Saturday, June 9, 2012

A Traditional Tea


It is dark and grim this morning,  The trees are dripping with rain.  The fur persons have run out and come in with wet tails they drag across my legs and then give me a wondering look as I yelp and try to jump away.  Then, of course, they become solicitous, climbing on me to see what is the matter so that now I can be not only wet and cold, but grubby as well, from their muddy paws.  Cats!

All is not lost, however, as I have 4 new teas to try from Mark T. Wendell, who carries my all time favorite Hu Kwa  Lapsang Souchong.  They also carry several British tea company’s wares as well as some from Japan and China.  Today’s offering is from Williamson Tea, “Tea farmers since 1869”.  I am having English Traditional Afternoon Fine Tea.  The tea is grown using sustainable methods and their claim is that they ensure their workers labor in good conditions and earn a decent living.  Already, I am prejudiced in their favor.

The dry leaves are an attractive mix of browns and blacks and they have a delightful winey, oak barrel, tobacco scent, with a twist of something approaching citrus at the end.  I brewed it for 3.5 minutes, even though the tin said 2.  The resulting brew was a lovely golden brown, smelling super fresh.  In many ways this is a simple tea, but it does have a subtle, almost chocolate finish.  It is very slightly winey.  It tastes wonderful and would make an excellent tea for a party, especially for those a bit shy about new teas..  It is equally good with or without cream.  Next time, I will try it with a bit of lemon.

I am having my new favorite tea sandwich - butter and radishes - those very nice French breakfast ones.  Yum!

I have been reading a new book on raising herbs,  Homegrown Herbs by Tammi Hartung.   In it there are numerous charts, one of which lists herbs that can be used for tea.  They are agastache, anise hyssop, catnip chamomile, coyote mint, Echinacea, fennel, ginger, lemon balm, lemon grass, lemon verbena, licorice, Mexican oregano, nettle, oats, passionflower, pennyroyal, peppermint, red clover, spearmint, stevia, thyme, vervain and blue vervain, and violets.  Before you run right out and start making tisanes with these, make sure you read up on them, as some must be used with great care.  I never knew there were so many and some I have never heard of as being edible.  If you are at all interested , this is an excellent book.


I love this old doorway, from 1768.  It is just so, so old.

More gardening today - I may actually have run out of space.

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