First Christmas tree in Berlin.

The Weihnachtsstern on top was a gift from my sister-in-law, a traditional style with small bulb inside.

Mandarins and recently collected, dried, autumn leaves add color.

Standard, warm LED lights.

Below is canvas covered with used, dried tea leaves. Two paper pumpkins gifts from my parents had been sent recently as Thanksgiving decorations. The bunny was a housewarming gift.

Doi Mae Salong is the tea producing region in northern Thailand. My bungalow was surrounded by tea plants so I plucked a few handfuls of new leaves and experimented with making my own very small batch.

I plucked the leaves and let them wither in the sun. After some time I rolled each bud/leaf set into a spear, then more sun time. Leaves began to visibly oxidize. Then I rigged up a way to apply a high heat from our water cooker. Once leaves felt dry I allowed them to cool.

The result was a light brew that tasted very mild. The primary aroma and flavor was that very special note that one experiences when first rolling the leaves and lasts throughout the process. It’s incredibly fresh, vegetal and grassy, unique to camellia sinensis leaves.

Teas coming from Doi Mae Salong are mostly Oolongs (jade and heavily oxdized) as well some puerhs and scented teas. Each type of tea reflects the factors of the region and history of the people. The best place to buy teas from Thailand is