Oh, oh, oh, so nice. You remember that little Apricot Houji burial that took place at Fiumicino a while back? http://steepster.com/clareborn/posts/229850
This one has that same perfectly balanced smooth houijicha base with the addition of fruitiness. Comparing this to the apricot is somewhat unfair – in that tea, one fruit was allowed the full range of flavour, and, at that, the fruit in question was one Lupicia pulled off flawlessly. In this case, the fruit flavour is more generic.
It’s not quite Apple & Berry territory, but muscat grape and apple, well – they do blend together fairly seamlessly, and I can’t say I distinguish the individual fruit flavours. I think that’s good, because I was somewhat put off by the apple when I considered this – Lupicia’s apple is a crisp, green one with a slightly yeasty aftertaste I wasn’t convinced would go well with the earthy houji.
Here, though, the apple is rounded off by the muscat grape on the tonguetip – their sweetness slowly dissipates to give way to the full earthiness of the houji, which is as exceptional as always. The booziness of the dry tea is quite toned down in the cup, which I consider a good thing in this case – I do love my boozy teas, but when the base tea is this good, I want it to shine.
(Also a big thanks to darling devious tea temptress Christina for pointing me in the way of some other flavoured houjichas that I am now dying to try.)
[From my Lupicia order to Rome, April 2014.]