Friday, March 2, 2012

Intrigue In A Teacup

Did you ever have a tea you can't make up your mind about?  I am having Phoenix Teas Royal Golden Safari Black.The leaves are very long with lots and lots of golden buds.  The dry tea smells intensely fresh and toasty and very much like walnuts, complete with that slight astringent or acidic edge they can have.  The first time I brewed this, I think I used too much and I wasn't happy about it at all.  The next time I used a scale and did 3 grams for an 8 ounce cup.  I used boiling water and brewed it for 3.5 minutes. 

The result was a medium red-amber cup that gave off an aroma of walnuts and earth, but not nearly as overwhelming as that first cup I really disliked.  There was also the merest trace of sweetness there also.  The tea did indeed taste like walnuts and earth, but also baked squash and some kind of baked sweets.  I really can't tell if I like it - I think I am more intrigued than anything.  It does not go well with milk and I thought it was not a tea for ice tea, although the flavor settled down to just walnuts by the end.  I think I will continue to experiment with it.

Yesterday was St. David's Day.  He is the patron Saint of Wales.  One of our neighbors had an impromptu party where we brought foods that approximated something that might be served in Wales - but no leeks - none of the stores had them.  Then we sang all the hymns we could find that had Welsh tunes.  It was a really fun evening.

All our woodpeckers are back and you should see the little Downies scatter when the big Red-Bellied Woodpecker lands on the suet.  He has a huge bill, about 2/3 the size of the little ones. The Downies are about 4-5 inches long and the Red-Bellied is about 10.  I can hear the Pileated drumming in the woods, but I have yet to see him.  The bluebirds are returning, although I know some hang around all winter.  Yesterday the crows were having one of their confabs, all yelling and posturing.

This is one of my favorite pictures.  It is in the courtyard of a monastary in Sorrento, Italy.  They also have a 5 foot rosemary there, which makes me die of jealousy.  I couldn't even get mine to overwinter this year.

Continuing report on the potted ginger.  There are now 5 spears of leaves-to-be in the pot, but they are growing very slowly - only about 1-1.5 inches high.  They need some real sun, which we only have about every 4 days.


Cinnabar said...

I would suggest that you try using considerably less leaf and only brewing it for 2-3 minutes. Basically, treat it like a tippy golden Yunnan black with more strength.

If you would find them useful, I can send you the full tasting notes for the Kenya teas. They're proprietary documents that are going to be used for something I can't announce yet, but you may find them useful. Send me an email if you'd like to see them.

Ljiljana said...

Your blog is lovely! Are those pictures from the places you visited?

Alex Zorach said...

That's exciting about the ginger...I wouldn't get too my experience, it starts out growing slow but grows faster not only as it gets more light, but as the plant gets more leaf.

I hope you can share some pictures of the ginger at some point!