Come, my friends. Come and hear my tale. It is a story of glory and tragedy, of trust and betrayal, of successes and failures, of the kindness and benevolence of the human spirit and of its depravity and selfishness!
Let me tell you about the heroine of our tale, Jillian, who asked for some tea possessed by our villain, sophistre, about a month ago, and how she — in all of her righteousness — sent forth tea to her nemesis and lo, the wicked sophistre did get distracted by writing and guests from out of town, and when the tea arrived at her humble abode, she was glad. And yet she had sent no tea, herself.
And Jillian went without.
It is to weep!
Seriously though…I fail at post office. I think I mentioned that earlier. I had no idea Jillian was sending me anything until she got her tea, and I feel like a big’ol heel now, because here I am with a very cozy-smelling cup of tea in front of me thanks to Jillian, and the Adagio tin I promised her is still sitting on my front hall table waiting to be whisked off to Canadaland.
I am such a jerk. I’m not even a tragic villain in this story, because mostly I’ve been either consumed by writing or running around with a bunch of other jerks from out of town.
Anyway, thank you Jillian! You shame me! The tea, it will be winging its way to you shortly. (I swear!)
The tea I was most curious about at the time we discussed a trade was a Russian Caravan she had, because at that point I had not had a Russian Caravan tea. I now have A&D’s Caravan in my cabinet, but that’s the only one I’ve tried…so I’m still looking forward to this one quite a bit. Even so, opening up the little packet, it was the smell of this tea that called to my newly-awakened braincells with promises of spices and sweet fruit, and so here it is.
It smells good dry, but I think it smells wonderful when it steeps. The heat really brings several of the spices to the fore in the nose. It tells me there’s citrus here, and I believe it…but it’s the clove-riddled citrus you might remember if your teachers, like mine, had ever had you make one of those clove-studded oranges for the holidays when you were a kid in gradeschool. Cinnamon is easy to detect, and while I would not have fingered almond as a taste present in the tea, I think I find it after I swallow. I could probably have stood to have it be more prevalent in the overall profile, but I’m somebody who douses themselves in almond oil on a regular basis in the bath, so I admit I may be biased. It’s sweet on the sides of the tongue, and there’s a lingering, spicy warmth on the middle and over my palate. There’s even a cozy warmth in my throat and belly that has nothing to do with the temperature of the tea, but instead with the spices involved.
It’s becoming pretty clear to me the more H&S teas I try that they really are exceptionally good at determining the best ratio of flavor to tea. I have yet to try a cup from them that was particularly intense, but I can also say with certainty that I’ve been struck every time by how balanced the flavors have been, not only with themselves but with the tea base.
I could feel a creeping headache coming on when I woke up (yes, when I woke up at 10pm. Just trust me)…but I’m getting close to the bottom of the cup now, and it’s going.
As a tea that reminds you of the holidays goes, this one without a doubt hits the mark. I can easily see myself keeping a little tin around of this, so I may actually add this along with Florence to my ‘will order’ list. Yay!
Thanks to Jillian and her INCREDIBLE supply of patience for sending me tea when I’ve been so dodgy about my end of the bargain!