I need a planet with longer days.....
3 reviews today:Earth That Was by Austin Browncoats
. This is a Sereniteas blend that I created about a year ago - but I never tried the final product until just now (only my test kitchen versions). This blend is in the box now, but was not before. One of my Browncoat friends requested a blend called "Earth That Was". This was an interesting prospect because the other blends we based on characters and places we knew, but Earth That Was is only a memory to those living in the Firefly
universe. I chose ginseng green tea as the base because nothing tastes quite so much like dirt to me than ginseng.
Then I opted to blend in kukicha because it has such a lively flavor that is reminscent of both veggies and nuts, and this seemed appropriate. Of course, what would an idealised pass Earth be without flowers? So, the blend is finished off with chamomille. For one, it blends nicely with both ginseng and kukicha and it has a slightly appley flavor which I felt was also appropriate given the Judeo-Christian creation story.
This is a tricky blend to brew - I won't lie. It really does have to be balanced well or you end up losing a lot of the subtly. I have found that 2tsp per 6oz at 160-180 for approximately 2 mins gives the best results. If you are one who is okay with putting honey in green teas (I am not, but to each their own), this is one of those green teas which will handle a dollop of honey quite well. The blend has a very rich, dark almost loamy undertone (a taste some of you may be familiar with in some other teas like some pu-ers and yunnan noir). Over this, however, are fruity, spicey and vegetal notes that complete and complement that sumptuous, earthy base. I really like this tea, even though it is fussy. For a green, it is quite bold, so perhaps not to everyone's liking, but I hope you give it a try. Note: points for this tea do not go directly to me, but to the Austin Browncoats, we use them to purchase teas and wares to put together baskets that we auction off for charity!Black Dove by Tanya Laird
. Okay, yes, this is one of my teas, but I wanted to review it anyway because it was not really a blend I created for my tastes (in fact, it contains Earl Grey which I typically despise). This blend is part of a group I did based on titles to Tori Amos songs. Black Dove
the song is one I like because it is about a girl born in January, just like me, and it is very apt to my life. One of the lines in the song that I love (and I had written in calligraphy as a piece of art as a bit of a reminder) is "you're not a helicopter, you're not a cop-out either". I love this because it says, sure you can't do it all, but that doesn't mean you don't GIVE it your all. So, I wanted a tea that reflected this feeling of having your head in the clouds which at the same time staying grounded. I chose Mambo as the base, because it is smoky and dark and full-bodied as really fullfills that need for an 'anchor'. Other that I layed in caramel. This acts as that smooth transtition from earth to sky - I love caramels because they are sweet, but in such an elegant way that I don't get that sugar-overload feeling I might with other candy. I thought and thought and thought about what I wanted to express that 'head in the clouds' feeling and ultimately, Earl Grey just felt right. There is not a lot in it, but enough to brighten and enliven the blend. The caramel really helps to offset the bergomot - they play well together.
This is, honestly, not one of the blacks I most often reach for, because I really have to be in a particular mood for anything containing Earl Grey.....but whenever my spirits are down and my day is just not starting off on a good foot, this blend never fails to set me to rights again. This blend holds sweetner and/or milk well if you would prefer a sweeter or creamier taste. But, I drink it straight up - like a helicopter Sugar & Spice...Oh! So Nice by Rachana Carter
. Okay, as usually, I did this one a few different ways. Ultimately, I liked it best using 1.5tsp to 6oz and without any additives. This is a pretty good blend. For my tastes, I think it could go a little more toward the spice and a little less toward the sugar (which is why I did not really like adding sweetner to it). I love the concept for this blend and the name was so playful (not to mentionn the very adorable label!). It is not an overpoweringly flavored tea - for me, this was neither a bonus or a detractor, but I know some folks like more subtlety and others like more robust flavor. I think there are a lot of folks out there who would like this tea more than I did (I would give it about a 3.5 out of 5). Me, I would swap out the vanilla for some cinnamon - but, I lean toward spice more than sweetness (as I said before). Gingerbread is, I have found, an interesting flavor to blend with because it always seems like it should be more potent than it really is, and in this case I think the vanilla and the caramel steamroller over it. But, that is just my take. Still, another good blend by RachelC