This tea was created because when I am stressed I fall back on the comfortable things as far as taste and texture and sound and… not an uncommon thing, but there are certain pitches the whirring in my brain manages when I start to get overwhelmed that are akin to sandpaper stutter and vibrations, or hearing the pins as they stab you, or Chidi’s fork in a garbage disposal, or the terrible scene involving the hearing aid in Final Nightmare.
It is a hard thing when reality inputs that should be relatively basic sensations express as sensations not unlike torture.
Reaching for comfort isn’t actually something that should be a problem.
It sometimes becomes so because I really love the taste of black tea. Smokier is better, but it was the first type of tea I was introduced to and I drink a lot of it when things are going well, much less when they are not.
Caffeine doesn’t wake me up in the usual/assumed way, though it does help with thought wrangling and structure. However, I have been told by several medical professionals that I really need to lessen my intake.
I have been trying to do as they asked.
In pursuit of this, I decided I needed to create a black tea that I could make a decaffeinated version of that would hit a flavour set that would be comforting and would also assist, herbally, with some of the things that are persistent problems for me.
I wish I could decaffeinate Lapsang Souchong or Russian Caravan, because those would be the best option for a tea to put me on the path towards making Even Dreams and finding sleep.
I can’t. So, I went with English Breakfast as the foundation for the blend, because it is one of two black teas that I have found decaffeinated versions of that match closely enough to my caffeinated versions to mean I can offer teas both ways, and I prefer it, most days, to Earl Grey.
Calendula, Eleuthro, and Hawthorn Berries are all bits of plant that I find to be tasty, and their touted effects are useful.
I have a deep and abiding affection for hawthorn, specifically, for its bidirectional nature, its mythos, and because it just tastes so good.
The subscribers to the standard tea of the month club have had an opportunity to try this, and the responses lead me to think I managed what I was looking for in a way that works for a broader audience than just myself.
The first name option that came to mind for me was Shelter from the Storm – because it fits the intent.
It has also been described as a Comfortable Sweater of a brew, a Stress Melter of a tea, and there was also this review:
“Tastes like the first cold-ish morning of the year. There’s a brightness, but it’s not explosive. The sun will melt all the dew and micro frost as soon as it rises over the house. A subtle sweetness, like the “healthy” granola bar you grabbed on your way out to the bus stop. It’s deep but not overpowered, complex but not intimidating.”
There’s a variety of possible names to be found in what this tea is and what it has provoked.
Shelter from the Storm, Comfy Sweater, Stress Melter, Hopeful Morning, Safe Passage… there are other ideas that aren’t quite coming to full life in my mind – partially because Shelter from the Storm is very much where my brain is leaning at the moment – but I am curious to see if there are any other ideas or thoughts out there.