Viewing blog posts for the category Tasting Lab

So far in the Tasting Lab, we've explored discontinued blends, old recipes from the blend book, and new blends following old techniques. It's been a lot of fun! But for May, we're swinging in a new direction, and trying something more single-origin.

This month's tea is a compressed puerh. Each piece comprises about five grams of material, enough for a two-cup pot, or multiple steepings in a mug. But what makes this tea unique, is it blends tea with semnostachya menglaensis, or nuò mǐ xiāng (literally 'sticky rice fragrance'), an herb that smells deliciously of cooked basmati rice, sweet bread and vanilla. The resulting tea has a rich, earthy, sweet flavour, with roasty cooked rice and vanilla notes throughout.

Puerh can be a daunting tea for drinkers to first get into. The dark colour it brews can be intimidating, and with flavour descriptions like 'earth', 'wood' and 'tobacco', it's difficult to know what to expect. This won't be an in-depth introduction to puerh (that's its own deep, deep rabbit hole!), but I hope to spur a little appreciation for this interesting tea.

One of the more difficult aspects of reviving old recipes from our Blend Book, is that styles of tea production have changed over the years. For the particularly old blends, sometimes there's not a perfect analogue in available teas today. This leaves recipes open to interpretation, and can result in a lot of variation.

For 2023, I was able to bring back and showcase two discontinued blends from recent years. For 2024, I'm continuing that trend with our first tea of the year, but this time going back even further. Hidden in our blend book is a bold, malty, smoky tea that's perfect for fans of smoky Lapsang Souchong, Russian Caravan, Scottish Breakfast, and Storm Watcher.

It's only been just over half a year since the Tasting Lab project launched, and we've sampled four teas so far: two brand new blends, and two returning classics. From that, we've received a lot of feedback and kind words that have helped shape 2024's lineup. I'm looking forward to exploring even older blends (not seen in half a century!), and a couple interesting single-origin sourcings. We'll see where tasting takes us this year!

There's definitely an element of selfishness in bringing back discontinued teas, those I thought were under-appreciated, and giving them a second chance. There's heart behind every blend I come up with for Murchie's, but a couple are special. Evergreen is one of those eclectic blends.

It first debuted in 2021, a unique, unflavoured green-black tea with the addition of dried rosemary and juniper berries, for aroma. The result was an uncommonly resinous, piney blend that was meant to invoke imagery of wintery forests. It went through a few working names before settling on 'Evergreen'--namely 'Vintage Christmas' and 'Noel', but 'Evergreen' perfectly summarizes what it entails. A mix of three evergreen shrubs--the tea bush, the rosemary bush, and the juniper bush.

Tuscany OrangeTuscany Orange is one of many legacy blends at Murchie's that has dipped and resurfaced over the years. It was eventually discontinued in 2018--not too long ago--but has maintained a loyal following, so it seemed especially fitting to bring back. What has always interested me is the is the history of the blend.

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