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Archive for Apr, 2020

Finnally I put an order to Mei Leaf, who I have visited in London, and whose videos on tea brewing the chinese gong fu way are the top ones on Youtube. They are the most educating, and fun, and the guys who have the best taste buds in the world, both Don and Celine… They are doing amazing work.

And Mei Leafs order has arrived. I start enjoying the small samples one by one. Starting out with Elder White, the earliest thick, furry and multi-layered buds from the tea trees, which, if not plucked, would evolve into stems – not leaves, as the later buds are. It has a wonderful, deep floral elderberry scent, especially the wet leaves… I can smell it again, just by looking at the pictures.

Look at the words they use to describe THIS tea: pure poetry. For eksempel:
“Eyes – Dry leaves: Pastel green, cream, gold and pink hued furry, thick layered buds.
“Nose – dry leaves: Nutmeg, gooseberry and clay pottery workshops.

The leaves are beautiful, coming out of the little red package. Full and compact, thick buds.

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Here the sun has gone after nearly six weeks of spring sunshine – grey today, stormy with white tops on the waves of the sea outside the window. On the balcony the bamboo lamps remind me of the feeling yesterday evening, where I had placed candles in them, and they were celebrating the last warm evening – for now.

Brewing the leafes with 95 degr C water, 4,5 gram in a pocelain gaiwan, for 20 seconds (and 5 sec more each following brew), as they recommend, looks like this:

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The light colour of this sheng pu erh matches the light yellow grey feeling of the day – and the taste warms me from the inside, and promises elderflower early summer and sunlight again. (I have seen the first buds on an elderflower tree two days ago!) The smell of the wet leaves after the 1. brew is amazing. SO much elderflower! A little bit “cut wood” sweetness also. If it is abricots and marcipan, I don´t know, but definitively ELDERFLOWER.

“Mouth – texture: soft medium.”
“Mouth – taste: Elderflower, pine, avocado and fresh apricots.”
“Nose – empty cup: Talcum and vanilla icing sugar.”

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Later the same day, I visited Karen Blixens danish home and park. Her grave is right under this big beech tree in the back of the garden, which also is a bird sanctuary. Another danish poet has stayed in the same house 200 years earlier, Johannes Ewald…

Take care, and enjoy your day.

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Same tea, but today with japanese equipment, and 1. time on my low table, which I finally set up for tea drinking. I also use it for drawing though, so that’s why it is not overfilled. I enjoy using the testubin, a cast iron teapot, the gaiwan, a wooden plate from the old Jugoslavia, a letter opener I have from my mother, and a wonderful red teacup…

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And the teacup: drinking from a quite big sencha cup, dark red-brown pottery by Gregory Miller, who spent many years in Japan learning saltglazing a.o. I visited him and his two homemade kilns in Horne, northern Judland, quite a few years back now, after he gad had an exhibition at the japanese ambassys cukture center. The whole thing on a dark blue cloth from Japan.

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Incense…

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And taking the 5th and 6th brew outside : )

Enjoy yours…

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The whole Corona lockdown has been 100% sun – as if the universe reliefed thanks us, humanity, for giving it a break. Less transport, less planes, less of everything unneccessary…

So I had tea out on the balcony again today: a 100 gr cake of Shou Pu erh, from Winhonco, France. The reason is, that I yesterday watched Tea Masters class / live videa about Shou (cooked) Pu erh tea. He is so generous in this time to make a tea class every morning! In this case, he was brewing both 1. and 2. brew for two minutes each, quite long. And regarding the amount of tea, after brewing, he had the gaiwan filled one third. No washing “when the tea is clean”, I don’t know about mine : )  Anyway, trying the same procedure today.

20200421_09232020200421_092653Mine was thick and very not-transparent as a soup, strong but actually round and mellow in taste despite the long brewing time, as Stepane Erlér also described. Haiku of some kind:

Balcony is all mine – / nobody sees me nearly naked / this strange spring.

I am drinking from three different cups: a small blue-white, about 10 ml, as I would sharing the tea with others…

20200421_093256…then the swedish one that holds the content of the whole gaiwan…

20200421_093632…and a chinese “temokku”, hare-glazed chawan. Usyally it is for very ceremonial jap. teaceremony, where it is served on a black laquer stand:

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The sea is calm and reflects the sun like a mirror.

Still in lockdown – / my two neighbours exchange news / each on their terrasse

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Best, Ulla : )

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Outside on the balcony, this spring is having a certain ‘continuency’ – all this time the Corona lockdown has been on, there has been sunshine all over, each day. I am drinking another tea I bought in London 2018. The label says:

“A roasted yancha (rock tea) from the Zhengyan area of the Wuyi Mountains in Fujian, made my Master Xu, the make (?).and of the guardians of the Da Hong Pao mother trees. Compared to ( … other Rou Guis) this tea is more subtle and not as rich with more of a pronounced floral fragrance and fruit juice sweetness. Brew it with water just off the boil and 6 gr per cup.”

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Smelling the dry leaves: chocolate. Short washing. Smelling the wet leaves: coffee! 1. brew: 15 seconds. Wet leaves changed smell, less strong, softer, mellow, not so ‘agressively’ chocolate.

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My teapet, the oxen, is with me out here, and apart from the white gaiwan a teacup that is brown outside, white inside. I started collecting teacups as a teenager, and this one was the first without a handle. It comes from an excursion to Germany’s smallest village, Arnis, and was found at a local potter there.

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The colour in the cup is orange, medium, and the taste warm, round, not too strong, but full already, hints of coffee, fruity sweetness as they say.

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2. brew: 20 sec. I brew again, and take photoes of the ‘soup’, then of the now darker golden orange tea in the cup. The oxen gets a little bit of it, and the sun, and the dark shaddows it casts, on both teacup and oxen, are beautiful. Hard to get the colour if the tea, I need to take it from above, directly down into the cup, to see the light, the transparency, the sun and shadow versions of the orange colour. On the oxen, the wetness dries quickly in the sun. A haiku about him could be nice… but doesn’t come.

While writing e-mails, I brew the 3. and 4. brew, adding 10 seconds to each if them.

Enjoy YOUR tea… : )

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This tea makes me remember one of my best tea experiences with tea, on a snowy day in London, at the ‘Chinese Tea Company’ at Portobello Road… another customer and I had a tea session in that dark little shop full of atmosphere, pu erh cakes and tea equipment, tasting, talking.

Now I am bringing one of the teas out in the sun, this april morning on the balcony.

Legend tells, that this tea from the famous Phoenix tea family on a mountain in Guangdong was so good, that the farmer gave it the name ‘duck shit’ to prevent others from taking it.

It is a medium oxidised oolong, very special looking with its long and twisted strings of tea, dark brown with golden highlights. In the cup it is golden in colour, fragrant, floral and fruity with notes of orchids and peaches. Stone fruit sweetness, that lasts many steeps. When brewing, the leaves reveal their dark green colour with the 10-15% of darker brown, oxidised pieces. Pure joy…  and a blueberry muffin.

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This beautiful april morning I decided to drink tea on the balcony, even the temperature only is at 7-8 degrees C at this time. I chose a green oolong, Fragrant Jade from A.C. Perch in Copenhagen. Flowery and round, had seven brews or so. And I watched a video made by “Tea Masters” on facebook, about drinking high mountain oolong, for company. After that I was lucky to join his tea session live. He is the absolute expert!

Corona times –

tea is shared with people

across the globe

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This last picture was actually from the beginning, throwing the washing water away – into a rosmary bush… just liked the shadow in the teacup : )

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Easter monday. Same tea, now in a chinese teapot.

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This is a very special tea for me. I got it as a gift for doing a formal japanese tea ceremony at the founding day of the Danish Tea Association, in Aarhus, Denmark. It must have been in 2013, because I seem to remember, that the bing was one year old at that time. So it has been maturing for 8 years now.

I used a white gaiwan to fully appreciate its colour and taste. Teacup from Sweden. Incense from Japan, “Kafu”, ‘the scent of blossoms in the wind’, from Nippon Kodo. Easter candle from a dear friend.

Just a few taste notes: a wonderful typical sheng (raw) pu erh freshness, but definitely natured into an abricot sweetness, orangeness, with a certain earthiness and minerality in the aftertaste, a little astringiness (that is not spelled right?), balanced nicely.

Happy Easter, Ulla Conrad from Copenhagen

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Tea shop is corona closed, so new supplies came by post, to my doorstep. Enjoyed out on the balcony third day in a row, packed in blankets, to enjoy the sun, too. Take care : )

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