Friday, September 24, 2010

Wonderful, Wonderful

This is a diptych, meaning two panels, hung over the choir stalls in a church in Germany. I had such a good time in the European churches. They just made me happy and mostly, awe-struck with their beauty.

After having so much real fall weather - cool but often sunny, today is scalding hot - over 90. Not a true Indian Summer because we haven't had frost yet. The sunrise was beautiful this am, turning the trees pink. Moonrise last night was especially lovely as well, as the clouds played hide and seek with the moon. I really appreciate living where I can see these events.

I have new teas, so I just can't wait for it to be cool again.

As I mentioned earlier, one of my favorite tea merchants is Dream About Tea, a wonderful tea shop in Evanston, Illinois, that specializes in Chinese, Taiwanese and Japanese teas. I have always gotten top-notch tea from them and this is no exception. Today's selection is Golden Silk, from the Yunnan Province of China. I reviewed last year's in January, but this is the 2010 crop. It is grown in the high mountains, which are ideal for tea cultivation and it is only the fine buds and first leaves from the first Spring plucking. It is an attractive tea, with large, almost black leaves and golden buds. I could not identify the smell of the dry leaves, but let me assure you, it is wonderful, like some exquisite food you can't wait to eat. Maybe a touch of very special well-aged wood.

I brewed it for 3 minutes with boiling water, using about 1.5 teaspoons per cup. I really should have weighed it, but I've gotten pretty good at guessing with big leaves. The scent of the brewing tea was very much Yunnan, but with a very smooooooth edge that carries a touch of floral. The brewed tea was a real shock. Usually you can describe Chinese teas as a "red" tea, as they do, because they are some sort of reddish brown, but this was such a dark brown I would have to call it black. Oh my, what a wonderful taste! Very Yunnan, but not the spicey sort. It is more woodsy with some honey around the edges and then has a touch of astringency to ground it. But it is the smoothest Yunnan I think I've ever had. Wonderful, wonderful. What's even more wonderful is it is only $7.00 for 2 ounces, which is quite inexpensive in this year's tea market.

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