Doulton’s Shakespeare: A Tasting Note in 5 Acts
Act II scene 6
’Twas told me you were rough, and coy, and sullen,
And now I find report a very liar;
For thou art pleasant, gamesome, passing courteous,
But slow in speech, yet sweet as spring-time flowers.
The Taming of the Shrew, Act II scene 1
Amongst all the teas that Doulton sent me, this one both intrigued and repulsed me. It’s in this adorable little tin with some Victoriana decorations. It looks like it should be a floral tea and not something with vinegar in it. Finally today I got the nerve to pop open the tin and give it a go.
I could not for the life of me smell vinegar in the dry leaves. Maybe the tiniest hints in the back of my nose, but I don’t think I would’ve noticed it if I hadn’t known what was in this tea. I went ahead and did a 10 second rinse of the leaves under hot tap water.
Smell from the cup was black tea — pretty sure it’s Assam. Still couldn’t find the vinegar. Then came sip one: vinegar! Yup, there it is being quite shrewish to the back of my throat. Three sips in I was wondering if I could finish this cup so I did my “let’s let it sit over here for a minute or two and then return to it” technique. That did the trick! The vinegar receeded to a very mild level and then disappeared completely for the rest of the cup and the 2nd steep as well. It’s actually a rather pleasant smooth cup of black tea overall.
With all that in mind I dub this tea my Katherina (a.k.a. Kate) from Taming of the Shrew. It starts off all feisty and full of spirit and over time is broken down into submission. Horrible, but true. I think that even though there are some funny moments throughtout this play it should be considered a tragedy and not a comedy.
Ultimately this is a very interesting tea. I’m rather proud to be able to say that I’ve tried and enjoyed a Vinegar Black tea. Next time I shall try it without the pre-rinse to see if it keeps its unique character longer. Will I be rushing to purchase more when the tin runs out? No, but it’ll be fun while it lasts. NE