Tea of the Week for March 5, 2018: When Blackberry Met Sage . . . (Black Tea)
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When Blackberry Met Sage . . .
Blackberry: An aggregate sweet-tart fruit with hints of earthy undertones. More sweet than it is tart.
Sage: A fragrant herb with an earthy, warm flavor and is slightly astringent.
When I was a tea reviewer, one of my favorite flavor combinations was blackberry and sage. I loved the way that the sage brought out the earthy qualities of the blackberry while the warmth of the herb enhanced the sweeter notes of the blackberry while the sweetness of the blackberry seemed to soften the somewhat astringent tones of the sage. Somehow, these two components balanced each other - bringing out the best in each other and helping to create a really smooth tea drinking experience. Theirs is a happy tea marriage, indeed.
With my last herb/spice order, I happened to order some really beautiful dried white sage. So fragrant and absolutely perfect silvery-white leaves. I wasn't sure what inspired me to order the herb, but I did and now that I had it, I needed to find a use for it because I wasn't about to let these gorgeous leaves go to waste! My initial thought was to blend it with a white tea because these pristine leaves looked a lot like a flattened silver needle. But, then I thought about the flavor of the sage and I worried that it might overpower the delicate qualities of the white tea - so I thought - hey! How about Yunnan! A rich, flavorful Yunnan may work synergistically with the herb - the herb bringing out the peppery tones of the Yunnan while the tea would help the sage's warmth to develop nicely.
To help create some depth, I also added a Yunnan-grown Assamica - malty and bold, but not overly astringent - and remembering how much I loved the combination of blackberry and sage, it seemed like a no-brainer which fruit I'd pair with the sage.
The result is quite fantastic. The black tea base is solid: it's smooth, it's rich and it's bold without tasting brassy or harsh. The sage is well pronounced even though I didn't really use a whole lot of it in the blend (It's a powerful herb! And it's also quite good for you: an excellent source of vitamins and is said to improve brain function and regulate digestion - among other benefits!) but the blackberry comes through quite nicely too. They offer a pleasing balance to the cup that is both savory and sweet.
This is a match made in tea heaven!
ingredients: black tea, organic black tea, organic blackberries, organic sage & organic natural flavors