Tasting Lab: Evergreen

AJ Ward - Nov. 1, 2023

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.

Inspiration for this blend came from two directions. In our Big Black Blend Book, we have several blends commissioned over the years for various regulars' Christmas celebrations with family. These are all traditional, Murchie's green-black blends. It seemed fitting to have a similar  blend for the season to fill out our lineup of festive, flavoured blends.

There's also a bit of a pun in this one--in China, black tea is called hongcha--red tea--on account of the colour of the liquor. So in reality, this blend is a mixture of red and green teas... Perfectly festive colours, I think.

Taking inspiration from our traditions, I also wanted a twist with something modern, something unexpected. Pine is a very nostalgic, wintery scent, but dried pine needles are a little difficult to source in quantities needed for a tea. However, rosemary and juniper are not. Rosemary and apple always have Holiday associations for me, and paired with a winter berry, it seemed like the perfect fit.

The result is a medium-bodied tea that makes for an excellent afternoon cuppa. It pairs well with milk, but to get the full aroma, can be drunk plain. The combination of Darjeeling, Yunnan and Ceylon teas makes for a fruity, but very smooth cup. On the nose, you immediately get bright, resinous rosemary, light apple and menthol, followed by a subtler scent of fresh, floral jasmine.

I wouldn't let the unusual combination put you off. As a blend, it manages to fit perfectly alongside our other green-black blends, Library and Government St in particular, while still standing out as something Unique.

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