The English Tea Store brand of maple-flavored black tea may not quite be what you expect to taste upon trying it. The scent of maple wafts from the tin, promising a candy sweetness. As it brews, it releases even more aroma, watering the mouth in anticipation. With a little sweetener and a dash of cream, it presents itself as a swirling, steaming mug of dessert.
And it delivers polished maple charm. But it’s unexpectedly rich and dark, as well, sobering the tastebuds and offering a distinctly “grown-up” and satisfying flavor.
For me, it immediately brought to mind one of my most cherished novels: Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus. Originally published in 1818, it is the story of Victor Frankenstein, a Swiss student who, in his relentless pursuit of science, discovers the secret of animating life. He does so, creating a monstrous being who, upon being rejected by society and his creator, vows that “If I cannot inspire love, I will cause fear!”
The story was written at a period in Shelley’s life around her early twenties, and was her first novel; but it may not be quite what you expect upon reading it. The narration delivers polished Old English charm, but it’s unexpectedly rich and dark, as well. It’s a sobering tale with a distinctly grown up and satisfying flavor.
Mary Shelley describes the summer experiences that inspired the story as the time “when I first stepped out from childhood into life”. And English Tea Store’s Maple Tea reflects this concept exactly. Its flavor is the memory of penny candy and home-cooked breakfast, blended into the smooth and sultry taste of stability and responsibility.
English Tea Store’s Maple Tea deserves a permanent home on your cupboard shelf, with your collection of tea classics. And don’t forget to include Frankenstein on your bookshelf with your collection of novel classics to pair with it.
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