Taste Testing: Myrtle's Tea House Black Tea!
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Myrtle's Tea House Black Tea!
Tea Description: I recently reblended this tea because my favorite local tea room and this tea's namesake - Myrtle's Tea House - ordered some. They sell it in their in-house tea shop and they also serve it and use it as an ingredient in their shortbread cookies that they serve on their sweets tray.
Since I had some left over after fulfilling that wholesale order, I am putting what's left over on our website.
Here's my original description of this tea:
Myrtle's Tea House is our (Amethyst's & Anne's) favorite place to go for tea. We started going to Myrtle's Tea House in Ridgefield, Washington back when it first opened. Back then, it had one dining room with five or six tables and there was just one person running the dining room (the owner, Elizabeth) and one person back in the kitchen. But they didn't let that stop them from offering the most delightful little tea sandwiches and the most personable service. I always felt like friends when we'd stop in. She even remembers the tea that I usually order. Now, after several years in business - they've grown by leaps and bounds! They've had to move to bigger digs, now instead of just five or six tables in one room, they've got three ROOMS filled with tables and they're always booked. In fact, if you don't make reservations, you can't get in! They're always busy!
And since those early days, they've hired on a few new servers but Elizabeth still takes the time to come over and talk to us and keep us feeling like we're friends. She still knows what tea I'll probably want. And the attention they pay to detail on each and every savory and sweet during the three course meal is remarkable.
So I decided that I wanted to create a tea that was inspired by my favorite flavors from Myrtle's Tea House. The tea that I order is a black tea with notes of bergamot and vanilla. So I started out with a robust black tea base of Nilgiri, Yunnan, Assam, Vietnamese and just a touch of single estate Ceylon to smooth it out. Then I blended it with bergamot and real vanilla bean. And my very favorite item from the menu at Myrtle's Tea House is the chilled strawberry soup. (Seriously folks, this soup is amazing.) It is a lightly spiced soup - so to the black tea with bergamot and vanilla, I added strawberries, cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg.
The result is a cup that evokes thoughts of a magical place known as Myrtle's Tea House. If you're ever in Southern Washington (or even in Portland, Oregon), make it a point to visit. But remember, you need to make reservations!
I stuck true to the recipe, and this batch is fantastic! It's warmly spiced with the cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg. It has a light creaminess to it from the vanilla - and this adds a really delightful smoothness to the overall cup. The strawberry is well-pronounced. The bergamot is also a well-defined note - certainly not as strong as your typical Earl Grey black because of the other ingredients, but it's still sweet, pleasantly citrus and adds a really lovely, bright note to the cup.
I love this tea!!!
organic ingredients: black teas, strawberries, cinnamon pieces, cloves, bergamot, vanilla bean, nutmeg, natural flavors
I gotta tell ya - I love it when Myrtle's places an order with us because that means that I get more of this tea! This is definitely one of my very favorite blends I've yet to create. I love the complexity of flavors that are here - it's a tea with a lot going on but it's not 'muddy' - the strawberry is well-defined as is the bergamot - but they don't compete with one another. The vanilla is not quite as obvious a note, but there's this soft, creamy sweetness that speaks of the vanilla's presence in the cup. And the spices are not overly strong, instead, they simply enhance the flavors that are here, quite like those same spices enhance the strawberry soup that I love so much from Myrtle's.
So very good!
to brew: give the blend a good shake. There's spices in this that you want to be present in your cup when you brew, and sometimes those spices like to settle to the bottom of the pouch. A gentle shake will help bring them to the surface so you get all the ingredients included in your measurement. I use about 3 1/2 grams of leaf (about a heaping teaspoon, or if you're more of a 'rounded' teaspoon kind of person, go for a teaspoon and a half of leaf) to 12 ounces of near boiling water (205°F) and let it steep for 2 1/2 - 4 minutes. I forgot to set the timer when I brewed this last cuppa - but if I had to guess, I'd say that it steeped right about 3 minutes. It came out beautifully!
This one is good iced as well as hot!