As I’ve stated many times before, our ideas for tea blends come from a lot of different places.
One of the more regular culprits is our tea survey. Practically every time it gets filled out, I end up with at least one more idea for a tasty hot beverage.
On this particular survey, she stated that one of the things she loved to do was steep Lapsang and Earl Grey teabags together, to combine the two flavours.
I thought this sounded like a brilliant combination, and Mister Tea and I decided to seek out and test organic Lapsang again, just to see if we could create this particular blend of tea.
The first time we tested Lapsang, his commentary was that it tasted like drinking a forest fire. At the time we were breathing the smoke from a huge multi-state, multi-national fire, so we had an active comparison. Admittedly, we may also have been quite tired of the taste and smell of smoke – so it may not have been a fair test of the tea.
Either way, we set Lapsang off to the side in a “maybe we will work with this at some point, if requested, but certainly not now” pile.
The new Lapsang was enjoyed by both of us, so I set to work.
It came together quite swiftly, and I loved the combination. Mister Tea also declared it something that was good.
Which meant it moved on to the naming phase of our process.
As is my wont, when a tea has been inspired by an actual person, I reached out to the survey respondent, to find out if there was anything they could tell me about the why of the idea or if there was anything in particular she would want to attach the name of the blend to.
As it turned out, she’d been introduced to Lapsang by a past housemate. The house they lived in was a Named Building – “The Nunnery.” With a name like that I figured there had to be something interesting in the history – and as that building was where the combination had been born as well, I started to wander around the internet, looking for information.
It was fascinating, looking into the history of a single building that has been around for longer than the country I live in. There is a sizable difference in the timescale of history for buildings and monuments in the ‘Old World’ as compared to the new.
The Nunnery is on the site of a priory invested over 600 years ago, and is thought to incorporate bits of the old buildings. Little is specifically known about it, in part due to the fact that the order was relatively destitute, but there were a scattering of facts to be found.
It was never given a proper income.
It was dedicated to John the Baptist.
Beyond that, there wasn’t a lot of information. Bit of a scandal involving a nun who had left and after a few years living with a man, wanted to come back… but nothing that really leapt out at me as something to use in the naming of the tea.
So I delved into my dictionary of Saints, and Mister Tea did some further deeper web-research into John the Baptist. None of his particular patronages seemed quite right for a tea that would probably end up being used as the foundation for a series of teas – but the reason for his execution did spark an idea.
As the story goes, he was basically killed for pointing out that Herod was a despicable human being and a terrible king.
There’s a certain amount of resonance for me in a tale of someone being penalized (though obviously not in such a final sense) for speaking truth to power.
And there have been many humans through the ages that have been killed for speaking the truth, or who have made great sacrifices for worthy causes, or have died in the pursuit of something that mattered or would better the lot of humanity.
We decided to take that seed and run with it. Different vein of geek from most of what we have put forth, but still one that falls solidly into our interests.
So, ‘St. John’s Verity’ begins the series. If you have suggestions for other humans to highlight with this particular tea series, please let us know.
Organic Ingredients: Earl Grey Tea (Black Tea, Bergamot Oil), Lapsang Souchong
Batch Size: 4 ounces, approximately 40-45 servings of tea
Options: Loose Tea (Sample, Bag), Teabags (Single, Sample, Bag)