Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Toasting the New Year with My First Batch of Kombucha

Happy 2015!  The DH (dear hubby) and I will be lifting glasses of kombucha, our very first batch, to celebrate the New Year.  

I won't attempt to explain how to make kombucha.  Others have done this quite well and I'm a novice.  If you're interested in trying home brewing of this fermented tea beverage, I recommend you take a class or find a good book.  I've wanted to try for years but was always a little intimidated.  It's actually quite simple - and it's magic!


Saturday, December 20, 2014

Tidings of Comfort and Joy

Confession:  I'm feeling a little like Grinch right now.  Work deadlines have me spending this weekend at the PC, instead of at tea class and other fun things.  And I've got miles of projects to sew before I sleep.  

But the truth is that my grumbles are so, so minor. I enjoy the work I'm doing and this bubble of intensity is temporary. I have a life filled with health, love of family and friends, beauty, creativity, good tea and many other treasures.  I wish that for each of you, and especially for those who are needing a kindness.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Drinking SE Asian Teas

How fortunate I am to have friends that love tea AND that travel to far away places and bring back teas to try!  I recently had the chance to taste tea from Southeast Asia, specifically Laos and Burma.

The Laos tea was from an "old tree."  We think that means no one knew exactly when the tea tree was planted.  Maybe it went rogue, but now it's being harvested and processed into black tea.  It brewed into this lovely copper color shown above.  I enjoyed this tea very much.

Piglet gets muddy

The Burma tea was a "pu-erh" in the shou (ripe) style. This tea brick was purchased from a local company, Tao of Tea.  As you can see, it brewed into a rich chocolate color.  Look closely to find the steam floating on the surface of the liquor.  

As we sipped, we reviewed a map to see exactly where the countries that produced these teas were in relation to Yunnan, China.  Relatively close, which makes for an interesting consideration of tea flavor profiles and processing techniques.  I love learning about the world through tea!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Book: Ancient Art of Tea

"Without water, there can be no discussion of tea."
Xu Ci Xu

I've been slowly working my way through this book, sent to me for review by Tuttle Publishing.  I move through this book slowly because there's much to learn and absorb.  

The book is great for someone (like me) who loves to geek out on tea. The author, Warren Peltier, takes ancient texts and translates them, while also making some pointed commentary on his own when it's useful.  Peltier says in the preface, "Some readers may be familiar with the "God of Tea", Lu Yu, and his Classic of Tea, but what did other tea masters of the same or later periods have to write about tea brewing and preparation?  This book is a record of what they said."

Segmented into major sections that discuss the Art of Tea, Water for Tea, Preparing Fire for Tea, Taste of Tea and Tea Etiquette, it's a book best red in sips, not gulps.  A book returned to as a reference and a prompt for reflection. I can't say it's easy reading, because we're traveling back in time, but I can say for me it's pretty fascinating!  

If you're into Chinese tea and history, this book is for you.

Tea drinking has fixed times each day: pre-dawn, breakfast time, forenoon,
meal time, evening, and at sunset.
 Wen Long

Thursday, December 04, 2014

The Background Makes the Foreground

The background makes the foreground

The soft blue to the cobalt
The blur to the focal point
The ground to the fall
The step to the rise
The silence to the sound
The longing to the joy
The fear to the success
The team to the leader
The child to the self

It turns out
   The background makes the foreground