(Today please welcome Guest Poster and frequent commenter Ann! In response to Posse requests, we’re doing a tea post. Since everything I know about tea could be inscribed on a Lipton tag, I invited Ann to do a post. All you tea freaks, please come out and comment. Any weird pasting errors are mine. – March)
Fair warning to all you Posse fans: No perfume post on tap today (lost some of you right there), and also a newbie poster (there go the rest of you). All kidding aside, I’m hoping that one or two of you will stick around, bear with me and not throw things — unless it’s tea bags and perfume.
No doubt about it, those two are a natural match; lovely aromas are wonderful, no matter their origin. The more I think back on it, my love affair with perfume and tea caught fire right around the same time several years ago.
Now I’m telling you guys up front, I am in no way, shape or form an expert, just a fragrance addict like all of you,who happens to love tea; I wouldn’t know a second harvest from a third if it bumped into me on the street. There may be some of you out there who are tea experts, and I welcome your thoughts as I’m always glad to learn more.
I’m pretty much a democratic consumer: I drink it all, from higher-end (Mariage Freres) to supermarket brands such as Bigelow, Celestial Seasonings, etc. I’ll try anything once and I happily sip most varieties. I adore testing new blends but I do wish there were a more economical way to do so without having to buy a whole package, tin, etc. Perhaps a tea decanting site is in my future, eh?
Like many of you, I enjoy sharing my passion. At my previous job, I kept a selection of teas handy for co-workers to sample. And I did much the same thing with fragrance. I guess I’m an enabler, in my own small way. One variety that I drank daily back then, a blend of red, white and green teas, prompted an officemate to ask me in a running joke if I’d flown my Italian flag that day.
I drink anywhere from 3 to 6 cups a day and skip caffeine after about 5 p.m.I tend to like my black teas and chais with a splash of milk and a spoonful of sugar (channeling Mary Poppins here). Having said that, in an effort to cut down on sugar consumption, I’ve been experimenting with stevia. When trying a new tea, I’ll sip it unsweetened first, then with sugar a time or two, just to establish a baseline for its flavor. And later I’ll give it a go with the stevia, for comparison’s sake.
One of the fringe benefits I enjoy most about my habit is the wonderful ritual of afternoon tea, especially when traveling. What a treat to have a relaxing hour or two in the middle of an otherwise-hectic day of sightseeing and shopping, to catch my breath and reflect on what I’ve just seen (and sniffed, of course). I try to enjoy it wherever I am, be it San Francisco or Chicago, London or L.A., or even in my hometown. It’s especially soothing now in the heart of the hectic holiday season.
When it comes to fragrance with tea notes / influences, I’ve tried a few (the Bulgari red, white and green series, Annick Goutal’s Duel, Cartier’s L’Heure XIII ) but have been remiss about L’Artisan and several others. I need to remedy that, so your suggestions are welcome.
OK, I hear some of you saying, let’s wind this thing up.
Here are my favorite teas and a few corresponding perfume thoughts:
Teavana’s To Life blend (loose-leaf). This golden-amber brew contains red, green and white teas (hence the Italian flag). Its red comes from a lightly fruity rooibos, the green from jasmine pearls and the white from silver needle leaves. A subtle but delicious brew, and one you feel good about drinking, knowing you’re getting lots of antioxidants. It also can be re-infused several times. One caveat: Even using the most fine tea ball or sieve, tiny bits can leak through into the tea. If that bothers you, the best option I’ve found is disposable paper tea bags. This tea reminds me, character-wise, of Barbara Bui perfume. It’s not loud or showy, just soft, lovely, and easily enjoyed throughout the day.
Tea Forte’s Orchid Vanilla (bags and loose leaf). This brand’s tea comes in tall pyramid-shaped mesh infusers with cute little leaves atop each and sits on little square ceramic pedestals (sold separately). But that’s the fancy (and priciest) presentation. For everyday drinking, I’ve purchased a container of the Orchid Vanilla in loose leaf, which comes in a pretty lavender tin. This lovely black tea contains Madagascar vanilla and the tiniest hint of coconut. Maybe it’s the name and the tin’s color, but it makes me think of scents like Van Cleef & Arpels’ Orchidee Vanille or Frederic Malle’s Iris Poudre.
Zhena’s Gypsy Tea Coconut Chai (bagged). This lightly spiced black tea is delicious, with or without a spot of milk. And the subtle hint of coconut is not enough to be a deal-breaker, in my opinion. If I’m feeling particularly decadent, I add a drop of coconut extract and vanilla-flavored coffee creamer. This one may be a bit of Laura Mercier’s L’heure Magique tarted up with the tiniest dab of coconut.
Republic of Tea‘s Good Hope Vanilla (bagged). A good basic rooibos with a hint of vanilla. (It seems I’m a vanilla ‘ho in tea, too.) Even though it’s a red tea, something about it reminds me of cream soda, and makes me think of smooth, comforting scents along the lines of Diptyque’s Eau Duelle or Indult’s Tihota, in the softest of their drydowns. This is one even my picky son likes, and on the weekends often asks, “Mommy, can we have some ‘cupcake tea’?”
Celestial Seasonings Decaf Mint (bagged). This is my evening go-to workhorse, a mix of green and white tea. It won’t keep you awake, and the hint of mint soothes any tummy woes from an evening meal that’s too heavy or rich. No perfume thoughts on this one; it’s just a nice, comfy cup.
Marco Polo from Mariage Freres (loose leaf or muslin tea bags). Although pricey, this lovely black tea makes for a smooth, well-refined brew,with delicate flowery-fruity undertones and aroma. It’s elegant but not aloof. Although when I drink it in an everyday mug, it does seem to gaze longingly at the good china cups, but it’s far too polite to say anything. If it were a perfume, it would probably be one of my favorite scents, the discontinued and hard-to-find Cartier Must II EDT.
That’s enough about me. I would love to hear about your favorite teas, tea scents, places to have tea, etc.
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