Tea of the Week for October 1, 2018: Firebolt Black Tea!
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Firebolt Black Tea!
Tea Description: This tea marks the first tea for the month of October and the first tea in our collection of our first themed month which is - of course! - Harry Potter! I am a Harry Potter nerd, I've read each of the books at least 2 times (some of them, many more times than just 2) and I've watched all the movies countless times so it only makes sense to me to designate the first of our themed month program as Harry Potter Month!
The Firebolt broom was a significant object in the Harry Potter series as it was an anonymous Christmas gift (after his Nimbus 2000 was destroyed by the Whomping Willow) - from his godfather Sirius Black. No doubt it was a pretty sweet ride!
The tea base is a Wild Arbor Assamica grown in the Yunnan province - and it's appearance is actually what inspired me to create this blend and call it "Firebolt." When I first saw the leaf, my immediate thought was that the leaves looked like the bristles of a broom. Not the modern brooms with the plastic bristles or even one of the old corn bristle brooms like my gramma used to have - but one of those cool witch-y brooms with the brown, twig-like bristles (as well as the bristles on the Firebolt).
The Wild Arbor Assamica tea has a natural warmth (slight peppery tone) and has a sweet flavor with notes of roasted cacao and hints of flower. This profile seemed to lend itself well to the caramel and cream essence that I added to the tea (because, as I mentioned above, the Firebolt is a pretty sweet ride!) and to enhance those peppery notes, I added a little bit of Ceylon cinnamon (to give this firebolt some FIRE). But I wouldn't say that this is a spicy-hot cinnamon blend, I didn't want it to be - I wanted this to be more sweet than spicy - but there is enough cinnamon in there to offer a pleasing heat to the cup.
An awesome autumnal tea!
ingredients: black tea
organic ingredients: cinnamon, calendula petals & natural flavors
I love my job! I know I've probably declared that on many occasions, but it's time like these - when I get to sit here and wrap my hands around a hot cup of tea and sip on it - and I can say: "That's my job!" that makes what I do even more rewarding.
As I mentioned in the above description, when I first saw this tea, I was immediately reminded of the thin twiggy bristles of a witch's broom. The 'bristles' are actually tea leaves rolled up lengthwise. They're quite beautiful and very cool to watch as they unfurl in the hot water. The natural aroma and flavor of these leaves is somewhat warm (peppery) but also with a dark cacao note which is especially pronounced in the aroma of the dry leaf. I was originally just going to create a VIT blend using these leaves - but then when I decided I wanted to do a Harry Potter themed tea box, I thought these leaves would be perfect as the base for a "broomstick" kind of tea and the most popular broomstick in the Harry Potter series is, of course, Harry's Firebolt!
And as I explained in the above description, I thought that the Firebolt should be celebrated as a "pretty sweet ride" with notes of caramel and hints of cream but it also needed a touch of fire - so I added some cinnamon. The cinnamon accents the natural warm tones of the tea and really gives this tea a wonderful fall-like flavor. It's not too spicy, but it has a warm, soothing fire, like Hermione's bluebell flames.
A wonderful tea - and an exciting way to start off the first Harry Potter box (yes, I said "first" because, come on! You know I'll do another one at some point in the future!)
to brew: This is a hard tea to measure in terms of teaspoons because the leaves are very long and don't sit well in a teaspoon at all! I would recommend instead using your clean fingers and take a healthy pinch of the tea leaves (or two if you're more dainty with it) or if you're going to weigh it, go with 2 1/2 grams of tea. Make sure that there is at least a little sliver/chunk of cinnamon in there, but not more than one or two.
This is the kind of tea that I recommend allowing to steep loose because these leaves need room to unfurl - but if you must use an infuser, don't use an enclosed infuser like a ball infuser or a shaped infuser. Instead, use either a basket infuser or one of the gravity tea infusers to allow for maximum space for the tea to steep and unfurl.
Steep it in near boiling water (205°F) for 3 minutes, strain and allow to cool for 10 minutes or so - the cool time allows the flavors to develop. Enjoy!