We have fairly high standards for what we put into our teas.
The first step for this is that everything we can source organic, we do. We have a few ethically wild-crafted ingredients, and one or two things that we just can’t find organic. (In the latter cases, we make sure nothing is added to it. Just the plant or fruit or….)
The second step for this is the size of the bits that end up in the tea. For each ingredient we work with that needs processing, we experiment with levels of grinding or how thoroughly to chop it up, in order to find the best-fit for tea.
Additionally, with many plant ingredients, you don’t want to break it up fully until you have to. The longer an herb or spice stays whole, the longer the potency lasts, both in flavour and for medicinal properties.
This means we have a number of ingredients that we deal with, in order to give you the best end result in your cup of tea.
I’ve had a couple of conversations recently with people about what this entails, and the level of work that was required. Due to the responses (respect, awe, shellshock, possibly a bit of thinking we are a trifle insane) – we decided to introduce you to these ingredients.
So, first up is Nutmeg. Our nutmeg comes to us like this:
Lovely stuff. However, these ‘nutmegs’ are huge, and are completely unusable, in this format, for tea. You can’t really slice a nutmeg, and that wouldn’t be small enough to truly grant flavour effectively, anyway.
So we use this:
This is a handcrank grinder that fits 1 nutmeg at a time. However, it gives us the best size of any method we have found so far. Our microplane graters range from ‘too fine’ to ‘way too big,’ without giving us the happy middle ground this grinder does.
However, the process is relatively time consuming. Until recently I hadn’t realized how time consuming. At the moment we only have one tea that involves nutmeg, and it doesn’t take much of this particular spice to give the right amount of taste.
Recently, instead of grinding my usual fraction of an ounce, I had to grind 100 grams of it. It took a couple hours to get it all properly done.
When we are done grinding, it looks like this:
And, because of the other drawback of the handcrank grinder, we also end up with these leftovers:
So, this is Nutmeg. It is a wonderful taste, and I really do love the spice. However, our ‘Believe Impossible Things‘ is still my least favorite of our teas to actually blend. Drinking it is excellent, the fact that I get to do that actually mostly makes up for the process of grinding the Nutmegs.
I also think that the leftovers are some of the prettiest spice bits I have ever seen. If properly dealt with I think they would make neat jewelry or ornaments. (One of those talented crafters I know are out there should do this so I have an excuse to not add it to my own eventual to do list!)