Autumn is definitely one of my favourite seasons, the crisp and clear air is so refreshing and invigorating!
Even though I tend to drink more oolongs and green teas all year round and perhaps more black teas during the winter, in this season any warm cup of tea is a great option. Choosing which one to have is a very personal choice and it depends of so many things: our mood, our personal preferences in general, our day ahead and the precise demands of our tastebuds. In today’s post I just wanted to make a list of my 4 autumn all time favourite teas (+ 1 rooibos), the ones I keep repeating every year and share it with you:
- Cui Yu Oolong: creamy, luscious, floral and aromatic, this exquisite Taiwanese oolong is a great choice for every season. It is always surprising and pleasant.
- Mao Feng: vegetal, aromatic and sweet, this green tea is light but with lots of character. A good option for breakfast, lunch or as an afternoon tea. I like to make it a bit concentrated in a porcelain gaiwan.
- Earl Grey: the bergamot scent of this tea is so uplifting and the blend so balanced and heart warming that I just love it. This is one of the few teas that I usually drink with a splash of soy milk.
- Second flush Darjeeling: Aromatic, light, fruity with the characteristic charming muscatel taste that makes it an all time favourite.
- Natural rooibos: Although I am not a big fan of rooibos, it is nice as a caffeine-free option. During these cold seasons I prefer it over a light herbal infusion. I like its silky texture and vanilla-like taste.
What are your top five for this season?
Ready for winter? 😉 xo
A colleague from work brought me a box of gluten free macaroons from a recent trip to Italy that she made with her husband on a motorbike. We usually share sweets, biscuits, fruits and many cups of tea at work but these macaroons were a gift and also were so pretty that I said I was going to use them for a new edition of “tea and cake” on my blog. So another excuse to write, eat and drink tea!
These lovely purple little circular cakes are blueberry macaroons with blueberry cream filling. To pair them I made a Nilgiri SFTGFOP1 black tea so the sweetness and fruitiness of the macaroon could blend with the natural fruity character of the tea. The crumbly texture of the macaroon was also perfect to match the light-medium body of this black tea. In this case I think an iced tea could have been good as well but temperatures already started to drop so a warm cup of tea was a great choice.
I know it could sound silly but how easy it is to make yourself happy with little things: tea, macaroons and a book perhaps? Or just watching the clouds go by from the window, feeling the crisp air of the autumn? Tea and cake is a small but special pleasure if we intend it to be, isn’t it?
Thank you Txung for the present!
In this edition of tea and cake I have a very special guest, Lorena Franzoni, an Argentine graphic designer and artist that lives in Barcelona and with whom I always like to share ideas and projects and, of course, many cups of tea. This time I invited her to bring her ceramic pieces to have “tea and cake” at home using them as the main theme. I chose a refreshing Darjeeling First Flush and, to accompany it, whole wheat and regular madeleines, mini croissants, mini “napolitanas” and strawberries.
Her pieces are handmade and they respond to her own creative process, stories and needs. I particularly like the organic touch and feel of the pieces and how its variety of sizes, textures, shapes and colours complement each other so gracefully.
In the pictures you can see small bowls, a beautiful cake stand and two little horses. The horses are actually part of a bigger piece called “Brillante”, a lamp that is also a character that during the day delivers flowers and by night lightens up the dark. The piece was recently showcased at the collective expo called “Los Tripulantes” in Barcelona.
We had tea and a nice chat about her present and future projects. She is currently working on a children’s cup for her nephew and a set of plates for her home. I am sure it will be to die for!
What a pleasure to have tea with such a great company and these beautiful pieces! Thank you Lore for being on this edition of Tea and Cake, a real delight!
To know more about Lorena’s design work please visit:
She makes all her ceramic pieces at El Taller de Lusesita: https://www.facebook.com/pages/El-taller-de-lusesita/571797292930333?fref=photo
Few weeks ago I received a little box covered in a sewn white cotton fabric with a beautiful red wax seal. It had travelled from New Dehli to Barcelona all the way. Inside the box there was just tea, tea leaves awaiting…
This parcel comes from Golden Tips Tea, a company established in 1933 that specialises in pure Single Origin unblended teas from India that they have kindly sent to me and that I now have the pleasure to review.
Below you will find each one of the teas with some of my notes and thoughts. I hope you find them useful and somehow inspiring.
Arya Pearl Darjeeling
Temp 80C / Time 5 min
Elegant, long, almost untouched dry leaves with a beautiful soft olive green colour. The perfect leaf set of one bud and one or two leaves. Altogether they look like dancing leaves.
With a nice bright and pale yellow liquor, this is a very delicate tea with fresh aroma and fruity taste of passion fruit or even elderflower. Unlike other white teas, this one has a very low or none astringency and a very silky texture in the mouth. Nice and subtle tea with a medium sweet fruity aftertaste.
Glendale Jasmine exotica
Temp 80C / Time 3 min
The smell of the dry leaves is striking: it has the enchanting aroma of fresh jasmine.
The leaves are green and brown in different shades with abundant golden tips.
Its pale yellow liquor is mellow in taste with subtle hints of jasmine, almost faded. It has a low astringency and a medium sweet light aftertaste. Nice and pleasant to drink: it is delicate, fresh and flowery. If I had just tried this tea without knowing what type it was, I might have thought it was a white tea.
I have a soft spot for jasmine green teas and I couldn’t resist trying a jasmine tea from Nigiri, India. I must say it is a peculiar experience: the infusion has the character of an Indian tea but the aroma of Jasmine adds a unique layer to it.
Thurbo Darjeeling Oolong
Temp 90C / Time 4 min
Mixture of short brown and green leaves with lots of silver tips. Nice and uniform in size.
Beautiful amber liquor. It is a powerful tea with the characteristic muscatel grape taste with a punch of fruitiness. It also has a long fruity aftertaste. Medium silky body. This was my favourite of all four. It is my first time tasting an oolong from Darjeeling and I loved it, it has something special!
Castleton Moonlight Black Tea
Temp 90C / Time 4 min
The dry leaves are olive green and brown with presence of silver tips: the classic beautiful colour of a fine first flush Darjeeling.
Bright light caramel brown liquor. Very fresh, fruity with the distinctive muscatel taste of Darjeeling black teas. Very low astringency and medium bodied. Short but very pleasant aftertaste. A very complex tea.
Thank you Golden Tips Tea for the tea, it feels like I have travelled. From the packaging to the tea itself it, everything was brilliant. It definitely grows my interest to visit the tea fields in India even more.
Fancy a cup of tea?
Last week I visited a charming Japanese teahouse in Barcelona called Usagui (which means Rabbit in English), a lovely place where you can find a nice selection of Japanese teas as well as a variety of sweets and desserts (including mochi!).
I ordered a Sencha Fukamushi, an exquisite deep steamed and spring tea that I particularly loved. Fukamushi refers to the steaming time of the tea leaves in the production process of the Sencha, being this one the longest one (two minutes approximately). This is a beautiful tea: grassy, rich in flavour with a buttery feel to it and a vivid green colour.
My tea came in a small clay teapot in a square wooden tray. It had been already brewed, as they took care of the water temperature and the steeping time of the tea beforehand. Then I kindly asked for a second and third infusion and they gave me precise instructions on how to do it each time. For the second infusion they suggested 80 seconds and then serve “until the last drop”. For the third time, only 30 seconds and then pour again, “until the last drop” and so I did. It is said that the last drops are the most important ones as they are more concentrated in flavour and can even determine the final taste of the tea…
I also tried an iced apple kocha (black tea) and a fruit pannacotta. Both very delicate and refreshing.
The teahouse is very minimalistic and intimate, ideal for a peaceful afternoon with a nice cup of Japanese tea…
Thank you Usagui, until next time!
Usagui. Santjoanistes 28, 08006.