I am a huge fan of Jane Austin-her writing, which has been made into the famous films both By The BBC and Hollywood. Sense and Sensibility, Persuasion and Pride and Prejudice are my favourites. Here is a great article that I discovered and would like to post- Don’t forget to sip your tea as you read:
I wonder about the trees.
Why do we wish to bear
Forever the noise of these
More than another noise
So close to our dwelling place?
We suffer them by the day
Till we lose all measure of pace,
And fixity in our joys,
And acquire a listening air.
They are that that talks of going
But never gets away;
And that talks no less for knowing,
As it grows wiser and older,
That now it means to stay.
My feet tug at the floor
And my head sways to my shoulder
Sometimes when I watch trees sway,
From the window or the door.
I shall set forth for somewhere,
I shall make the reckless choice
Some day when they are in voice
And tossing so as to scare
The white clouds over them on.
I shall have less to say,
But I shall be gone.
By: Robert Frost.
I love this poem because it reminds me of when I look at the trees-and actually think about them-in that they don’t change, they stay the same they are constant, they are stable except when the wind or the storms push them over or sway them to the right or to the left-they take all of this with dignity and pride-and they remain such an integral part of life do they not?
These trees stay in their place-that same place-either they are new and growing, or old but standing still as time moves on and on and surrounds them. They sit and wait despite their fate, oh for an idle thought, and yea, such a profound mystery these trees staring down at me.
Banff-photo by Deidre
I was in Banff in December-and just loved it. The hotel I stayed in was extremely clean, cozy and warm. The small lobby was decorated for Christmas with a huge tree, as well as displaying objects that showed the true charm of Banff. Snow Shoes, wooden skiis and old paintings from the 1940s were displayed on the walls. The plush dark brown leather furniture surrounded a lovely stone fireplace.
The rooms were comfortable and very modern. Breakfast was served everyday and Banff awaited to be walked in, shopped in, skiied in and just plain enjoyed-food was fantastic! and Honey Lagers tasted great after walking through 25 below weather believe it or not-
I visited the Banff Springs Hotel which has an air of great mystery surrounding it-after all ghosts have been rumored to walk the great halls and rooms-perhaps because of an attachment to their past life there. A Fairmont property, the Hotel is absolutely beautiful with great staircases, old furniture, famous paintings, gift shops, pool and spa, and lounges and tea rooms that overlook the grounds of the property. Majestic Mountains, The Bow River, and wildlife surround the hotel and make for breathtaking views.
Here are some pictures: Hope you enjoy them,
I receive this regular newsletter- and this one really touched me-the comments from people about their feelings around Christmas and what their lives have been like-
This newsletter can be a source of comfort and hope to a hurting world-there are many subjects to read about-May you find one that comforts you,
Tea is wonderful all the year round- but for Christmas you can drink special teas like Christmas in a Cup from Elmwood Inn Fine Teas. Looseleaf black teas like Assam and Ceylon can also be combined with flavors and spices like orange peel, ginger, cardomom, cinnamon for a christmas tea when snow and cold weather arrives. Or- if you prefer tea without added flavors-any black tea for christmas is lovely- but Assams and Ceylons are my favourites. I also enjoy my Green Sencha Tea which has, in my opinion, a refreshing, full bodied healthy healthy taste and aftertaste.
Here is the link to Elmwood Inn Fine Teas-a favourite tea supplier of mine:
Happy tea stocking!
photo by Deidre
Today is Remembrance Day- I have been listening to Julie Nezrallah on CBC Radio -which I usually do on a good day while writing- hmm… she is amazing and of course so is her program-wonderful wonderful wonderful…! whatever mood you are in there is something for everyone on this program-based in Ottawa; Julie plays amazing pieces from Mozart, Beethoven, Hayden, Dvorak and the list goes on… hmm…. not enough hours to listen to tempo-but; however, just enough to get the creative juices flowing and the bad stuff out…….!!! and breath in the wonder of this music… it takes you to European cathedrals and castles… please take a listen, and read the website which I’ve posted below…
Happy Remembrance Day to everyone!
China is the world’s producer of over 70 000 tons of tea annually. There are eight major tea regions in China, which are: Sichuan, Guangdon, Hunan, Guangxi, Anhui, Fugian, Zhejiang and Yunnan. China is the oldest exporter of tea in the world, and the second in the world for quantity. These tea regions produce green, white, black and Oolong teas. The Chinese say that it would take a lifetime to taste each type of tea. The tea plantations are bigger than over half the total area of the tea plantations in Asia. The Chinese drink at least 80 percent of their green teas and their black tea is exported. Each region takes care of its own tea activities, but is controlled by a state monopoly. The harvest of tea has to be produced at a scheduled time and the quality must be consistent. The plantations reside at a high altitude with surrounding mist and regular rainfall. These conditions are ideal for the manufacturing and processing of the tea.
There are many green teas, however; the following are just a few of the delectable teas produced in the regions:
Mao Feng, which is the most famous of the China green teas, is picked from the mountain of Jiu Hua. The liquor or tea is mellow and sweet with overtones of a burnt taste.
Chun Mee (Old Man’s Eyebrow), is a whole leaf green tea that is rolled length wise and is delicate, with a pure but strong aroma. Taiping Houkui green tea is grown at a high altitude and has an orchid like taste.
Ding Gu Da Fang green tea tastes like chestnuts and has an aroma of flowers.
Gunpowder is a popular green tea that is rolled into balls and produces a strong robust flavour, and is nice with a sprig of mint. Lung Ching is another well known tea, rich in vitamins with a strong vibrant flavour, and flat green leaves the color of Jade.
Huang Shan Mao Feng is a famous green tea which is “sculpted.” The leaves are joined by hand and attached to each other to create a sculpture of top leaves and buds. When they are infused (brewed) in a Chinese tea cup they unfurl, and look like exquisite flowers. The sculpted teas can be infused several times, they do however, lose some of their flavour, but the delicate taste still remains.
Huo Qiang is a tea that is rolled into balls or pearls and produces a smooth infusion. This tea is very expensive and valued among connoisseurs.
Other exceptional green teas include: Mao Jian, which is grown at high altitudes with down covered leaves that are long and thin. This is a delicate tea that has notes of fruit and produces and aromatic flavour.
The region of Hubei is well known for its tea bricks, which consists of loose tea that is compressed together and sold in the shape of a brick. Green teas should be infused for three minutes in water at 158-203 F.
The White teas produced include: three main varieties which are unfermented (un-oxidized), and simply just dried in the sun, and include: Yu Cha (Tea of Clouds), Pai Mu Tan (White Peony) and Yin Zhen (Silver Needle).
Yu Cha is from the tea region of Yunnan, and creates a luscious and and classic infusion.
Pai Mu Tan consists of silver tip buds, whose leaves are covered with a white downy substance, and are very delicate with a smooth aroma.
The Yin Zhen silver needle tea was drunk by the Chinese during the Qing, Tang and Song dynasties. The silvery coloured leaves are covered in a white down, and is a highly valued tea. This tea is rich in vitamin C and has a sweet and flowery flavour. Infusion time is 15 minutes, in water at 158-185 F.
China black teas are mainly exported and make up for about 20% of China’s tea production. The three primary groups of black teas include: classic, smoked and flavoured.
The tea region of Yunnan is beautiful at a high altitude that produces classic black teas with golden tips. Yunnan teas have a mellow and pleasing aroma with a unique and distinctive taste and can be drunk anytime of the day. These teas are popular in France and have the names of Yunnan, Grand Yunan, and Yunnan Imperial.
Pu erh teas are produced in Yunnan and are compressed into tea nests (resembling the shape of a bird’s nest). This tea is also sold as a loose-leaf tea. The liquor is a dark color of red, has a special earthy taste, and is low in caffeine making it ideal for drinking throughout the day.
Keemun tea has short leaves and an elegant taste, which is also low in caffeine.
Smoked teas are produced in the region of Fujian since the seventeenth century, and include Lapsang Souchong, and Tarry Souchong. These teas were created when a tea maker centuries ago in China, lit a fire made of pine wood to hasten the drying process.
Flavoured teas are black teas scented with orchids, chrysanthemums, lotus flowers and jasmine. Black teas should be infused for five minutes in water at 203 F.
Oolong teas are semi-fermented teas which are also called blue-green teas, and come from the region of Fujian. Some teas include: Shui Hsein (Water Fairies), which has spice tones and a smooth flavour, Ti Kuan Yin (Iron Goddess of Mercy) with a flowery taste and dark leaves.
Feng Huang Dan Gong is a tea with twisted long leaves and comes from the region of Guangdon. These Oolong teas are used for the Chinese Tea ceremony, the Gong Fu Cha. Oolongs should be infused for seven minutes in water at 203 F.
As the second largest tea producer in the world, China provides exquisite and invaluable teas which include green, white, black, and Oolong. The abundant plantations and ideal climatic conditions for the manufacturing and processing of tea ensure a continual provision for many centuries to come.
copyright Deidre R. Bissonette
Dattner, Christine. 2003. The Book of Green Tea, Universe Publishing
Lu Tung- a Buddhist monk in 733-804, was considered the God of tea because he created a Treatise on Tea.” In the treatise he spoke of the many tea delights and the preparation of tea. He described details of tea plantations and the way of processing the tea. Tea in that day was considered a highly esteemed art on the level of painting, poetry and caligraphy. He dedicated himself to tea with a magnificent passion and wrote the following song-
To honor tea, I blocked my gate with leafy boughs,
Lest the noisy crowd disturb me,
and I took my translucent cup
To prepare the tea and savor it in solitude.
The first cup moistened my lips and throat,
The second banished my loneliness.
The third lifted the heaviness that oppressed my mind from
so much study.
The fourth brought a light perspiration that dispersed through
my pores all of life’s afflictions.
The fifth purified me.
The sixth opened the kingdom of the Immortals to me.
The seventh-ah, would that I drink more!
I perceived nothing more than the soft breath of wind that
swelled my sleeves.
Transported by that sweet breeze, I attained the heavens.
I find it very interesting how black tea is made! Black tea is my favourite tea to drink-and I drink it all the time!! I especially like and enjoy Yunnan gold tea from China and Assam Teas from India-yes, these you have found out are my favourites! I like them strong and earthy and the way they pick me up! they make me feel better… after a long day, or when I need my afternoon pick me up… they are refreshing and soothing… Here is an article I wrote that I feel gives interesting information on the manufacturing of black tea…
How is Black Tea Manufactured?
The process of manufacturing black tea involves four processes which include: withering, oxidation or fermentation and drying or firing. The two processes used are: Orthodox and CTC, or cut, tear and curl. The countries of China, Taiwan, Sri Lanka, India, Indonesia all use the orthodox method.
The first step is to lay the leaves out in warm air and allow the leaves to wither with a 30-40% water content. They should be soft in order to be rolled, and be prepared for the next process or step. The yellow green leaves are than placed in a rolling machine that twists and rolls the leaves. The rolls in the machine are from two to four, sometimes more in this rotorvane machine, in order to increase the production of smaller broken leaf grades.This process breaks up the cells inside releasing chemicals and natural juices, which starts the oxidation process.
The leaf afer rolling, is broken and spread into thin layers in humid cool air and is left to oxidize for three to four hours, depending on the temperature and the conditions. The leaf will than form the unique flavor and aroma creating caffeine, theoflavin (A tea chemical) and the color, which turns darker. In order to stop the process of oxidation, the leaves are put into dryers and onto conveyor belts. Hot air from the belts will take the moisture out of the leaf by 2-3%.
The cut, tear and curl method is used in the tea producing countries in order to produce a tea that gives a strong liqour or tea brew-but can also be used to produce tea bags. The teas are produced the same way as orthodox teas, but instead of the leaves being rolled, they are put through a CTC machine, or a Lawrie Tea Processor, which is a rotating Hammer Mill Leaf disinigrator, which tears and breaks the leaves into very small particles.The oxidation and drying stagesa of the CTC Method are the same as in the Orthodox method.
Deidre R. Bissonette