Saturday, April 17, 2010

Gold on a Gray Day

This is St. Barbara, for whom many of my ancestresses were named. I have to applaud the museum for painting the walls red. Color is appreciated today as it is very gray and grim, with snow, rain, and lots of wind.

Since it is so nasty today I really wanted a black tea and fortunately, I remembered I hadn't tried the Golden Bi Luo from the new Chicago Tea Garden that I bought a few weeks ago. This is an unusual, to me at least, tea in that it is a black tea made in the style of a green or Oolong tea, namely Bi Luo Chun, which I think translates as Green Snail Spring. It is from Yunnan Province, China and is hand-formed into loose golden spirals in a heated wok.

The dry leaves smell lovely, something like ripe corn or fresh tomatoes that are just starting to cook. They had released a fine yellow dust on the inside of the can. Tony Gebley's wonderful instructions, which come with each of his teas, say to infuse it for only a minute and then you can get up to 8 one-minute brews. I did not have the patience for that today, so I did a two minute infusion and then 2 more while I was drinking the first. The tea almost instantly released a lovely yellow into the water and was a dark, deep gold by the end of two minutes. The color was pretty much the same in the other two infusions.

What a very nice tea this is, The brewing tea gives off that wonderful fresh wash scent I love and the liquor is thick and hearty, but very creamy seeming. The taste has a bit of the usual Yunnan, but with maybe some vanilla and maybe some old mellow wood, with a touch of some sort of piquancy at the end. The second and third cups seemed to be about the same in taste, but they felt much thinner somehow. On a day when I feel I have more time and patience, I will do the 8 steepings and report back on how they were. I put the leftovers of the 3 brews into one pot and that was quite good, also.

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