Friday, January 23, 2015

the first week.



I finished my first week of classes! I know to some it may not seem so monumental, but the moment I set foot in a classroom it felt so right. I'm so excited that I decided to return. Of course my first semester back is the moment Mother Nature decided to drop some snow on our area. My fingers and toes are crossed that the snowfall Sunday night is cleaned up by Monday morning, or that they cancel classes. The school isn't SUPER far away, but the roads are very curvy and definitely treacherous when there's ice/snow. I really don't want to drive in that mess...

I can't wait for spring when I can sit in the beautiful gardens attached to the manor and sip my tea in the sunshine. The cool thing about this little community college is that the campus is on an old estate and there are tons of super old buildings and gorgeous architecture. The one building has a parlour type of room converted to a lovely study area. They unfortunately don't run the fireplace, but if they did I imagine I would stay on campus and do my homework beside it all the time.

I got myself a GIGANTIC CINNAMON BUN to celebrate. I ate 1/4 of it and the rest is sitting in the kitchen in the hopes that my family will decide to partake because it really is that ridiculously big.


In between classes I've been working on making my Animal Crossing house SUPER CUTE and extra pink! I even worked at the cafe in the game and Brewster gave me a cup and saucer set along with an espresso pot. How appropriate!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

teacup thursday: mankota exotic assam.

mankota exotic assam.

In an effort to start reviewing teas regularly again I've decided to start Teacup Thursdays! Classes started have started and I think adhering to a schedule will help keep this blog lively while I dive headfirst into school. It will also give me a sort of goal for reviewing the pile of generous tea samples accumulating in my room.

Yesterday was an interesting start to the semester! I managed to sit in on the wrong psych class due to a really confusing room change sign. I sat through the entire syllabus overview because by the time I realized something was amiss I was quite beyond the point of making a subtle exit. My actual psych teacher really enjoyed my mortified explanation of absence as I hustled over to the correct classroom immediately afterward, thank goodness.

ANYWAY! On to the delicious tea in my cup today! Golden Tips Tea was kind enough to send me several samples of their fine teas, and I decided to start off with the Mankota Exotic Assam! This is the sort of black tea that gets all the high notes right. The result? A dark-looking brew that is surprisingly airy and refreshing! The first sip is sweet and nutty, which then rounds out into a note reminiscent of lightly toasted bread. It's substantial but never heavy. From there the aftertaste is sweet like honey with a pleasantly sharp note that permeates the senses to remind you that this Assam isn't of the usual darker fare.

Funny enough, as I was thinking about how uplifting this tea was, the clouds cleared and I was blasted from sunshine from my window. That's the perfect way to think of this cup: an unexpected burst of brightness from a type of tea that is usually astringent and dark. Thank you for this sample, Golden Tips Tea!

This is the sort of perfectly happy cup to lighten my mood while I desperately search for my textbooks online! The bookstore had a line down the hallway and I am loathe to give them money following a very nasty experience with their "bookbag" policy. I can understand leaving my backpack at the door fairly unguarded ... but my purse? No way!!!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

snowy days.

dusty snow.

Earlier this week it was a balmy 55ºF and today it's plummeted to 21ºF with the sort of dreamy dusty snow I love. It's like Mother Nature is sifting powdered sugar over my backyard! Unfortunately our township lacks any sort of initiative when it comes to weather preparation and the salt trucks only showed up recently -- I've yet to hear a snowplow rumble down the street. I've been snowed in all day today and I am worrying that I'll miss dance class tonight. My tires are worn out I don't know if I can handle sliding to the studio at night without being a bit sick to my stomach with stress.

earl grey.

Because I've been snowed in I've been drinking lots of tea to keep warm and decided to make some more progress on a series I was recommended by a friend: The First Law by Joe Abercrombie. Currently I'm halfway through The Blade Itself and it is proving to be an exceptionally enjoyable book! It's a really visceral fantasy world with gritty violence, war, classism, complex characters, and distinctive POV chapters.

I'm so glad I dropped Scott Lynch's second book in the Gentleman Bastards series for this. The Lies of Locke Lamora was a fantastic novel, but for whatever reason the followup book felt like a clumsy mess. The pirate segment made me lose interest in the series entirely as it popped up out of nowhere in the middle of a lot of major plot turning points. I didn't even stick around to see things resolve! Sorry to all my friends who rave about the series. I don't like pirates!

words and dust.

I'm really glad I bought myself a Kindle a while back! Having instant gratification with my books is such an awesome feeling. To finish one book and download the next is so great for someone who tends to plow through novels in record time. I feel like I'm betraying my standards a bit because I love turning pages, smelling the paper, but the Kindle is such a solid piece of technology that I couldn't resist it any longer! Plus, it tucks neatly into the majority of my purses!

What books are you reading as of late? Any recommendations? ❤

Monday, January 5, 2015

ba ka ngoi puerh by jalamteas.

ba ka ngoi puerh.

Recently JalamTeas sent me a new puerh cake to try -- their Ba Ka Ngoi offering! I had, at the time, been made a little bit wary of puerh after getting my butt kicked by a super powerful pungent one. This cake, however, was neither pungent or powerful. It brewed a mellow & balanced cup that I found to be truly enjoyable.

The tea was harvested in the summer of 2013 from the Pulang Mountain Range at an altitude of 1300-1400m.

The cake is easy to break apart and has lots of full dark leaves with amber tips scattered throughout. Upon brewing the tea is dark -- almost black -- and the steam smells of damp wood & soil. It is very mellow. The first sip has only a touch of astringency followed by a smooth cedar note that fades into a tangy aftertaste. The more you brew it the more reddish the liquor gets. It holds up very well to several steepings without the flavor being compromised! It lightens up but the cedar note remains, and in later steepings I noticed it became notably sweeter and less tangy.

This is one of those easy drinking puerhs that you can brew for friends & family to introduce them to the tea. You get that feeling of it being a wild tea, foresty and dark, but without anything overwhelming to the palate.

Thank you, JalamTeas, for sending me such a lovely treat!