This morning, I rolled out of bed knowing I had to get things done. My list of things to study and upcoming exams are piling up enough to smother me.

As always, step one: drink tea. Not yet feeling up to tackling the day, I resteep some 2002 shu I had in my cup to relax after work last night. I wasn’t into it for one reason or another, and could hardly down the cup. Nothing in my tea shrine seemed appealing, so I decided the conditions were right to hit the samples I had stocked up. Stormy Night stuck out to me, and reading the ingredients, thought it would be perfect to enjoy with some morning granola.

The smell of the dry tea practically filled up the room instantly, and I was excited. It smelled like a spicy, earthy autumn night spent at a family gathering at candlelight – or maybe, more simply, potpurri. When I poured the near-boiling water in the pot, it smelled closer to heaven, and the aromas really came alive, mainly the cinnamon.

As soon as I finished pouring out the last dribble five minutes later, the cup hit my lips. And…disappointment. I’m not as let down by this tea as some other reviewers, because it’s certainly drinkable and quite enjoyable, but very lacking as well. It tastes like sipping on cinnamon water, and I can’t even detect any black tea flavor, or coconut for that matter (and the bits of it are very obvious in the mix). It kind of reminds me of every Republic of Tea sachet that I’ve ever steeped, that smells intoxicating but ends up tasting much like dirty water no matter how it’s steeped.

I can think of a ton of ways to draw out the last of my sample and improve upon it, though. Ideas are spinning through my head: cut it with some good black tea and a drop of vanilla, a bit of dark chocolate, and some chai spices…make a 50/50 blend with masala chai…make it a latte and add more spices…etc. I think this blend has HUGE potential, as the flavor combinations are just perfect for a, well, stormy night. Chocolate, chile, chai spices, coconut, and vanilla are about as comforting and warming as it gets, and I can’t wait to play around with this (though I’d rather I didn’t have to).

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 30 sec

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