A short time ago (which for me means somewhere around a year ago) I was asked if I would ever share one of my tea blend recipes. However, they were speaking of a specific blend from Grey Brews and those particular blend recipes are, of course, a bit of a secret. A few weeks later I was asked to do a tutorial concerning the steps I take in blending.
So, after much procrastination and dawdling about, I finally have done both.
The following is not a blend available in my shop, but rather a play on one of my older blends. ‘Baphomet’ was the very first blend I began selling and, for some, it was a bit too heavy and spicy. Namely, it was a bit too heavy and spicy for my Mother. So to appease her, I created a lighter version named (in my head) ‘Little Devils’.
Assam Black Tea
Before I begin, I set out all of my needed ingredients in their own little dish. This makes it much easier than running about, opening bags and bottles, and attempting to find what I need when I need it. I also keep a medium sized mortar handy for mixing my blends. If I were blending an order from the shop I would use something with more capacity, but I am only making roughly seven cups worth for this tutorial.
You will need to break up the allspice, clove, orange peel, and peppercorns a bit. If you have a mortar and pestle capable of doing the job, then that will make things much easier. If you do not, simply place a thick napkin on a cutting board (or another hard surface), place a small handful of what you need on it, fold the napkin over, and run (or smash…) a rolling pin over it a few times. Do not crush them into a powder! You just need to break them up a bit so that (if they have been stored for a while) they are likely to release more flavor. Also because this step can serve as a fairly decent stress relief device.
For ‘Baphomet’ I use a Bokel Estate Assam – This gives it more of a woodsy base note flavor. For ‘Little Devils’, I use a Fikkal Estate Assam. The Fikkal Estate Assam has a more Darjeeling-like muscatel notes, but still provides that little hint of woodsyness at the finish. If you cannot get your hands on either of these Assam teas, I would suggest Mackeypore Estate (you can get a 12 gram sample pack from the Upton Tea Company for $1.00).
Add 2 tablespoons of whichever Assam you are using to your main dish.
Next, add 3 teaspoons of orange peel, 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of allspice, and 1 teaspoon each of clove and black peppercorns. Anytime you wish to make a larger batch, just remember that it is:
1 part Assam, 1/2 part orange, 1/4th part allspice, 1/6th part clove and peppercorn.
By far the easiest part – Mix everything together. Store the tea in an airtight container (I tend to use glass jars) and keep it in a cool place out of sunlight. Your tea should stay fresh for up to seven months, but if you are anything like me, it will be gone long before you need to worry about that.
Finally, put the kettle on, and brew a cup. Since the tea has a black tea base, 212º F (100º C) should be the perfect temperature. Let it steep for 5 to 6 minutes and then enjoy! This tea takes cream and sweetener very well, so play around with it a bit and find which way you prefer it.