One of the things that Mister Tea and I have decided to attempt to do is make it so that any flavour set we create that is caffeinated will have a companion tea that is either herbal or actually made with decaffeinated tea.
Amusingly, this was actually a decision my subconscious came to on its own. This isn’t all that uncommon, data will get chewed on, logic applied – but sometimes it happens as a background process and I don’t realize it has occurred until I start noticing changes in how I operate.
In this case, when I set to make Solace and Accio Spoons, I immediately started thinking about how we could go about having versions of both without caffeine.
For Accio Spoons, this was easy. I just limited my tea choices to the ones we have access to decaf versions of. Might not be a completely simple swap, as the decaf teas tend to be a bit less potent, flavour-wise – but still a relatively easy thing to work up.
For Solace I needed to take a different route. The only decaffeinated green we’ve been able to find so far is a fairly basic one. I can use it in teas that use our high mountain green, but that’s about it.
I thought about the taste of roasted kukicha, went through our foundational ingredients, and pulled the ones I thought might be useful in creating a similar flavour profile. I then brewed a cup, and alternated between drinking and smelling the tea and inhaling the smells of those various foundationals.
Eventually I came to the conclusion that one of our barleys was the best option.
It took longer than usual to work it up, because I was still experiencing some intermittent loopiness due to the last stage of illness, and I forgot that the barleys are quite potent.
So potent that you cannot visually ratio them the same as a tea.
The first combination of herbs and barley didn’t look like Solace. So I added more barley until it did. Which was a mistake.
It took many more test blendings and cups of tea to fix the ratios until the taste was right. Thankfully, the taste of this particular barley is something I enjoy, especially when combined with my beloved hawthorn berries.
The process was extended even further because I was in the middle of reorganizing the way we store our in-use herbs, and had somehow misplaced our remaining Lemon Balm. I was about halfway through fixing the ratios for this tea when the on-hand jar emptied.
I couldn’t find the rest of our Lemon Balm.
I also could not understand how I’d managed to run out without realizing it, because I had been thoroughly convinced we still had at least a little remaining in the primary bag.
Lemon Balm shows up so frequently in our medicinal teas that this actually triggered a panic. I was darting around the house, checking all the places I could think of, trying to figure out where it could have ended up…
…and eventually just did a stock check, since going without Lemon Balm for any length of time was unwise. I’d known I needed to do one anyway, because the holiday season had come close to clearing us out of many important things, but I’d intended to wait until my body was a little more recovered from the flu that consumed January’s usefulness.
While doing the stock check, of course, I found the remaining Lemon Balm.
Which allowed me to finish working up this tea. It is now one of the few that has taken more than a day or two to complete. For more amusing reason than usual, granted.
The full story of why the flavour set was chosen can be found in the post for its sister tea – Solace. The basic explanation is that Roasted Kukicha is a comforting taste to me, and hawthorn and lemon balm were good choices for how I felt, as well as being quite tasty in their own right.
We settled on Sanctuary for the name because it works well in tandem with Solace, it describes well what the tea was designed to do, and because both words are relatively steeped in geekery. I can think of a number of fictional realities where they are the names of towns – and Sanctuary was also the name of a science fiction series that Mister Tea and I quite enjoyed.
This is the first pair of teas where we have made sure to have both the caffeinated and decaffeinated available from the beginning, though we hope to make it standard practice going forward.
Now for the basics:
Organic Ingredients: Malted Barley, Hawthorn Berries, and Lemon Balm. All are organic.
Batch Size: 4.7 ounces, enough to make at least 55 servings of tea.
Options: Loose Tea (Sample, Bag), Teabags (Single, Sample, Bag)