Thursday, January 26, 2017

The Kent & Sussex Tea & Coffe Co: Violet Tea, A Tea Review

So, it is probably known by now that my recent obsession is modded Minecraft, finally getting years worth of wanting to play all the mods I ogle out of my system. Problem is, the modpacks I keep playing either don't work for me (as in I don't like the way they are set up) or they are so beefy that they crash constantly. My new computer is a beautiful machine, but it is not that good, so I thought...how do I play the mods I want but not crash...Skyblock! I decided to start playing Project Ozone 2, a very heavy-duty modpack with a lot of automation and mechanical stuff, no real magic though (maybe that is good, any pack that has Thaumcraft means as soon as I start Thaumcraft I ignore everything else) but it does have the Aether, a mod I thought was long dead and was sad because I wanted to play it, but the Aether lives!

Today's tea is a flowery explosion, Violet Tea from The Kent & Sussex Tea & Coffe Co, a Chinese black tea blended with and scented with violets. Ah, Viola odorata, the most aromatic of the Viola genus, most people in the US are more familiar with the native Viola sororia which pop up in many people's yards in spring-time, if you are one of those people you probably notice that they don't have much of a smell (much like the common pansy, another well note Viola) and if you eat them (like I do) their taste is pretty light, nothing that you expect to scent a tea. The Viola odorata is a lot more common in England (which is why one of its common names is English Violet) which is why you pretty much only see Violet themed teas on the other side of the pond, and let me tell you this, I have wanted to get my hands on some for YEARS. The aroma does not disappoint, strong notes of sweet violet, it is a bit soapy (similar to lavender, as it is frequently used in soap) and very sweet, like candied violets. Trying to describe the aroma of violets is hard, it is like a blend of lilac, grapes, hyacinth, with a touch of baby powder and alyssum. It is pretty potent stuff, heady and sweet but not cloying. I cannot really smell the base tea at all, just all violets all the time, and considering I wanted this tea because of the violets I am completely fine with this.

Into my steeping apparatus the leaves and flowers go, and wow, my tea desk is now a field of violets! Strong notes of grapes, violets, and an undertone of malt drift from the wet leaves. It is very intense, but I can smell the base tea and it is solid, a nice sweet malty accompaniment for the flowers. The aroma is also quite strong and sweet, though not as potent as the leaves, more like sniffing a pile of candied violets instead of a bottle of violet perfume, with a malty cocoa undertone of the base tea.

Back in the Victorian era Violet perfume was all the rage, mostly because it was strong and heady without being cloying, descriptions from that time period call the perfume ethereal, which is a fair description. I feel the proper lady drinking this tea, and not just because I am using my fanciest western style teacup. The taste is something else, sweet candied violets, grapes, molasses, malt, brown sugar, and honey blend together for a very sweet and very floral tea. Do not drink if you are not a fan of strongly scented teas, as the violet taste is very strong, and it lingers forever! I absolutely loved this tea, I enjoyed it hot and chilled, and I plan on using it some in baking because candied violets are a real pain to get around here and I can probably use this as a substitute to get the same flavor in cookies.

This tea was sent for review purposes by the company.

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