Sunday, March 7, 2010

Honey in Mud Season

The Catholic Church in Durlach. I love churches, as you may have guessed. Notice the green leaves!

Ah yes, another sign that Spring is coming, at least for us in the Northeast – Mud Season! This is between winter and spring, when the frozen ground begins to thaw and we all wear boots, sometimes with 5 pounds of mud caked on the bottom. But the creeks are beginning to flow and soon we will hear the peepers calling to their potential mates. It's worth the extra work, the extra pounds to haul around, to know that soon there will be peepers and skunk cabbage and pussy willows.

Aura Teas has kindly sent a number of people some samples of their teas. This one is Formosa Natural Wuhe Honey Black. It is from the Hualien area of that island, on the west side of the Central Mountain Range, looking toward the Pacific ocean. It is said to be the most beautiful area of Taiwan (Formosa). This tea is grown without pesticides and is therefore attacked by the same bug that causes other tea plants to produce an enzyme that eventually gives us Bai Hao or Oriental Beauty Tea ( another on my long list of favorites.) This enzyme causes the leaves to be sweeter. Good bugs, keep up your work.

I have never had black tea from Formosa, so I was really looking forward to this. It is indeed black, with twisted leaves and a few brown ones for color. I brewed a teaspoon and a half with water just below boiling for 2 minutes. It smelled of burnt sugar, or crème brulee with some dried corn silk edges. The leaves were not done unfurling, so I moved them to another cup for a second steep. The tea is a nice dark amber and very very smooth, quite unlike many black teas. There is no smokiness to it, but a deep comforting brown taste with a delicate honeyed overlay. A very,very nice tea, good for any time of day. The second cup was not as deep, but it was a tad sweeter and you could see the tiny bug bites on the edges of the leaves, which shows their authenticity. This tea was one of the “Top Ten Teas of Formosa” in 2007. Worthy of that honor, in my opinion.

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