Chinese Tea Ceremony in a Plantation, Jiujiang

One of the highlights of our trip to China was the visit to the tea plantation, the guided tour of how tea is picked and dried and finally the tea ceremony with different cups and kinds of tea. This plantation belongs to the Institute of Tea that studies and documents the different stages of processing tea.

The first thing offered to us were these giant straw hats to put on our heads and walk through the rows of low bushes with shiny green leaves. The pickers pick them by hand. The leaves are washed and sorted, then dried in small ovens and left to ferment in woven baskets. This process is repeated several times.

In the tea ceremony room we were seated around long tables. The teapots are preheates with hot water and the tea is carefully poured, stirred and poured again. The picture with the “brick” shows the most expensive variant, the highly fermented tea which is very appreciated among the connoisseurs. Our European taste is more for the young, fresh tea leaves however.

In the adjoining shop all kinds of tea in all sorts of sizes are on offer, as well as wall hangings, teapots and cup sets, tile placemats, figurines, vases and so forth. Many tourists take advantage of the offer and buy tea for themselves and their friends. Most shops will have the larger items sent to your home abroad should you wish to acquire a souvenir, statue or furniture.

The Cake Fairy in Alling

The Tortenfee is the name of the pagoda-like structure in Alling not far from the B2 on the way out towards Augsburg from Munich. The owner formerly had a restaurant, but revised and renovated the building into a café -only that specializes in wedding cakes. All the cakes look scrumptious, you can choose from passion fruit, raspberry, strawberry, chocolate truffle, champagne cake and many more. A special deal is the combination of three half slices on one plate, garnished with fresh berries and dusted with powdered sugar. There is a large selection of beverages.

The tables outdoors offer sun and shade, loads of bushes and bamboo, a large playground and a big bus converted into a coffee kiosk. Unfortunately, quite a lot of through traffic nearby make for a noisy background

Hemingway’s mojito – now is mint bloom!

One of the top classic cocktails, and now that the mint flowers are blossoming, a fine time to mix some mojitos against the heat wave Europe is experiencing :

fresh limes, cooled, partially peeled and cut into round discs

cane sugar and a pestle to grind the discs of lime with the teaspoon of sugar

ron añejo, one shot glass

fresh sprigs of mint

crushed ice / cold water and ice cubes

Put several rounds of lime into a mojito glass, a teaspoon of cand sugar on top and grind with the pestle. Add the rum, the crushed ice, some sprigs of mint and a cocktail stirrer. Enjoy while it ‘s hot!

Earnest Hemingway loved this cocktail especially,  as every Cuban tour guide will be eager to point out. He was known for his drinking habits, his intrepid nature when in Cuba or in the Spanish Civil War. Whoever looks for clues, will be able to find them in his short stories: one tenth meaning and nine tenths buried in the underneath currents of meaning like an iceberg.

sea water ocean winter
Photo by Pixabay on

Everybody knows of his physical prowess and his symbols of love, friendship, those bewildered repetitions when his characters must adapt  to a new environment, the search for love, light, orderliness, human warmth,  not agony or the strain of war. As to a list of good reads, I’d offer you a library shelf or two, my faves were “A Clean Well-lighted Place”Farewell to Arms“, For Whom the Bell Tolls“, “Fiesta“, “The Old Man and the Bridge“… take your own pick! Oh yes, and for fun, look at his old boat, tiny but double sturdy!

two white goat kids
Photo by Ruel Madelo on






Hedwig’s Hundred Household Helpers: coffee grounds make the world go round

A man in a diner calls out to the employee : “Waiter! This coffee tastes like mud!”

Says the waiter: “Why sure! It was only ground this morning.”  is the site to go to! They take all those leftover coffee grounds, mix them with some kind of special resin or glue and make fabulous-looking as well as good-smelling cups and saucers out of those very coffee grounds. They do cappuccino cups, larger cups and ! new addition ! the Weducer cup for your coffee-to-go cup. I love not only the smell, but more even the idea. (What I don’t really like are those Nespresso- capsule- flowery- recycled- thingies).  I have also tested the Spülmaschinen -festigkeit / dishwasher proof-ness of the cups and they have survived that test quite well.    kaffeeform Kaffeeform UG (haftungsbeschränkt)  Coffee recycling products

Never fear, there are more ways to re-use those coffee grounds: One is to top up your fertilizer for, most of all, geraniums, but also other flowers. If you are not sure, take less or just use leftover cooled down coffee for watering. Most of my shrubs and flowers enjoy the extra douse or filter with grounds (yes, I hand filter. The Danish/ French press kind was too strong to my taste after a few years). You can simply mix it into the soil underneath the shrubs. Best compost!

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Another way to use them is cleaning your stuffed kitchen drain. Two teaspoons of grounds or so just swoosh down a clogged drain and open it up, together with lots of hot water and liquid detergent / Spüli. I was told off by the handiman NOT to use Drano et alia. as it would corrode the pipes (oh my!).

What I have not yet tried is coffee grounds as a dye for Batik or Easter eggs, so far I have tried chamomile tea and also onion peels, which work well.20170509_VIP Lounge.jpg

Hoo hoo! Time for some deliciously aromatic coffee! Savour it!