I'm sure it's happened to you: that feeling like you've accomplished nothing, the week quickly slipping from your grasp. It's not a pleasant sensation, but there is a painless remedy.
A Tuesday afternoon tea tasting.
Plus, my kitchen counters are slowly being taken over by clusters of little samples and packets, and I didn't get nearly enough sleep last night. So what better time to listen to Houses of the Holy three times in a row and brew up some offerings from Amithé, a new tea company I recently stumbled across.
First up, the signature Amithé ($17 for 1.5 oz.), a white tea strewn with rose petals that brewed up luscious, soft and sweet. Some claim white teas are redolent of perfume, and I can understand the comparison. But this one is so in the best way possible- think of sinking blissfully into a warm bathtub full of Chanel No. 5, not getting sprayed in the eye with a blast of Electric Youth. The tea gets even sweeter as it cools, which would make it perfect, iced, for any August picnic that stretches into dusk.
Théo ($14.75 for 3.5 oz.) and I didn't along quite as well. An Earl Grey mixed with rose, jasmine and lavender, this is an ambitious blend, perhaps best for flavored-tea junkies. It's not cloying, as you might expect, but there were so many floral notes in each sip that I found it hard to concentrate and detect the base tea's essence. Maybe I'm just a lightweight. It certainly did look gorgeous as it was brewing- but then again, the most attractive ones are always the biggest troublemakers.
With a name like La Dame à Licorne ($17 for 2.5 oz.)- a little bit filthy, a little bit French- I was hooked before it even passed my lips. I kept trying to come up with descriptions as I sipped: was it earthy or grassy, slightly astringent or barely sweet? Then, suddenly, the cup was empty, and a sensation similar to what I imagine drives an alcoholic seized me. I'd never known this tea existed until two minutes before, but now I had to have another cup. This tea is so well-balanced and palatable; it's everything a Chinese green should be. At this point it may have been the tea talking, but those leaves really did look like miniature unicorn horns.
My final tea of the tasting was Fumoir ($21.50 for 7 oz.). Even while brewing, it smelled musky and dangerous, like someplace your mother would warn your teenage self to avoid. (She'd usually be right, but so what?) A gunpowder green tea, this full-flavored version is deliciously smoky- and if a nonsmoking vegetarian (ah, how boring we become with age) can be so bold, almost meaty.
Now it's turned into evening, I have a third cup of Fumoir in hand, and I'm not quite sure how it all happened.
But I suppose all the best parties end that way.