Still in Ravenna, the other side of the altar from yesterday's mosaic.
We just had one of the quickest thunderstorms on record - about 3 minutes of downpour, enough to make it muggy. Phoo. We need about 2 days worth of a gentle soaking.
Today I am doing a tea from an old friend - Uptons. It is part of a lot I bought a while ago -Organic China Keemun Heng Ru. Supposedly an old Chinese black tea - they started making it in the 1860's. I'm not sure it's the oldest, as I don't know when China started making black teas. The leaves are very small, very black and smell a bit smokey and somewhat like a hay barn in the early summer, before the new hay is in. There is also a bit of cork and resin, like you might find on a boat. I brewed it up with boiling water for 4 minutes and the result is a nice red-brown liquor. The Chinese call this red tea and it is easy to see why. The pleasant hay smell is continuing, but the smokiness has lessened considerably.
Oh, this tea is so fresh tasting. Those sample packets from Uptons really do the job. There is almost no smoke, but a touch of astringency and some of the resin, which balances out the hints of fruitiness and sweetness; not sugary or cloying, but sweet nevertheless. This is a complex tea and one I think would make a very nice afternoon tea, with some sturdy sweets, as it is a sturdy tea. I wouldn't recommend it for ice tea, however.
The other tea for today is just old Cold Brew Lipton's, but I added several packets of Raspberry Lemonade from True Lemon. Very nice, the lemon and berry add some accent and sweetness, as does the Truvia the packets are sweetened with. It is a very refreshing drink. In my ice teas, I allow some sweetener, but if it is too much, I just pretend it is soda or I don't drink it. I really am bad about sweet tea.