When I was little, I used to get these biscuits that had fruit in the centre. I don’t remember them exactly, but they were kind of flower-shaped, like these:
But I remember them being in a tin with other butter cookies, so these might be more accurate:
Anyway, that’s what this tea smells like to me. And that really surprises me, because to be honest, usually when people describe getting a kind of cakey fragrance and/or flavour from tea, I kind of roll my eyes, because I just know that my palate isn’t sophisticated enough to pick up such nuances. But I swear, it’s really here.
I’m not so sure about the brandy, but I believe it’s here, too. My only exposure to brandy was when I was really little. Parents, don’t cringe, but my father used to put a bit on a q-tip and use it to alleviate toothaches. It was weird, because that was the only reason this massive bottle of brandy was in the house, as neither one of my parents ever touched alcohol. Anyway, it’s not like I remember what it smells like or know what brandied fruit would smell like. That said, there is something here besides the smell of apricots that brought brandy to mind, but part of that could just be the power of suggestion and the process of elimination: “I smell the apricots, and I smell the cakey bits, so what’s that other thing? It must be brandy, because that’s all that’s left.”
I was really good this time. I always open a packet of tea and stick my nose in, and then wonder why the brewed fragrance/flavour isn’t as in-your-face as I’d like. Duh? This time, I actually held my breath (I’m nothing if not a study in extremes) until I’d put the tea in the infuser and closed the pouch again, making sure to only sniff the dry leaf in the infuser and then the brewed tea. I believe it really made a big difference re: my expectations and produced a happier result than usual.
The unsweetened tea is okay, but pretty unremarkable. No matter how much I try, I can’t get “dessert” from unsweetened tea. “Oh, it’s sweetened naturally by the fruit in it” just doesn’t cut it for me. So I took a few sips to be good, and then I was like okay, time to play. I decided to sweeten it with (vegan) ’nog.
Sorry. It happened again. A concoction so good, I just don’t have words. Suffice it to say that this addition didn’t overwhelm the tea; rather, it enhanced it in all the right ways and turned this into what I consider to be truly a dessert tea. My rating’s not really accurate, since I’m not always going to have ‘nog around. But since I know that works, it shouldn’t be hard to yummify the tea with other stuff, like vanilla soy milk and sugar or something.
So good. So, so good.
Tea amount: 1 tsp/~4.75g
Water amount: 6oz/~175mL
Additives: A “splash” of vegan (Silk soy) ’nog