Monday, October 31, 2011

May The Great Pumpkin Rise In Your Pumpkin Patch

Looking across the valley
Some of you may have heard about blue tea and wondered what it is.  While I was reading my tea books I discovered that back in the early days of tea shipping to foreign merchants, some Chinese discovered that if they added a blue dye, perhaps made from mallow flowers, to their tea, they could claim it was something very special and so, charge more.  Once this was discovered, the market disappeared.  Sometimes Oolong was referred to as "blue-green tea" because in processing, it is between green and black.  I've tried looking it up on line, with no great or satisfactory results, although there is a discussion on Tea Chat about the translation of Chinese words relating to this.  If any of you know more about this, please let me know.  Currently, this is not something generally used to describe a class of tea.

For those of you who are close enough, the Ottawa Tea Festival is coming up this Saturday, November 5.  The entrance fee covers all the free tea you can drink, plus a number of speakers and exhibits from around the world.  Workshops are extra and cover things like pairing tea and chocolate, tea and food and tea blending.  Sorry to give you such short notice, but I only heard about it today.

Since it is Great Pumpkin Day, aka Halloween, I decided to try some Pumpkin Spice tea from the Boston Tea Company.  They very kindly sent me this and two other blends.  This one is "Ceylon tea flavored with pumpkin, exotic spices and sunflowers".  It smells like pumpkin, with the usual array of spices one puts in a pie and its looks are enhanced by what I would guess are sunflower petals.  There is a slight chemical hint to the scent.  I am doing it with boiling water for 3.5 minutes.  As it brews the hint of chemistry dissipates and the dark liquor is very pleasant smelling, indeed.  Sweet is the first thing that comes to mind as I sip the tea, the pumpkin and spices come in at the end.  However, they linger so that as I continue to sip, they make a whole, well-rounded impression of a perfectly spiced pumpkin.  I added half & half and that did it no service at all.  I added some sugar and that again rounded out the taste.  For myself, I will drink it plain.

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