Doulton’s Shakespeare: A Tasting Note in 5 Acts
Act I scene 4
“Be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness, and
some have greatness thrust upon ’em.”
Twelfth Night, Act II, scene 5
Meet Malvolio in tea form. If you don’t know him from the play Twelfth Night, then you should know that he’s a pretentious prig. Back in the day my college did a version of Twelfth Night where it was set on an alien planet and Malvolio was portrayed as a Vulcan. It was a brilliant concept and should help you picture how I view this tea.
The tea packet gave no hint as to what it contained beyond black tea. I sniffed the packet and was confused. I had absolutely no idea what I was smelling. Something kind of fruity? But not really fruity. The blend was quite striking to look at: different sorts of leaves, little seeds(?), and pretty violet and orange petals. I steeped it.
I got the scent of Assam (Woohoo! My Keemun/Assam/Ceylon trilogy did seem to help me figure out black teas better), and the fruity smell was still there, only it seemed deeper. I realized that this tea contains some green tea as well when I looked at the steeped leaves. I sipped. What on earth was this tea?!?!? It’s somewhat fruity (I couldn’t identify the fruit, but it seemed familiar), on the verge of being bitter, and I was at a loss. This tea was utterly alien to me. So I hopped on the webs and looked this puppy up. Wow. Culinary Teas really breaks down its tea with loads of info!
Assam! I was right! ::does happy dance:: Oh, but there’s Ceylon too. D’oh! Gunpowder and Lucky Dragon Hyson. Hmm…I haven’t enjoyed Gunpowders so far and I haven’t the foggiest on Lucky Dragon Hyson. But that might explain the bitterishness. Oh – the fruit! ::facepalm:: Black currants! I can only think of one time I’ve had black currants in my life: it was this bizarre candy my dad brought me after he returned from a business trip. I forgave myself for not knowing that one.
So why Malvolio? This tea is so full of it. It seems pretentious. But you know what? I absolutely adore the character of Malvolio. He gets some of the best laughs. I actually enjoyed the complexity of this tea and knowing that there’s green tea in there I lowered the temp to 190 on my second steep. The flavors were much much better/smoother. I’m actually thinking that this would be an amazing cold brewed iced tea. I can’t say that I love this tea, but I think it has the potential for greatness. It just needs to be put in its place first. NE