I can feel the holidays closing in on me like a tinsel laden noose. With that in mind I spent the day being an utter lump yesterday since I knew that starting today it was back on full tilt until Christmas. Really, I wish the holidays were less stressful and busy, I would like to actually enjoy them, but nope. So starting next year I am inventing my own holiday in hopes that maybe it will be a little more relaxed. Happy very early Snowliday!
Today’s holiday themed tea in my attempt at nothing but Christmas teas until the 25th (wish me luck!) is Mintberry Pine from M&K’s Tea Company. A blend of Sloe berries roasted in honey and hibiscus, Malawian, Japanese, and Chinese Green Teas, Pine Needles and Bark, Spearmint, Peppermint Extract, Natural Blueberry Flavoring, and Natural Cranberry Flavoring, I admit the mention of pine in the ingredients is what really excited me since I get super hype whenever I see anything woodsy in flavor notes. The aroma is pretty great, a blend of pine trees, mellow mint, and vegetal greens make up the majority of the sniffing notes, but at the finish there is also a nice bit of tart berry and a touch of honey. I like that the mint does not overshadow everything and that you can definitely smell the pine, it is like a minty Christmas tree!
The nicely steeped leaves (and needles and berries) starts off with pine, moves right to mellow mintiness, and again, finishes with tart berries and honey. It is a funky aroma, blending winter with its cooling mint and pine along with spring and its vegetal green and berries, more last snowfall than solstice, but I am a nut when it comes to mental images I get when sniffing/tasting things. The aroma of the liquid switched the order around on the notes, starting off with tart and equally sweet berries, I have never had sloe berries so I am unable to really compare it to anything, it is like a blend of blueberries and juniper. Though apparently giving a quick look on the oh so useful Wikipedia, they share a ‘pick after first frost or will be tart, bitter, death’ with persimmons, so that is neat. The more you know…Anyway, next we get a nice cooling bit of slightly sweet mint and then the beloved pine aroma.
So, tasting time! The tea starts out with cooling mint, it is not super mint gum or toothpaste, it is mellow and has a distinct vegetation undertone which is probably the green tea, but mint can taste a lot like herbal vegetation when it is fresh. I used to spend a lot of time eating fresh mint and drinking mint tea as a kid, ah those were the days. I also used to chew on pine needles because I was a weird kid, I had this thing where I felt I didn’t really understand a thing until I thoroughly sniffed and tasted it, probably why I do not understand a lot of poisonous plants, but yeah, pine was always my favorite thing to gnaw on. Luckily the next flavor note to pop up is the aforementioned pine, it is resinous, slightly sweet, and well…piney! After that we move onto the berries, a nice tart and sweet blend of blueberries and something else, which I believe is sloe berries, again trying to describe it is hard because it is a unique new taste. It is a blend of slightly unripe plum, blueberries, tartness, and juniper, I like its unique taste and would like to get my hand on some to try on their own. The green tea base is present throughout the tea, it does not have any real distinctness and adds an underlying greenness to the whole sipping process, this is a great winter evening kinda tea, to sip while staring out the window hoping for snow.