Monday, May 20, 2013

Hoorah For Kenyan Tea

Memorial Day is coming and the ads are full of specials for grilling and picnicking.  But I am more reminded of the deeper meaning of the day.  It was set aside to remember all those soldiers who gave their lives  for our country, in one of our many, many wars.  I am firmly anti-war, but ...  The fact is many men and women have gone to war and paid horrific prices for the rest of us.  So let us remember them and say thank you.

Memorial Day is also a day to remember family and friends who have gone before us.  I remember going with each of my grandmothers to decorate family graves.  I'm not sure I understand the point of it, but I loved the stories that were told about the 2 sisters who married 2 brothers, about the family friend my great grandmother was named for, the baby boy who died at birth and the baby left behind in a New Jersey cemetery.  There were the graves with odd headstones, and the ones where a whole family was wiped out in a diphtheria epidemic, and that of the many greats-grandfather who lived to be 91 and had 127 grandchildren when he died!  There were sad tales and funny tales, but they wove my family into my heart and made them real.

I hope your families are very real and precious and that you have someone to tell you their stories and that you, in turn, tell the next generation those same stories.  Plant some rosemary for remembrance.  I have some thyme from the cemetery where my parents and grandparents are buried - the whole place is covered with it and it smells wonderful when one walks on it.

I lift my cup today to soldiers and families and friends - may we all grow in love.  I am having some Kenyan tea from Camellia Sinensis Maison de The in Quebec, Canada, .  It is part of a tea swap.  It is called Kangaita and is both organic and fair trade.  In the packet it smells wonderful, with a deep winey aroma.  The medium sized leaves are very dark, but there is a lot of gold dust on the inner surfaces of the packet.  I am brewing it for 3.5 minutes with boiling water.  As it is brewing it has that deep wonderful fresh wash smell, coupled with old wine barrels and dark tree bark.  The liqueur is a very pretty rosy amber.

This smells so good, I can barely wait for it to cool enough to sip.  Oh, my this is wonderful tea.  It is very rich tasting, but has a light body.  There is that woodsy, earthy quality, but it is combined with something very close to caramel.  There is a pleasant, spicy note to the aftertaste.  This really is one of the best teas I have had in a while.  I am especially  pleased because  about 10 years ago, there was some wonderful Kenya tea and then there was a terrible slump and it was just awful, but this is one more proof  that Kenya's orthodox tea can stand with the best.

Wallflowers in Switzerland.

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