My tasting notes: Thai oolong
Happy International Women’s Day! This year more than ever, I found myself reflecting on the meaning of this day. The 2017 campaign theme is #BeBoldForChange. Anyone can help drive positive change for women through visibility and awareness. Personally, I want to applaud women role models and celebrate women's journeys and the barriers they overcome. So today I’m telling you the inspiring story of a tea friend of mine, Silvia, who is a very talented artist.
Silvia and I attended undergraduate courses at university together, including English and translation. She’s from Verona, Italy, the town where Shakespeare set his famous play "Romeo and Juliet". She has been following The Tea Squirrel since the very beginning and I’ve been following her artistic journey too. Tea has helped us reconnect with each other.
Silvia is a macramé artist. She uses this textile making technique, which involves tying decorative knots, to create one-of-a-kind jewelry. She learned it in 2011, when she was diagnosed with a medical condition. Treatment involved long bed rest and Silvia decided to take up something creative, to kill time. She has always been passionate about minerals and fossils and she loves wearing them. She discovered that macramé was the perfect way to encase gemstones and didn’t require any special instrument, just her hands. After months of trial and error, she managed to create jewelry that friends and relatives loved and were willing to buy. She realized she could make some money, even if just enough to purchase raw materials.
At the same time, she decided to make the most of her university studies and passion for foreign languages and cultures to teach Italian to migrant children in her home town of Verona within a non-profit organization. Unfortunately, the budget for these projects is limited and she is employed there only for a few months each year in the spring and in the summer.
In the winter, she flies to Thailand, where she teaches English to local children. In her free time, Silvia is always creating beautiful jewelry and on the hunt for new minerals and raw materials. She never thought it could be a sustainable business but her Etsy shop AntheaMacrame has been more and more successful and that was the encouragement she needed.
When Silvia first tasted this oolong, she thought of me and kindly sent me some. It’s a very small-scale production. It’s grown in the mountains of Northern Thailand by local tribes on land where opium was once grown. Now this land is managed by a royal project, created to offer alternative development for opium farmers. The tea plants originally came from Taiwan.
Tea Name: Royal Project Oolong nr. 12
Ingredients: oolong tea
Water Temperature: 190 F / 87 C
Steep Time: 1 minute
Preparation Method: porcelain gaiwan
Leaves/Water Ratio: 5 gr to 5 oz / 150 ml filtered water
dry leaves: medium and small wrinkly pellets, visible stems, from light green with yellow hues to deep forest green
wet leaves: moss green, one leaf and one bud, two leaves and one bud, three leaves and one bud, leaves are 3 inches long / 7 cm long
liquor: light green with bright green and yellow hues
dry leaves: fresh, notes of sweet hay and wildflowers
wet leaves: notes of cooked spinach, as you steep some floral notes come up
liquor: sweet, buttery, vegetal and savory, as you steep some floral notes (gardenia and jasmine) come up
liquor: umami, butter, vaguely reminds me of a milk oolong and has notes of seaweed
FOOD PAIRING: cheese! I've recently had an amazing cheese at a local wine bar, Lavialattea firm Italian goat’s milk cheese with Chamomile. It tastes like an alpine meadow and I think it would be the perfect match to this tea!
OVERALL IMPRESSION: 6 -7 full-flavored steeps, it's delicious and intriguing and I love that is part of a sustainable project for human and environmental health!
Disclaimer: I was not paid to mention or review businesses, products or services mentioned in this blog post. This is my honest opinion. I am not affiliated with AntheaMacrame or the tea manufacturer.