About a week ago, I went to Savoy Tea Company to renew my supply of their Paris Morning and pick out some new teas. The nice lady behind the counter asked if I was looking for anything in particular and I said I was interested in seasonal blends for autumn and the holidays. She pulled out a tin of this tea. One whiff and I had to have it.
In the package it smells deliciously minty with hints of butter and vanilla. Brewed up hot, it smells like some kind of fabulous.
At this point, I’d like to state that I am something of an uncultured barbarian where black tea is concerned. I’ve sampled lots of bitter, rancid, seriously nasty, and probably inferior examples of it. Most of the blends on my shelf are either simple herbals or blends of green tea and other stuff. It’s only in the past few years that my husband, a native Ozark hillbilly, brought me around to an appreciation of the syrup-y goodness of southern sweet tea. There followed a gradual appreciation for some of the better black teas in small and very occasional doses, but none of the obsession shown by any of the true connoisseurs on this site. Indeed, I’ve found myself scratching my head and puzzling over a few of their reviews. “What’s with all the nuance and esoterica? It’s just black tea!”
This was not JUST black tea. Despite the label making no claims of anything exotic, I’m pretty darn sure the base black tea used is quite a few levels above any black tea I’ve ever tasted. The scent coming from my cup was less minty than the dry mix, and it was complex and wonderful, as was the taste.
Yeah, I know, there was also mint in there and “natural candy cane flavor” you know, from the sugar plum forest where candy canes grow on trees. I drink a lot of mint blends and this was a very nice one, it’s minty-ness pleasant but not distracting. This is, in my opinion, a very well put together blend, and the whole combination works harmoniously.
But wow, that black tea! Complex, smooth, even having (I can’t believe I’m saying this) a little of that malty-ness I keep hearing people make reference to. Yet it’s so well fitted to the blend I wouldn’t have noticed all this except that usually I don’t find black tea remarkable at all.
All you black tea enthusiasts can now have a hearty laugh at my expense. I’ve just been assimilated.
Anyway, I had this blend without cream or sugar and found it interesting enough to stand alone. Just for yuks and grins I added a bit of sugar towards the end and found it makes a fabulously complex sweet tea as well. No cream for me though…the idea seems strangely sacrilegious to me, though I couldn’t say why.
The blend was lovely hot and I am looking forward to trying it cold brewed sometime to see how it fares by that method.