For me, all things are interwoven with another; tea and stories; dreams and colour; food and love; and so on. So when I create a new blend, it becomes a journey that’s more than taste and smell, though certainly it is about those things too. Tea is also about story; each tea has a story to tell and as I blend it, I wait for the story to come. Recently, I created a number of new blends, two of them are Sugar Plum Herbal and Caramel Rose Pu-erh.
Caramel Rose Pu-erh Tea is inspired by the folk tale “Snow White and Rose Red” from my childhood. Picture a winter forest of evergreens, with beauty all around, but also an element of risk. Snow White (not to be confused with the Snow White of the Seven Dwarfs) and Rose Red are sisters and live in the forest with their mother. One winter’s night during a storm, a white bear appears at their door, asking if he may warm up by their fire. Though they are uncertain, they feel compassion for the bear, and allow him in. Certainly there are times we need to be careful who allow in. But sometimes, the stranger who we unlatch the door for, may also transform our lives in a beautiful way, as in the story.
The other story is connected to “Milk Oolong.” When I was a new mother, I wanted to freely nurse my baby whenever he was hungry including out in public, but at the time, there was a lot of pressure to be overly private about breastfeeding. My baby was only a month old when I found myself in a small social gathering and met a man who happened to a Palestinian Arab bishop, and indeed the Bishop of Jerusalem. I was sitting in a corner, nursing my baby when someone introduced him to me. The bishop then proceeded to tell me the story of his own infancy: how he’d come from a very large family. When he was only a few weeks old, his mother asked his older sister if she would raise him. I vaguely remember that his sister was moving to another country at the time. As it happened, the bishop’s sister had a newborn of her own. In fact, the two infants, nephew and uncle, were only one day apart in age. Incredulously, his sister agreed to adopt her tiny brother, and she nursed both her infant son and her infant brother at the same time. I’d forgotten this incident but it came back to me through the scent of Milk Oolong. It reminded me that the symbolic milk we need in life doesn’t always necessarily come from a mother, but can also come from surprising places.
Both of these blends, “Milk Oolong” and “Caramel Rose Pu-erh” seem to be about the element of surprise; the unexpected, and newness. I hope that all who drink my teas find their own stories, and that the visitors who come to their door come with gifts of joy.