Thursday, May 17, 2012

Oolong tea ~ Leaf Cup Cuddler

This is the third installment in my series on exotic teas of the Far East.  If you recall, I discovered the rich and savory delight of dragon well green tea while in China.  I've since found that it's a slippery slope from green teas into the complex and intriguing world of oolongs, a tea residing somewhere between greens and black.

An oolong tea can be expensive and is sophisticated and deserving of the ritual and reverence associated with a Chinese tea ceremony.  And while it's best brewed in a small vessel it can be brewed multiple times yielding a surprisingly strong flavor in successive brewings, which makes it more economical than at first it may seem.

The Chinese tea ceremony brings me to the point of the pictures in this post.  If you have ever been in a tea shop or otherwise seen a traditional Chinese tea ceremony tray, you probably noticed that it is often adorned with miniature ornaments such as tiny dragons or buddhas. What you don't realize (and I assure you that not even all American tea importers realize this either) is that these tiny ornaments known as "tea pets" will change color when hot water is poured over them.  I was amazed when this was first demonstrated for me in a tea shop in China.  Of course once the tea shop saw my reaction they proceeded to pour hot water over all their tea pets which became progressively less amazing each time.  But was still fun to see nonetheless.  In these pictures hopefully you can see that my tiny dragon changes from a deep bronze color to a shiny gold.  Whereas the black tea pets will typically change to a brilliant emerald green.  As the ornament cools it returns to its original color.  Isn't that amazing!

If you would like to try an oolong tea, I suggest that you buy loose leaf and the online tea companies that I recommend are Harney & Sons and Mighty Leaf Tea.  For a simple overview on how to brew oolong tea I like this Youtube video.  Here are the links to my previous posts on Far East teas: Chinese Chrysanthemum Tea and Green Tea and China.

And if you are drinking green teas you really ought to knit yourself a cute cozy ~ with green leaves ~

Particulars:  Leaf Cup Cuddler; US 6 needles.  This is a fun and quick project using scrap yarn.  Be warned that this cup cozy is designed for cups without a handle.  To adjust for cups with a handle I simply sewed a button on and used an open eyelet from the leaf as a button hole.

The MisAdventures of Simcha and Classic Apple Pie

I was surprised, and oddly offended, that Simcha seemed more interested in smelling flowers than my freshly baked apple pie.

But don't pay any attention to Simcha as this was a delicious pie!  Apple pies are wonderful year round and, as always, I used my mother's trusty recipe (blogged here Easy as Apple Pie).

Until next time, be well and love well and this Summer indulge your senses by discovering the many varieties of oolong teas!