Amazingly, I am still going through my birthday teas from Special Teas. I was in the mood for something a little different, so I thought I would try their Vanilla with Finest Madagascar Vanilla. This is a black tea, with pieces of vanilla and vanilla flavoring added. They call for 2 teaspoons of the tea per 6 oz. Cup brewed for 2-3 minutes in boiling water! So I do, wondering if it will be too strong!
The dry leaves are black, in assorted sizes and I can't tell which is tea and which is vanilla. It smells wonderful, like the best of vanilla puddings – creamy and somehow sensuous. There is also a distinct whiff of cherry. There is not, however, that wonderful fresh tea scent. Thankfully, the tea is not too strong or tannic and it does taste of vanilla. But I don't really like it. It is pleasant and it is not bad, I just don't like it. On the whole, after several different vanilla teas, I think I just don't like it – they never seem to live up to expectations. I think I may try making my own, as I just happen to have some vanilla beans. If I do, I'll let you know the result.
I was still needing some tea, unflavored this time, so I got out my Upton's Arya Estate Autumnal Darjeeling, which I have reviewed before. I love Darjeeling teas and this is a particularly nice one. I started up my Darjeeling road with the second flushes. These are perhaps what one could call a late spring/summer tea. I tried first flushes for a bit but thought them too astringent and then I found the rounded winy Autumanls, which I drank almost exclusively for a bit. However, as my palate has grown, I have developed much more fondness for both the first and second flushes, so now I have a whole year of great Darjeelings to look forward to.
It is interesting to me to see how my tastes keep altering over the years. For example, I used to love Black Currant and now, I can't stand the smell. I find that I often go back to a tea I didn't like or only moderately cared for to see how it strikes me now. However, I have never really liked fruity sweet teas or vanilla ones, so I think I can give them all a rest and not feel guilty about them. One of these days I am going to try Gyrokuro again, though. Maybe after I have had more green teas and appreciate them more.
The picture is that of the bishop's chair in Ravenna's cathedral. It may be in a beautiful spot, but it doesn't look too comfy.