Sunday, January 2, 2011

Tea with Frances and the Saints

What a pretty day it is! The sky is a gorgeous blue and there is a vast assortment of clouds - real stratus - the layered ones, cumulus, cumulo-nimbus, cumulo-stratus, some mare's tails. It was hard to drive and look.

Church was interesting today - we sang a hymn I haven't sung in ages - "I Sing a Song of the Saints of God". The last verse talks about where you might meet these saints and one of the places was "over tea." What a surprise. I just hugged myself with glee. I love this little church of 10-12 hardy souls, 4 service dogs and assorted children. The church burned down a few months ago and here they are, carrying on. Their community is supporting them, other churches have given gifts of Bibles and hymn books and they have worked hard to salvage what they can and move forward. It took 20 washes to get their Christmas banners clean and their communion cloth is still singed, the organist's hymnal is grey with soot and the small electric organ she uses coughs and wheezes, but there we are.

I think it's time for this wannabee saint to have some tea. Upton's Frances Bissell's Special Blend seems to be calling me. This is a mix of select Ceylon teas. They are indeed a mixture of long black and brown leaves with a very earthy/good tobacco aroma. I know tobacco is bad for you, but I grew up in a family of pipe smokers and I loved to smell the different cans of tobacco the men had. We all reference what we know. Frances Bissell was a fairly well known Bristish cookbook author and food authority.

I brewed the tea for about 3.5 minutes with boiling water. As it brewed it continued with the earth/tobacco, but added a cornsilk/floral/citrus note. It is a fairly light tea, which I didn't expect, and the major flavor is somewhat citrussy, somewhat floral with only a few earthy base notes. I really expected it to be much stronger!

1 comment:

Alex Zorach said...

I saw the Frances Bissell's blend in Upton's catalog and was curious about it. But overall, I'm not terribly impressed with Upton's Ceylon black teas, especially relative to their Indian black teas.

Was it really different from the other Ceylons you've tried from Upton? It might be worth me ordering a sample next time I order from them.