The Mystery Behind "Perfumed Teas"

The curious question of how exactly were my teas "perfumed" gets brought up often. Contrary to the intuitive (yet outrageous) guess that a perfumed tea is made by a mad perfumer who likes to dip their tea bags in perfumes - ther term "Perfumed Tea" is a rather ancient concept in tea culture and not nearly as dangerous as it may sound.

If the term "Perfumed Tea" seems mysterious or strange, I would attempt to clarify and shed some light on this enchanting phenomenon in tea culture that I have becaome aware of thanks to my collaborations with Dawna Ehman. Perfumed Tea refers to a tea that is flavoured with the true and pure plants and flowers. Rather than get their aroma and flavor from artificial and natural flavouring essences (which is what the more commonly consumed and often tea-bagged Aromatized Teas are all about), Perfumed Teas are perfumed with fragrant plants, fruits and flowers. For instance: a perfumed jasmine tea is made by layering tea leaves with fresh jasmine flowers and replacing the flowers with new ones until the tea is completely immersed with the jasmine's aroma.

The Perfumed Teas in the Ayala Moriel collection are perfumed with the raw plant matter that was chosen for its unique aroma and flavour profile - all selected and proportioned carefully as to represent the perfume in the form of tea.

For instance: Tirzah tea is perfumed with linden flowers and osmanthus blossoms among others, to bring across the fresh, green floral notes of the perfume of that name.
Immortelle l'Amour tea has vanilla-infused rooibos. The vanilla beans are present in the tea blend itself, and when you finish your cup you may find some vanilla specks at the bottom...
And lastly, Gaucho tea, has an interesting array of herbs that bring across the aromatic fougere coumarin character of the perfume, created by the use of herbs such as clover flowers and damiana leaf.

None of these tease are aromatized - there are no essences (artificial or natural) in any of those teas, but rather they are perfumed with the herbs and flowers contained within them.

* This article was re-published from Ayala Moriel's May 2008 Newsletter.

Immortelle l'Amour Tea

Immortelle l'Amour Tea, originally uploaded by Ayala Moriel.

I've had the pleasure to share my first Perfumed Tea several times with clients and students, and it's just magical. It's amazing what few ingredients do to each other when blended in the right proportions and made by a true artisanal tea-maker. Thank you to Dawna Ehman, the fine lady who has made this tea with love and care to the last detail as she does with all her teas under the Inner Alchemy Tea Co. The tea is beautiful, both visually and aromatically, from the loose tea in the tin, to the entire process of steeping, pouring, mapling and sipping it. One of the coolest thing about this tea is that at the end of the batch, the bottom is dotted with real vanilla specks!

This tea is best served with maple syrup, which echoes the perfume it was inspired by. It can also be served with milk or cream, but I prefer it without - it feels like drinking liquid gold. Which is what wearing Immortelle l'Amour feels like as well. It's truly soothing and beautiful.

Here is more information from Dawna Ehman about the properties of rooibos tea:
"Rooibos is produced by oxidizing the green needles of Aspalathus linearis, a wild broom-like shrub native to South Africa. It is a full flavored tea with low levels of tannin and no calories, oxalic acid or caffeine. Rooibos tisane contains many nutrients including a full spectrum of minerals, vitamin C and high levels of antioxidants. For optimum extraction and flavour, steep in boiling water for a minimum of 10 minutes.
The nourishing properties of Rooibos enable it to regulate nervous system imbalances such as headaches, irritability, insomnia, hypertension and depression. The anti-spasmodic properties of Rooibos aid in digestive imbalances like nausea, cramps, heartburn and constipation. As well, Rooibos is reputed to strengthen the body of low immunity and allergies like hay fever, asthma and eczema."

Also, according to Dawna, rooibos tea is also served as a drink for children in South Africa. It is sweetened with apple juice, served cool, or frozen into popsicle molds for a special summer treat.

Immortelle l'Amour Perfumed Tea is out for only a week now, and we're already down to only 3 last tins!
The next batch will be ready by December 14th. Until than, take advantage of the introductory price of $18 (the real price is $30 per tin!) to enjoy this real special, organic artisanal tea. All the ingredients are top quality and organic: the Cedarberg red rooibos tea, Madagascar vanilla beans, hand-crumbled Ceylon cinnamon bark, freshly dried orange peel and hand-picked calendula petals.

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