The tea I drink the most is that of pure, high quality loose leaf. Most folks I know that care about tea drink the same. I find many turn their noses up at the idea of most tea blends. I think the term blend has been tarnished a bit by many of the large tea companies. Many of us think of tea blends as a lower quality tea base sprayed with artificial flavoring extract, perhaps a few uninspired pieces of dried fruit thrown in and a nondescript name like “Tutti Frutti”.
However, I’ve realized in the past few years that tea blends are something we tea lovers should embrace. As we drink more and more quality tea we get much better at determining what would make the tea even more perfect for us. We think to ourselves “a shorter steep time next time”, “too bitter” or “great tea, but lacking in finish”. Blends are where we as experienced tasters and tea lovers can play mad scientist in the kitchen and brew up the perfect cup.
I think as long as we always respect the tea at hand, we should experiment with anything in our kitchen or supermarket. Ever have zucchini oolong? Me neither, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t at least try it.
Here is a picture from one of my brewing tests last week (morel mushrooms and brussels sprouts)