Saturday Morning Tea

Even though I reviewed a Yunnan black tea very recently, I just couldn’t resist this morning’s tea. Just enjoy gazing upon that gorgeous leaf filled with warm golden tips, named quite fittingly Golden Tip Yunnan.

As evidenced by the intact tip, this tea is plucked and processed meticulously by hand. It shows that very special care.

In steeping the leaf, I used boiling point water (212F) for 5 minutes.

Ah, there are those little swords again except this time in a black tea. I know I’ve said it many times before but it constantly amazes me how many different kinds of tea can come from one kind of plant.

In Yunnan province, ancient tea plants have grown into large trees producing enormous sized leaves. These leaves are traditionally used to produce Pu-erh tea. I imagine a grove of venerable old trees having seen many changes around them over the centuries.

The tea liquor glows like a sunset in my glass teapot. An aroma of sweet peach nectar arises as I pour my first cup. My first sip is like ambrosia on my tongue with notes of peach and spice. Full-bodied and complex, the rich flavor lingers on my tongue like a fine wine.

It has now been one year since the earthquake in Japan and I honor them by enjoying my tea in one of my Japanese mugs. The cherry blossoms symbolize new growth and hope for continued healing in their country. I have heard positive reports for the 2012 tea harvest over there and hope that I will have the opportunity to review some new Japanese teas here soon.

Time to go pour another cup! Enjoy your week, dear friends.

“I find hope in the darkest of days, and focus in the brightest.  I do not judge the universe.”  ~Dalai Lama

Saturday Morning Tea

A couple of days ago, we did a Yunnan black tea cupping at work, comparing 8 of our current Yunnan selections. I enjoy the cuppings very much because I find it so interesting to taste the teas side by side and discern their similarities and differences, especially within a category. So, with that cupping still fresh in my mind, I chose one of those Yunnan teas as my morning tea today. It’s the only broken leaf one of the group, called Yunnan FBOP (Flowery Broken Orange Pekoe).

From mountainous Yunnan province in southwestern China, this black tea consists of mainly dark leaf with a small amount of yellowish tip sprinkled in. Yunnan teas have traditionally been plucked from very large, old tea trees but I have heard that some of those trees are being cut down or cut in half to make way for monoculture plantings. Hearing that makes me sad but I also know that demand is up for these teas and perhaps that is how they’re accommodating that demand.

I steeped the leaves for only 3 minutes in boiling point (212 F) water. The aroma wafting up from the steeping leaves is sweet and earthy.

The Chinese have traditionally called black tea “red tea” and you can certainly see why as the tea glows a gorgeous russet color in my glass teapot.

The flavor is so incredibly sweet with notes of pepper and earth and a whisper of smoke. The sweet and smoke linger in my mouth reminding me of sweet pipe tobacco. This tea would stand up to milk well but I don’t recommend any sugar because it is plenty sweet already.

I like my wide mouth tea bowl because it allows the tea to cool quickly, revealing the flavor notes. I find it hard to pick out all of the flavor notes when the tea is really hot. How about you?

We had a dusting of snow fall from a gray blanket sky this morning, however, it must be warming up outside because the snow is gone and everything just looks damp now as I gaze out my window. I’ve recently ordered some metalworking supplies, a disk cutter and a dapping set. I’m looking forward to getting back into my studio after an incredibly long period of drought. Way too long…

Happy tea drinking!

“Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.” ~Rabindranath Tagore