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One more thin gypsy thief.

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9/28/10 02:44 pm - Asynchronous teatime.

“Well,” he said smiling, “I do not know if I can teach you to love this tea as you love me, but I can show you various ways to appreciate it.

The table was set with a pitcher of hot water, a white porcelain teapot, two small cylindrical cups, and two round cups. Hand-painted on each of them was a suggestion of a mountain and water scene, done lightly in blue, with the majority of the detail on the teapot: the foggy mountain sketched in, the tall pines, and a suggestion of clouds.

Eschewing the proper spoon for lifting tea leaves from their container, he used his fingers. “These long and twisted leaves – I find they suffer if I use the spoon, which works so much better with the tighter oolongs, and some of the greens,” he said. “Often, you’re meant to enjoy the scent of the leaves as they are, then again after they’ve been rinsed. This isn’t much done with black tea, but I thought, why not? Though I assume you've already enjoyed the smell of the tea by now...”

He filled the pot with water to warm it, and then poured it off into all of the cups. After discarding the water, he placed the leaves in the teapot, rinsed them with fresh water, and refilled it to steep.

9/25/10 01:38 am - To Ms Merriwether Fawkes.

[written in an angled, sharp hand, unsurprisingly suggestive of knives, or of someone who spent much of his time trying to take copious notes with very little paper...]


I think you will find it easy to love.  Ceylon once grew coffee but have recently begun to grow tea, and the tea they are producing is different from the typical very strong British cup.  It tends to be more delicate, and some I have had before has had a little hint of a floral aroma or a sweetness I find difficult to describe properly in words, despite my poetic affectations!  And it was a little peppery, too -- very, very delicately.  Faint.  It was very interesting.  Perhaps if I lived on the surface, I would have been a sommelier.  I think milk would destroy it, but that is my own opinion, and one rarely supported by other Englishmen who drink any tea at all! 

I find it charming that the Chinese term for the sort of tea we drink is called 'crimson tea' in English -- rather than our simple description of the leaf colour, they choose to describe the colour of the tea it makes.  I think it says something about the differences in the way our cultures look at things.

I hope to see you very soon.

Yours always,


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