Friday, February 25, 2011

A Tribute Tea

The old organ in the Vienna Cathedral, one of the truly beautiful churches of the world.

My Faith is restored! Well, sort of. In weathermen, that is. For today. They said we'd get 8" of snow. Well, we've rounded that turn and are headed for 10. Let's see, that's 15" of new snow this week. After a teaser of Spring. Good thing I am not a tea farmer.

Speaking of which, I know many people are buying tea plants or seeds. This is a fun thing to do and perhaps to harvest enough for at least a cup or maybe even a pot. You need to know what varietal it is though, because the ones that are Camellia sinensis assamica were developed for the hot humid areas of Assam. Those tender darlings need to come when the temperature goes below 50 degrees! Not for me, I would never remember and I would have to make tea popsicles. If you're a northerner, try to get Camellia sinensis sinensis.

I had some really nice tea today. I got it from Life in Teacup and it is called JiangXi Tribute Tea. This comes from the Jian Xi area of Wuyan province. It is different from any green tea I've seen in that it is the softest grey green, gently twisted. It has been lightly stir-fried to kill enzymes as part of the drying process. This is called Chao Qing. The dry tea has very little aroma, as does the brewing tea. What there is is fresh, green, maybe the barest hint of sweet.

The taste is equally as delicate, especially in the initial brewing, with 170 degrees water for just a minute. The second, still at a minute, was stronger but still delicate. The third was about 1.5 minutes and was yet stronger. All tasted to me of perhaps what new Spring greenery would taste like - fresh, young, full of promise. I can easily see why this would be a tribute tea. If I were giving it to a friend, I would feel I had certainly given my best.

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