Saturday, May 22, 2010

Lu Zhen Green Needles Tea

I'm tasting some Lu Zhen Green Needles for the first time this morning. It's a little-known tea from Hubei, China. This current batch from Rishi Tea is the result of a revival of an ancient tradition in that region.

I've learned over the years that when a tea is really fresh, and I get to be the first person to cut open the vacuum-sealed package that contains it, it usually means I'm in for a treat. I get really excited when I hear that rush of air and feel the bag expand.

I have two types: roasted and steamed. This morning I went with the roasted. I enjoyed the first and second infusions, but on the third I noted some orchid notes that made me think of the high mountain oolongs from Taiwan that I like so much. Except, these orchid notes are paired with some unusual green evergreen notes. If I drew you a map of the flavor progression, it would start with orchid and finish long with some green, nutty, almost piney flavors.

The leaves themselves are beautiful. Aptly named 'needles,' this particular varietal of tea bushes leaves are thin and pointed. I'm going to be tasting it again tomorrow morning with some friends and am looking forward to hearing their impressions.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Onion spring

My garden is just getting started, and the first of many things to pop up have been the onions. I've also planted several types of tomatoes, hot peppers, sunflowers, greens, carrots....and I have no idea if any of it will take. Every time I walk to the garden I get excited to see what's occurred since I was there last.

I've rented a 1/2 plot through Project Grow in a public park near where I live. The other gardeners in the neighboring plots are all just about settled in, though it's still early. With so few plants, it currently looks like a hodge-podge of odds-and-ends fencing and posts.

This evening I walked back just as the sun was setting. The smell of pine trees and the sound of the birds was wonderful- this is a very exciting time of year in Michigan. It's going to be a great summer.