Friday, October 1, 2010

Sun After Rain

A platter about 21 inches in diameter, made from one piece of
alabaster. Again, the Vienna State Museum.

I guess the whole East Coast really got a storm yesterday! The wind howled and the rain fell in sheets. Cats and dogs even. The Susquehanna is about 2-3 feet higher than it was on Wed. In fact, I think it rose perhaps another foot in just the two hours from when I left until I came home today - that's a lot of water! Today, however, the sun is once again out and the meadow on the other side of our spinney is shining gold. With the gray tree trunks in front and some bright orange leaves, it is quite a tapestry.

My very kind tea friend, Gingko, from Life in Teacup, sent me some samples, which arrived today, oh happy day. The first one I spyed was Yunnan Golden Bud and that is as far as I got, as Yunnan is my uber-favorite. And there were lots of golden buds, nice big fat, crinkly ones. I immediately set water to boil and opened the packet and had a good big sniff. What a nice fresh, spicy, almost lemony smell. I almost sneezed! I brewed it for 3 minutes, but I don't think that was enough, as it seemed a bit weak. However, as it cooled, more of that lovely woodsy, spicy Yunnan taste came through. It is a lovely golden brown. Then I did something I don't usually do with black teas, I rebrewed the leaves. I used half as much water and brewed it for six minutes. My, this is good. There aren't a lot of nuances, but it seems to have acquired a depth it didn't have the first time around, a fuller, more grounded earthiness.

As good as this is, this is not the Yunnan of a few years ago. It is a muted shadow of those great teas. This is not surprising, as the weather in Yunnan was not conducive to a top crop this year, as it was in many parts of the tea producing world. It is easy for us to forget that tea is an herbal crop and subject to things like weather. Those of us who are gardeners know what it is to lose a crop to drought or bugs or an early or late frost.

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