Saturday Morning Tea

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This has been a truly amazing week.

Last Tuesday, history was made with the election of Barack Obama as the first African American man to be president. And, on a more personal note, I became a grandmother for the first time on Thursday night with the birth of my granddaughter, Gabriella, to my son, Brendan, and his wife, Brianna. All is well with Mom and baby and I’ll be happy to share pictures very soon.

I feel hope and new beginnings.

Even the temperature outside is gentle and hopeful, hovering around 60 degrees last night when we left the hospital.

This morning I’ve brewed up a steaming cup of a Golden Tip Yunnan black tea, recently arrived. It was a real challenge finding high quality Yunnan black teas back in 2007 but that seems to have resolved in 2008, and there are some wonderful teas coming in.

goldentipyunnanwet110808The long dry leaves are soft golden leaf tips with fine white hairs. Many leaves come in leaf sets like the one in my photo. Even though the dry leaf can resemble white tea because of the fine downy hair, this tea is fully processed as a black tea. The sage-y white look of a white tea leaf becomes a brownish golden color in a black tea due to the oxidation of the leaf.

goldentipyunnansteeping1108I steeped the leaves in my little glass teapot for 5 minutes in boiling water. The liquor is a deep rust brown color with a sweet fragrance of fall leaf and earth. Each sip of tea fills my mouth with its full body and notes of peppery spice. It’s very smooth and can be enjoyed with a small amount of milk or cream added. With its natural molasses sweetness, there’s no need to add any sugar.

goldentipyunnanteabowl11080Today will be a full day in my studio with my teacup by my side as I prepare for an arts and crafts show scheduled for November 22nd at Middlesex Community College in Bedford, MA. Of course, there will have to be breaks in my work so I can go over to the hospital and hold a sweet little angel named Ella.

Saturday Morning Tea

Happy Fall! This morning I am enjoying a cup of rich, dark Yunnan Golden Tips black tea. While the tea itself is a dark chocolate color, the leaves are a beautiful golden yellow. These are the very tips, the new growth, of the tea tree. In Yunnan province, the particular type of tea plants that grow there are actually trees with very large leaves. The tips are carefully plucked and processed to create special lots of this tea.

I had some fun arranging the wet leaf on this misty rainy morning.

The aroma and taste is of exotic spices and dark honey with a silky smooth mouth feel. There is a hint of earthy smoke in the finish. This tea would go very well with milk or cream but I don’t think it needs a sweetener because of its natural sweetness. I steeped the leaves for 5 minutes in boiling water.

There was a period of time last year where this type of tea was very challenging to obtain. I think it was because of the quickly growing popularity of Pu-ehr teas. The leaf used in the processing of this tea comes from the same area and tea trees as Pu-ehr tea. I’m happy to say that there is a return of the Yunnan blacks this year but a lot of what I’ve seen so far is very special and more expensive.

The weather forecast is for rainy skies all weekend as 2 storms head up the coast to New England. I am going to devote most of my weekend to working (and hopefully finishing) a knitted blanket for my soon to be born granddaughter Ella. That’s why I’ve been quiet this week.  All of my free time has been filled with knitting needles and yarn! I’ll post a picture soon.

I’m also headed off to the Whole Bead show in Providence this weekend, too. I’ll post a picture of my newly acquired treasures as soon as I can!