The Monsoon Mountains Tea Company

The Monsoon Mountains Tea Company
Tea at World's End

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Passing Thoughts.


Copyright R.Mackay

The first tea estate I ever saw was on the road from Kandy to Gampola. We were driving south to Nuwara Eliya when we stopped by the roadside to buy some fruit from a vendor, just off the side of a hill where tea was growing. It was a cloudy day, but really very fresh and, it had been raining so that the aromas were even more acute because of the moisture in the air.

I left the car because I wanted to stretch my legs but also have a look at all the tea plants, with all their new growth so bright yellow green, lining the hillside. It was a fairly steep hill and there were, on the far end, a line of women plucking the tea and you could hear them talking amongst each other even though they were far away and didn't nortice me taking a photo.

I went to the edge of the tea garden and just admired the bushes, wanting to touch but my better judgement said no; they were so crispy and fresh, so edible looking. It's that crunchy green salad look, and, you can just taste the juices as you imagine yourself munching away on fresh tea leaves. No, I have never tried a fresh tea leaf, but I wouldn't be averse to it although, I doubt I would make a salad of any kind from them, rather, a fresh cup of hot brew, but then you never know how a bit of leaf might go with some strawberries and blueberries and spinach tossed together with freshly flaked coconut in a honeyed balsamic vinaigrette.....something I ought to try when next I'm in Sri Lanka.

And if you ever see this salad anywhere, know that it is my invention, written here for all time. If anyone ever does try it though, please let me know how it turns out, but they must be fresh tea leaves just plucked off the bush. Nothing else will do. And I wonder if my friend Beverly at Amba might give this a try.....They could add it to their collection of recipies. They make the most wonderful preserves. And now I hear they are also roasting coffee at Amba. Coffee is being produced in Sri Lanka once again. How amazing is that! Coffee plants are growing again! But I will never turn away from tea. Tea is sacred. The water in the cup, the leaf, the ritual. Water is sacred, tea is sacred. And with that, it's time to make a blend.

White tea with Coconut.
I have a silver tips tea which comes from the Glentilt Estate. Blending this with just a hint of coconut and perhaps some fresh lime flowers or orange flowers is so beautiful... or maybe even a touch of Frangipani. I would need Frangipani petals though, and I don't live in a country where these are freshly available. It looks as though it's time to experiment to achieve just the right balance, even with roses, so abundant in the gardens of Nuwara Eliya.

And so I drift and it makes me think of Peradeniya. I  miss the Royal Botanic Garden at Peradeniya. I used to love walking among the orchids there and being a total trainspotter, but with flowers, writing down species and trying my best to remember the Latin Taxonomy....but that's all long ago and forgotten now. It was a dreamy whimsy way of life back then that I crave, because the humans of the world today are losing their civility, and just to breathe and touch the reality of earth, barefoot, in the sand, feel the tide, marvel at our geology, our oceans, appreciate the beauty of the flora, respect the fauna, that is what I need.