There comes a point in the crafting of a new tea blend, where inspiration (based upon some existing blend) meets the creativity of an original idea, and from this is born something magical. That something will be just far enough from the existing that it could not be termed a variation, while still holding a good amount of influence thereof.
Evergreen Spice draws inspiration from the traditional Indian masala chai, yet it deviates to become its own magic. The base contains chai spices, much as one would find in an Indian chai. Yet, black tea has been replaced by an Anxi oolong from China. Mixed into this blend are roasted cedar leaves with a touch of spearmint and tulsi, an herb native to India and often consumed in teas and tisanes.
I steeped two teaspoons of Evergreen Spice in twelve ounces of water, just under a boil, for three minutes. While the tea brewed, I breathed from the package of dry leaves and ingredients. Every smell was so distinctive. Immediately noticeable were the cedar leaves, the tulsi (once you have smelled it by itself, it is very easy to identify), the spearmint (to a small degree), and the sweet-spicy mixture of chai spices. It roars over the senses in a cool rush, a spicy cool rush.
The aroma that wafts from my mug surprises me with how different it seems from the dry tea blend. The smells are much darker and warmer. Still prominent is the cedar, yet ginger and cinnamon notes, subtly sweet, join in the aroma, along with...the tea! The notes of oolong are a bit floral, a bit mineral, and a touch creamy. Aromatically, this tea has been a transporting experience, and it has not yet even touched my lips.
The first sip...blends together my aromatic experiences. Cedar and tulsi hit the tongue first, backed by the warm chai spices. It tastes like the undercurrent is the oolong itself, carrying the rest of the ingredients along. The spearmint does not taste very prominent and really sits in the background and aftertaste, lending some sharp sweetness. Individual flavors seem to be harder to differentiate in the taste of the tea than they were, when I was smelling it.
The whole experience feels good. From the first smell of the dry tea blend to the last sip from my mug, the sensory input soothed and warmed and uplifted. Sitting in my living room, I feel as though this is the ideal spot for it...yet I can imagine sipping from a cup of Evergreen Spice, while trudging through packed snow in winter. On my personal enjoyment scale, I would rate Evergreen Spice a 95/100.
Photo credit to Built from Ink and Tea.
Whispering Pines Tea's Evergreen Spice is available from their website, here.
This review was unsolicited and uncompensated.
Text is copyright 2016, Built from Ink and Tea.