The first time I blended, I had no idea what it was.
I was just my normal value-maximizing self – saving up my teabags for an nth steep and so ended up with different flavors all together in one cup. It was a pleasantly delicious combination too!
And then I learned about blending different leaves with different flavors in all its simplicity and complexity. (Yes, it is that….what’s the word?…profound.) Well, I didn’t learn blending really so much as I just encountered the concept. So I scanned a couple books on it.
The opportunity to blend presented itself with a sample of Lapsang Souchong*. At first, I tried it as is (as I normally do with every new tea). It was smoky as I expected from the reviews. And I liked it! Yay!
And then on the second steep, I thought of mixing it with some Assam (plain black tea) to complement the strong smoky flavor with an equally strong tea flavor. The tea was a bit weak at the first steep and I thought it (the Assam component) would be perfect for the second, less flavorful steep. I guessed right. On one website it said that the flavor is weaker in subsequent steeps (unlike some teas like Oolong whose flavor comes out better in later steeps), further affirming my choice.
I steeped the Lapsang in my one and only teapot. And the Assam in a mug. Then at the last minute, I grabbed a bag of Earl Grey and steeped that in yet another mug, thus making use of the remaining hot water in the kettle.
Alas, I realized again how hard it is to pour out of a mug. Thank goodness for the paper towel “placemat” that caught my spills but – what a waste of good tea! But no use crying over that. On with the blend. Again, alas, I realized after tasting the mix that I had poured too much and that I should pour only a little at a time and taste. So that is how I spent my subsequent steeps and mixes.
While sipping, I saw a bit of unfinished milk from my “cookies-drowning-in-cream” breakfast and decided to add a bit to the tea. I rarely add milk to tea by the way, preferring to enjoy tea in all its splendor. It was so-so. Kinda diluted the flavors but I added some more Assam and all was well, tho the smokiness was almost gone :(
And oh yeah, I would drink plain water in between tastes to cleanse the palate ;) Then I thought: This sure beats tasting wine – in price, convenience (done at home), lack of wastage (no need to spit the tea out as it has no alcohol and very little caffeine), and what else…maybe it is easier to keep tea warm than to keep wine cool in the glass? Ok, so maybe I am stretching it now.
I got up to my 3rd steep but will make some more before I sleep (note the rhyme?).
My blending experiment was interrupted when it was time for a walk with my brother. I ended up visiting my grandma as well and having tea with my aunt. Got to try Teavana’s Gyokuro Genmaicha Green Tea (it was ok: the toasted rice taste was good). And got a 2nd teapot…saw one like it in the store and thought it was pretty cool…and now, it is mine! Thank you, Ninang! Got a lot of good teas too (she didn’t like the floral/fruity ones so yay for me)!
Oh and she threw in a cute little cup too. It looks perfect for Shabbat wine…or tea! This will be my special cup <3
Thank You Lord, for good tea and accessories, but most of all – the company :D