Ok, all you maids, time to head out for a quick wash, at least according to the nursery rhyme “The First Of May” (The fair maid who, the first of May, / Goes to the fields at break of day, / And washes in dew from the hawthorn-tree, / Will ever after handsome be.) It’s also a great time of year to enjoy the blooms of mid-Spring (for those of us in the northern hemisphere). Let’s see what tea can do for us this time around.
1 A Queenly tea time awaits you with Buckingham Palace Garden Party tea
|Every May the Queen holds a garden party at Buckingham Palace, a lovely English springtime tradition. Weather permitting, it is served outdoors, with the foods laid out on long tables. Of course, tea is an important part, so much so that a special blend was developed just for this event, but it’s now available to you, too. This tea is a delicious long-time favorite, a medley of high-grown pure Ceylon Earl Grey, soft jasmine from the Fujian Province in China, malty Borengajuli estate Assam, flavorful Dimbula Ceylon (from Hatton), and brisk and golden Kambaa and Kagwe Kenyan. One minute you taste the Earl Grey, then you can almost feel the soft floral notes of jasmine, and finally you get the satisfying fullness of the Assam Ceylon and Kenya blend. Enjoy this tea and be a part of the annual tradition in the west gardens of Buckingham Palace, without having to dress up! My review.|
2 It’s always great to have Twinings Ceylon Orange Pekoe Tea
|For centuries people have enjoyed tea as an invigorating and refreshing beverage. This is a blend of fine Ceylon teas producing a rich liquor with superb flavor. Pekoe is a 7-tier grading system for black tea that relates to the size and physical condition of the leaf rather than a particular kind of tea, flavor, or quality. Often, Orange Pekoe teas are blends, with “orange pekoe” indicating that the tea is the second highest grade in the system. “Pekoe” is from the Chinese word meaning “white” as in the 2-leaves-and-a-bud combo plucked from the branch tip. When applied to Indian and Ceylonian teas, it indicates whole leaves that are uniform in size, even those from lower on the branch of the tea bush (Camellia Sinensis). “Orange” could either mean the Dutch House of Orange Nassau or the Chinese practice from ages past of adding orange blossoms to the tea leaves for flavor.||
3 Stay fresh with some Second Flush Darjeeling such as this one
|The best time of year for a quality Darjeeling is “second flush”, or end of May to end of June. During this time, Darjeelings are not comparable to any other tea – the fragrance and taste are a complex bouquet of flavors, from nutty, to a blackcurrant-like taste, but most often, it is described as similar to the taste and smell of Muscat grapes.This tea delivers a bright liquor, with a full round taste of muscatel. This Darjeeling delivers a superb afternoon tea.||
4 This month is one for freshness, like this Peony White Needle White Tea
|A white tea from the Chongqing Province of China with a delicate lingering fragrance and a fresh mellow sweet taste devoid of astringency or grassy flavor. The top grade available and very rare – hence its high cost. The leaves are not steamed or pan-fired as is the case in green tea. They are dried and withered in the sun. If mechanical drying is required the leaves are baked (not fired) at temperatures less that 40°C. Only special two-leaves-and-a-bud combos that are covered with velvet peach fuzz down are selected. The ideal is a leaf or two being wrapped around a newly developing shoot. These shoots are plucked and segregated from the rest of the leaf being plucked. These leaves are then naturally withered and the painstaking process on final manual selection occurs.||
5 Gear up your tastebuds for Summer with Moroccan Madness Tea
|A blend of black teas from Sri Lanka and Assam, India, combined with peppermint from the USA. Its strong malty flavor mixes with the cool accent of peppermint. The recipe dates back to when the British introduced tea to the Moroccans, who at that time were steeping a harsh beverage prepared with fresh or dried mint leaves. The tea leaves mixed with the mint tempered that harshness and made the beverage far more palatable. Unlike the traditional Moroccan blend that uses a base of green tea, this one uses fine black teas for their strength. Picture yourself sitting on a long fringe carpet in a colorful tiled room decorated in bright geometric designs, sipping from a small hand-painted glass. You may discover one of the many pleasures of this ancient kingdom. Moroccans say that tea should be bitter as death, sweet as life, and as mellow as love. Try a cup of this tea to see if all those things are conveyed. See also: Pouring Tea Like a Moroccan Waiter||
See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.
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