The Monsoon Mountains Tea Company

The Monsoon Mountains Tea Company
Tea at World's End

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

The Monsoon Mountains Tea Company.

This was something which had been tweaking my subconscious for a long time. For years, I had been studying tea. The dream of a tea shop was never very far away in my mind and it was a vision I always kept before me and still do. I cling to this vision. I know exactly what it will look like inside, and out, and in some cases, when I walk about Edinburgh, I am consciously looking now, where it would best suit to have a premises.
I see myself in there, behind the counter, serving tea to people. Shelves filled row on row with labelled canisters of Single Estate Ceylons, Darjeelings, teas from exotic places in the world, like Venezuela, Viet Nam, or Hawaii.

And I envision them, people quietly sitting at the tea bar, sampling teas and I am engaging with them, or, they keep to themselves, which is just as wonderful, in a seat, one of only a few,  drinking a pot of their favourite, reading a book, or perhaps perusing our own collection for an interesting read. Quiet ambient music floating through the air a light gossamer veil,  that doesn't grate the ear or the nerve but is soft and lingering.

And the best I can do for now, at least until the tea shop becomes a premises, is offer the closest on line equivalent to my vision that I can. It is what I intend to evoke, what needs to be evoked. Not to draw people in by hook or by crook, but to make then feel very very special, and, drawn to the tea, as I am. That, in this tea space, whether it is on line, and one day,  a shop of my dreams made reality, there is a feeling as though one has just entered a sanctuary of peace and calm. A place of well being. Where water is sacred. Where tea is mighty, and I am its humble servant. 

Wishing you well from a cold and cloudy Edinburgh, Helena Fergus Strathmore. 
                    Be prepared for the Polonnaruwa Macaques! Coming Soon!

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Pile on the Cinnamon

We keep a jar of raw cane molasses sugar in the cupboard. 
The reason why we keep it in a jar is in order to keep it well sealed and moist,  that it doesn't harden, because when this sugar hardens, it is as tough as granite. It's delicious sugar, and we usually buy it at Christmas, for making the cakes and puddings it adds just that extra bit of flavour to.

But today is the first of June, and, here in blustery stormy Scotland it feels like November has come early. I hear 'The Wreck of The Edmund Fitzgerald' in my mind as I listen to the gales roaring through the flu and rattling the windows, bending the trees outside. The green grey slate blue grey dusty rose grey canopy of cloud hangs ominously low threatening rain and sleet. And here in the mountains am I,  working away with tea and catching up on webnews, tea news and vamping our website into June and other tea treats, thinking, gosh, it's rather cold and a warm pick me up would really do here. 
Tea, of course, and toast. Not just any tea. Today, I thought, is the perfect day for some very soothing stress relieving Wijaya Estate FBOP Ex SP. What with the wind outside and the cats curled up sweetly together and everything looking so comfortable inside, could be better than to have this particular tea. 

Wijaya is an estate of renown in the Ruhunu region of Sri Lanka, and is a low country tea. It is a characteristically black tea but the amber liquor is just so appealing. This tea is full flavoured with a gorgeous robust burst of summer citrus , lime citrus and has the aroma of walking into a room filled with chocolate fondant. June is bustin' out all over, and, this tea bursts into the month of midsummer with full flavoured full bodied celebration. And the health benefits are super; Leading scientists at UK Universities have discovered that Ruhunu teas are extremely beneficial for reducing levels of stress hormones. And so this tea is the one after a tough day. It really is very exquisite. But with making this tea, came a hankering for cinnamon toast. But not just any ordinary cinnamon toast. I have cinnamon from Sri Lanka too ( what else is new) because Sri Lanka doesn't just grow the best tea in the world, but also the best cinnamon comes from this gem in the salubrious sea. This Sri Lanka. I like to make cinnamon toast with brown sugar. It just adds a certain je ne sais quoi to the entire effect, and today, I had no brown sugar in the house. Just this molasses pure raw cane sugar, and, I thought to myself, well, it tastes magnificent in Christmas cakes and puddings . It goes well with cinnamon. 

 The toast needs to be buttered well. A good sweet unsalted butter is a must, and ought to be spread on the toast while it is still hot so it melts through, and heap the sugar on generously, spreading it with the butter as you go. Hungry yet? And then, just pile on the cinnamon. Pile it on. Be very generous because the molasses sugar is rather robust in flavour. Pour the tea. Sit back and let the weather happen outside. In here, you are in paradise. Cinnamon. Cinnamon and serendipity. Wijaya Estate tea. I sit here writing away, and when I began, I wanted to create an entry about the Toque Macaques of Polonnaruwa. Well, there has to be another time for monkeys. Right now, I am feeling rather transported. Perhaps Wijaya is doing the right Ruhunu and taking good care of my stress levels. 

Whatever it is, I am simply away. I begin to feel as though there are sprites in this tea. Tea sprites, that whisk you away somewhere for an hour and you've actually been gone seven days. 
Now, I can greet the day with the sunniest warmest of glows. Let those gales rage outside. Let the hail pound away at the windows. Let the wild winds roar.  Here, we have tea, and cinnamon.

Greetings from a blustery Edinburgh, 
Helena Fergus Strathmore