Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A Small Science Experiment

The young sugar maple at the edge of the woods has changed all its leaves to apricot red gold.  It is spectacular in its beauty.  It is best in the dismal grey light we are currently having or in the very early morning, lighting up the mist.  The wild lavender asters are a perfect foil for it.

We did indeed have frost and even the brave little marigolds are now brown and bedraggled.  However, the mounds of sweet allysum are still going strong, although now one must bend over to smell them.  The remaining basil is naught but tattered rags.

Did you ever wonder why your tea tastes differently from the way the packet or web site says it should?  It is probably your water.  There is a good article about that on The English Tea Store's Blog.  Our water is pretty good, but on the days the water board is pouring extra chemicals in it, it is just plain awful.  I use a filter most of the time so that my tea tasting is at least reasonably consistent.

Hmm, maybe I'll just do a little experiment, filtered vs. unfiltered water.  I was as scientific as possible.  I used water just off the boil, identical cups, identical amounts of water and tea bags, as I am assuming they would have as nearly identical amounts of tea as possible.  I brewed them for 4 minutes.  I used DavidsTea English Breakfast.  It's a mix of Assam, Yunnan, Keemun and Uva Highlands Ceylon.

The aroma of both was very, very similar, with the filtered one being a tad fuller and rounder.  Both were somewhat oak/acorn like with a touch of dairyman's special washing compound.  (You can take the girl off the farm, but the farm is still in her).  The unfiltered tea was beginning to be a touch tannic, but was primarily a very nice autumnal tasting tea, with the flavors of nuts and roasted squash predominating, but underlain with a bit of greenish something.  The filtered one was much smoother, but surprisingly lacking in definitive flavors.  Everything seemed muted, shadows of the unfiltered tea.  I was most surprised.  I am going to do this again with other teas and see how they fair.

By the way, both cups are quite good, just markedly different.

I saw a crow on the lawn today who was pretending to be a robin.  You know how robins have that super-intent, crooked-head look when they are listening for a worm or a bug?  This crow  was just like that, which is unusual for the species.  We had blue birds this am at the feeders - they should have left a while ago.  Last year they hung around, but it was very mild with almost no snow.

On the Rhine, a small village huddles beneath a castle, now an hotel.  I don't see a road, so does one have to climb up to stay there?