Four times a year the calendar says that one season has ended and another has begun, no matter what we see going on weatherwise. So, we stop using one season name and start using another. We are one month away from another such point in the calendar year, saying that we should stop calling the season “Fall” (“Autumn”) and start calling it “Winter.” This naturally means that it’s time to start planning, which is based in our house to what the first day of Winter means to this tea lover (and my wife, of course). It’s more than you might think.
Switching Flavor Profiles
A change of seasons means a change in flavor profiles. Lighter and more distinct tastes and aromas give way to richer and more robust ones. It’s very natural. As a result, we all tend to get used to certain flavors at certain times of year.
In Spring and Summer, in the tea arena those first flushes and second flushes claim a lot of attention, whether it’s Chun Mei, Bi Luo Chun, Liu An Gua Pian or a host of other green teas, or teas from the various gardens producing those fine Darjeelings, or our newest tea from Assam. Then come the Autumnal flushes. They can be richer, mellower, and often a bit bitter if oversteeped. Keemuns, Assams, Yunnan black teas, and others are the favorites as the weather turns colder (for us in the northern hemisphere). These stronger tasting teas are often tempered with seasonal spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, etc.), fruits (oranges, apples, etc.), and milk with sugar or honey.
A Touch of Cozy Comfort
Winter is about cozy comfort, so the tea my wife and I drink has to match that. The season brings cooler weather, indoor heating systems running to keep you suitably warm, fireplaces with gas log fires or even the ones using real wood, warm sweaters or blankets, and fuzzy slippers to keep those toes from getting frostbitten. A CD of Christmas carols adds a touch of atmosphere and the topper is a cup of steaming hot tea. It has to be one that is robust and makes you feel good inside and out.
My wife and I just see these things as part of a cycle of life. Like being born, growing up, having your own children, getting old, and eventually passing on. The tea bushes awaken in the Spring, put forth fresh leaves through Summer and Autumn, then (in most locations) go dormant in the Winter. We humans don’t go dormant, but we do spend more time indoors, keeping that chill from seeping deep into our bones, and waiting for the fresh, tender leaves of Spring.
That Winter tea keeps us going. Prepare now, for that seasonal change is just a month away!
(Psst! Our India Tea Sale is going on now. Get a taste of this varied country full of wonders.)