This is my last cup of Metropolitan’s Monk’s Blend, so it’s my last chance to do a steep off between these two versions.
First off, these teas have a lot in common with each other. To the point where, if I was choosing between them, I would probably just buy whichever was most convenient at the time.
They both have a vanilla cream note and a vaguely fruity note. I don’t feel that either one nails the grenadine flavor. Yes, the fruity note might kind of sort of be cherry / pomegranate, but if no one had told me that, I don’t think I would have guessed it. They also both need quite a bit of sugar (a heaping teaspoon) before the fruity taste comes out at all. And letting them both cool slightly also helps. The base tea is not particularly distinctive in either — probably a good choice, as anything strong would overwhelm the added flavors.
The main difference in these teas is just where the balance of powers lies between the flavors. Metropolitan’s version has a lot more of the cream vanilla flavor, and this gives it a smoother feel overall, while NMTC’s has a sour-tart note from the fruit. Somehow Metropolitan’s doesn’t taste tart at all.
In the end, I can’t really say I have a preference, though I might choose one over the other depending on whether I’m in the mood for creamy or tart.
All this thinking about tea though did spur me to re-work some of my teacup designs. I always loved the silhouettes of the designs, but the colors of the different cups weren’t meshing, so I tried them out in a soft watercolor palette and also in all black: