Cup of Tea and a Blog

Welcome to my spot for musing about all things tea. Here you'll read reviews of quality teas, click through comments on tea rooms and shops I've visited, and see photos of leaves and cups. You’ll also find things I might talk about over a cup of tea, like philosophy, literature, current events, or fun ways to pass the time.

Location: Pacific Northwest, United States

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07 October 2005

Blackberries & Tea

One of the places I walk my dog is a large open meadow that sits to the side of soccer fields and a radio-controlled plane area. This means that things are open and clear and sometimes even quite sunny – a bit of a rarity in the Seattle area, where big open spaces are mostly found on the water instead of what is usually an intensely forested geography. I believe that the meadow and soccer fields used to be farmland, which means it was cleared quite a while back. Like all cleared areas here, the “weed” that takes over is the blackberry bush. Blackberries grow wherever humans have taken away the natural vegetation. You’ll see them along railroad tracks, by roads, and even trying to take over my back yard. They can really be a hassle, but in late summer and into the fall, they provide tasty treats while you hike and walk.

Here's a photo of a stretch of blackberry bushes that rim the fields. They're the large bushes to the left:

As you can see from the photo above and below, the berry bushes are huge. To get some perspective, Aurie is a medium-sized sled dog.

The meadow is one of my dogs favorite places, mostly because she can run and explore off-leash. Lately it's been one of my favorite places because I can stuff myself full of blackberries while we're walking.

I carefully avoid the long thorns and try to find a nicely loaded branch, then pick until my fingers are purple. Usually I’ve got a thermos of tea with me, and I’ve found that a nice medium-roast dong-ding oolong goes very well with fresh berries. Once I had a lighter, sweeter oolong, but the blackberries just didn’t compliment the flavor – too much sourness interfering with the tea. A more roasted oolong somehow fits the outdoors, and the touch of smoky sweetness enhances the natural musky, hefty flavor of a blackberry.

Once I’ve finished my tea, the thermos also serves as a good vessel to bring some home.

All-in-all, a nice start to any morning, whether sunny or rainy.

Coming Shortly: I’ve been traveling again and posted this a few days later than intended. Check back soon for a post on tea in Salt Lake City.


Anonymous TeaMail Lurker said...

Cindy: what is the cool looking thermos in the picture here, and as seen on previous posts?

7:19 PM  
Blogger Cindy W. said...

You know, I've got a post started that's all about thermoses, but I haven't finished it up yet. Check back in a week or two, after I'm done traveling, and I'll probably have more details. In the meantime. . .

The thermos pictured in this post looks nice, but it really doesn't work well. It doesn't fit in my car cup holder (strike one), it doesn't keep the tea warm at all (strike two), and it leaks from the top when tiltled (strike three).

So far, the best I've found is called a Tea-zer. That's the one I've photographed before, like here. It doesn't leak, and it actually has a basket for brewing the leaves.

I've found these in the travel mug section of stores like Fred Meyer's or Target.

Of course, for long trips, I use a full-blown heavy-duty multi-cup thermos. :)

8:55 PM  
Anonymous teamail lurker said...

Yes! That's the one I was referring to. Thanks for the info. My wife and I usually only have good tea at home, but would like to rectify that. Luckily there's both a Fred Meyer and a Target not too far from us.

11:02 AM  

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