Blending and I have an interesting history. As in, I should probably not being doing it. Not sure why or how, but I have a tendency to get all “mad scientist”-y when in contact with botanicals. I want to create chimeras with goggles donned. As an illustrated example, refer back to this video.

Yesterday (Friday, Oct. 12th respectively), I was given an opportunity to create my own blend at the Lan Su Chinese Garden. October is, apparently, Tea Month, and the Garden was hosting several Essence of Tea workshops/presentations/happy-fun-times sponsored by the Tao of Tea. The one that interested me was – of course – the blending exercise.

Tao of Tea had several herbs, dried fruit, and flowers on display. Garden patrons and passersby were given an opportunity to pick and choose what could go into their own custom blend. Two Tao employees were also on-hand to answer any questions onlookers might have.

Of the tea bases one could use – there was a Lincan Mao Feng and a Yunnan Tippy South Cloud. I wished there was more to choose from. But given that this was supposed to be an informal exercise, I had no complaints.

For my first blending attempt, I selected the Tippy South Cloud as the base. As for herbs and botanicals, I went with dried orange peel, osthmanthus, and spearmint. At least, I thought it was spearmint. I was informed that the label had been wrong, and that it was actually peppermint. This…was going to be interesting.

I decided to name it Bob.

On a second attempt, I used the Mao Feng, Chinese dates, licorice and goji berries. It looked absolutely wrong. (I’m still too frightened to try it.) After hovering around the display for about forty-five minutes, I finally headed home. I meant to brew up Bob as soon as I got back, but I waited a day.

The Yunnan black, citrus elements and peppermint gave Bob a very pleasant dry aroma. Even those I showed it to agreed. When time finally came to brew Bob up, though, I was at a loss on how long to do it for. In the end, I settled on a four-minute steep in boiling water.

Bob brewed up to a nice mahogany liquor with a pungently minty-malt aroma. Citrus was completely understated. On taste, Bob was a bit bitter on the front and possessed a peppermint-dominated middle. The taper-off was oddly chocolate-like in a Junior Mint fashion. Not sure if that was due to the citrus or just my odd tongue. I’m sure spearmint would’ve worked better than peppermint, at least as a compliment to the orange peel. Oh well…

In closing, Bob (while beautiful) needs work, but the experience was worth the attempt. It certainly didn’t dissuade me from wanting to try it again…and again…and again. Now, all I need is a lab coat and some goggles. Definitely goggles.