I got a sample of the Republic of Tea's Cranberry Blood Orange Black Tea from one of my tea swap friends and I must say, I was disappointed. It seemed to have almost no taste and not much smell. I used 3 teabags in a 14 oz cup of boiling water for about 3 minutes. There was a faint scent of sweetness and there was a bit of taste to the water, but that was it. I even tried adding a bit of honey, thinking it would bring out the flavor more. Alas, it did not.
Tea 101: Did you know that all tea – black, Oolong, green, white, or yellow comes from the same plant? I am not talking about herbal teas like peppermint, Rooibos or Honeybush, they are not tea, even though we call them that, they are tisanes. All real tea comes from a tree or shrub named Camellia Sinensis, which is related to the beautifully flowering camellias in some of our gardens. . There are two main varieties, Camellia Sinensis sinensis, the Chinese one, which grows best in colder climates and Camellia Sinensis assamica, which grows best in more tropical climates. There are endless crossings and recrossings of these two varieties, as farmers and tea estates try to find the best plants for their particular climate and soil. There may even be ones from Java and Ceylon (SriLanka) that are named varieties - there is some conflict about that. But they are all camellias.
Tea plants do flower and their flowers are attractive, but it's the leaves we all want, from barely withered as a white tea, all the way up to the very fully processed blacks. You can purchase tea plants and tea seeds on line, a search will yield several sources, and even make a cup or so of tea from the plants. Just don't expect great tea from your efforts.
I neglected to mention that it did indeed snow yesterday - very late in the day and now it is really, really snowing. It's almost over kitty height and the smaller ones of us are bored, driving the larger ones of us crazy. So is that 12 days of snow now?