Thursday, May 29, 2014

Tea on Thursday 13 : Dragon Well Tea

tea plant , Hangzhou 
Last week, I visited the Xihu Lake ( West Lake) area near Hangzhou, Zhejaing Province in China. Besides being a very scenic place, it has the reputation of producing the best green tea in China -  Xihu Longjing tea, or Dragon Well tea.
first growth  March picking ( Swallow's tongue) 
pre Qing-Ming picking - first Spring  tea shoots  early April 
later picking - lower grade 'Dragon Well After the Rain' tea
tea picking baskets and tea picker's hat 
I tasted the three grades of Dragon Well tea and learnt some important tips about preparing the tea , for example, the water should be 85 degrees C.  Like most other Chinese green tea, Longjing tea leaves are roasted early in processing (after picking) to stop the natural oxidation process, which is a part of creating black and oolong teas. The actions of these enzymes is stopped by "firing" (heating in pans) before they completely dry out.   Longjing tea leaves are therefore "unfermented." When steeped, the tea produces a yellow-green color. The tea contains vitamin C, amino acids, and, like most finer Chinese green teas, has one of the highest concentrations of catechins among teas.
heating pan
sorting basket  

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Tea on Thursday 12: Gum Leaf Prayer Flag

Can you guess what sort of tea ? It's cranberry  tea, with a couple of cranberry and pomegranate tea bags thrown in for good colour! Here I have laid down some gum leaves on the fabric, and pressed tea bags over the top, and then taking a few tea bags with a pair of kitchen tongs, I dabbed the fabric .I then traced the outlines and drew the flowers in with a permanent marker.
This is a prayer flag I've made for The Talking Needles Project held in conjunction with Timeless Textiles.  This flag with the 100+ others will be auctioned off on Sunday at 2pm - you can even bid online by contacting Timeless Textiles.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Tea on Thursday 11 : Eco Print

Featuring eco prints by my grandson....  eucalypt leaves, grevillea leaves and Rooibos tea bags on watercolour paper.
PostScript .... There was a request to explain how this was done. Watercolour paper folded over, leaves and tea bags placed inside the folded paper. The folded paper was then sandwiched between two pieces of ply board and clamped together with strong paper clip ( we call them 'bulldog' clips) and the whole sandwich was boiled in a pot of water  for about an hour. I learnt this technique from Elizabeth Bunsen who is the master artist of this technique- we have just been playing.