Sometimes when blending a tea I need to first blend the tea that will be the foundation of the tea.
It varies whether that turns out to be as complicated as it probably sounds.
A friend had requested a tea for a particular purpose. First step was to run through the black tea blends we had on hand that could potentially fit the need.
This was made easier than it could have been because I was actually able to have our friend smell the various options. While it makes complete sense that the work of tea flows better when I actually have access to the nose and tastebuds of the person I am blending for, the extent to which it does still manages to surprise me.1
We ran through all of the potential single teas we use for blending. Some of them were close, in a “could be part of it” kind of way, but none of them were right.
Then we ran through the blends of just tea that contained the teas that were close, to check and see if we already had the foundational blend.
We did not.
There was much smelling of things, singly and in combination, and eventually I got a sense of what I thought would need to be combined to get the right blend.
It still took a handful of tries.
However, I found the right balance and blend of Golden Monkey, Keemun, Lapsang, and Golden Yunnan – and this tea got added to the list of “Things I had to blend so I could blend something else.”
When I was originally considering potential names for this tea, most of the things that came to mind had to do with music.
In part because it is a love that Spoonie Doolittle and I share, and in part because the city they come from is connected to music and poetry in my mind.
My first real friends from that particular city I met during an intensive summer music program at a college. It will always be tied to that experience, in tandem with a campus that was in a city but felt like it was in the middle of nowhere. In particular, the primary music building felt swathed in mystery, almost as if you crossed over into another world to get there.
The names that initially came to mind were: High Road, Blues Glissando, and Passing Tone.2
Quite a while after the tea was initially blended, a period of pain loopiness provoked a thought association chain that led to the idea of calling it “Stolen Cat.”
One of the things I was introduced to by those first friends from the city was beat poetry – and the concept of spoken word poetry sessions. This led to thoughts of a movie that I know I’ve watched, but I really only clearly remember one particular scene. It involved spoken word poetry and the line “She stole my heart and my… cat.”
Of the possibilities floating around I think I prefer Passing Tone or Stolen Cat – but neither of them has done that solid settling into my mind that means we have Definitely Found the Right Name. So if you have any thoughts or input, we’d appreciate it.