I have been thinking about two of my favorite teas, and wondering if an analysis of their properties might not get me closer to understanding my own fragrance preferences. They are as different as night and day, but equally wonderful in my mind. The first, Russian Caravan, is a deep, extremely smoky, black tea. It smells like tea and smoke in the most fabulously romantic way in the pot, and has a deep blackish brown color. There is, in my opinion, no other tea that goes as well with as many savory foods. Its smokiness makes it perfect for brunches with meat and eggs—it tastes absolutely lovely with sausage, bacon, and all that, for its depth of flavor matches or even exceeds the foodstuffs, and it complements the meaty, creamy flavors of breakfast so well. I love it with a bit of milk with some fat content, for it rounds out and enhances the smokiness of the tea and eliminates any potential bitterness.
The other tea is very different from Russian Caravan, but no less exotic. China Rose is a lovely black tea with rose petals in it like Jasmine tea. The rose petals are magnificent with the black tea, which is itself quite delicate, and the whole thing, when steeped, has such a rich yet delicate, romantic smell that I wish I could bottle it. I love this tea alone, or with fruit, or, perhaps especially, with cardamom flavored deserts.
OK, so this tells me I love intriguingly nostalgic, classic romantic florals with a hint of greenness and bitterness, and deep, exotic, smoky things that take me somewhere else in my head—but still go well with food. Um, that sounds exactly like my tastes in fragrance. I will have to give this more thought; what other teas do I love, and will they help me understand myself even more? This will be a project in self-discovery….