The Autumn, or Fall, effects are in full swing here in the US. Many once green trees are changing into their Autumn colors, while others that started the transition a few weeks ago are dulling from the brilliant yellows, oranges, and reds and rapidly dropping their leaves.

Lost in the beauty of the Autumn colors, I was inspired to take a few moments to reflect on this season. It is somewhat amazing just how fleeting the experience can seem. In the span of a few days, or maybe a week or so, a tree can transform from green to a brilliant red, orange, or yellow, and in the span of a couple more weeks go to dull browns, and then have all its leaves lost to winds and scattered about the region.

I’ve always enjoyed the Autumn months, their mild temperatures a welcome respite from the summer heat.  However, it wasn’t really until these last couple of years that I really started to slow down and appreciate the sheer beauty of the Autumn leaves and the brilliant fiery colors that can take over the once green leaves before they fall to the ground. My enhanced appreciation was at least partially catalyzed by a move from North-East Texas to Middle Tennessee. In contrast to flat North-East Texas lands I grew up with, the rolling hills and tree covered mountains of Middle Tennessee just seem to add a bit more magic to the scenery.

autumn_leaves_17autumn_leaves_19

It also seems like there are lot more trees around here that achieve the vibrant Autumn reds and oranges, adding to the beauty of the scenery; I think this is particularly apparent within the urban zones where I currently live, where I imagine designers carefully chose the trees being planted to contribute this phenomenon. My girlfriend and I affectionately refer to some of these trees as “fire trees,” because they have such a vibrant glow, particularly in the sunlight, that gives them the appearance of almost being made of fire.

In the spirit of this season and as a part of these reflections, I thought it would be appropriate to enjoy an Autumn tea, so I dug through my stash of teas and found an Autumn tea that I’d yet to try; I’m currently working on the third infusion while writing this post. The tea is an Autumn 2016 Laoshan Black tea that I got (somewhere close to a year ago, I think) from Verdant Tea; this particular tea is produced by the He family from the Laoshan village in the Shandong Province of China.

There was a strong bitter-sweet aroma that reminded me of dark chocolate that emanated from the tea as soon as I opened the pouch. The dry leaves had a very nice rolled and curled appearance. The first infusion of the tea produced a dark orange, honey-like, color tea liquor that was slightly astringent, but that still went down relatively smoothly.  The tea also tasted of dark chocolate with touches of sweetness and bitterness. However, the flavor was lighter than the scent of dry leaves, and the quality of dark chocolate flavor seemed a little more like that of a hot (dark) chocolate beverage. Overall, I think this is a very nice black tea to enjoy on an Autumn afternoon/evening.

Thanks for reading! I hope you’ve either had or get the chance to take a few moments to appreciate some Autumns leaves too. Please feel free to share your thoughts and your own experiences with Autumn leaves (season and/or the tea) down in the comments section; I’d be happy to hear them. If you enjoyed this post, then please like and share.

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Blake A. Wilson, PhD

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