As you may recall, I was first introduced to Milk Oolong about a month ago. I had been seeing Tweets about it for quite some time (thanks to @TeaBoat), but didn’t know what it was or what was so special about it.
David at American Tea Room provided the proper introduction: he brewed the perfect pot and shared the moment with Gene and me. It was so surprising to taste this natural creaminess in a true oolong. Your mind wants to believe something has been added to the leaves, but it is a part of the hand processing of the leaves that create this exquisite taste.
Although I save it for special moments, or when I need to feel pampered, it’s more than worth the higher price for this rare tea. Fair warning – I must be clear: once you taste it, you just have to have more.
The thing is, I love everything about this tea. It starts off in these tiny little dark green, tightly rolled twists:
And then, when steeped, they unfurl into these beautiful, full dark blue-green leaves. (It kind of resembles spinach, if you squint at it just right!) A little goes a L-O-N-G way:
And the resulting cup of tea is this lovely, lightly fragrant, bright golden liquid that simply takes your breath away:
My Mom was here this week, keeping Edie and me company while Gene was traveling for work. I introduced Mom to this tea this morning, and she kept saying, “It’s just so interesting!” And it is! These little nuances of flavor. There’s a light fragrance that is not too perfume-y and not overpowering. There’s that mysterious creaminess that seems contrary to the clear golden liquid you see with your own eyes. With each sip you discover something slightly different – so subtle that you can’t put your finger on it – but it just requires that you have another sip. And another. And another.
Here I am. A month later. Falling in love all over again with this delicious tea. Just as I have each time I reach for it in my tea cupboard.
Filed under Education, Tea
A Cupboard Full of Tea. Happy Thought.
It’s a New Year. All right, it’s a few weeks into a New Year, and my tea cupboard was calling. As new and exciting teas have been introduced to me, I had found myself lining them all up on the kitchen counter top to have them all within easy reach each morning. I found myself looking less and less often into my actual designated tea cupboard, and it was time to evaluate why.
I’ve preferred loose leaf tea to bagged tea for quite a number of years now, but laziness and ease had allowed for several boxes of bagged tea to sit amongst ‘the good stuff.’ What was lounging in the cupboard were those old tea bags – forlorn, forgotten and ultimately snubbed. And so, out with the old, in with the new. I purged, sorted, and reconfigured. I am tickled to no end to see how far I’ve come since beginning this tea blog last April, and also to see the myriad choices my tea cupboard now has to offer. I confess, I did keep a few stray bags of lemon infusion – something my husband and I both tend toward at night, during bad colds, but they have been relegated to an ‘other’ shelf.
So, what is your pleasure? A strong breakfast blend? A fabulous Darjeeling? A premium white blend? Milk oolong, perhaps, or an exotic blend with floral or subtle fruit notes? I can even find some interesting greens in there (yes, plural). Whatever strikes your fancy, or mine, I certainly have options. And not one stinker (my opinion) in the lot! I’m ready for this year. Bring it on!
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Doesn’t everyone have a tea cupboard? The question occurred to me whilst reading my friend, Deanna’s, blog. She posted a photo of her tea cupboard that looked remarkably like my own, which looks remarkably like this one:
Though, this one is noticeably neater than my own… In any case, it made me wonder how many such cupboards exist across the U.S. Now, Britain, I can guess you will find one in every home. Here, I just don’t know.
There is a responsibility with having a tea cupboard, however, and that is the annual task of clearing it out. I’ve learned both personally (and at the tea conferences (yes, you read that correctly) I have attended over the years) that the shelf life of tea is no more than one year, and even less if exposed to sunlight. Thus the critical importance of the tea cupboard!
So now it is that time of year when it’s time to clear out the old and stock up on the new. An exciting time, really. This year, I seem to have a backlog of white teas. An entire yellow and green box full of pyramid-shaped white-tea bags; a tin of loose white with jasmine; samples of white with apricot. I thought I would enjoy their lightness – plus they’ve got the most anti-oxidents – but I keep coming back to my comfortable black teas. Irish Breakfast is my current standby. And what is this long forgotten Chinese brick tea? Too intimidating to break apart. A mostly full box of plain chamomile (Tazo), that’s entirely too weedy-tasting. (Weeds like in the garden, not weed as found in the cafes of Amsterdam). Some failed attempts of my own blends; some Stash double Earl Grey (there IS such a thing as too much Earl Grey- tastes like a mouth full of soap!); samples of some kind of green (too grassy) and some generic lemon tea bags used occasionally during a bout of sore throats.
I look forward to some new tea discoveries in my soon-to-be-restocked tea cupboard. I’ll let you know what I find…