The story of ‘Eureka: Smoky Monkey’ began several years ago.
A customer had purchased our ‘Tea of the Month Club,’ and when he filled out the survey he listed off his favourite teas.
Golden Monkey. Silver Needle. Practically everything on his list was a top of the line type of tea.
Some of them I hadn’t even heard of before. I did some research, and was a bit taken aback by the price point of many of the teas he’d mentioned. I wasn’t sure if they were things I should create blends with, in the way that we do. This was partially because I was afraid that most people who would know these teas would be quite purist about it, and might be horrified at having those teas polluted with other ingredients.
Fast forward to more recent times.
One of our Twitter followers introduced us to a hashtag that has brought me fun, ideas, some tea-camaraderie, and caused me to fall into the wonderful rabbit hole that is Science Twitter.
The hashtag is #365teas.
They were in the middle of a tea-off when I first discovered them. Each week, two teas would face off in a poll, and the winner would move on to the next round.
Fascinated, and ever happy with an excuse to learn more tea types, I printed off a copy of the contest match-ups so that I could make a list of the teas I was unfamiliar with and attempt to try them before they came up as one of the weekly teas.
On that list was Golden Monkey.
I was still leery of the concept of using it. I was also a bit wary of trying it, because… well…. If I like a tea, it will become an ingredient, and I was worried about price points. Some of our tea prices make me feel like apologizing as is, and I was pretty sure that adding something like Golden Monkey to the toolbox would just put more into that category.
A brief, but passionate conversation with he-who-ran-the-tea-off and I decided I had to try it.
To my surprise, one of the suppliers that actually offers bulk pricing (even to micro-business like ours) carried the tea.
So I added some to my next supply order.
That first test cup was just as dangerous as I had feared.
It was lovely.
And I wanted to make teas with it.
In fact, within half a cup, I already had ideas about what I wanted to combine with it.
The first one, and the one that would not leave my mind, was that it was glorious – but might be even more so if paired with something smoky.
We’d recently added proper Lapsang to the toolbox, and before the week was out, I’d run a test blend.
And loved it. It has become a tea that I drink near-daily (a bit guiltily, I will admit.)
It being so good, obviously I couldn’t just keep it to myself.
Which meant we needed to name it.
Because #365teas had been the trigger for finally trying Golden Monkey, I wanted to attach the tea to the other area that hashtag had opened up for me in the Twitterverse.
I wasn’t positive whether I wanted the teas to just homage particular discoveries or scientists or… if I wanted there to be some sort of deeper connection.
I did know that we’ve developed a habit of taking our tasty blends of just teas and creating series’ of teas that use them as the foundational element, adding other flavours in as well.
I was pretty sure that was inevitable with this tea.
One of the suggestions offered up was to make this tea series a celebration of diversity in STEM. This felt perfect.
Mister Tea and I have some fairly strong opinions on human rights and access and diversity and…
… so with the basic intent of the tea series figured out, we needed to come back to naming this particular tea.
Two ideas, one suggested by the chap who started the whole process by convincing me to try Golden Monkey, and one that jumped into my head and just sat there oscillating – came to the forefront of the naming process.
And Smoky Monkey.
We ended up combining them. Eureka will be the series name, and Smoky Monkey was perfect, given the ingredients of this tea.
And, as a special bonus, it made me laugh at first suggestion, and still makes me smile every time I think about it.
We are going to approach the Eureka teas a bit differently than we have our other ChariTeas. This will be the first time we have a series of them. For each purchase of one of the Eureka teas, we will set aside a percentage of the profits into a pool that will collect over the course of the year. At the end of the year, we will split that total between appropriate organizations that are assisted by donations.
For the moment, we have one charity on the list. The hope is that each time we blend a new Eureka tea, we will also add another charity.
We are starting with SACNAS. Their mission description is: SACNAS is an inclusive organization dedicated to fostering the success of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans, from college students to professionals, in attaining advanced degrees, careers, and positions of leadership in STEM.
They were suggested by the individual who gave us the idea to start with, and seemed a good place to start.
Organic Ingredients: Golden Monkey, Lapsang Souchong
Batch Size: 3 ounces, approximately 30-35 servings of tea
Options: Loose Tea (Sample, Bag, Tin), Teabags (Single, Sample, Bag)