January 31 2012
Another new year! Brilliant. We’ve now entered the Chinese year of the Dragon, so to celebrate here at the Gilded Teapot, we had a free tea tasting (with fortune cookies) in the shop. Yum yum yum
We tasted some of China’s famous teas – Silver Needle, Dragon Well, beautiful black tea and the fabled Oriental Beauty – one of the world’s rarest Oolongs. What makes Oriental Beauty special and so darn delicious is something rather unusual. This tea comes from Taiwan and can only be produced every few years, because it needs a visitor – the Tea Jassid to be precise. These little aphids come to live on the tea plants, and to defend itself against these guests, the plant produces an enzyme to defend itself. At this point the leaf and the bud are picked and it this that makes the tea. The end result is a beautiful citrus muscatel brew the colour of Golden Syrup. Sublime.
So what else has been going on? Well, to brew our China teas we had a brand new piece of tea brewing equipment to play with!
These lovely fellas are the end result of a brilliant collaboration between potter extraordinaire Linda Bloomfield and two professional tea tasters and artisan importers. They’re a modern twist on the traditional Chinese Gaiwan, a lidded cup used for tea brewing, but these are much larger with a pouring lip and rounded top to give maximum perfume from the leaves after they’ve been brewed. So, a big hello to our new Gaiwans! I wonder how we ever managed without them.
And it hasn’t just been Chinese New Year – last week was the first official Farmhouse Breakfast Week, so we went down to Washingpool Farm just outside of Bridport, Gaiwans in hand, to brew some tasty breakfast teas. We were right next door to the tasty folks of Denhay bacon, so we were trying to find which was the best tea to have with a bacon sarnie – we had two winners! The LaKyrsiew tea from northern India and Ceylon Kenilworth.
So, to China and back again. It’s been a fun week!