Although i’ve tried a LOT of teas, i’m still very much a newbie at this. i can vary the temp a bit, but i don’t have a newfangled machine to do it for me..not yet, anyway. i’ve gotten way from bags and now use real loose tea. I can thank my buddy, Nik, for that. Also, thanks to him giving me one of the best gifts ever with Steepster’s Tea of the Month club, I have greatly expanded my knowledge of teas, and, hopefully my palate as well.
I’ve found that most folks tend to fuss about cinnamon. Like fuss and cuss. Now, thankfully, I’m in the minority there. i LOVE cinnamon. Bring it on! The more, the merrier, for the most part. Ginger, on the other hand, is slightly opposite…not so much because i don’t like the flavor, because i do. Mostly, it’s because it tends to initiate a migraine, which doesn’t make me very happy. However, and very thankfully, I have no neurological issues with this tea. This one is so good that I think I would just have to accept the migraine and take medication. Yep, it’s THAT good.
Its goodness shouldn’t be a great surprise. I mean, honestly, it was custom blended for His Holiness The Dalai Lama. To me, that just says, “Wow”. It also says the dude knows good tea ;) Seriously, though, I first had this tea just after I’d started drinking loose teas, when I was in San Francisco for Macworld. A group of us went to Samovar’s for tea, and I was hooked after my first sip. I simply could not get enough. I kept discovering something new with each successive sip, with just layer upon layer expressing itself. Maybe it was just the first time I’d had a truly excellent cup of tea.
Regarding the tea itself, it has almost a subdued heat to it that builds to a strong finish, almost the way Mexican food has a way to sneak up on you before you realize what has happened. It is loaded with vitamins and antioxidants, so it’s actually really good for you. This rooibos blend contains cinnamon, cloves, ginger, licorice root, and black pepper. Normally, I run from licorice, because I don’t typically like it, not even a hint; but (you knew there was a but, right?) I don’t really taste it here, which is a good thing, because I would hate to run from this tea. These tea leaves are a dark reddish brown that leaves you with a gorgeous clear red tea after steeping that just beckons you to, “Come. Drink.”
There are many levels to this one. Just when you think you’re done, another layer pops to the surface—or does it come up kicking and screaming and gasping for air—the way I was when I made it a bit strong, it took my breath away and my throat burned long after the last drop.
Still, this one sets the bar against which all others are judged. This is the closest to the perfect cup of tea that I have had. I can’t imagine anything else even coming close to this one, but it will be fun trying to find a successor. Let the games begin.