Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Steven Smith Teamaker
Awake to a festive gathering of highly sought-after teas, combining floral, nutty Darjeeling with bright, lively Nuwara Eliya, caramelized North Indian Assam and a pinch of fragrant Douglas Fir needles. Whoa, tannenbaum.
Learn more about this tea blend here.
I debated with myself about when I should publish this review. I thought originally that I should publish it on Christmas morning, since the number of the tea is 25 for the holiday, but then I thought – no, since this is a very limited tea, and I was told only one batch was made and once it’s gone, its gone! – I should publish this review early enough so that anyone who might be interested in the tea can have time to order it before it disappears.
And … you really SHOULD try this tea. It’s amazing. I should start with a disclaimer: I love Steven Smith. He is like a rock star, a god, an icon, even! Of the tea world. I love that he is located locally, and that it takes mere minutes for me to get to his tea shop (well, a few minutes drive, after how ever long it might take for me to coax my husband in to taking me to the shop), and I love how every tea that I’ve tried from Steven Smith Teamaker is delicious.
But this … this is really special, even in the array of amazing teas from Steven Smith. It is a blend of three teas: a Darjeeling which gives the blend a sweet, floral intonation, a woodsy note and a hint of lightness to the overall cup, Nuwara Eliya Ceylon which provides a pleasing, even and bright flavor, and an Assam that adds a sweet, caramel-y undertone and a touch of maltiness and richness to the cup. These three teas, together, offer a very full and satisfying flavor without coming across as too heavy. It’s a very palate pleasing combination.
But, Steven Smith didn’t stop there, because a blend of just these three teas might make a very enjoyable breakfast blend, but this was to be a holiday tea… and what would be a more perfect addition than a touch of pine? Douglas Fir needles, to be precise. The needles give the tea a fantastic flavor – a touch of crisp, mountain air – it tastes of pine, of course, with hints of refreshing, invigorating mint.
It’s really good! It’s the kind of cuppa that puts a smile on my face and puts me into the holiday spirit! Which I’ve needed … because I don’t even have the tree up yet! Yikes! I guess there’s no time like the present. And now, thanks to Steven Smith, I’ve got the inspiration I needed to get busy with the task!
Leaf Type: Herbal Tisane
Where to Buy: Juniper Ridge
When my first herbal-medicine teacher had us try Douglas Fir tea on a class camping trip, I thought it would taste, well, like a tree. I was pleasantly surprised, however, by its refreshing, lemony flavor and sweet, forest-like aroma. This tea is made from 100% Douglas Fir spring tips from the coastal mountains of Northern California and the Pacific Northwest. Nothing else has been added to it, so you can experience the pure, wild taste and foresty aroma of this distinctly Northwestern wild herb delicacy.
This is definitely one of the more unusual teas that I’ve encountered in a long time. It is so unusual – at least to me! – that I was quite unsure if I really wanted to try it. I am glad that my hesitancy finally gave way though, because, I am really enjoying this tisane.
This tea smells like outside. I mean… seriously, it smells like my back yard! I live in the Pacific Northwest and the Douglas Fir Tips that were harvested to make this tea were harvested in this area (as well as Northern California). I’m surrounded by Douglas Fir trees!
But it doesn’t taste the way I expected it to taste. Not that I really knew what I expected it to taste like. I guess I expected it to taste like wood. Like smoke, maybe? Or perhaps even a little damp (it sometimes gets a little damp up here) But it doesn’t taste woody, or smoky or even damp.
The overall taste is light. It has a sweet lemony taste to it as well as a background of a mint-like flavor. But… it isn’t quite mint, if that makes sense. It is as though someone attempted to duplicate the taste of peppermint and wintergreen and didn’t quite make it, but got real close. It tastes winter-y and fresh.
What this really tastes like to me is the way the air feels when my husband and I visit the Columbia Gorge. We get out, walk among the trees and enjoy the crisp, clean air. And that is what this tastes like. Crisp, clean and fresh. Slightly sweet and invigorating – like a walk through the woods!
I like this tisane, and it is one I am very glad I had the opportunity to taste. I like it so much, in fact, that it is one that I could see myself keeping in stock – it has such a refreshingly different flavor!