Tea and Me: Darjeeling

Way back on 21 July 2016, I posted about how I’d never tried Darjeeling, the champagne of teas. Well, not quite two years later and here I am sipping on a cup of Darjeeling tea (without a meal). It’s loose tea and straight from India. And it does live up to the hype. It is a black tea that needs no milk. When I make regular black tea, I fill about half a tea ball with the tea leaves. For this I used three pinches of the loose tea right out the bag and turned off my kettle just as it was about to boil (tiny bubbles started coming up from the bottom). Four minutes’ steep time and what I have now is a lovely, lightly sweetened cup of golden wonder. I received this tea (as well as two others) when my friend returned from India a few months ago. She is originally from there, but hadn’t been for a visit in 6 years. She always asks what she can bring back for me and this time I asked for tea, as India is one of the main places tea is grown. The texture of the tea itself is also noticeably different.

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The leaves are definitely longer than the Keemun, but rather than straight looking twigs, the Darjeeling is twisted around and bent in places.

Likes – 16; Dislikes – 5; Undecided – 1

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Tea and Me: Keemun Mao Feng

30124010_1736375113114101_6372529645220265984_n  I decided to broaden my horizons and taste teas that were unfamiliar to me. In my purchasing of tea samples from Harney & Sons, I found this tea from China. As you can see from the photo to the left, the tea leaves are very long. They’re the longest leaves I’ve ever seen in any loose leaf tea I’ve purchased and I had to carefully add them to the tea ball I used. I didn’t really want to break any of the leaves, but did break one in half that seemed even longer than most.

I’ve also read that you should drink it without milk, so I followed that instruction as I don’t want to change the taste by adding milk. I had my very first sip without sweetener as well, but I couldn’t go that far. Lol I added just a touch of sweetener and it’s perfect. I’m admittedly not always good at picking out flavor profiles in food and alcoholic drinks, much less tea, but it is a light enough black tea that I don’t feel milk is even required to tone it down a bit. The first time I had tea with breakfast on my first trip to England in 2009, I had no milk and was immediately put off. So I think some black teas are so strong that milk is required to temper the strength.

One health benefit that I have discovered in my search for information on this lovely tea is that it helps improve your digestion, so you have indigestion less often. If you find yourself suffering from this often, perhaps you should find some Keemun and have a cup each night after dinner.

Tea and Me: Victorian London Fog

29511099_1720568888028057_2687522699676221440_oAs I sit here sipping a fresh brew, I realize that I never shared this, one of my new tea purchases. It is another Harney & Sons tea, relatively new to their line up. It’s a blend of black tea, oolong tea, bergamot oil, lavender and vanilla flavor. I like it quite a lot, but I’m not quite sure what the dominant fragrance is wafting from the mug just on the other side of my keyboard. It’s either the bergamot oil or the vanilla as I don’t think lavender has a very strong scent. I’ll have to find a bottle of bergamot oil and smell it to find out if it’s anything similar to the tea. I would highly recommend this tea. It’s got a middling amount of caffeine at 40 – 60 mg.

29496963_1720568994694713_4651256286564843520_o As previously stated, Harney & Sons do offer sample packets of their teas, but at the time of my purchase, there were no samples of this tea available, so I took a leap of faith and bought the next size up. It’s a lovely tin as you can see above and it will provide with perhaps 30 – 40 cups of tea, if not more.

Likes – 15; Dislikes – 5; Undecided – 1

Royal Baptism

I noted this morning that Meghan Markel, the soon-to-be princess to Prince Harry was baptized into the Church of England in a private ceremony. I despise the way that the media has called it a secret ceremony. I do not view privacy and secrecy to be interchangeable. I found this very adequate description of the difference.

“Privacy is the state of being unobserved; changing clothes for example — that which I keep private, I am merely withholding from public view. Private matters are those traits, truths, beliefs, and ideas about ourselves that we keep to ourselves. They might include our fantasies and daydreams, feelings about the way the world works, and spiritual beliefs. Private matters, when revealed either accidentally or purposefully, give another person some insight into the revealer.

Secrecy is the act of keeping things hidden — that which is secret goes beyond merely private into hidden. While secrecy spills  into privacy, not all privacy is secrecy. Secrecy stems from deliberately keeping something from others out of a fear. Secrets consist of information that has potentially negative impact on someone else-emotionally, physically, or financially. The keeper of secrets believes that if they are revealed either accidentally or purposefully,  the revelation may cause  harm to the secret-keeper and those around him or her.” (Jung at Heart)

Nothing that Meghan, or anyone else involved, did was hurtful to anyone, therefore it was a private affair.

Anyway, I find it interesting that the Royal Family are willing to accept that Meghan is a divorcée; that she’s an American (though one could argue that the nobility of England have been marrying Americans for many decades, albeit the wealthier ones); and even that a female in the line of succession will retain her position and not get set aside in favor of a younger brother; but they are immovable in the realm of religion. She is required to convert from Catholicism to Church of England.

I look forward to their wedding in May. I will rise early in the morning to watch it as I did for Prince William and their parents so many years ago.

Tea and Me: Strawberry Kiwi

This was one of the samples I bought from Harney & Sons. It’s an herbal tea with bits of dried fruit in amongst the rest of the plant. It has a very rich taste, but perhaps it’s because I drank it from a relatively small cup. I have at least two cups that are larger than normal and I think I might’ve used one of those on my initial tasting. I love the taste of both strawberries and kiwis, so if those are fruits you enjoy, this herbal tea I’d highly recommend.

Likes – 14; Dislikes – 5; Undecided – 1

 

 

Tea and Me: Scottish Morn

28381830_1683625788389034_1812587438_nThis morning I decided to try Scottish Morn, another Harney & Sons tea that I purchased. I have to say that this is not one of my favorites. It’s a loose tea, so I could examine its appearance as I poured it into the tea ball for brewing. It brought to mind instant coffee granules, but it smelled like the black tea I’m used to smelling, so I didn’t think much of that, other than it’s curious. By contrast, in the tin of another tea blend I have, the tea looks like very tiny twigs. There’s a lot of tannin in this tea, making my mouth feel “sticky” and the feeling goes all the way down to my throat. I don’t like that feeling. If you don’t know what tannins are (they’re also in wines if you’re a wine connoisseur), it’s that astringent feeling you get in your mouth after drinking wine.  I don’t drink a lot of wine because I don’t like the feeling then, either. This tea also has a very malty flavor and while good with milk, it’s still not for me. To be fair, though, Harney & Sons does advertise this tea as their strongest yet. Many of the reviews love it, so if you like strong teas, I highly recommend giving it a try. This one just isn’t for me.

Likes – 13; Dislikes – 5; Undecided – 1

Tea and Me: Berry Young

I had my first white tea last November at an event put on by the English Tea Room that I’ve mentioned before. It’s name, unfortunately, leads me to believe it’s available only a limited time every year. White Christmas. I immediately fell in love with this tea and in my order from Harney & Sons, I received a sample of a new white tea they’ve created, called Berry Young. It is equally as amazing as White Christmas. If you’ve never had a white tea, I highly recommend them. The flavored white teas have a richness that you won’t find in an herbal tea, because they are merely flowers or dried fruit bits. At the base of this tea is the same Camellia sinensis that all the other teas come from, so I think that adds to the richness of flavor. I can’t wait to try more white teas from Harney & Sons and others.

Likes – 13; Dislikes – 4; Undecided – 1