Yesterday began with gaping spaces on my calendar. One might imagine that this might be cause for concern although for me those empty spaces signify that my day will be spent playing catch up with all the backlog work I have to do which involves sitting at my computer.
The items I note on my daily record are business meetings, events or some mundane task I must accomplish out of doors aka laundry.
Oops, as I scroll down to the evening there is one glowing notation “Golden Fleece Feast Fest” 9:00pm. Well now that’s something to look forward to. That will become the highlight of a very uneventful day, or so I thought.
The morning began with answering e-mails, following up on correspondence for future events. Search, research, research, search and finally buying a ticket for the upcoming World Tea Expo trip. Then calls to coordinate plans for travel, followed by ordering product and equipment for two events scheduled before the trip and one directly afterwards.
All was proceeding at pace which would allot me time for this evenings event, then like a bolt of lightning a distraction causing me to stop in my tracks.
It is so interesting, how I walk most days in the state of grace and strength only to be brought to the reality that a mere statement can uncover my sensitive vulnerability.
Disturbing, it placed me in a state of disbelief and despair. I no longer wanted to join my community in a fest as I was embarrassed and disillusioned and all the negative voices proceeded to envelop my being.
Over the many years of working in the corporate world one develops self-protecting strategies in order to get through times like these.
I never imagined that I would have to pull this tactic out of the old corporate box in my new reinvented self though I am so happy it was there when I needed it along with a strong cup of Assam.
My method: examine the issue, get a clear perspective, address the issue, allow myself to wallow in my mood for a certain period of time then pick myself up and go on with my day.
At 7:00pm I began getting prepared for the “Golden Fleece Feast Fest” I set up my makeshift communication, as my desktop has not been cooperating lately. I then decided to make this event a special one for me as I needed a boost. I began pulling out tablecloths and teapots and setting up arrangements that I thought would enhance the presentation of this special tea.
My first choice was a display that would be more of an ethnic flair but changed midstream as my mood was in need of a more comforting setting. You know, the type you experience at your favorite traditional tea service.
Twitter was ablaze with suggestions from the various participants along with discussions of attire and food pairing. One of my dear friends questioned who would be supplying the macarons and of course I knew that would be me, knowing I had some stashed in my kitchen.
I decorated my table to my satisfaction and by 8:30pm I was ready to get started brewing the tea. I had also checked online for brewing instructions. Many of the instructions recommend the use of a gaiwan. Since I wanted to save some of this beauty for another sitting, I opted for, as Lazy Literatus stated to, “stick with a Western approach”, which my selection was to brew it in my tea thermos which would keep the tea warm and also give me the opportunity to do several infusions without much hassle.
Golden Fleece, a black tea, definitely lives up to its name, as the colors of the leaves are truly golden enhanced with tiny fuzzy hairs attached to each bud. The long golden buds have the look of elegance. Upon opening the pouch I was immediately smitten by the scent of honey, so inviting. Many times when I whiff a tea prior to tasting, the aroma is very different from what I initially smell. Not so with Golden Fleece, brewing only enhanced the honey aroma.
I chose to brew it at 195 degrees and steeped for 3 to 4 minutes. I reasoned I was using only a teaspoon of tea per my 8oz thermos and added a minute to the steep time for a stronger flavor.
The flavor is incredibly smooth, and rich and surprisingly keeps the honey notes through the sip. The color was deeply golden with an amber hue.
The macaron choices were butternut, caramel and pistachio (the pistachio was my least favorite with this tea choice)
Having overcome my previously somber mood I got into the swing of things as our Fest began. We talked tea, brewing, compared methods to tastes and of course discussed so many other things concerning our tea world.
Three infusions later I realized the hours had wiled away. I had such an enjoyable time. We discussed how we could do this again sometime in the future and I believe Rachel is drafting a plan as I type.
There is nothing like good tea and good friends to remind me there may be temporary distractions that can be disconcerting, taking time out for tea will always put things in perspective.
(Dian Hong, Yunnan Province, sample courtesy of Rachel Carter, I Heart Teas,)
You can read more about this tea and event from the participants at
I Heart Teas, Tea For Me Please, Lazy_Literatus, Cups Of Tea With Jackie, The Tea Lovers Archives
Hope you can join us next time as we share tea and conversation.
I wish I had been in attendance. My calming influence would have been of benefit to all.
And I know of few people who should doubt themselves less. Your energy, your enthusiasm, your dignity, your writing and your writing are all inspirational.
It was a wonderful evening indeed and with the company even better. It is always such a pleasure chatting with others that share the same passion mostly because you know when you are talking about tea they are actually listening and not just nodding in agreement. I must say I was rather envious of your macaroons Jo. So it has now inspired me to try my hand at making homemade macaroons. I have already started searching online for recipes and videos and I think I may just give it a go. Can’t wait for our next hangout.
In the end, who ate the macarons?
Wasn’t it just yesterday we had our Fleece Fest? My, how time flies. It’ taken me so long to catch up. We had a lovely evening and it was particularly nice for me to meet Darlene, as I hadn’t talked to her previously.
As to the macaroons – Rachel, have you tried any yet? I’ve baked them before and the uniform look is sometimes hard to achieve, and it can be tricky to get them to stay white. They often turn pale brown. Still, they are delicious. I was envious of you Jo, they looked divine. Glad you too had a nice evening.
I’m glad you could make it “out” with us on this little tandem experiment (which I kinda/sorta failed). Up until recently, I had the exact opposite problem you had, my calendar was nothing but open for stuff. Now, it’s perma-delayed. Er…like my Fleece Fest post.
Wonderful anecdotes in here, dear.
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