Old Eighties Queer started as a short thread on Twitter by one of the authors I follow, shortly after the 2018 US midterm elections.
It was a short thread about how there were now queer members of Congress – there were queer governors – and that 30 years ago that had been impossible. It was recognition of the progress that has actually been made, and an acknowledgement of the fact that such things are slow to change – and that we have to continue to put in the work to keep things moving.
The thread resonated for me.
There are terms now for how I approach life (both for gender identity and for sexuality) – this was not true when I was growing up.
I was just a mutant freak that didn’t handle things the same way as the people around me, and I always had a creeping conviction that there must be Something Wrong with me.
As it turns out I was not alone in my oddity, I just didn’t have a large enough sample pool of humans to find others like me – and those particular questions of identity hadn’t become a part of the larger conversation as yet.
I opened the thread, and wandered through the comments on it, and one of them indicated that ‘Old Eighties Queer’ would be a great name for a beer.
But I also thought that it would be a great name for a tea.
And said as much.
I probably should not have been surprised that I was told “I’d drink that.”
As tends to happen when an idea gets that kind of extra fuel, I decided to blend a tea for that name.
The suggestion was that it be an almost kaleidoscopic taste – without being jumbled. As the conversation continued things moved from cinnamon to chai – perhaps with chocolate – perhaps with a flower more exotic than rose.
This led me to the idea of a chocolate jasmine chai.
Which I wasn’t sure I could actually blend.
Jasmine generally comes across as a fairly delicate flavour and fragrance, and I had no idea if it would stand up to chocolate, much less chai spices in an amount that would still leave me with a usable tea blend.
I don’t mind needing a more heaping scoop to get enough of the combined flavours, but there are reasonable limits.
Per my usual protocols, this meant I needed to see if the cacao nibs and jasmine would play well together before trying to add in the intensity that comes with a chai spice blend. Cardamom is one of our more expensive ingredients, and I don’t use it unless I am certain that the rest of an idea will work.
I was shocked by how well the jasmine stood up to the chocolate.1 Apparently, jasmine is a flavour that is more than willing to rise to a challenge. I rather liked the metaphor in that.
From that point figuring out the ratios for the spices was fairly easy for me. I’ve concocted a number of chais at this point, and have a decent sense for what amounts of each will need to be added to a variety of foundations.
I did not use pepper in this particular blend. In part because pepper is not a default for me with chai – but mostly because it was specifically requested that I not do so. One of the individuals who was more than ready to drink a tea called “Old Eighties Queer” would not be able to do so if it involved pepper. With that data in hand, to do so would have been a special kind of cruel.
I knew from the start that this tea would be one of our ChariTeas. Once I had gotten the recipe settled, I contacted the author who had started the whole process, and asked her if there was a charity she had a preference for.
She chose RAINN. As I have spoken to before, Mister Tea and I deeply approve of and appreciate their mission and the things that they do.
So Old Eighties Queer joins our roster of ChariTeas, and becomes the second where the proceeds from sales of it will go to RAINN.
Now for the basics:
Organic Ingredients: Fair Trade Roasted Cacao Nibs, Jasmine, Ginger, Cardamom, and Cinnamon..
Batch Size: 2.9 oz – around 82 grams – making at least 25 servings of tea.
Options: Loose Tea (Sample, Bag), Teabags (Single, Sample, Bag)
- This experiment means that we also have a chocolate jasmine tea waiting in the wings. It still needed a name when I wrote the original draft of this post. Thankfully, and with the help of my corner of the Twitterverse, it now has one, and will be properly released sometime in the relatively near future.