The first cup kisses away my thirst,
and my loneliness is quelled by the second.
The third gives insight worthy of ancient scrolls,
and the fourth exiles my troubles.
My body becomes lighter with the fifth,
and the sixth sends word from immortals.
But the seventh—oh the seventh cup—
if I drink you, a wind will hurry my wings
toward the sacred island.
— “Seven Bowls of Tea”, Lu Tong (translated by Chris Nelson)
I didn’t reach seven. I think I ought to try some time.
- Twinings’ Lady Grey, near inimitable (though some blends give it a run for its money). I do love me my bergamot, sometimes with a lighter touch.
- Kusmi Tea’s Troika, another lovely bergamot-based blend.
- Harney & Sons’ Dragon Pearl Jasmine. I love watching this tea steep, the little rolled-up tea leaves unfurling. And it’s still good after all this time!
- Churchmouse Vanilla Rooibos, which I can never get enough of.
- Simpson & Vails’ Rooibos Chocolate Orange. Chocolate orange is a difficult taste to get right, requiring one to walk a line between gaudiness and vanishing. I think the superior blend is Mighty Leaf’s Chocolate Orange Truffle, but sadly that’s both caffeinated (well, more caffeinated) and also not dairy-free; but S&V’s version works well enough.
For those who might be concerned, as too much tea can leave one kind of… argh…: I drink most of my tea in 6oz servings, with the exception of the H&S pyramidal tea bags (12oz) and the Steven Smith tea bags (10oz).