BTB: September's Blend September 17 2019
September is the protagonist of Catherynne M. Valente's lush and heartbreaking Fairyland series. When the series begins (the first book is titled The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland on a Ship of Her Own Making), September is a discontented girl of twelve who is bored to tears by her life of rural chores and a school life where her imagination is underappreciated. She is swept away by the Green Wind to Fairyland, where she meets magical creatures and stumbles upon a series of quests. We see September boldly dive into danger in pursuit of friendship and adventure time and time again, feeling everything more keenly as the book goes on and she grows her small child's heart to match her rapidly maturing life experience.
The choice of base (Keemun black tea and Dragonwell green) was designed to highlight the practical and willful nature of September's personality. She's super intentional in her choices, but wild enough to do exactly what she wants once all the information has been analyzed. Keemun specifically hits the palate like the Burgundy wine of the tea world. It tastes rich red dusty in a way that speaks to stubbornness and "get out of my way, I have a job to do." Dragonwell is an unusual tea that brings both grassy springtime brightness and buttery toasty sunshine together. I chose this particular leaf for its cheerful optimism and smoothing, soothing quality. September may be bull-headed, but she never fails to show her true priority: caring for the people (and wyveraries and golems, etc.) she loves. Bold and earthy, smooth and rich.
Pumpkin flavoring struck me as a gimme, both because September is in love with all things orange and the rich gourdiness ties together the two base teas. Orange peel strikes a similar tone, the bright citrus nose smoothed by the sweetness of the peel's oil. Black peppercorn adds a mischievous woodsy bite that pays tribute to September's beastly feral streak. She is a criminal, after all!
So there you have it. A complex and lushly layered blend, despite how few ingredients are present. This one brews best as a hot tea, though if you like your iced teas earthy it can play like that too. A touch of cream and sugar really rounds out the profile and body for a tasty dessert tea.
Thanks for reading, and happy sipping!