Once upon a time, in a galaxy far far away, I was driving through the remote countryside looking for a live volcano.
Well… actually, I was looking for a way up to the top of the live volcano, but I somehow veered off-course and ended up driving through somebody’s private orange orchard instead. When I hit the end of the narrow laneway, with the barns and storehouses directly in front of me, and two unhappy straw-hat wearing farmers staring me down through my windshield, I knew that this was not the volcano I was looking for. I put it in reverse and backed out as gracefully as I could, continuing my quest for lava fields. (Hey… don’t blame me… the signs were all in Japanese… as was my map!) Anyway… the air all around me was perfumed with oranges! Not a sharp, tangy citrus orange… it was a deep, dark, rich, earthy orange… a secret and forbidden orange… and that’s where this tea is taking me tonight. It smells like that… a quest for fire through forbidden orange groves!
This Gooseberry and Orange infusion is full of orange slices, orange peel, apple bits, and they say gooseberries and safflowers. I don’t know what gooseberries or safflowers look like, and I don’t see anything here that looks like a berry or a flower. I’d better Google it. OK, I see… gooseberries are little orange berries and safflowers look kind of like marigolds. I can’t identify them in the tea, but I’ll assume that they are adding depth to the delicious orange aroma.
I steep a good sized heap of ‘tea’ in a basket infuser for several minutes. It smells rich and luxurious and orange! There is some sediment on the bottom, so I stir it up! The first sip is mild and sweet orange. It’s not sharp or tangy at all. It’s a nice, mellow orange which is very fresh and almost creamy. It kind of reminds me of an “Orange Julius” drink with its smooth, frothy sweetness. I’m also picking up notes of persimmon… that rich, creamy, earthy taste that isn’t quite citrus and isn’t quite peaches or apricots, but somewhere in between (good luck figuring that one out!).
I really like the surprising creaminess and mellow smoothness blended with the sweet, fresh orange. It’s a delicious soothing drink on a cold Fall night. I also think it would be nice with a dash of cinnamon and a clove! (next time).