Sampler Sipdown September! And the final tea from my samplers for the Harry Potter House Cup… OF TEA!
This tea is also from Malfoy Tea Emporium, and this blend is Malfoy representing House Slytherin! (Which, for the record, is my House… bet you thought all librarians were Ravenclaws, right? I’m just that sneaky.) This is a green tea blend with some spearmint, lemongrass, and spices. The dry leaf aroma is very minty, but the clove is also very noticable!
The tea steeped up a pale yellow with some subtle greenish tones, true to its green tea base. The distinct vegetal flavor of green tea isn’t noticeable in this blend, however, so those that typically don’t like green tea could still appreciate this as an herbal offering, so long as they don’t mind the caffeine. This is a light tea with a strong minty flavor, the spearmint making up the dominant note of the tea. I find the spearmint gives the flavor just a bit more bite than typical mint. Unlike the Weasley tea where I felt the added spices where lost in the flavor profile, that is certainly not the case here! There is a slightly spicy hint to every sip that tickles on the tongue, and the clove especially lingers right at the back of the tongue. It isn’t overpowering, but it is a flavor that certainly makes itself known. The spice is quite subtle in comparison to a chai, but gives a certain pleasant kick to the soothing mint green base.
This tea actually resteeps quite well, increasing the steep time by a few minutes. The color was still full without the green tea going bitter, and the original flavors held up amazingly well! The spearmint flavor was still very flavorful on a second steep, and while the spices were a little less powerful, I continued to get some clove and cinnamony notes lingering in the aftertaste. I am impressed at this leaf’s ability at self-preservation… but would I expect any less of a Slytherin? Of course not. That deserves a bonus point!
I’ve never had a spicy mint green tea, not even a subtle one, so this was certainly a new experience for me! I have been a fan of Moroccan Mint teas and chais for some time, so this was almost like an odd blending of elements of both. And in many ways it really worked for me. I was surprised how well the clove and spearmint complimented each other. It is a thoroughly satisfying cup. I give this tea four out of five points for flavor.
I’m a bit happy to see this tea isn’t just a dark as mud black tea, because really… hasn’t the whole “Slytherin is dark and evil!” thing been done to death? In fact, those green leaves, and the slight greenish hues in the brewed tea reminded me of the House color and brought a little grin to the face, much the way the red steep of the Weasley tea did… I think I’m going to have to award Slytherin a presentation bonus point for that!
The dominant flavor of this tea, spearmint, is an herb known for helping with cognitive ability such as learning and memory, which is why when tasting this tea, one of the blind tea tasters guessed this tea may be the Ravenclaw tea (not a bad idea!). Though in many respects I can see how these mind-stimulating properties would be advantageous to such resourceful, ambitious, cunning individuals. The green tea base also provides mild caffeine and L-theanine which provide stable mental energy and are known to improve brain function. The minty green tea base plays into the clever and cunning side of Slytherin quite well.
The spices in the tea give the blend a sharp, lingering bite; it makes the tea a bit edgy and unlike any mint green tea I’ve ever tried, and I can’t help but feel it is dabbling just a bit outside the rules here… like a Moroccan Mint hiding a secret. This, too, seems to give the blend just a bit of charm. It’s a green tea that leaves just a bit of a spicy heat on the tongue. At first taste, it’s a soothing spearmint, but the aftertaste leaves a slight lingering “burn” on the tongue. I feel that the spices indicate that darker side, without needing a blatant dark flavor. In fact, it’s more sneaky this way, which I find even more fitting!
On a scale of 0-5, I’m awarding 5 points to Slytherin in this category.
Like the Hufflepuff tea, while I feel the tea embodies the qualities of the House of its namesake character well, I don’t think it embodies its namesake all that great. There are aspects of it that work, but many that just don’t quite hit the mark.
Draco is one of the most intelligent and quick-witted students around, making the mental-stimulating properties of that green tea and spearmint combination work well, but the spearmint flavor is also just a little too cool, in that soothing sort of way, for me to really associate with such a brass, arrogant character. The spices, however, do help make up for this a bit, since they leave that slight hot bite on the tongue, and if anyone has a bit of a bite to him, it’s Draco!
This is a case where I think a bit of black tea really would be appropriate; the blend just has too light of a mouthfeel for a character with dark complexities and that descent into recklessness. I think a more appropriate choice for Draco would be a nice pu-ehr, a dark, complex tea, but accented with the same spice choices that are in this blend, that hint of cinnamon and that thick clove, to give it that hot, biting edge.
There are certainly some qualities in the blend that work, but some that fall flat for me, so I give this tea three out of five points in this category.
The participants of the library blind taste test rated the Malfoy tea with scores of 3, 3, 2, and 2, for a total of 10 House points!
If any participants rated their teas with the same score (for example, gave multiple teas a rating of “3”) I asked them to rank the teas from least to greatest preference. The tea ranked as their greatest preference would then score a bonus point. This was the case for one participant (who rated two teas with a “3”) but ranked the Slytherin tea the highest, so it scores a bonus point!
Participants were also asked to guess which tea belonged to which House, after sampling all four teas. If any participants managed to guess a House correctly, it would score bonus points! One participant guessed the Slytherin tea correctly, so that’s 5 bonus points to Slytherin! (For the record, one person in the blind taste test guessed all four Houses correctly… the director of the library where I work! I was impressed! I will also note that none of my blind taste testers are tea drinkers… though they are Harry Potter fans and I appreciated them playing along!)
Here is the score:
Flavor Profile Score: 4
Representation of House Virtues: 5
Representation of Character Personality Traits: 3
Blind Taste Test Scores: 10
Bonus Points: 8
It was a fair try, Slytherin!
So the winner of the House Cup… OF TEA! is House Hufflepuff! Congratulations! You get… a magical imaginary awesome teacup and now everyone knows I have no life and this is the kind of shit I do in my free time. Woo!
Flavors: Cinnamon, Clove, Menthol, Mint, Spearmint, Spicy