“Into the Dark Woods” was inspired by one of those weird meme quiz name things.
One of my mutuals on Twitter had posted one, commenting on how hers did not suit her in the slightest, and I took a look and cringed.
Mine was something completely suiting to a witchy herbalist, in all the worst stereotypical ways, given my actual approach to herbs and tea.
It was the kind of name where each tea would have a certain time of day and year to be blended, and I would likely feel compelled to bless them by moonlight.
This is not to say I find anything wrong with having a spiritual approach to plants and tea – I make sure I am centered and clear before blending for people, and when I finish the recipe for a blend there’s almost a sense of asking the universe if it is okay to add it to the fabric of reality…
… but I have also been harangued, at length, in text and in person, about how I do not consult with angels or faeries or elementals. And for the fact that I DARE to incorporate science into the magic of plants.1
A couple of our death threats actually came from that quarter.
I said that mine didn’t suit either.
It might have ended there, except that she stated the one she would have preferred, of the options available.
“Of the Dark Woods.”
I concurred heartily. There have been many adventures rambling through woods in my life, some dark, some not so dark, but I love the memories.
She was amused and said we would rule the Dark Woods together, because we could.
And then commented that all we needed was a signature tea to sip whilst we did so.
This was one of those times when my brain seized on a concept and ran off with it.
“In the Dark Woods Tea!”
“Woods… Sticks… Kukicha! And Smoky because the woods are dark.”
It is likely that the smokiness of the idea had as much to do with my mild obsession with smoky teas as it did the darkness of the woods. At this point I’m pretty sure there’s more evidence of my smokiness obsession than that of my obsession with chais – and there’s quite a lot of evidence for the chais.
I commented regarding what I would likely blend as a tea for the concept, and she expressed a desire to drink said tea.
I probably would have blended it anyway, because it sounded so tasty, but an outside vote always moves things from “I might blend this at some point” to “I shall blend this soon.”
When I approached the test blend I was sort of surprised this idea hadn’t been in the file already. I love roasted kukicha. It was one of the teas that took a while to find in an organic variant and I was giddy once we’d acquired it.
I am sad to say, not much blending happened with that first 8 ounces of tea. I just sort of drank my way through it – in order to reacquaint myself with the flavour, of course.
Granted, we haven’t had Lapsang in the toolbox for long, but I felt it certainly should have been long enough for me to have decided to combine two of my favourite things.
It took a few test runs to get the tea right. The roasted kukicha stood up to the lapsang far better than I had anticipated. (Due to recent discoveries regarding strawberry, I think the two would get on famously.2)
The result was brilliant. It has become yet another tea that I’ve been perhaps a bit too fixated on since it was blended.
The name was easier than many. The basic concept was right there in the title that the two of us had preferred.
I ended up going with “Into the Dark Woods” rather than some of the other options that came to mind, because it was pointed out that it sounded more like the beginning of a journey.
As my idea for the series of teas that could use this as a base has to do with delving into myths, legends, and fictional tales of the Fae3 – that fit perfectly.
I am also grateful for the entire progression of this tea, and the conversation thread that spun out of it. There was a piece of the thread that sparked an odd idea for a short story nexus, of sorts, and it became strident enough in my head that I had to start writing again.
Organic Ingredients: Lapsang Souchong, Roasted Kukicha
Batch Size: 2.2 ounces, approximately 30-35 servings of tea
Options: Loose Tea (Sample, Bag, Tin), Teabags (Single, Sample, Bag)
- I have a lot of respect for anyone who manages to hold onto faith in this world – whichever words they use or whatever entities are revered. Especially when they do not let it blind them to science.
- And yes, now I have to blend a strawberry kukicha at some point.
- I may open this out to “denizens of the dark woods” as a concept for the tea series, as an idea was flung at me a couple days ago that could use this as a base.