Saturday, March 9, 2013

Intrigue In A Tea Cup

I have often contemplated trying to grow my own tea bush.  This could be a problem as I live in New York and we can have sustained periods of below zero temperature.  I know you can bring them inside, but I already have 4 gargantuan pots to haul around and I'm not sure I really want another one, especially one which has to be brought in when the temperature goes below 50.  I am simply not that organized.  I did hear a good idea about big pots, which I will pass on to you.

If your plant(s) are shallow rooted, you can put all those peanuts you get in packages in plastic bags and then put them in your pot and then add soil, so your pot is lighter to carry about.  If you don't have peanuts, use perlite.  The other thing you can do is cut a piece of styrofoam to fit inside your pot at the depth you want, making sure to add some drainage holes.  I don't know if this would wok with a tea plant, because I don't know anything about their root system.

I ordered some teas from Siam Tea, which specializes in teas from Northern Thailand.  This company is new to me and owned by Thomas Kaspar, who writes for the English Tea Store blog.  I was very pleased with their service.  The first tea I am trying is Shi Er Black Pearls, Doi Mai Salong, North Thailand.  Black they are, little balls, with some tails attached.  I wasn't thinking and just bunged them in my tea strainer for 3.5 minutes.  When I went to pull it out, it was absolutely stuffed with big  leaves.  Live and learn.

This is easily the most intriguing tea.  The dry tea smelled of roasted wood - not burned, roasted, as if it were meat.  There was also a bit of dark toast and roasted corn.  As it was brewing it gave off a woodsy, flowery, toasted acorn aroma.  The tea was a fairly light golden brown.  To try and describe the flavor is almost impossible.  The nearest I can come up with is flowery toasted acorns.  It was delicious.  One thing to watch out for and that is to drink it in small cups, because as it cools it loses some of its interest and the flavor gets very muted.  Not that that's bad, I just prefer more depth.  Next time I am going to go for multiple brews and give those leaves some room!

I have finished The China Tea Book by Luo Jialin, which I reviewed a few days ago.  The second half was on the aesthetics of tea, setting the mood, which tea pots and cups to use, the role of floral arrangements and calligraphic art.  It was fascinating.  I may apply some of his thoughts, at least as far as tablescapes.  I can't do much about walls and furniture.  Again, there were many beautiful pictures.  One of the best things about the book is that it seems to create a calm oasis in me.


Ms. Ainee C. Beland said...

I read and view your blog at times as they are very good. I was a reviewer with Tea Review Blog and knew of your handling the tea swap et al. I am just saying good blog; there are many out there gone unnoticed like mine. Be well in all.

Steph said...

I've got an oolong from Thailand that I am waiting to try, too. :-) My teapot is big - and it's on rollers.

Marlena said...

I hope you post a picture of it - that sounds really interesting!