Aye, this tea is killer when I’m in the mood for it.
I used to work outdoors doing habitat restoration. In the winter, we’d have really intense days in the mudflats and salt marshes of the San Francisco Bay. If we were lucky, it wasn’t raining. After debarking the airboat, we’d mule sled upon sled of plants through the ankle-breaking terrain, crawling across ladders or jumping over channels and frequently misjudging the distance, plunging into the clay stank and 50 degree water… only to perform wrist, elbow and backbreaking labor once we got to our destination. Those days were absolute hell but I loved them because the mudflats offered a sense of solitude, nothing but you and the flocks of migratory birds maneuvering in unison as the airboat pierced through the winter air, stinging your cheeks. It’s a lot like a desert, though teeming with hidden life. Only the crazies end up in such places inhospitable to human occupation. Here, you can be overtaken by the tides and stranded. I thought about that a lot when I’d squat in a channel to pee at low tide as my boots sank into mud (I’ve been stuck before and lost many a muck boot to its namesake).
Anyway… I’d bring one of those old green thermoses in the field with me on those days and sip on this tea as it stewed in its juices for hours. It was the perfect warming, tart and spicy cup to keep my joints moving, keep my spirits up and give me a kick in the pants.
I brewed some in a 500 mL pot tonight after realizing I haven’t had this tea in several years. It’s better this way with a shorter steep, a heaping tablespoon for probably 4 minutes. Cheerful lemony, cranberry and caliente aroma. It’s definitely a very tart tea from the hibiscus, cranberry and citric acid but it’s not acrid at all when I mind the time. Plenty of heat from the red chili and cayenne, not burning but enough to warm the chest and body. Not recommended for hibiscus haters and spice wussies.
I kind of miss it all.
Flavors: Black Pepper, Chili, Citrusy, Cranberry, Hibiscus, Lemon, Sour, Spicy