This isn’t a post about my artwork, or about any story I’ve written, as much as might I wish I could be part of the brilliant endeavor. It is, however, about literature, art, creativity, and–best of all–tea.
Have you heard of Noveltea Tins? They’re book-shaped tins of loose leaf tea, based on works of classic literature. The Picture of Earl Grey, Don Quixotea (the Man of La Man-chai), and War and Peach were the first, followed by the British collection of Pride and Peppermint, Oliver Lemon Twist, and Matcha Do About Nothing. And most recently came the children’s classics . . .
When Noveltea Tins held their third kickstarter, which featured the new tins of Anise in Wonderland, Pekoe Pan, and Pu-Erh Rabbit, I splurged on my first set of tins. Production delays and California wildfires made for a long wait, but at long last they have arrived!
Aren’t they pretty? I wish I could claim to have done the artwork, particularly of Pu-Erh Rabbit, but alas, ’twas not I. But I love the artists they’ve employed! Both the titles and the cover work are delightfully punny in their nods to both the original stories and their loose leaf content.
Of the tins, I think Pu-erh Rabbit is the cutest, but Pippi Oolongstocking was the one I wanted most (being one of my favorite children’s classics). The tin was available only as a reward in kickstarter (and is not for purchase on the website). Hence, in good part, my splurging on the kickstarter rather than just buying a tin here and a tin there. Pride and Peppermint, which I do not yet own, is possibly the most elegant of them all. An excellent story, as well.
Though The Picture of Earl Grey was among the very first tins designed, they have since changed the tin size, and thus the original classic was redesigned to fit with all the new ones (and hence his inclusion in this otherwise children’s lit collection). I was excited, as the flavor of the tea–a jasmine-scented earl grey mixed with rose–has long piqued my interest (plus it is among my favorite of the puns).
The kickstarter also included the special blend Anne of Green Tea Gables, which does not (as of yet) have its own tin, but does have lovely artwork all the same, which they put on the sample bag.
Anise in Wonderland was a lovely tin as well, included among the tins that arrived at my door, but it was destined for a wedding gift and not to be part of my personal collection. I did, however, buy a small sample of the tea just to find out what I missed . . .
Now the tea:
Pu-erh Rabbit was the first of the teas I sampled. I admit I expected it to be the least favorite of the tea tins I kept (flavor-wise, that is), as plain pu-erh tends to remind me of haylage (fermented hay cattle feed), but it really surprised me. While this one does have that very characteristic pu-erh scent to the brewed tea, the flavor is remarkably smooth and fruity, rather along the lines of how unflavored, homemade kombucha is fruity, and it doesn’t taste like the pu-erh scent at all. I could drink it all day, it’s so lovely.
Anise in Wonderland became the wedding gift mostly because my friend loves Alice in Wonderland, but, truth be told, also because I don’t generally care for the flavor of licorice (aka anise). I have found that blended with other spices, it can meld really well–add it to a molasses cookie, and you have something magical. With the cinnamon mixed in, this wasn’t bad–a splash of cream in the tea and rich chocolaty dessert on the side, and it made for a pleasant snack. (Remember, I bought a 1-oz sample as well. What kind of friend would I be stealing from a wedding gift?)
Anne of Green Tea Gables put me instantly in mind of summer. Maybe it’s because that’s when I tend to drink the most green tea, but something about the tea just says, “summer.” It’s light and fruity, with the orange flavor slightly outweighing the raspberry. Quite pleasant.
While we’re on the subject of fruity tea, there’s Pippi Oolongstocking–one that is straight orange flavor. Being oolong, it has more body than the green tea of Anne of Green Tea Gables, but to determine which one has the better flavor–and to better determine the differences in their flavors–I really should do a taste test side by side. I haven’t yet, but I have consumed a lot of the Pippi Oolongstocking in the past week; it has really been hitting the spot.
Earl Grey was an acquired taste for me–acquired by dint of having no other tea options during two weeks abroad and desperate to drink whatever tea I could get–and since acquired, I do enjoy it. However, rather than a traditional citrus tea, The Picture of Earl Grey is very floral instead. Jasmine is often a powerful flavor, and it definitely is in this tea as well. To be honest, I didn’t notice the bergamot flavor at all under all the floralness. I’ve had a lavender Earl Grey that I liked better, but when I’m in the mood for jasmine, this is an excellent option.
Finally, Pekoe Pan: I drink by far the most Orange Pekoe tea of any and all teas. It’s just a solid, delicious, everyday tea that I never tire of. But what makes this one special is the vanilla. Mmm. And it is no weak vanilla, it is undeniably, deliciously VANILLA. Excellent.