Hnnng my dashboard’s stuck again. Notices aren’t updating, and forum’s cache seems to be backed up too. Welp.
This’ the first tea I released as part of the ‘Tasting Lab’ aside, which is the “AJ’s given free reign to go wild” section of the website where I release just whatever interests me (within reason). At the moment I’m releasing one exclusive tea every two months, and this was the first.
As part of its release, I wrote a work-blog post about the thoughts and inspiration behind it, but had to cut it WAY back to keep to an acceptable level of “AJ Rambles about History”.
The inspiration behind it (and the next blend) came about after a lot period of reading about blending-trends through history (especially the Victorian/Edwardian periods), changes in tea-drinking preferences in the US and UK (the UK dropping interest in green tea in the 1800s following Robert Fortune’s ‘famous discovery’, and the US switching from Chinese green to Japanese green at the same time, before finally dropping interest in green in the 1940s following WWII anti-Japanese sentiments).
This bleeds into the green-black blending trends that fell out of fashion in the late 1800s/early 1900s following all of the above sentiments towards green tea. Plus the disappearance of a number of tea types out of China. Chief among, “Scented Orange Pekoe” and “Scented Caper”s, nebulous names for a group of teas scented with flowers, chief among them jasmine (with at least one example of jasmine later branching off into its own distinct ‘tea’). When blending-books talk about SOPs, they talk about them being a “blending tea” not a “sipping tea”, and that the flowers used to scent them vary season to season (but can include: orange blossom, osmanthus, olive flower, magnolia, and jasmine).
Most noticeably, no blend guide seems to make a distinction in their blends towards specific scents of SOP, and list it very generically. The way it’s written (both looking at outside blending guides at the time, and looking at internal records of tea companies) seems to imply that the specific scent of the SOP during any given season was simply “what you get is what you get”, and the blends that included SOP were expected to vary in aroma.
This entire thing is probably a subject I might write a full blog post on? Eventually? And to avoid making this tasting note too long. Because what’s a blog for if not to focus all the pent up Interest about a subject. But the entire thing kinda culminated after a supplier was nice enough to send me every floral scented and flavoured tea they had, including an orange blossom flavoured oolong.
Poet’s Blend ended up most similar to Library Blend, in that it’s jasmany and slightly more green-leaning, but lacks bergamot oil. The orange blossom oolong sort of replaces the bergamot for that citrus, but only barely—orange blossom I find barely qualifies as ‘citrus’. It’s a very heady, in-your-face floral, and I think pairs very interestingly with jasmine, though it’s a touch bitter.
As a result, this tea can be slightly finicky with water temperature and timing. But the orange blossom adds a very nice fragrance, and is noticeable in the taste when you slurp. It’s very “spring”. The black teas mostly serve as a soft base, adding just a bit of body. The green and oolongs are more prominent in the actual profile, and then the jasmine and orange blossom dominating.
I realize I haven’t tried this iced, but today’s cup is already cold (got distracted writing), and the orange blossom and jasmine comes through more already, so I think I’ll try and ice it this weekend.
Flavors: Grass, Jasmine, Orange Blossom, Rosewood, Vegetable Broth