Springtime feels like the time for Alice in Wonderland: flowers blooming, spending more time outside, feeling a little more whimsy after the winter blues. I’ve seen a few new teas popping up this time of year, themed for just such an occasion.
I recently tried the Lewis Carroll blend of black tea from Simpson and Vail. In case you don’t know, Lewis Carroll is the author of Alice in Wonderland, among other works. Alice in Wonderland tends to be a favorite among tea fans for the famous tea party scene featuring the Mad Hatter, not to mention all the cute tea cakes that wreak fantastical havoc for Alice’s adventures.
This Lewis Carroll tea blend features an Indian black tea base, combined with Chinese Rose Congou black tea, highlighted by added violet fragrance and flavoring. All these flowers are meant to put us in a fantasy world, whether in the queen’s roses, or in the garden beside the tea party. There are lots of blossoms in the dry leaves, and the brewed cup smells as sweet as a blooming garden.
I enjoy the fragrance of this tea, but strong floral blends aren’t my personal favorite when it comes to taste. I found I enjoyed the tea more with a touch of milk and sugar, which helped mellow out the strong floral flavors and made the brew more like a flower-scented dessert.
This is a great tea to put you in a springtime mood, perhaps sipped while out-of-doors after a dreary winter. If you’re one for having fancy tea parties, this may also be a great choice, whether it fits your Alice in Wonderland theme, or just because it feels fancy and ladylike, and makes the flowers on your teacup smell like they are alive and fresh!
Here’s the scoop!
Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Simpson and Vail
A tea party plays a memorable role in Carroll’s most celebrated novel as the setting for Alice’s nonsensical meeting with the Mad Hatter and the March Hare. “A large rose-tree stood near the entrance of the garden” where, as the Mad Hatter told Alice earlier, “it’s always tea time.” To make our Lewis Carroll blend, we added our fragrant violet flavor to an Indian Black tea and Rose Congou tea, a China black that has been scented with rose petals during the drying process, to create a deep amber cup with an incomparable bouquet and a flavor that is absolutely heavenly.
Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!
Where to find the tea: Mt. Hood Vanilla from Townsend’s Tea
Where to Subscribe: Muse Monthly
As the only subscription box of its kind, Muse Monthly delivers a unique experience for lovers of literature and tea. Every month, you will get a new novel and a full box or tin of tea on your doorstep! So go ahead and curl up, let go of all your stresses, and enjoy.
When I heard of Muse Monthly’s Kickstarter from a thread on Steepster, I nearly fell over in my chair. Muse Monthly has somehow managed to combine my three loves – Books, Tea, and Kickstarters. I was so happy to see them succeed, even more happy to receive my first box. I couldn’t wait to dig in. The kickstarter tier I got included the stretch goal goodies, as well as a three month subscription. This month is a great beginning; the tea is Mt. Hood Vanilla from Townsend’s tea and the novel is Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller.
The tea that comes in the subscription is a full sized tin (2.25 oz!) of Townsends tea’s Mt. Hood Vanilla. Which sounds absolutely delicious. I love vanilla black teas and I am always searching for the right one. I have only had Townsend’s Kombuchas and diving into their loose leaf teas is pretty exciting. (My man’s all time favorite kombucha is their Spiced Apple Kava,) Upon opening the tin, I get a heady whiff of vanilla beans and robust Indian tea. It reminded me of the vanilla bean scones offered at Starbucks that I used to be obsessed with. Brewing up the tea I discovered the creamy vanilla in the forefront, slightly sweet, pairing excellently with the bold and rich Ceylon tea. Although I would not recommend it iced, the vanilla turns a bit sour and candy sweet, harshly contrasting the bold black base. Mt. Hood Vanilla is an excellent tea to drink hot while reading about Peggy and her father in Our Endless Numbered Days, and a perfect breakfast cuppa.
The book is highly recommended from me as well. Our Endless Numbered days was the first book Ina long time that I have not been able to put down. As much as I wish I could tell you truthfully, I regret to say that I don’t read as much as I used to. I would devour a book a week if I could. Not so much anymore. I think before getting Muse Monthly’s box in the mail, I had 1 book on my kindle that I have been intermittently reading for about three months. I think that Claire Fuller’s story is a great jumping off point for me to get the ball rolling and begin reading in earnest. I easily finished the story in two days and began to wonder, ‘what else?’ I thought it was well written and an excellent choice for this ‘book club.’
In all, I would highly recommend checking out Muse, mostly if you are one of those ‘bookish types’. (As my father used to say to me) At first I balked at the size of the tea, I can really see it piling up after a while. Although, the price is right for the amount of tear and the book bundled together. The feel of carefully hand selected combinations is invaluable touch. I loved doing this, and cannot wait for the next two moths. This is an easy, and great way to curl up with a good book and an even better cup of tea!
Now on to Part 2 of my ‘review’ of the Midwest Tea Fest! Oh, what goodness lies ahead!
What kind of tea person would I be if I did not take home a massive haul of tea back with me? I packed very light for the trip, but brought a giant suitcase to hold it all in. When it was all packed tightly away, I just made the cut off size for a checked bag. 49.5lbs of nothing but tea, teaware, and toothpaste!
I know how it looks, there is a lot more teaware than there is tea. I waited too long to snag anything, and a lot of the teas being sold were essentially all gone. But! I fell in love with more teaware than I think is healthy for just one person. It was pretty crowded around all of the booths the majority of the time, it was a madhouse! Just watching the folks at the Queen’s Pantry feverishly weigh and pack all the teas that were flying off the ‘shelves’ was almost nauseating. I overheard the people at Shang Tea how they only prepared for 300 people, and there was easily twice as much in attendance.
The few teas you see are mostly samples, the Rishi and Harney were in my goodie bag, and I got samples of Pomegranate white and gunpowder mint from Single Origin. I did purchase Single Origin Tea’s Jun Chiyabari, the last one on their table. There is a small round tin of Bingley’s 10yrs Oven Roasted Aged oolong, and I did pick up some of Shang’s Aged White. (Not at the actual festival though, I took the short walk to Crowne Plaza to their brick and mortar store to pick some up, they were not selling them at the fest.)
I ended up doing something I never do, and that is indulge in any whim I had along the way. I bought three pieces from Pi Ceramics, a sweet goblet cup, a cha hai (sharing pitcher) for gongfu, and a short and stout kuysu! They are great looking pieces and have a good home here with me. I bought another sharing pitcher from Bingley’s, as well as a small glass teapot. The two small white cups are from Shang Tea, as well as the white infused mug, and the Tea Seed Oil. (Fun Fact: Tea Seed Oil has a smoke point of 455F. You could healthily fry with it!)
The two books you see are the darlings of my collection from the fest. The first is Nichole’s own book, Tea Log: Chronicle your journey of Tea which a very useful tool I know I will be filling up very quickly. And the hardcover 30th edition of Tea Lover’s Treasury by James Norwood Pratt was signed by the legend himself. I was overjoyed by the welcoming attitude he and his wife Valerie had towards everyone they talked to.