I once attended an English teachers’ workshop in which it was demonstrated how restrictions and obstacles can increase creativity. Participants had to write letters to each other without the use of any verbs… leading to exchanges like this…
“Hi. Nice necklace. Where from?”
“Thanks. Egypt. And yours?”
“Yeah. Old hobby. This teacher… Wow, eh?”
“For sure! So many great ideas! So inspiring!”
Well, I don’t know how ‘creative’ it is, but the point is, the restrictions forced us to find new ways around the problem… forced use to use words and constructions we might not have thought of before… forced us to use our brains, instead of relying on auto-pilot.
Today I discovered that there is going to be a UK-wide rail strike, right through the middle of my entire booked vacation to Scotland. I’ve spent the day trying to find new ways around the problem, finding vehicles and routes I might not have thought of before, using my brain, instead of relying on auto-pilot. I’m really wondering if the whole thing is going to be creative and inspiring, or just stunted and truncated, much like the conversation above. I guess it’s all in how you look at it. In any case, I’m tired, and it’s time for tea!
Here is another interesting and unique tea from What-Cha‘s “Discover Malawi” collection. This Satemwa Antlers White Tea consists of long sticks and twigs, but no actual leaves! A sentence with no verbs… a trip with no train… a tea with no leaves! This IS truly creative and inspiring! The twiggy stems are very long… 2 or 3 inches each… and tough… like, well… like twigs! The aroma reminds me of raspberries and apricots, or a rich, sweet Pai Mu Dan. The packet says it’s “smooth with a sweet lychee taste”, and I think that’s entirely possible. Let’s find out!
I steep a handful of twigs in a gaiwan… not really sure how to measure it accurately. Looks like enough. The recommended time is 3 – 4 minutes at 80 degrees. I’m assuming that sticks steep more slowly than leaves, so I’ll go with that.
The first sip is sweet and malty with notes of chocolate… chocolate? Ovaltine? I’m not getting lychee at all! I’m getting “malted milk balls” with somewhat plummy notes. It’s deliciously mild and sweet, without a hint of bitterness or astringency. It’s quite smooth and rich. Oh… dang! It’s gone before I can finish my analysis. I’ll have to tell you about the second cup.
I steep this one longer… 6 – 7 minutes. The colour is the same. This cup has lost the ‘malt’ flavour, but now there is the most amazing sweet perfume in my mouth! Oh my god… in the time it took to write that sentence, the aftertaste completely transformed into a candied sweetness through my entire mouth! What is going on here?! This is just WILD! OMG! I’m actually LOLing because this is such a freaky delicious tea! What is that taste??? It’s hitting my mouth with sweet malt, transforming to a sweet perfume… ok, maybe lychee… and then finishing with a sweet candy/perfume/lychee/chocolate Easter-egg finish. And yet, it’s still a delicate white tea! There is nothing strong or overpowering at all. It’s clean, light, and subtle, and frikkin AMAZING! I think it might be my favourite Malawi tea so far! I can’t even describe it! It probably sounds too weird for words… but it’s absolutely fantastic!
I wonder how cup 3 will be… the water’s not too hot any more, so I’m leaving it for a good 10 minutes to see what happens.
It has taken longer, but the colour is still a rich gold. The sweet chocolate-y perfume is predominant now. It’s such an interesting combination… perfume and chocolate. It’s reminding me of a candy I had as a child, which I’m sure doesn’t exist anymore… it was a chocolate-flavoured candy cigarette that had this strangely delicious flavour of perfume and chocolate. That’s where this tea is taking me! I still wouldn’t call this lychee, but the aftertaste is how I imagine chocolate flowers would taste. Mmmmmmm… chocolate flowers…. 🙂
Wow… What-Cha… you’ve outdone yourselves on this one. They just keep getting better and better and better! I can’t even describe the deliciosity anymore! I don’t have any words. Or verbs. Or nouns. Or…