AJ Drinks the Tea Cabinet #1

A sort of blogletter about tea.

Some people have a liquor cabinet. Heck, a cellar.

I have my tea rack. But it’s more fun to call it a cabinet. It’s made from a CD rack because it’s about the perfect size for little tea boxen.


This doesn’t even cover the shelf of teas I have at work. Oh the shelf of teas.

So, in an endeavor to drink the cabinet down and figure out which teas have gone stale, I’m going to blog my tea drinkage here. If this can be given a back-date (or whatever we are calling it) that would be awesome.

If you’re wondering whether tea-drinking in large amounts can possibly affect behavior, be warned: yes, it can. Especially certain blends of black tea. There’s a reason Lu Tong’s 7 Bowls of Tea poem ends with

With the sixth I am in touch with the immortals.
The seventh gives such pleasure I can hardly bear
The fresh wind blows through my wings,
As I make my way to Penglai.

Chocolate Mint (Harney & Sons)

Harney & Sons makes dairy-free chocolate teas, by which I mean they use chocolate flavoring instead of dumping chocolate chips (of gods know what pedigree, but it’s usually milk chocolate; Mighty Leaf is particularly guilty of this) into the blend. Some people scoff at this, but the flavor works for me very well. Harney & Sons does a pure chocolate black tea blend, but I much prefer their chocolate mint. The mint really complements the flavor of the chocolate and the tea.

Caribe (Harney & Sons)

I tried to brew this with my usual cool-off time for green teas, but I’m obviously not a good gyokuro brewer (a green tea that needs a temperature even more delicate than this) and I got what I usually get these days from Caribe: BITTERNESS over a tempting background of guava and tropical fruit notes. So I tried again (down to my last filter in my tea pack) after cooling for a full five minutes, and got… weak, but not bitter, plus guava and tropical fruit notes. I know there’s coconut but I honestly have a hard time tasting it through all the other stuff.

Red Velvet Cupcake (Simpson & Vail)

Imagine a red velvet cupcake. Imagine its taste; in particular, its cloying richness dense with chocolate and other sweet stuff. This is what this tea smells like. This is what this tea tastes like. It’s a rich and decadent dessert with no calories. Caocao nibs are used to impart part of the chocolate flavor, with some coconut to complement its notes, making this tea dairy-free. Oh, and red velvet cupcake apparently now comes as a flavoring from the flavor labs.

Bouquet of Flowers (Kusmi)

Kusmi is one of the best tea blenders around (and I forgot to mention them in a previous post). They are nearly the Rolls Royce of teas. Especially their spiced black teas are divine. Today we visit one of their many bergamot blends, this one non-spiced. Bouquet of Flowers is basically a flowery high-class Earl Grey, with the floral taste subdued enough that it doesn’t take over the entire blend. In a way it reminds me of Mighty Leaf’s Beatles’ Blend, except there is no jasmine here.

One thought on “AJ Drinks the Tea Cabinet #1

  1. Red Velvet Cupcake sounds really lovely – I never would have thought of it. Will pass the info to the offspring who drinks tea regularly. Thanks!

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