May Day, widely recognised as the first proper day of spring hereabouts, dawned bright and somewhat breezy.
Things were different, though. There was the promise of real warmth in the sun’s rays, and when it blew in from the sea the wind still felt cool, but that harsh winter bite had now had the biggest and sharpest of its fangs pulled.
As I looked down from our balcony I could see the trees that line our street now had readily visible emerald coloured shoots poking out from the extremities of every branch and twig.
I decided to celebrate winter’s defeat with something just as green. I then remembered that I had just about 1 steeping’s worth of Longjing left.
In fact the tin held a little more than the amount that I would normally steep in my favourite white gaiwan, but eyeballing the tea I guessed that it would be just about right for the slightly larger, blue willow pattern gaiwan.
That indeed proved to be the case. Given the fact that there was still quite a bit of leaf there, and with it being the last of that batch and so containing a fair bit of broken leaf, I adjusted my technique and performed very quick flash infusions – even by the 6th or 7th I was only up to 15 seconds or so.
It was noticeable that I was steeping a tea just past the best of its days, but in this case that merely relegated a superb tea to a very good one.
In a weird way it also made you remember and be thankful for the fact that you’d had the good fortune to run across such a brilliant tea in the first place, as well as the good sense to buy it.
And so it was that with brilliant sunshine pouring in through the windows I bid a fond farewell to the best of last year’s harvest, and began looking forward to sampling the delights of this season’s bounty…