aroma was quite fruity as I lifted the infuser from my glass teapot.

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I have read that the Steinthal Estate is actually called the Singtom-Steinthal Estate. The word Steinthal comes from the German Jesuit missionaries that developed different areas of the tea garden.

This special Sunrise tea was handcrafted in honor of the 160th Jubilee celebration of the tea estate.

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The color of the tea liquor reminds me of the blazing dark-orange that lights up the sky at sunrise. If there are clouds in the eastern sky right before the sun peeks over the horizon, it looks like their undersides have been stroked with a paintbrush.

The flavor is quite fruity, with a dominant note of fresh apricots. The rich body is silky smooth. If you prefer your Darjeeling to be on the astringent side, I recommend pushing the steeping time a little.

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I had some fun taking photos as I poured the tea! Now the tea is all gone and I’m craving another cup…

On the studio side of things, I’ve created some polymer clay sheets with the technique I spoke about previously and now it’s time to play around with cutting some shapes for my beadwork. While I love my job, sometimes it’s frustrating having to wait for an afternoon of free time to play in my studio. Does anyone else have that experience?

As always, thanks for stopping by and sharing my tea time!

“I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.”

~Douglas Adams, The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul

Saturday Morning Tea

Good morning, dear tea friends!

A world of white greets me these days as I walk out my front door and carefully negotiate my way to my car along channels cut into the snow. After all was said and done, 19 inches of the white stuff fell last Wednesday. And now our temps have sunk down into single digits. 5 degrees…brrrr..

I’m glad to be inside right now, hot cup of tea warming my hands. In my cup is a second flush Darjeeling from the Thurbo estate. It is considered a “silver tip” Darjeeling because of the profusion of tips, the new silvery growth on the plant.

I steeped the leaves for 3 minutes in boiling point temp (212 F) water. In the picture above, you can see some of the huge mounds of snow we have.

The Thurbo estate is located in the Mirik valley in Darjeeling district in northeastern India. I’ve read that it got its name because long ago the British set up camp there to invade Nepal which is close by. The local dialect word for “camp” is “tombu” which could have morphed into Thurbo.  An interesting little bit of trivia.

When the sky is clear, the snow glows blue and purple at twilight. It’s a magical sight. I think those colors have seeped into my consciousness.

The rich amber liquor has a predominant chestnut aroma which carries on into its flavor. Hints of ripe fruit round out the very smooth cup.

This tea is perfect for this frosty, frigid January morning.

Despite the hours of shoveling and clearing away, the snow has brought some positive benefits with it. A snow day from work this past Wednesday pushed me right into my studio (yay!) and I finally finished my Towers and Turrets pendant. Now I’d like to turn it into a necklace so it’s off to the bead store I go today, armed with a very generous gift certificate from my oldest son (thanks Justin!).

I know that I’ve spoken about the art side of my blog being sorely lacking these past months. I’ve been thinking about that a lot this week, even reading art posts from past years and wondering where that motivation and passion went. Buried underneath a full-time job, I guess.

Anyway, one of my personal goals for 2011 is to share more of my artwork with you once again and I’d love for you to share your creations with me.

What are you creating?

The Eskimos had fifty-two names for snow because it was important to them: there ought to be as many for love. ~Margaret Atwood