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Archive for Dec, 2019

Drinking the two oolong teas I keep in the lidded ceramic bowls in the picture. The one in the light one is Green Fragrant Jade Oolong from A.C. Perch, the dark one i simply don’t remember, probably a tightly rolled and roasted TGY I once received in green vacuum packed samples… Reading “The Living Mountain” by Nan Shepherd, a poetic and magic description of the Cairngorm mountain range in Scotland. Written in 1945, she put it away in a drawer until 1977, and now its a classic. Having walked and explored them, she enchantingly describes the geology, the corries, the changing light, the colours of the sky and mountain ranges, the fog, the storms, the beauty, but also the threatening danger of getting lost. And the joys of coming inside to a warm fireplace. Here the sky is grey, the sea calm, but the tea warm and golden.

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December. After a week with cloudy greyness, everyone lights up emotionally on a day like this, with sunshine and crispy temperatures at -1 degrees C. “Rather this than rain and clouds”, everybody smiles. Today nearly the same. A calm blueness is over the sea, no direct sunlight, but light and friendly it is.

Usually, I always have a Darjeeling in the house, and now the 1st flush is gone, I bought a second flush, it´s getting colder anyway, so the golden warmth will do me good. And a not-so-tea-enthusiastical friend is coming over next weekend, she will be ok with this one, too, and not think it too complicated, when I brew it western style. I found my “incense man” from german Erzgebirge and let him smoke musk incense cones from Auroshika, India. And I found a teaset, I thought I wanted to try with the Darjeeling: a teapot with an orange-black illustration of Boddhidharma and the fly catch, about 200 ml. I think I have written about it, and the story connected to it, before. Same orange as the darjeeling, it turns out. The tea: a Darjeeling FTGOP from A.C. Perch, Copenhagen.

Gong fu brewing the tea, 1. brew about 40 seconds. Pouring through a sieve into a big cup, and the rest in the smaller cups. The first mouthful I drink from one of the smaller ones. They are thin and fragile, also with the B. painted on, in a different style, but also orange-black. I got the set from a friend, who had travelled in Japan, visiting eco-villages, living in one in Denmark himself. – I think of Stephane Erler from teamasters.com, who also has a german/european heritage, is an expert on tea, living in Taiwan, and also uses some german decorations in his beautiful tea drinking sessions. It is so wonderful, that we today can enjoy inspiration from all over the world – us, the lucky ones, who live in peaceful parts of the world, and can afford food – and TEA. And incense. And not working on weekends. We are priviliged, and we should treasure it.

Also, I re-read the december section of Edith Holdens “The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady” (1908). She paints the birds, that come to the feeding place, the wren, that sings so clearly in the cold, the the berries with bright colours and are food for the trushes and blackbirds. She cites poets, who have sritten about about winter, fx Southey, who praises the warm fire and fairytale telling with the kids, and Robert L. Stevenson, who describes the joy of watching the changes of the autumn-winter season in his own garden: the bare trees, the frozen pond, the sound of the crackling ice, the snow on the heather, and concluds:

“What is it that makes us feel at home
on this earth? Day and night
God holds wonders for us
isn´t that enough for all times?”

Have a peaceful advent, december, and eventually a merry christmas!
Love, Ulla : )

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Perchs.dk writes about this new purchase of mine, in my own translation: “New chinese Oolong Fairy. After 5 years of study it finally suceeded to make this wu yi-ish oolong with whole straight leaves. For this was only used Gold Guanyin teaplants, Guanyin meaning ‘Goddess of Mercy’, which grows at an altitude of 800m in Weishan Tea Garden. Only 800-1000 kg are produced. Soft unique and elegant taste. Boiling water, 8 minutes.”

First imoression of the dry leaves: they look like a dark wu yi oolong, but the leaves are smaller, and have a greenish hue to them. I wonder, if the tea itself will not be orange, dark, at all, but light green? The dark colour cheats sometimes, gives you the illusion of a dark, long oxidised, and heavily roasted tea. But this is not, I think…

Brewing it the chinese way, 40 seconds, quite warm water from the thermo. White gaiwan, with swedish teacups. New japanese cloth underneath, with a starry pattern in silver on blue background, which reminded me of the last clear night, with stars, after a week with cloudy, foggy, grey weather. And: the liquid IS light yellowish green! Very light. Smells a bit like a Tie Guanyin, or more: Baozhong.

2. brew. The liquor is quite velvetty to the mouth, quite nice, the colour still, with these 20 seconds, light green, like a spring morning… : ) like the Green Fragrant Jade, like a tightly rolled TGY. The smell of the wet leaves reveals a little bitterness, but the liquid is ok sweet.

I have lit some incense, ‘Paine’s Fir Balsam Incense’, a quite strong rough one, but I like the woody atmosphere… smokes heavily, so I will stop it halfway through.

3. brew. I am examining the tealeaves in the gaiwan, while brewing a 40-50 second third brew. They are dark green, but – not as the homepage promised – ‘whole leaves’? Some are, but 80% of the leaves are broken, only pieces of leaves. So that’s where the bitterness comes from. So I’m sorry to say – but how are you supposed to be lifted up to poetic realms with a tea like this ; ) gong fu cha needs quality, quality, quality…

Back to reading Novalis, another german romantic – that will probably get me there again, where I have been all morning, reading Goethe’s ‘Talks with Eckermann’…

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Some pictures I found, I THINK I was drinking the Fragrant Jade Oolong, I have reviewed before. Reading Hölderlin, german romantic, born 1770 or 72…

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Another morning, with left over chestnut sweets from the tea ceremony:

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A few impressions from our monthly tea-ceremony practice meeting. The leaves were still on the trees, start of november, beginning of the new tea year. The food included hokkaido squash, mushrooms, warming soup and salmon. The sweets were made from sugar and edible chestnuts, I had colleced myself. The ceremony included a coal ceremony, and the kettle was moved closer to the guests to let them feel the warmth of it. Enjoy : )

Fuldmånehavet –
jeg øser en smule op
for at brygge te

Fullmoonsea –
I scoop up a bit of it
to brew some tea

Tea greetings from Ulla

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