Saturday Morning Tea


My morning tea tastes especially delicious and warming today after Dave and I just shoveled 10 inches of snow out of our driveway. The snow started mid-afternoon yesterday and continued on through the dark winter night. Businesses and schools shut down early so everyone could get home safely before the storm’s arrival.

I am sipping and savoring a second flush Darjeeling from the Namring estate. The Darjeeling district is located in the Himalayan foothills of northeastern India.

namringdarjwet122008I steeped the dark leaf for 3 minutes in 212 degree F (boiling) water, resulting in a glowing amber liquid. The thing that I like best about Darjeelings from the Namring estate is that they always have that classic, rich Darjeeling aroma and flavor. Sometimes I am in the mood for an astringent tea that echos in my mouth for awhile after I’ve taken my first sip. This is perfect, with nutty almond, fruity richness. Second flush Darjeelings are harvested in the summertime and are usually fuller with the more mature taste of the summer leaf, as opposed to first flushes, harvested in the springtime.


It’s hard to imagine the lush greenery that graced our backyard deck a short 2-3 months ago. It is now a white drifting world.

namringdarjteacup1220081As I was pouring my cup of tea, Dave offered me a piece of pumpernickel toast. It went perfectly with the rich flavor of this tea. The bare tree branches of our backyard trees look like they’d like to warm themselves in my steaming cup. This is the time of year when I never feel quite warm enough. My favorite spot is next to the fireplace with my hands perpetually wrapped around a hot mug and a good book opened in my lap.

You can never get a cup of tea large enough

or a book long enough to suit me.

~C.S. Lewis

Saturday Morning Tea

When I got up this morning, I discovered that it had rained overnight. The sky now looks like a big gray blanket, overhanging a very wet world outside. The air is very still and a few birds call to one another in the treetops. As we enter the Labor Day weekend, the official end of summer, I can feel a change in the air. Lazy, hazy is being replaced by a cooler more “get down to business” type of energy as school starts again. When I was young, I always loved the start of school because it meant a shiny new pencilcase and a bright box of Crayola crayons with the sharpener on the back. Oh, how I loved to draw and color!

In honor of this ripe, harvest time of year, this morning I am sipping a cup of second flush Darjeeling from the Makaibari estate. The Darjeeling tea growing district is located in northeastern India. When I think of second flushes, words like ripe, grape, heavy and lush pop into my mind. As I gaze out my window, I see our garden, a riot of color, a sea of golden yellow, ruby red and rich magenta.

2nd flush Darjeelings are harvested in the summertime after the tea bush has “flushed” again after the spring picking. With a rich, amber colored liquor, the taste represents the more mature taste of the leaf as opposed to the greener, brighter taste of a first flush. For tea drinkers who enjoy their tea British style with milk, most 2nd flushes offer a stronger taste that one can taste through the milk. I always recommend to try the tea plain first so you can discover what it really tastes like.

A rich fruity aroma greets me as I take my first sip. What is called a muscatel flavor note predominates the taste. Some Darjeelings are described as “muscatel”, a flavor note which speaks of the Muscat grape, said to be the oldest domesticated grape variety.

With this tea, I also detect a slight nutty note with a crisp finish that lingers in the back of my throat. The pungent character of this tea would go very well with rich food, especially a rich dessert like a dark chocolate torte or something incredibly decadent like that. Mmmmm…