Sunday, October 31, 2010

Spice and Everything Nice

A scene from the outdoor museum in Ballenberg, Switzerland. It
is a lot like Mystic Village or Plimoth Plantation, where old buildings and heritage animals [such as that turkey] are preserved and there are costumed people doing all manner of things, like baking bread, tending the animals, playing old games. A really fun place to visit.
I spoke too soon yesterday. We are supposed to get snow flurries for the next several days, with nighttime temperatures in the low 20's. I guess summer is really over.
Brilliant color has been hard to find this fall, but of late, the yellow trees are putting on a really good, stand-out show. One particularly beautiful yellow was hit by a shaft of sunlight this morning, backed up by dark blue clouds - magnificent! My lovely red maple in the back has lost it's leaves and now it is pretty gray out this window. I think I'll put both bird feeders here for something nice to watch.
Sometimes our cats are particularly cute. They've been lined up in a row on the other side of the road, watching the squirrels in a big stand of oak trees. They just watch - maybe they know they'll never catch them or maybe this is "kitty TV". The only other time I've seen them do that was when there was a skunk in the yard and then it was from the safety of the porch. As for me, I am watching a confab of crows in the back yard. They are beautiful intelligent creatures. If they had nice voices we would love them.
This is a perfect day for tea, as what day is not? I'm going with two old friends, Upton's and Yunnan. It is their China Select Tippy Yunnan, Catalogue number ZY88. This lovely stuff smells like peppered old wood and the very best of burleigh tobacco. The leaves are long and twisted with a great abundance of golden tips among them. I could not brew if for the recommended 5 minutes, so I only did 4, using a good 1.5 teaspoons because the leaves are so big. I think I really need to make my scale more accessible, so I can more accurately measure big ones like these. But that has always seemed just too snobby and/or mechanical to me. While it was brewing it gave off a lovely aroma of spiciness, on top of the other, along with a hint of chocolate. Is Yunnan back? The proof is always in the taste.
Oh hooray, this is good stuff! Very thick and smooth with woodsy, spicy tones here and there, a lingering roasty toasty feel, a bit of new pencils, newly sharpened. It is so smooth that the other tastes or sensations are very welcome, lest it slip down too easily. The wet leaves are huge! Personally I think more of the high and low notes come out as it cools. I am doing a second wash, for 5.5 minutes with half the water, as I have found that some black teas will still be good this way, and, given the higher prices, I can make my tea go farther. And, second washes often bring out new tastes. Ah well, not this one, all the good stuff is gone and it hardly even tastes like tea.

1 comment:

Alex Zorach said...

I have recently gotten more into Yunnan black teas...there are two from Rishi that I like very much. I am going to order again from Upton too and I think after reading this post I'm convinced I absolutely need to try some of their Yunnan black teas.