Blending Bob

Saturday, October 13, 2012

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.

11 Comments

  1. Margo Hutchinson says:

    Sounds fun, good pictures…keep it up!

  2. ‘Twas fun. Wish I could’ve gone to other workshops they were putting on.

  3. Profile photo of bram bram says:

    Boom, mad scientists creates explosive tea.

    1. I guess that’s why I added peppermint (?).

  4. Profile photo of thedevotea thedevotea says:

    You should never be frightened to try any blend. Never ever. Except in the case of your second tea. In that case, add it to four times its own weight in sugar, boil for several hours, add pectin and pass it off as some sort of tropical fruit jam to unsuspecting elderly relatives.
    Also, they labelled peppermint as spearmint? But… you’re American. Doesn’t your Constitution mean you have to sue them for $1m in the supreme court. Or at the very least, $5000 on Judge Judy?

  5. I would never sue over blending. That would make me no better than Teavana.

  6. Profile photo of jackie jackie says:

    Interesting read but I can’t get used to the idea of taking one of my favorite teas – the Yunnan, and blending it with anything at all. Still, +1 for creativity.
    4 minutes of steep time sounds like quite a lot, but Bob’s a tough guy, he can clearly handle anything you drop him in.
    One more thought..what is the difference between spearmint and peppermint?
    Anyway, sounds like a fun event.

    1. I still have a little more Bob to play with. So I’ll try it at the minutes instead of four. I normally wouldn’t blend Dian Hong, either, but that was all they had for use. As for the difference in mint? Spearmint tastes like gum, and peppermint tastes like Christmas.

  7. Profile photo of xavier xavier says:

    How did you decide what you would be blending?

    1. I kinda just threw things together like a toddler.

      1. Profile photo of xavier xavier says:

        Is that you Doc?

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