‘Dark Metamorphosis’ began as an intrusive tea idea that insisted on being made before I made the thing I had originally wanted to blend. (The worst part being that I haven’t actually gone back to make the original tea idea as yet.)
The conversation that inspired ‘Lovely Day’ had also given me another couple thoughts for future teas. One of them dovetailed well with another fact.
I came to the conclusion recently that we need more teas with licorice. And not just because of the recent project involving number of teas per ingredient.
Primarily because there are a lot of people out there who approve of the taste of licorice in tea.
And I have a confession to make.
I am not one of them.
Part of that comes from feeling like it has become a cheating catch-all in commercial medicinal teas.
“Oh No. Oh Dear. The kitchen sink set of herbs we put in this tea taste TERRIBLE. Whatever can we do?! Licorice! Licorice! That taste covers ALL SINS.”
And I will admit, it does that quite handily.
However, to my tastebuds, it has an unconscionable sweetness that infiltrates your entire mouth and then Will Not Go Away.
I do love anise and fennel – which are close – but that sweetness… (Imagine you are seeing a dramatic shudder.)
However, this is another one of those places where I mostly feel like a mutant.
When it came up again as a set of teas that others would like to see, I decided I would set aside my own issues, and actually work up a few tasty teas with licorice.
Luckily, one of the more recent members of our local Tea Advisory and Tasting Panel likes licorice. 1
Due to dietary considerations for the person who sparked the idea, I had wanted to create an herbal licorice tasty tea.
Unfortunately, we had just recently added Lapsang to our list of tea ingredients. The tin that holds what is currently in use was out and visible due to a different project. The jar with dried lime was, as well.
So, some part of my brain strings those together and starts singing “Lapsang! Licorice! Lime!” in the back of my head. I eyed the idea with caution, allowed that it sounded like it would be lovely if you actually liked the taste of the components, and then went back to trying to create the herbal I’d wanted to deal with to begin with.
The first experiment did not work. I think two separate herbal ideas trainwrecked into my mind at the same time, probably due to the ongoing refrain of “Lapsang! Licorice! Lime!”
I put that into an “Oops” tin to hand off to some brave member of the previously mentioned panel, glowered at the singing voice in my head, and changed goals.
I needed to make that combination into a tea so that I could get it out of my head.
Took a few adjustments from the first set of ratios, but I fully expected that, as licorice is an ingredient I don’t know very well. I’ve only used it when I have to, and grudgingly, at that.
It was declared good, which made me happy – I’d created a tea with an ingredient that makes me twitch that was properly tasty to someone who enjoyed the flavour set. Surprisingly, I even found it almost drinkable.
Which meant it moved on to needing a name.
I was a bit flummoxed. How to name something that I felt both pride and ambivalence for?
I turned to Twitter, initially. My followers have pictures of teas in progress inflicted on them with fair frequency, and I will often go dig up the photo and retweet it. “Hey, guys, remember this? We’re actually getting around to naming it now. Any thoughts?”
Sometimes this comes with little threads and possible directions that have occurred to me, sometimes not.
First suggestion was ‘Black Soul.’ Which led me towards video games. First fixation there was the Heartless from Kingdom Hearts. I found myself a bestiary, and started paging through, looking for one where the tea might connect for one reason or another.
It didn’t lead to the name for this tea, though it came close, and gave me a name I want to use for a different, future tea.
However, as I was searching, I was also thinking about the elements of the tea, and realized that dried lime is a particular tone and shade of green – one that is often used in video games for problematic energies.
This spun thoughts over to Final Fantasy VII and the Mako Reactors. We kicked around Mako Reactor and Mako Coolant for a bit, and I let the Tea Naming Group know about the thoughts so far.
One of the first friends I made here decided to go even more oldschool than I had and suggested ‘Dark Metamophosis’ from Castlevania.
He even had a suggested marketing blurb for it:
“It works on so many levels, from making licorice palatable to changing your mood from AAAAAAHH!! – to relaxed.”
The laughter reading his suggestion provoked might have been enough to sinecure the name all by itself, but combining it with the way Mister Tea’s eyes lit up when I passed along the suggestion made it a definite.
I never developed a love for Castlevania myself, as it wasn’t on of the very few video games I played when I was young, but I have gotten enjoyment out of watching Mister Tea play it. Many yarn-objects were created watching Castlevania and Parasite Eve.
So, there you have it. The tale of ‘Dark Metamorphosis.” As well as an example of the sorts of progressions that are why we have in the vicinity of 300 blends of hot beverage.
Organic Ingredients: Lapsang Souchong, Licorice, Lime Peel 2
Batch Size: 2.1 ounces, approximately 20-25 servings of tea
Options: Loose Tea (Sample, Bag, Tin), Teabags (Single, Sample, Bag)
- Okay, so there is nothing that official sounding, in truth, and we don’t have meetings or anything… but we do have a group of local friends whose tastebuds I borrow when the opportunity presents. There is a solid chance it is considered one of the perks of visiting our domicile.
- Yes, it was hard to not sing the ingredients again.