Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A Very Good Day

Another Swiss view!

What a super-duper day! Not one but 5 really good things – perfect weather, warm and sunny but NOT hot and muggy; honoring a beloved friend; fresh local peas!; fresh local strawberries!! and someone else to cook supper. Oops, no 6 things. I got some samples from Aura Teas yesterday and one is on tap for today [as soon as I convert ccs to ounces and centigrade to Fahrenheit].

The second is really the best. Our friend Richard is a poet and a good one. He has been trying to get published, with no success. Another friend arranged for Richard's wife to spirit out her favorite poems and had them edited into a book, complete with preface, bio and ISBN number. Our group read his poems aloud and wished him very well on his birthday. He was speechless and very nearly in tears with JOY.

There are roadside markers, monuments and parks dedicated to war, but now there is a whole book born out of love. Truly a cause for celebration.

I am a big fan of buying as much stuff as locally as possible, so I frequent the local farmer's market. It is such a real treat to have good veggies and fruit. It tastes better, too. Today I taste tested 2 strawberries – one from California and one locally. The local one was softer, sweeter, richer. California wasn't bad, but it was nowhere near as good. An added bonus was the berries came from a farm that was wiped out in the big flood 4 years ago. I am glad they are back in business.

On to the tea, the reason for all this! I really earned it as I made muffins and bread and shelled a “mess of peas” for supper. This lovely Aura Tea is Formosa, Hsinchu, Baihao Oolong, Choice. I used 2 teaspoons to ¼ cup water – 120 cc, as the leaves were quite big, at 185 degrees for about 2 minutes. The loose leaves are quite dark and long, thin from being rolled, with a few more almost ball shaped. The first cup had a floral scent, with a very noticeable sharpness and almost a black currant smell. It brewed up a pleasant yellow tan. The taste was floral, but also nutty. It was very rounded but with some piquancy. The aftertaste was fruity. It was a real treat.

The second cup was about the same color, but the scent was much softer with almost a hazelnut edge, without the black currant. Unusually for an oolong, the second cup didn't strike me as being better than the first. It was much plainer, without many nuances. However, the aftertaste seemed to linger more and was, if anything, more pleasant. Aura Tea does it again! I really am a big fan of them, as I have not yet had any poor tea. Some I didn't care for, but that is just taste, not quality.

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