The saga of Cheshire Caf began many moons ago, when Mister Tea and I were having an out and about adventure.
I was having a better physical day than many, and we did something resembling one of our old rambles – checking out a variety of locations we’d been curious about.
We had the dogs with us, and part of the purpose of the outing was to continue socializing the Raubahn puppy, introducing him to new things, experiences, places, smells, and situations.
One of the places we visited was a shopping complex called “Green Jeans.” We’d been curious about it for ages, as it is visually fascinating – constructed of old shipping containers, stacked and connected with walkways and staircases.
It billed itself as a place that leaned towards the sustainable, the eco-friendly, the green, and the healthy.1
We had a somewhat lackluster lunch, a really strange experience in a CBD store, and Raubahn learned about open stairs. And open elevators. He wasn’t particularly a fan of either, though, as a good boy, he figured them out.
The stairs took a comically long time, and the tentative steps he took, the giant puppy a bit intimidated and concerned… brought amusement to more people than just the two of us.
We did have special coffee drinks with our lunch, and for the wandering after – and we learned two things.
The first was that our coffee has spoiled us. Deeply.
The second was that I really wanted to figure out if I could make a lavender vanilla coffee my way. I had been excited to find a coffee with syrups in it that I could actually drink, but I was mildly disappointed at the taste.
The idea got scribbled down on the back of a receipt, transferred to a post-it when we got home, and eventually migrated to the Tea Journal.2
The idea had been sitting for years, even before it went into the Tea Journal. I think this was partially because my brain had issues with the idea of Coffee (an intended stimulant) and Lavender (generally intended as a relaxant.)3
Potentially tasty, but perhaps a bit misguided, from an herbalist’s perspective, at least.
I was also still working through the “but I thought I was allergic to lavender” issues.4
In February the idea finally drifted back into my brain.
There was a particular day where I was talking about needing to rewire the parts of my brain that have bad ideas regarding what a “proper work day” was, and about trying to convince myself to down-time.
The next thought that popped into my head was that I should create a lavender vanilla coffee, hearkening back to the original experience at Green Jeans.
I was amused (and a little annoyed) that “downtime” so easily translated into “the fun work” but it did bring the idea back to mind.
Which turned into a day where I experimented with putting flowers in coffee.
As vanilla powder is so expensive, I didn’t want to use any in a test until I had made certain that lavender and coffee would work.
It did. Disturbingly. Gloriously. Mister Tea and I were both shocked by how tasty that first cup was.
Mister Tea actually stole it.
And I learned that I can put flowers in coffee. Which means I can probably put a number of other herbs and spices in coffee… which means our possibilities for coffee opened up in (frankly terrifying) ways with the creation of this blend.
The naming took a bit of time. There were a number of different interesting suggestions. Some involving legends, some involving bees – but I kept coming back to the idea of the two disparate elements in the blend.
I wanted something that meshed well with the oddness of the combination.
Eventually the conversations, both in the Twitterverse and the ones here at home reminded me of the first time I’d looked at a tea idea and said “That’s… weird, but I like it! Let’s see if this works!” – which turned into our “Believe Impossible Things.”
Alice in Wonderland had come up a few times while discussing naming the tea, but there was the matter of how to connect it without choosing a phrase that was overused.
Mister Tea, with his proficiency in pun, came up with “Cheshire Caf.” Which made me wince. And laugh. When the name was tested on PupofTea and Teasla, the response was encouraging.
Laughter and incomprehensible noises of glee and hands flapping excitedly.
So, puns won the day again, and Cheshire Caf and Cheshire (De)Caf are now released upon the world.
Now for the basics:
Organic Ingredients: Dark Roast Coffee, Lavender
Batch Size: 4.8 oz( approximately 136 grams)
Options: Sample (2 oz/56 grams, in a Bag), Full Batch (Bag or Tin)
- We did not find it to be entirely false advertising, but overall it had higher price points and lower quality than we’d been expecting.
- It was one of the ideas circulating on random paper scraps when we instituted the Tea Journal, and was one of the earliest things scribbled down in it.
- This particular mismatched concept had one of our Tea Naming Group suggest “Microsoft Works” as a similar oxymoron. Jaded tech geeks, I tell you…
- As it turns out, commercial conventional lavender requires a LOT of chemical intervention. The seeming lavender allergy could have been some of the first signs of the chemical sensitivity that became so frustrating later on.