I am thrilled to announce that The Garnished Palate is now sponsored by Harney & Sons Master Tea Blenders, which means I am on a monthly mission to deliver stories on all things Tea. I have spent days mulling over the idea of what I can do for my first Tea Time post. The most appropriate one for the month of April- when we are not so subtly enduring April showers- was to drink Harney & Sons Organic Rooibos Tea. This bright herbal tea suits the soon coming Springtime feeling of craving warm weather, chirping birds, and radiating sunlight. And, having been home for only a week from Italy, I am already missing the idea of Italian pastries, which was the last thing I set my eyes on before crossing borders. Powdered sugar coated sfogliatella, my favorite of the aforementioned treats, with lots of crunch and crumbs pairs perfectly with hot, floral rooibos tea and is a great afternoon snack to welcome the changing of seasons.
Rooibos is truly considered an herbal tea (flowers, spices, herbs) as opposed to a typical tea steeped with tea leaves (more on that later). The dark red color comes from oxidizing the South African Shrub for hours so that its beautiful color tone sets. There are other versions of Rooibos sold in their greener state before oxidation occurs, which create a different drinking experience. This one is not so much floral as it has more deep-rooted, grassy tones and the flavor is assertive. And when drinking pay attention to vanilla notes as they will come forward. I will mention that if you are a serious tea drinker and pay attention to all aspects of tea as a sommelier would with wine, you should take part in really observing color, taste, and aroma. Wider rimmed white teacups will suit best for color identification and release of aromas. Slurping tea like you would wine -through your teeth and buzzing around the palate- is the proper way to taste tea. There are so many amazing hidden properties about tea that you can discover just by sipping.
Boil 8 oz water and steep 1 tea bag for 4 minutes or 1.5 tsp loose leaf tea for 6 minutes.