Wouldn't you love to peek over that old wall? I like the idea of a private courtyard, as I am pretty much of an introvert and like my home to be cosy, even outside.
I came across some more tea I had purchased but hadn't gotten around to trying – I love all these discoveries – it's like getting birthday presents. Today's find was some Simpson and Vail Himalayan Blend. I really like a lot of S&V's teas. This one is an very attractive tea, with dark green, black, gray, brown and pale tan leaves. I brewed a large teaspoon – almost 2 at boiling for 3.5 minutes. It brewed up to a nice dark amber with a very satisfying, deep nutty aroma. The wet leaves maintained their pretty mix of colors. What a nice taste, a very full, deep rich one with a deep chestnut base and, maybe a bit of malt and dry leaves running through it. Quite brisk and it does well with cream. I tasted my husband's and I thought the sweetener in his masked the taste, or changed it too much for my liking. This would be a good breakfast tea or one to have with either sweets or savories. I really liked it. It might be a good one for those friends who are thinking of making the switch from coffee to tea. It's hearty, but not smokey. Just a good straight forward black, but richer and deeper than many.
Tea prices may again rise quite a bit this year. Unusual snow storms in some of China's tea growing regions have damaged new leaves and buds, some quite severely, as the first flush is ready to be picked. There are pictures of the tea bushes covered with about 4 inches of snow and the new leaves are brown and frozen, instead of a nice, lively green. In some of Darjeeling there has not been enough rain over the winter and the evening Spring rains are sparse. These are the only 2 regions I've read about, but you will remember that Taiwan was hit badly by a typhoon several months ago and many tea gardens suffered greatly. All this will affect the price of our tea. More, it affects all the farmers and workers and many will be hurt economically. On a positive note, I heard from Benoy Thapa at Thunderbolt Teas that he has gotten some good First Flush Darjeeling in and it is on sale. Check him out at www.thunderbolttea.com