Monday, October 28, 2013

october chill.


Around this time last year Hurricane Sandy hit the area and stripped the local trees of all their pretty fall foliage. Not only did we get thrust straight into wintery conditions ... but we lost power for several days and had to huddle around my father's woodburning stove to keep warm. We were more fortunate to have a less chaotic autumn this time around and as such Ryan and I took the opportunity to visit Tyler State Park to appreciate the turning leaves. It just so happens that we picked a perfect day to do so ...  it was a clear 55 degrees out, the sun was shining, and people were harvesting corn from the fields within the park grounds. 

along the trail.

Every path within the forest was covered with leaves. It was one of those idyllic autumn days. After our walk we immediately went and picked up some spiced wine and were happy to receive a batch of sausage lentil soup from my father. We cozied up in our apartment and relaxed for quite some time.

And, speaking of the apartment, the landlord was NOT lying when he said the building got cold! I suppose I underestimated the exposed stone's ability to retain the cold from outside. Our radiators kick on and warm the downstairs portion of our apartment, but the loft doesn't have pipes that go that far up, and as such we have to flick on a cheesy fake fireplace heater. The radiators don't stay on as well, which is disappointing. They'll be oozing warmth for a whole 10 minutes before it starts to fade away. It's like the building thermostat is situated in the basement where I assume some mysterious temperature-controlling arctic native lives.

The chill has increased my tea consumption tenfold, though. I might need to invest in a nice thick mug to simply hold and warm my fingers with throughout the winter! I've recently fallen in love with the charm of Polish bubble mugs! They look like the sort of cup a hobbit would use during colder months. :)

morning tea.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

nudo darjeeling.

nudo darjeeling.

I was recently contacted by Nudo Darjeeling and sent samples of their tea for review! Darjeeling is one of the types of black tea I have very little experience with. Normally I pick a malty Assam for fear of the bitterness I previously encountered in plain old tins of tea labeled as "Darjeeling." It was a pleasant surprise to try these teas out and get to know more about them!

What's exciting about this company is the concept of it all: You adopt a tea garden through them and receive quarterly deliveries from each seasonal harvest. The tea you're sent is from the garden you adopt, and if something happens with the harvest they will inform you if they need to send you tea from another garden. It gives you a unique chance to really get to know the tea, origin, and see the difference between the leaves from the same source as months pass by.

spring harvest.

Pictured above are the leaves from the Golden Harvest which is the Spring delivery. These are leaves picked in October 2012 from Nurbong. The cup brewed a beautiful amber color and produced a well rounded tasting experience! At first it had a sweet fruity note, similar to a currant, but then it eased into an earthy green flavor, and then carried a light aftertaste similar to a mildly bitter violet. It is a very fragrant tea and the aroma wafts up as you lift the cup to sip. It is light and mildly astringent.

The summer delivery, or the First Flush harvest, was much more astringent and light. This was harvested in March 2013 from Nurbong as well. The brewed color was a similar amber to the Golden Harvest, but the difference was noticeable right away from the aroma of the leaves alone: floral, sharp, and sweetly astringent. The first sip on the tongue was tangy and then morphed into an airy muscatel note followed by the bitter violet aftertaste. I found that the lingering tea on the tongue carried an orange blossom note well after I finished my cup!

I'm saving the Second Flush & Monsoon Flush for another time as I found that drinking too much Darjeeling in a short period of time makes me a little bit loopy! Then again, that applies for all teas that have sharp floral notes. I can drink malty and dark teas in excess, but give me a refreshing floral tea and watch how delicately and sporadically I must sip it. How strange is that?

If you get a chance, check out Nudo Darjeeling and read about their incredible tea garden adoption program! It would make a great gift for the tea enthusiast in your life this coming holiday season!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

lazy days.

autumn sun.

These past few days I've been lazy with my blogging! (Sorry!!!!) Sometimes it feels good to put down the camera and just bop around without fretting about editing photos. Work has been hectic, but I've got lots of neat things in the works as well! I can't wait to share those fun tea related things with you soon!

We got a little taste of nippy autumn weather, but suddenly we're trudging through 85 degree days in OCTOBER. Ryan and I packed up our AC unit for the year, and as such the loft is a bit muggy. I would very much like for the chill to come back so I can wear the cozy black cape I found while shopping with my mom!

lazy days.

Check out my new tea area! Ryan went to the local Asian market and found me a nice low table to serve tea on. On top of that, my grandparents gifted us one of their old Oriental rugs to make our apartment more cozy. It's a wonderful addition to our little home, and has made my tea area so much nicer! I can't wait to have friends over, sit by the radiator, and serve them a warm cuppa tea.

Chai is a big fan of the table as she can rest her paws on the ledge while sitting on a cushion. She's my frequent guest at the tea table -- sometimes she even gets a tiny saucer of milk to drink while I sip my own tea!

kitty tea time.