|"It wasn't awe-inspiringly terrible as had been declared. While reminiscent of the horrid chamomile blend I'd tried oh-so-many months prior, it was much lighter; not so pungent. However, the bathwater aftertaste was definitely there."|
"I finally did it...I found the first tea I have utterly and completely hated," she typed.
This caused an eyebrow to arch. Said woman never mentioned detesting a particular tea before. Sure, like any well-knowing tea snob, there were some she preferred over others, but none she outright hated. She described how she and her husband Dirk both sampled a white tea with lavender in it. "White Lavender Dream", it was called. According to her, it was more akin to a nightmare.
Instead of accepting the warning and steering clear of said product, my reaction was decidedly opposite. Allow me to explain. There were two factors at work here.
I love white tea. Love it. I have yet to taste one I didn't like. My affair with those lovely steeped camellia leaf buds has been relayed to friends ad nauseum. White tea came into my daily regimen by way of a recommendation from a certain bald, bearded alternative medicine guru, renowned for his in-depth research into herbal treatments. I had read an article scribed by him on the benefits of white tea. Ever since, I've been relatively hooked. The favorite o' mine being Yinzhen (or Silver Needle).
Then there was another impulse at work...
I'll call this the Engvall Factor. Named for blue-collar comedian, Bill Engvall. Some years ago, he had a routine describing the urge to taking a gander at something foul even after someone exclaimed how potently undesirable it was. Of course, he was describing anything that smelled awful. Example:
Person 1: "Whoah! That smells rank! Here, take a whiff."
Naturally, Person 2 can't resist the pull of curiosity. No matter how many felines died in the process. Such was my urge. I had to try this supposedly rank tea.
Now, for the record, my history with lavender-flavored products was piss-poor at best. The last thing I ever imbibed that had lavender in it was an organic chamomile blend put out by Traditional Medicinals. During my "Great Tummy Scare" of November of '06, I tried just about anything to calm it down. The chamomile with lavender was designed to do just that, calm nervous stomachs. It had the opposite effect.
Most notably, said product tasted like chamomile-flavored lotion mixed with bathwater. Second, the aftertaste lingered for several hours. And the dreaded third, the insatiable need to vomit. Granted, this probably doesn't happen with everyone who tries it, but from my experience, lavender should only be used topically. Not ingested. With that bias in mind as well, I was still steadfast in my resolve. We set a tea outing for the following Thursday.
For a mall outlet chain, Teavana is surprisingly good. Most of their blends are unique yet not offensive to the necessary senses. Their selection of herbal blends is quite exceptional. White tea? Not so much. While they do have one whole canister row, I find it lacking. More emphasis is placed upon the herbal and black tea blends.
Black is my least favorite of the teas. I know, sacrilege! Hey, we all have our preferences. I just happen to prefer the lighter blends. The darkest I'll go is Oolong.
The tea clerk recognized my friend immediately. (She and her husband spent way too much time at Teavana.) He assured me, also, that the lavender white was quite foul. I still ponied up the three-ish dollars to try it out. My reaction?
It wasn't awe-inspiringly terrible as had been declared. While reminiscent of the horrid chamomile blend I'd tried oh-so-many months prior, it was much lighter; not so pungent. However, the bathwater aftertaste was definitely there. The more I sipped, the more glaring the sensation.
The clerk kindly allowed me to return the blend in exchange for another. I replaced it with an almost perfect rooibos fusion. Apple, pomegranate, and lemongrass. By almost perfect, I mean the apple should not have been included. Pomegranate and lemongrass are quite versatile, apple, not so much.
In closing, I survived the ordeal with only the lingering memory of lotion in my mouth.
Which reminds me, I'm in dire need of a shower.
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