I was light on pretty well everything when brewing this up because I just wanted a light taste of the smoke notes, and nothing assaulting. So, less leaf and less steep time as normal and then on top of that I added milk as well to cut the smoke a bit. And I got my desired affect; this was a weaker/muted smokey flavour with, dare a say it, both anise and wood undertones. So, I did kind of eventually get the licorice flavour CS advertised and which had been missing in previous cups.
I also paired it with some food in addition to my typical song: in this case a poached pear ice cream which was a delicious counterpart to the more savory smoke. Such a light, subtle and soft fruity note was a really good way to juxtapose the smoke notes and make each tiny sip really ‘pop’ in a memorable way.
As for my song pairing…
I really love pairing smoky teas with slower, sadder music because something about teas with strong smoke notes is really reflective and nostalgic to me. So, immediately I thought of the album ‘Hospice’ by The Antlers. Honestly, you could probably pick any song from this album and it would work well. It’s a beautiful ‘story telling’/concept album filled to the brim with sad, reflective songs.
This one was the standout though: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=egsSN31uAFk
It’s just filled with so much pain, and anger. I don’t know why, but relating to it and connecting to it through the tea I’m drinking is almost therapeutic in a way. I find the whole experience really puts me in both an introspective mood and a relaxed one.