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domingo, 13 de dezembro de 2015

Scented Snippets, The Perfumed Palate: Aftelier Orange Cardamom Black Tea

by: Ida Meister

“This delicious full-bodied tea is flavored with Aftelier Chef's Essences: the perfect marriage of mouth-watering blood orange and the spicy warmth of cardamom. Organic Red Pearls Black Tea, a rare tea from Fujian, is fully-oxidized Mao Feng tea leaves that have been rolled into small black pearls. They are then pan-fired where they develop a burnished sheen, toasty caramel-like aroma, and spicy, assertive -- yet wonderfully sweet – flavor.” ~ Mandy Aftel
Welcome into our kitchen, where I've brewed the lovely aromatic offerings of Charna Ethier and Mandy Aftel. Today is Mandy's day; she's sent me her latest scented tea, a full-bodied toasted black tea laced with blood orange and lilting cardamom.
Toasty does it.
I sit at my 40+ year old canary-yellow Parson's table, and you can see the gorgeous cognac-like hue of Mandy's tea in the old glass mug; the enchanting little tea-for-one black ceramic teapot from Jamaica Plain [once a lace-curtain Irish meets blue-collar neighborhood - now a living, vital, breathing locus of infinite ethnic variety!] accompanies it, with our nearly-depleted sugar receptacle [for lack of a better word]. I love having you at our table, and I enjoy sharing any fragrant news afoot as well.
The aroma of this tea manages to be both bold AND subtle: you can detect the blood orange peeping mischievously through that strong, dark, malty black tea, with elfin wisps of cardamom dancing on top of the cup. That cardamom loves to dance; it skips blithely on tiptoe, but if you're fully awake, you can trace her footfall. Pour a mere smidgen of sugar into your palm. It will suffice, draw out all the flavors without ending up treacly. Savor how the ingredients play upon your tongue; there's a marvelous aftertaste, not unlike the way your mouth experiences a post-artichoke moment, when anything put into it tastes sweeter.
That's the beauty of it.
A simplicity, a purity, a sureness of purpose.
Some teas are ethereal. I wouldn't characterize this one as such, only the flavorings, which smell more robust than they taste. My mouth experiences it as pentimento: underneath is all the depth and smoky substance, while the delicacy is overlaid like a fresh layer of pigment.
On a wintry day, a lovely pot of this would warm and cheer one.
If you can, do make it a point to sample Mandy's teas; it's a little Geschenk you can give yourself – and those you love.

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