Each year I create a special blend to celebrate both winter and the holiday season. This year’s blend, Northern Lights, was inspired by flavors that remind me of cold, winter nights.
The Kilogram holiday teas from the past two years were a black tea blend and herbal blend. This year I decided to use a green tea, but I wanted to take my favorite element from the past two years, which was a baking spice note, and build upon it. But rather than pairing it with sweet flavors like years past, I chose a savory, pan-fired tea from eastern China as the base. I found the roasted chestnut flavor apropos for the season, so I paired it with spearmint, sage, apple, and fennel.
Spearmint adds a bright, fresh flavor, which is not found in peppermint. It combines perfectly with the piney, fall flavor of the savory herb sage. The dried apple adds a fruity sweetness, and the fennel contributes a sweet licorice-like complexity without overwhelming the other flavors. For me these flavors perfectly encapsulate the holiday season.
In a glass teapot, steep 6 or 7 grams of tea in 175°F water for 3-4 minutes. A good infusion will be light gold in color and aromatic with a slightly refreshing astringency.