Thank you Brenden for spoiling me at my request! And I KNEW I should have snugged some Jabberwocky for myself. Oh well. Callooh callay there’s only three before it goes away.
But I knew I had to at least try this tea. I hesitated with this one because Ben Shan is a green oolong, and green oolong+spices is a risky mix because green oolongs have delicate flavors and are usually buttery or floral if strong. But I knew that the cedar would be the central actor for this tea, and Brenden’s description are telling.
Brewing, started out with three minutes and I get the evergreen he writes about. The Ben Shan itself is on the greener side: green oolongs are really just creamier, fruitier and often more floral green teas. At least to me, or that’s what they are like to a newer drinker. This indeed has the creamy, slightly buttery and floral background. But they are the back ground, and thus the canvas. The chai spices are the paints and hues, with the spearmint and tulsi dripping into the foreground like dew on the eventual cedar. There’s even a little bit of a caramel texture going on, but again, that’s the cedar beginning to open up.
The second brew at four minutes continues the first one’s tastes with a more noticeable cedar, tulsi and spearmint combining into a very distinguishable eucalyptus no matter the palette. Quite green, and very, very fresh. Like a breeze from the Upper Peninsula without a doubt.
And finally, the third brew at five minutes and beyond, and the cedar with the oolong take over. So fresh, and crisp. It becomes the same lingering eucalyptus as Rivendell, but with a spicier finish. Technically, this tea is done but I can brew this even more for the notes of the cedar.
I am very glad to have tried this tea. The cedar, mint and tulsi blend incredibly well with the chai spices. My main criticism is that the oolong fades a little bit too much for me in the background, but the oolong really shouldn’t be that strong for this blend anyway. The other big hesitation is price and I’ve unfortunately had green chais pretty similar to this tea, but the cedar makes the biggest difference. Personally, I prefer the Harvest Chai to this one, but I do like that I get the best aspects of Rivendell save the vanilla in this cup.
This tea is for mint lovers hands down. Actually, it’s like turning an Altoids into a tea and drizzling it with honey.
Flavors: Caramel, Cedar, Creamy, Eucalyptus, Green, Spearmint, Spices, Sweet