203 Tasting Notes
Oh, thank Gosh. Remember my panic flap earlier? I emailed HR to see about how to do the things without it getting all bad and it looks like we’ll actually be able to sort everything with a minimum of fuss and without me having to do anything scary. Phew!
That was a stress rollercoaster, though – I need comfort tea. That’s where Charley Pollard comes in. Charley, Charley, Charley. I’m so pleased she’s getting a spinoff! Charley’s the best.
Charley Pollard is magnificent. Straight out of the bag, the scent is bold, comforting, and warm: clove and cinnamon dominate, with just a background note of soft fruit. When brewed with a little milk and sugar, the dried-fruit notes of the currant and assam are brought forward to balance the gentle spice, giving the blend an incredible depth of flavour. It really does taste like drinking a warm winter pudding, the clove prominent alongside notes of currant and fig, finishing on a gently spicy note of cinnamon and ginger. This blend has become one of my go-to teas when I need something really warm and comforting. It is made of love.
Oh, and my diet (and cheap) plan of drinking a cup of sweetened tea every time I’m craving sweets seems to be working as well. I’m no smaller than I was just yet, but I’ll get there.
Hello new job anxiety, my old friend!
Apparently, in order to start at my new (extremely part-time, temporary, seasonal, decidedly doesn’t even begin to cover my rent) job, I have to send some ID and proof of address and my original qualification certificates and a bunch of forms to head office in London. I’m wary enough about the idea of being without my passport for however long it would take them to receive it and post it back, as it’s my primary form of ID and I just KNOW I’m going to need it as soon as it’s gone, and my visa’s in there and I don’t know how replaceable those things are and I need it to be able to keep living here. And my degree certificate’s in storage back in Canada, and even if I can get my folks to unearth it and send it to me, that’s going to take a while. No no no, I don’t like any of this. Now I’m having an anxiety flap and trying not to cry and there’s nobody here to talk me down. YAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY
I’m just going to funnel rhubarb tea into myself until I can move from this spot where I’m sat, petrified with fear.
Rhubarb tea is good. I’m sad it’s being discontinued. It’s sweet and tastes like rhubarb and rhubarb is my favourite thing. It’s refreshing and lovely and green. Nothing about it is overbearing. It’s softening my headache. I’ll miss this tea when it’s gone.
How does grapefruit work so well with oolong? I honestly thought it was going to be slightly gross when I first heard of the idea, and it turns out it’s pretty much actually my favourite thing to pair with oolong tea. In a pinch, I’ve added grapefruit juice to oolong. It’s not as good as Bessie blend, but in a pinch, it works!
Bessie, though. Oh Bessie, you beautiful creature! This tea smells absolutely AMAZING. The dominant fragrance is brisk, bright grapefruit, flanked by the orange and lemon. The oolong lends it a little wholesome substance beneath the citrus. This is one of those uncommon teas I find myself enjoying equally with and without sugar. Bessie’s brisk, energetic, and refreshing, and absolutely perfect.
And I’ve been falling asleep for the past 3 hours because I made the mistake of eating pasta for dinner, which is a recipe for a drowsy Kelsh indeed. Please wake me up, bright tea!
I have SO many Doctor Who teas that I try not to revisit the same one in a relatively short space of time, but oh Nyssa.
Oh Nyssa. So nice I steeped it twice! I’ve never resteeped this one before, and now I’m really wondering why I’ve never thought to before now. The first steep is the same flawless magnificence of serene and grounding flavours of malt, dates, and hay; the second steep, on the other hand, brings the earthy farm flavour of the pu’erh to the fore, until it cools slightly, when a distinct note of raisin emerges ahead of the hay, eventually transforming the whole cup into what feels like drinking an oatmeal raisin cookie. Like WOW. It’s a whole other experience, and I love everything about it. Seriously. This is a definite contender for being my all-time favourite of any tea ever. The shifting flavours are subtle but strong, and there’s never a trace of bitterness. I never tire of it.
It is getting really hard for me to resist investing in more tea. I already have a ridiculously overflowing kitchen cupboard’s worth, plus a fair amount of counter space, plus two boxes of my most recent orders which don’t yet fit in the cupboard or on the counter. And yet there are gaps in my collection!
But I suppose I should find myself in sustainable employment first, right? gazes wistfully at a handful of website shopping carts
And what’s more, I keep forgetting I own stuff. Like this one, for example. It’s a decent, serviceable loose leaf earl grey. It’s not going to blow any minds, but you know what, it’s good. I tend to drink my earl greys in combination with other flavours, so I chucked in a pinch of Adagio’s raspberry and a little Irish breakfast for backbone, and yum. Good morning, universe! I’m ready to paint the cast of the Ninth Doctor’s run (happy 9th birthday, revived series of Doctor Who!) and finish a new illustration of Ian and Barbara for a tshirt. Oh and apply for a crapload of jobs too. Nothing discourages quite like “we often receive hundreds of applications” in an automated confirmation email, does it? I’m about as likely to win the lottery.
Maybe I’ll pick up a scratch ticket when I’m at the store to get toilet roll today. Ooh, there’s an idea for a diet, come to think of it: every time I plan to buy chocolate at the store (which is often) I buy the equivalent cash value in lottery tickets instead. Which is the better investment?
Poor Ben and Polly. They’d for sure get more love and attention than they do if so many of their episodes weren’t still missing. I’d give my good leg for Power Of The Daleks, or The Highlanders, or The Smugglers, or the rest of The Faceless Ones. Oh man. They’re just so much fun. And Anneke Wills is sweet, and they need to get her on more DVD commentaries.
(Fun fact: I quite desperately want to be involved in a production at some point such that I’m asked to be part of the commentary. Or, hell, just let me be the moderator on a DVD commentary for something I haven’t been in, but that’s really old and I know lots about, so I can chat to the commentators, who probably don’t remember squat about having made this thing because the 1970s is all a blur to them now. This is my dream job. At least two of my very dear friends have done this and I SEETHE WITH MILD JEALOUSY AND QUIET ADMIRATION. SEETHING ADMIRATION. But I digress. I’m drinking tea.)
If it’s possible for a tea to be cute, then Ben and Polly blend definitely fits the bill. The scent is precisely that of chocolate-covered berries: rich and sweet, but not cloying or overpowering. The result is a solid, assertive brew possessed of a lovely bright berry sweetness surrounded by smooth cocoa, finishing on a lovely note of balanced black tea. It’s well balanced and level-headed, but there’s definitely an interplay of flavours that’s quite a bit of fun. Indulgent without being overwhelmingly so, the flavours are as perfect together as the blend’s namesakes. It’s a fab brew, all right!
Hello rejection letters, my old friends! GRUMPTIES. I can’t afford to be unemployed no more, and so onward I go, filling out more forms. What an exciting day it is. SIGH.
Also, this tea is so very, very silly, and I needed something silly today. I find it really sweet to drink straight, so I cut this with about half Irish breakfast and it’s just the right amount of silly. With sprinkles.
Speaking of silly, I suppose I ought to file my tax return, as that refund would go nicely toward, well, not being evicted this month.
MAN. Well, in spite of two shiny new rejection letters, I feel moderately positive today. Probably because I decided to totally wing it with this week’s comedy bake, and my maple and honey banana and prune flax and wholemeal spelt tea cake is ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS. I’m seriously impressed with myself. I wish I could bake for a living. I’m really good at it. Also I wish I had a living. My agent hasn’t rung in a month, and I swear it’s because my headshot makes me look like a bland, flavourless lump instead of a fine Canadian queen. I’m depressing myself. Dammit! Onward to brave tea, then!
Gosh Harry, you really are a cracking good fellow, old thing. The tea’s fragrance in the bag is that of soft almond backed by a honeyed sweetness, faintly reminiscent of pipe tobacco. When brewed, the sweet almond becomes a more subtle finishing note, allowing the solid, strong tea to come forward, as well as the fragrance and flavour of caramelized pumpkin and warming spice. It has a soft, slightly starchy mouthfeel that pairs beautifully with milk and sugar. Harry Sullivan is nothing short of genius.
Good ol’ value range unsweetened soymilk. Not the classiest, but then again, I’m skint. It’s half the price of the name brand stuff. Value range all the way, baby!
That being said, I suspect this chai would be even more delicious if it had been made with better soymilk. As it is, it’s nicely balanced with a pleasant warmth from the ginger, and not too sugary. And for the price (cheap!) I genuinely can’t complain.
And it’s given me enough of a boost that I feel mildly motivated to finish writing a small stack of cover letters and work on a few new t-shirt designs. I calculated it out, and if 200 people bought shirts from me every month, I’d be able to pay my rent and bills. I’ve sold one shirt this year. I’m going to starve to death soon. How long can a person live on nothing but tea?