by Little Yellow Teapot (a tea steeping marvel and occasional contributing author to this e-zine)
Along with the Black Fusion tea we had received recently came a bit of a surprise – a pouch of Castleton 2nd Flush 2015 Moonlight tea. We had tried the first flush courtesy of another vendor, but the second flush is usually much different. My humans were the ones dancing around the room this time, with me controlling my scooting urge since I had no desire to end up in pieces on the floor. TOOOT!
The dry aroma was nicely fruity. We infused for 3 minutes using water that had been heated to a boil and then let sit for a minute to cool slightly. We didn’t want to scorch or stew the leaves. One tip for you is to stir the leaves around in the water about midway through infusing them to be sure they are getting evenly exposed to the water.
A totally stellar tea. If you get a chance to order some, you won’t regret it. Nicely fruity (that Muscatel character) with no bitterness and a lovely lingering aftertaste. Perfect for our silvery moonlight setting and for sipping while reading the words of artists through the ages.
A concern about the push to specialty teas:
As nice as this tea is, and as nice as other specialty teas are, it seems that some folks are trying to steer the market. That is fine, except that they are trying to steer it to higher prices, which only works short term (the market is the market is the market). And when tea gardens get used to selling at higher prices and their workers get used to higher wages, when it all pops, they are all hurt.
There is a huge market for the teas sold by the larger companies. There is a much, much smaller market for the specialty teas (not just due to price but also due to the need for more time and knowledge to enjoy them properly). And there is a growing market, thanks to various tea companies, for cheap tea heavily gunked up with chunks of fruit, loads of spices, tons of flower petals, etc. They have created a taste for trash tea, basically. Not a problem but something for the folks busy creating those specialty teas to consider. How do you sell great teas to people whose palates have been conditioned to stuff that has virtually no tea flavor in it?
And if you don’t have a clever gimmick, cute or hip packaging, and a ton of money for marketing, good luck even getting seen. It’s like a virtuoso classical violinist trying to stand out on a stage of fiddlers playing the latest songs from the pubs of Ireland or something.
Disclaimer: all items were furnished by the vendor but all opinions expressed here are totally unbiased.
© 2015 A.C. Cargill photos and text