Saturday Morning Tea

Huang Ya Yellow Tea Dry Leaf 02-21-15

Good morning, dear tea friends! I feel like I’m living in the arctic tundra these days with towering walls of snow and sharp icicles dripping from house eaves like the jagged teeth of the abominable snow monster. Our world is frozen, and we bravely venture outside, wrapped in a multitude of layers, moving gingerly across icy walkways and parking lots. At the grocery store the other day, I had to drive around a jaw dropping mound of snow at least 20 feet tall. Oh dear, will spring ever come?

I chose a light, fresh tea from China for my morning cuppa today. It’s a yellow tea, called Huang Ya Imperial Yellow Tea.

Huang Ya Yellow Tea Steep 02-21-15

How does yellow tea differ from green tea, you might be wondering. From what I’ve researched and read, it is processed very similarly yet varies in the heating/firing steps, which results in a little more oxidation of the leaf. These steps are more time consuming than green tea processing in that the leaves are lightly fried in a pan and then wrapped in some sort of thick cloth. They’re then stored in a darkened room over a number of days and brought out periodically to be reheated/fried in a pan. It produces a tea that tastes more like a white tea than a green tea. Such an art form.

I steeped the leaves for 3 minutes in 180F water.

Huang Ya Yellow Tea Wet Leaf 02-21-15

As you can see, the long, twisted dry leaf sets relax into gently arching shapes after steeping. What a beautiful leaf.

This tea was used as an Imperial Tribute tea in China throughout many dynasties there.

Huang Ya Yellow Tea Teapot 02-21-15

The golden apple-colored tea liquor has a fresh apricot/peach fragrance with floral undertones.

Huang Ya Yellow Tea Tea Bowl 02-21-15

The flavor has those same fresh, juicy apricot/peachy notes with a vegetal whisper and a nuance of tangerine brightness. The finish lingers with a golden raisin sweetness. A truly lovely cup of tea, mmmmm…

We’re expecting warmer temperatures tomorrow, creeping up towards a balmy 40 degrees. Maybe we can get a little melting before we’re plunged into the deep freeze again.

See you in two weeks!

Saturday Morning Tea

YelloHuoShanDry082209

Good morning, dear tea friends! Enjoy this oldie but goodie…

This morning the air had such a presence when I walked out onto the back deck. I strongly felt its steamy thickness pressing in on my body. Everything is air conditioned these days – my car, my house, my work, the stores – so it is almost a shock when I walk outside. All that said, I much prefer this thick heat to what lies ahead in about 3-4 months from now.

YelloHuoShanWet082209

With tender buds and full leaf sets, this morning’s tea is called Huo Shan Yellow Buds, a yellow tea from China. In touching the beautiful intact leaf, I imagined women moving through a tea field, their picking baskets strapped to them as their delicate hands reach out and pluck the tender new growth from each tea bush. Women are chosen for this task for their small hands and graceful movement.

TempDial180082209

I steeped the leaves for 3 minutes in 180 degree F water.

YelloHuoShanSteep082209

How does yellow tea differ from green tea, I wonder? From what I’ve researched and read, it is processed very similarly yet varies in the heating/firing steps. These steps are much more time consuming in producing the yellow tea in that the tea leaves are gently steamed with moist heat and then wrapped in some sort of material. This process is repeated several times. It produces a tea that tastes more like a white tea than a green tea. Such an art form. You can read about it here.

YelloHuoShanSteeps082209

Just like the air outside, this tea has such a presence in my mouth. That is called a “full mouth feel”. It is very apparent with the first sip of tea. It is not thick like an Assam tea but more buttery and silky.

YelloHuoShanTeapot082209

The tea liquor is quite pale with just a hint of color in my teapot. The aroma is soft and the flavor is slightly sweet and peppery/spicy. Very delicate and subtle.

YelloHuoShanTeabowl082209

The tea is so light that it shows off the speckled inside of my teabowl to perfection. ahhhh..

Infinite riches are all around you if you will open your mental eyes and behold the treasure house of infinity within you. There is a gold mine within you from which you can extract everything you need to live life gloriously, joyously, and abundantly.

~Joseph Murphy

Saturday Morning Tea

When I returned home after work yesterday, I discovered that my internet connection was working once again. So, just as mysteriously as I lost it, so I regained it without having to call Verizon. I was so thrilled that I could take a long walk in the fresh evening air instead of being cooped up inside on the phone. What a wakeup call on how much I depend upon my electronic devices to just automatically work!

This morning’s tea is a yellow tea called Heirloom Yellow Buds, quite an impressive name. The tea leaves are plucked from heirloom tea bushes in the Yunnan province, located in the south of China. In terms of an agricultural product, heirloom is defined as “a horticultural variety that has survived for several generations usually due to the efforts of private individuals”.

The leaves remind me very much of a white tea because most white teas consist of the buds of the tea bush. The whole intact leaf is a beautiful light sage green. Yellow teas are processed in a similar fashion to green teas, however, the difference lies in involving a moist steam heat and then covering the leaves with a cloth to allow the moist steam to develop the flavor. This process is repeated several times. I’ve written about another yellow tea and the process here.

In experiencing this tea – steeping, inhaling, sipping – the first word that comes to my mind is ethereal. It’s so light and delicate with a pale straw colored liquor. I steeped the leaves for 3 minutes in 180 degree F water.

So pale is the liquor that the true spring colors outside shine through.

The flavor is quite sweet and smooth with a whisper of apricot that lingers into the finish.

The azure sky reflected in my teabowl has not a cloud in it. The birds outside are welcoming another beautiful spring day as I quietly sit by the window sipping and meditating on the weekend ahead.

“Mystics report that every bit of the world radiates from one center – every cricket, every grain of dust, every dream, every image, everything under the sun or beyond the sun, all art and myth and wildness. If they are right, then we have no more important task than to seek that center.”

~Scott Russell Sanders

Saturday Morning Tea

YelloHuoShanDry082209

This morning the air had such a presence when I walked out onto the back deck. I strongly felt its steamy thickness pressing in on my body. Everything is air conditioned these days – my car, my house, my work, the stores – so it is almost a shock when I walk outside. All that said, I much prefer this thick heat to what lies ahead in about 3-4 months from now.

YelloHuoShanWet082209

With tender buds and full leaf sets, this morning’s tea is called Huo Shan Yellow Buds, a yellow tea from China. In touching the beautiful intact leaf, I imagined women moving through a tea field, their picking baskets strapped to them as their delicate hands reach out and pluck the tender new growth from each tea bush. Women are chosen for this task for their small hands and graceful movement.

TempDial180082209

I steeped the leaves for 3 minutes in 180 degree F water.

YelloHuoShanSteep082209

How does yellow tea differ from green tea, I wonder? From what I’ve researched and read, it is processed very similarly yet varies in the heating/firing steps. These steps are much more time consuming in producing the yellow tea in that the tea leaves are gently steamed with moist heat and then wrapped in some sort of material. This process is repeated several times. It produces a tea that tastes more like a white tea than a green tea. Such an art form. You can read about it here.

YelloHuoShanSteeps082209

Just like the air outside, this tea has such a presence in my mouth. That is called a “full mouth feel”. It is very apparent with the first sip of tea. It is not thick like an Assam tea but more buttery and silky.

YelloHuoShanTeapot082209

The tea liquor is quite pale with just a hint of color in my teapot. The aroma is soft and the flavor is slightly sweet and peppery/spicy. Very delicate and subtle.

YelloHuoShanTeabowl082209

The tea is so light that it shows off the speckled inside of my teabowl to perfection. ahhhh..

Infinite riches are all around you if you will open your mental eyes and behold the treasure house of infinity within you. There is a gold mine within you from which you can extract everything you need to live life gloriously, joyously, and abundantly.

~Joseph Murphy

Saturday Morning Tea

yellowteadry111508

On this rainy, misty morning, I am sipping the rarest variety of all teas, a yellow tea. Called Jun Shan Yin Zhen, its name translates to “Silver Needles of Jun Shan Mountain”. Jun Shan is actually an island located in Dong Ting lake in China’s Hunan province. The climate and soil on this small island, along with the special processing of the tea, create a unique aroma and flavor.

guywan111508For steeping the yellow tea leaves, I chose my gaiwan, a lidded teabowl popular for enjoying the delicate aroma and taste of white, green and yellow teas. After steeping, the leaves are left in the bowl and the lid is used for sweeping them out of the way for ease of sipping.

yellowteasteeping111508I like the wide opening of this little bowl so I can watch the leaves as they infuse. I used 165 degree F water and steeped for 3 minutes. The aroma is delicate and soft with wisps of fruitiness. The taste is sweet and smooth with a hint of fruit.

The flavor is closer to a white tea than a green tea because there isn’t any vegetal quality to it.

yellowteawet111508The leaves are plucked in the early spring. To stop oxidation, they are quickly fried in small batches and then wrapped in a very thin old yellow paper while still moist. They dry naturally for several hours and then this process is repeated several times. This way of processing the tea leaves was first developed during the Tang dynasty, over 1300 years ago. Because this tea is created by such a tedious hand process, only small lots are made. I am honored to experience such a rare treat, created so artistically. The liquor lives up to its name with its delicate golden color.

yellowteabowl111508This morning I was tagged by Autumn to list 8 random things about myself. Since I’ve done this a couple of times already, I direct you to these posts if you’d like to read random things about me, here and here.

Next Saturday I will be displaying and selling my jewelry at the 14th annual Arts and Crafts show at the Middlesex Community College in Bedford, MA, from 10am-4pm. If you happen to be in the area, I’d love for you to stop by and say hello. As I’ll be leaving for the show that day before the sun comes up, my tea review will be postponed to the following day, next Sunday.