Cherry Blossom, Stinging Nettle, and a Grasshopper in Week 13

Typically filthy weather for the Bank Holiday and the start of British Summer Time so I felt the urge for a warming brew. Winter Cocoa is a Herb Tisane with (amongst other things)cocoa nibs, cardamom, star anise, cinnamon, and ginger. It was crying out to be added to some hot frothy almond milk. I made it in the same way as my previous trips into latte-land, but I've found my mini-zhuzzher so there was considerably less mess than last time. We've sold out of this blend so you won't find it on the website till probably early Autumn (this was from my personal stash)

Winter Cocoa infusion collage

As it's Hanami (花見) season (blossom viewing) I thought I'd get as close as possible with this gorgeous Japanese Sencha Sakura - a really good quality steamed tea flavoured with cherry oils and rose petals. The water I used was 80°c but I gave it a long (6 minute) steep-time. I then left it to cool down till it was tepid before I drank it. I always think that drinking it cool makes the flavour pop. This is one of my favourite flavoured green teas - if you fancy trying it, get in touch and I'll send you a free teabag sampler.

Montage Japanese sencha sakura

Day 88 in my ‪#‎yearoftea and I've spent all day drinking Earl Grey Rooibos
Although I'm only a recent convert to them, I've become a bit obsessive about flavoured Rooibos. Under normal circumstances I'm not a huge fan of Earl Grey, but this is a good combination and doesn't have the 'soapy' aftertaste that some teas suffer from.China cup rooibos earl grey

Today's ‪#‎teaoftheday was taken 'on location ' at the always wonderful, Backlit Gallery. A herbal tisane of Stinging Nettle, Peppermint and Lemongrass (there's a free packet for whoever comes up with a better name for it...) makes a really delicious blend sipped against the backdrop of the new Simon Starling show in (probably) the loveliest exhibition space north of the Watford Gap!
Delicate and subtle (much like me?) this is one of my favourite tisanes

Cup of tea on floor in sunlightCup of tea in front of simon starlings venus mirrortea in front of starling's 9 feet

Guanxi Guiha Osmanthus is a Chinese green tea made in a similar way to Jasmine tea but with Osmanthus flowers. That's where the similarity ends. Where Jasmine is sweet, this is savoury. Where Jasmine is floral, Guanxi is more vegetal. I brewed it at 90°c for 3.5 minutes. Being honest, I binned the 1st infusion as it was way too strong for my taste. The 2nd infusion I only brewed for 2 minutes and what a difference! (you can easily tell them apart in the photo) It was still woody but with a really faint peachy aftertaste - absolutely lovely!

montage guangxi gui ha osmanthus tea

Day 91 of my.‪#‎yearoftea and I've gone for a flavoured green. It's a Vanilla Gunpowder to be precise. Gunpowder teas which originated in Zhejiang province, are when the leaf has been rolled into pellets. I made this at 80° and brewed for 2 minutes. The savoury, almost peppery taste of the tea combined with the vanilla tastes a little like a Creme Brulee - so I call that a ‪#‎win ‪#‎whatsnottolike

cup of vanilla gunpowderVanilla gunpowder wet leavesVanilla gunpowder dry leaves

OK so there's this little Taiwanese grasshopper that feeds on the sap of the tea bush. While they're about it, they leave saliva deposits on the leaves which is sticky.and very similar to the residue you see after greenfly activity. This 'honeydew' is what gives this ‪#‎teaoftheday it's particular taste. This sounds like a bit of an ‪#‎Aprilfool but not only is it totally genuine, it's also absolutely delicious. It's a Formosa Honey Black and the natural sweetness delicately combines with the maltiness of this high quality tea. Most Formosan teas are oolongs (semi-fermented) but unusually this is a fully-fermented (black tea) so theoretically it could take milk...even I wouldn't do that.

formosa honey black tea and leaves

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published