Another custom tea!
So, this is probably the most important tea from my last BlendBee order, and consequently also the tea that I had the least amount to do with. I thought it might be a nice thing to get him to make his own tea – and this is pretty well what he came up with. So, since he really didn’t have any clue where he wanted to start, we very loosely modeled this after DT’s Long Life Oolong blend since that’s one he really enjoys.
Instead of an oolong base, he opted for an English Breakfast black tea because he’s definitely more of a black tea person overall – and EB is fairly close to his all time favourite black tea as well, Irish Breakfast. The of course we added peach and apricot flavour because those are the fruity notes in LLO. Next the nut element; LLO uses almond but instead we chose hazelnut to keep things a little different, and because hazelnut is a bit sweeter in both of our opinions. Then is was time for the other ingredients meant to accent the flavour and provide some contrast – this is more where I stepped in, and helped select some of the ingredients. We chose cinnamon because I thought it might be nice to have a warming spice element to help tie in the nut and the fruit components: cinnamon also compliments peach well and hazelnut.
Then I picked some herbs: nettle leaf because I know it also compliments cinnamon and peach well and I thought it’d add a nice, soft earthy herbaceous quality that would add some depth to the blend. Marshmallow root for some sweetness. Finally, I chose to add thyme. Now, this is the ingredient I was most excited and cautious about: thyme is a REALLY nice complimenting flavour to peach, and I’m personally a huge fan of savory teas. However, I’m also concerned that the boyfriend wont enjoy the flavour of it because it’s SO outside his comfort zone. The thyme is also the ingredient that sets this one apart from DT’s LLO blend the most in my opinion and while the boyfriend may have modeled this one after that blend loosely, it was also important to me for it to be its own thing.
Also – we named the blend Watchmaker’s Brunch; the ‘brunch’ part of the blend being a play on the fact we used a Breakfast tea as the base and the watchmaker part being a reference to the fact that the boyfriend is a watch repairman and LOVES watches.
So while I stand by the addition of thyme for flavour is also allowed me to be able to make this awful pun:
_Every good Watchmaker should make a little thyme in their day for a good cuppa tea._
(BlendBee has a letter cap so I couldn’t call this one Watchmaker’s Breakfast but if there wasn’t a letter cap that’s what we would have gone with)
Anyway now that my explanation of our intentions behind the blend is done, the actual review portion of this tasting note starts here:
First thing I notice drinking this is that the thyme is really strong. I think that’s a wonderful quality because it adds this really fun, unique savory element right off that bat, and it’s almost immediately followed by a smooth, sweet peachy note that contrasts it perfectly! The peach seems sweeter/juicier against the herbaceous thyme and, to a lesser extent, the nettle that also contrasts it. The thyme feels earthier and more grounded against the brightness of that Georgia Peach/apricot combo!
However, as much as I’m swept up by this stellar top note and body flavour combo I’m also immediately worried that the boyfriend is not going to like it. What I find elegant and nuanced I worry will be WAY outside of his comfort zone.
Transitioning out of the thyme/peach and nettle/apricot body flavours, we see more of the sweet and nutty side of this blend – while I don’t think the hazelnut actually distinctly comes off as hazelnut it IS obvious to me that there’s something rich and nutty going on here that adds yet another really interesting layer of flavour to the whole cuppa. I like that it’s very lingering as well, along with a strong lingering peachy note.
The other noteworthy things in the blend are the cinnamon and the English Breakfast base. I don’t think either are really vibrant flavours in this mix overall but they ARE both noticeable as consistent background flavours. The cinnamon is light and warming and adds a very comforting quality, and while it’s certainly a LIGHT flavour it may arguably be the most important because I think it really ties all of the other elements together in a very concise way. It literally compliments every other ingredient in this blend. The English Breakfast is like a solid backbone to the cup! It adds strength and body, and just a hint of maltyness. Also definitely important.
Overall, I really like this one! I think it’s really playfully nuanced and fun, and I like that it’s both very sweet and savory. It came together in a really great way, and I think that the boyfriend should be proud of it! However, I’m still very concerned that he’ll hate it just because of how strong the thyme is overall…