Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Burlap Dancing Tea

It is foggy this morning.  In fact, it has been foggy almost many mornings this month.  Supposedly, weather lore has it that the number of foggy mornings in August is the number of snow storms you'll have in the winter. Actually, I just got an email from someone who really keeps track and it's only been 12.  The first winter we were here, that was right on target.  Last year we didn't have much fog and almost no snow.  We'll see how this coming winter is.  We really could use the snow, our ground is very dry.  I am hoping for a beautiful winter as we are going to have a brown fall.  Many of the trees are losing their leaves already and they're just brown - too little rain. We haven't had a really pretty fall in quite a while.

Tea wise, that means I can look forward to some cozy afternoons with a good book and a great pot of tea by my side.  Choosing one will be the problem, as there are so many I like.  As I continue to try different teas to review, my favorites list keeps changing.  It also gets altered by how my favorite tea turned out this year, given the weather in its garden.  I'm not too taken with this year's Yunnans, for instance and the Keemuns seem to be lacking a certain burgundian spark.

Today I am having an Assam - Queen Namsang from Simpson & Vail.  It is last year's harvest from the autumn, and comes from the Rani Estate, all of 157 feet above sea level.  It is organic.  The dry leaves are very black and quite small.  They give off a faint, almost apricot aroma..  I brewed it for 3 minutes with boiling water.

We often think of green tea as dancing as it brews, but I must say, this black is practically doing a jig!  It is really fascinating to watch tea leaves unfurl.

The brewing tea smells a bit like burlap, of all things!  But wait, there's also an aroma of maple/honey candy.  Hmm.  One thing I like about tea is that once you think you have all the scents down pat, along comes a new combination.  That happens with the taste as well.  I can't quite pin this one down.  It is something like sarsaparilla, something like little kids white paste with a trace of nut and a bit of sweet.  I put a bit of cream in it and it rounds out the flavor amazingly and brings out the sweetness.  A good, everyday tea, but nothing really special.

Isn't that a cool tree?  Reminds me vaguely of the flattish tops of tea bushes, ready for plucking.  Shorter than this, of course.

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