Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wednesday's Oolong -- Chamraj Vintage Oolong

Chamraj Vintage Oolong

Beguiling character with toasty muscatel notes reminiscent of the Darjeeling region of India, though this tea hails from the blue mountains of India -- Nilgiri. It has hints of fruit with a lively astrigency. The leaves open to reveal a sweet and subtle flowery aroma. Chamraj is well-known for being a tea garden that is a model of social responsibility to its workers and families. It was established in 1922, and is a pioneer in bio-dynamic agriculture. The best Nilgiri can offer. 185° 1-2 level teaspoon tea per 8 ounces water; steep for 3-5 minutes. Multiple infusions encouraged. Biodynamic, organic, fair trade, single estate.

What the heck is biodynamic?
In the early 1920s, a group of practicing farmers, concerned with the decline in the health of soils, plants and animals, sought the advice of Rudolf Steiner, an Austrian philosopher, who had spent all his life researching and investigating the subtle forces within nature. And biodynamic farming was invented.

Biodynamic farming is a holistic and regenerative farming system that is focused on soil health, the integration of plants and animals, and biodiversity. It seeks to create a farm system that is minimally dependant on imported materials, and instead meets its needs from the living dynamics of the farm itself. It is the biodiversity of the farm, organized so that the waste of one part of the farm becomes the energy for another, that results in an increase in the farm’s capacity for self-renewal and ultimately makes the farm sustainable.

This requires that, as much as possible, a farm be regenerative rather than degenerative. Materials that are imported onto the modern day organic farm are carefully considered. Often they can be tracked back to a natural resource provided by the earth. Examples include petroleum to move materials around, ancient mineral deposits, by-products of unsustainable agriculture-related industry, and the life of the seas and waterways. An important social value of biodynamic farming is that it does not depend on the mining of the earth’s natural resource base but instead emphasizes contributing to it.

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