What do you do with all of those tidbits left in your various bags of loose leaf teas? A teaspoon full of a malty Assam. A pinch of Keemun Panda. And so on. Well, if you’re like me, the last thing you want to do is toss them out. That would be tea sacrilege. And ordering more would be possible but not solve the immediate need for tea. Seems like a bit of impromptu blending is in order here.
Some blends seem pretty obvious. I had just about a couple teaspoons left of Keemun Panda, a rich-tasting and fragrant black Chinese tea, so naturally it would go well added to some Scottish Breakfast, a mix of Assam and Keemun. The combo was a bit heavier on the Keemun side than Scottish Breakfast usual was, which made it even tastier than usual.
Another obvious possibility would be to take your bit of Monk’s Blend, a mix of high grown Ceylon black tea and vanilla and Grenadine (made from pomegranates), and add it to a bit of another black tea with vanilla added in.
If you have a green tea with jasmine added in, you can always pair it with a similar green tea without jasmine. You’ll still get that wonderful floral aroma and flavor, but the tea will go a bit farther. You could even go a bit further by taking a tea such as Shanghai Lichee Jasmine and blending with Jasmine with flowers green tea. It might be a bit overly Jasmine-ish, though.
Generally, combining tea blends based on the same basic tea will work well. A good example is Japanese Sencha and Japanese Sencha Kyoto Cherry Rose Festival. If you’re a bit low on the latter, add a bit of the former to give you a nice full pot of tea that still has the distinctive cherry flavor.
Lots of other possibilities abound.
Not all teas go well together, though, so beware. Sometimes you can tell this upfront and avoid a misstep that would leave your tastebuds reeling. A bit of Scottish Caramel Toffee Pu-erh combined with some Earl Grey doesn’t even sound good. Earthy pu-erh, caramel and Oil of Bergamot (a citrus with a somewhat smoky flavor) aren’t compatible, at least not to my palate. You may think differently, though, which is the other point here. Experimentation is needed.
Another factor to consider is water temperature/steeping time compatibility. Black teas generally need boiling water and steeping for around five minutes versus greens which need water heated to around 160˚ F and steep times of about one to three minutes. So, mixing blacks and greens generally doesn’t work well.
Ah, the joys of tea. There always seems to be something new around the corner or in the tea pantry. Enjoy!
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