I was going to review this tea a few days ago but never got around to it. Today, though I have time to sit down and think about what I need to say about this tea. If you are in a hurry and do not wish to read on, here is the abridged version; this tea is a marvel.
I opened the packaged and stuck my gigantic nose in; cherries, chocolate and vanilla strike me as the most dominant scents. I first brewed it according to the instructions provided, but then decided that this needed to be enjoyed gong-fu style. This way you really do get to appreciate the fine quality of this tea. Each subsequent infusion provides your palette with a new experience. It’s a taste teeter-totter where the cherry and the chocolate compete for first and second place on your tongue. The first few infusions you get chocolate, nice decadent dark chocolate, and then cherry. But as you get into the second, third and fourth infusion the cherry starts to dominate. I am starting to think that the cherry flavour is actually from the Tahitian vanilla beans. Though this tea has now informed my brain what flavour I was tasting in the wild mountain black. It was cherry! Anyway Brendan has really, really shown himself to be an adept tea blender. Picking very good ingredients, and then blending these guilefully in such a way to produce such complexity of flavour. It’s a wonderful thing. And something we aspire towards. Though on the flip side, it’s really hard to fuck things up when your ingredients are epic to begin with. So I don’t know if I’m impressed by the ability to source ingredients, to blend, or to conceptualize then implement.
The only down side to this tea is that it is expensive. But like a fine single malt scotch, teas such as these should be savoured. I know as well as anyone how expensive some of these teas can get. Not to mention that vanilla is the second most expensive spice in the world, with Tahitian vanilla being some of the more expensive varieties. I don’t think this tea can be achieved at a lower cost though. It would be difficult. But with amount of infusions you can get from this tea, and the enjoyment one receives from consuming such a work, it’s worth it!
Flavors: Cherry, Dark Chocolate, Vanilla