Sunday, August 22, 2010

Tea Surprises on a Rainy Day

An Austrian farmstead.

Wow, when we finally get rain, it is in abundance. I am so glad to
get it, but I hope we don't get the whole summer's worth in one shot. A perfect day for a pot of tea.

I am so pleased with my new teapot - no drips and it holds 7-8 cups. I filled it with Upton's Cecilliayan Estate Ceylon FBOPFEXSPL, to give it its full designation. The dry leaves are tiny, with an abundance of gold buds. It smells very fresh, with a typical Ceylon nose. I brewed it for 4 minutes, as instructed, but next time, I am going to cut it back a bit, as it was a touch tannic. The liquor was a dark red amber.

This was very interesting tea, as plain, I thought it was just so-so, a candidate for ice tea or dull mornings. However! When I added some cream to it the tea took a giant leap forward into very very good land. There was some nuttiness, some malt, a hint of fruit with an understory of oak leaves and floral notes on top. Wow! what an incredible difference, making it worthy of the ExSpl designation.

I have finally been able to do some teabook reading. One I have especially enjoyed is Time for Tea by Michele Rivers, published in 1995. It is stories of tea and conversation with 13 English women and girls, ranging in age from 6 to 80, from farmers' wives to the Marchioness of Bath, children, teens, shopkeepers, B&B owners, etc. Each one included a recipe, all sweets, all saying "Make me." One of the women talked about giving birth and having the nurse encourage her with the thought of the best cup of tea in the world awaiting. She said "It was! It was terrific."
It is a quick or thoughtful read, one to savor if you wish or just skim, and a wonderful glimpse of the lives of our sisters in tea.


Alex Zorach said...

I have had some Ceylons from Upton that I've loved, but an overwhelming majority of ones I've tried, I've been underwhelmed by.

Do you have a favorite Ceylon black tea, from Upton, or from anywhere? My favorite Ceylon so far is actually green...TC47: Oliphant Estate OPA Green. So far my favorite black tea to come out of Upton is TC40: Nuwara Eliya BOP". I'm wondering if I just don't care for Ceylon black tea, or if I'm just had bad luck, or what? I seem to have no trouble finding Indian and Chinese black teas that I like very much, from Upton or elsewhere. Maybe I need to go for one of the more high-end teas?

Marlena said...

I don't seem to be able to find a lot of Ceylons I like either. I've not had any others from Upton lately, but I found a really nice one from Boston Tea Company - Ceylon Symphony