My God! It’s full of stars!
I’ve been hearing good things about ‘glitter and gold‘ for the longest time, but never got my hands on any. Just look how pretty it is! This fine black tea is full of golden glittery stars, glowing white chunks of sugar, whole cloves, and bits of lemon peel. It smells sweet with warm baking spices… almost like gingerbread cookies. I check the ingredients to see if there’s any cinnamon. No. No there isn’t. Here’s what’s making it all smell so wonderful:
Chinese black tea. OK, we’re good there.
Lemon peel. Still good. A welcome addition to Chinese black tea.
Sugar sprinkles. This is for the stars. OK. Good. Stars are prett… wait… WHAT?! *reads the fine print*
Sugar. Good! Exactly what one wants to find in “sugar sprinkles”.
Rice flour. Hm… ok, a little weird, but still within the category of ‘food’.
Partly hydrogenated canola oil. Uh… is that the good kind of fat, or the bad kind? Not sure where this is going.
Shellac. Shellac! Like as in varnish?! Like on my wooden tabletop? Like the top coat of the Mona Lisa? Excuse me while I go call my friend Wikipedia.
“Shellac is a resin secreted by the female lac bug, on trees in the forests of India and Thailand. It is processed and sold as dry flakes and dissolved in ethanol to make liquid shellac, which is used as a brush-on colorant, food glaze and wood finish.” -Wikipedia
First I was afraid. I was petrified! Then I saw that it’s in freakin’ everything else we eat too. What’s a little bug crap here and there? Ever eaten a jelly bean?!
Titanium oxide. This is simply a white colouring. It’s used in toothpaste. And paint. And plastics, cosmetics, and tennis courts. Move along, move along… nothing to see here.
Iron oxide. Now, I never studied chemistry… but I feel pretty certain that this is otherwise known as “rust”. I’ve had some teas that tasted like rust, but I’ve never seen it listed as an ingredient. I figure if you, as a child, ever used a swingset with a rusty chain, and then proceeded to lick your hands to get the popsicle drippings off, then you’ve probably ingested more rust than these little stars contain. No worries.
Potato starch. Whew! Back to the ‘food’ category again! What a relief!
Natural and Artificial flavouring. At this point, I don’t even want to know.
Well, I’m going to ignore the sketchy ingredient list, safe in the knowledge that I’ve probably been ingesting these things for years, and haven’t died from them yet. I totally understand if the tea purists are turned off. Some people want nothing but tea in their tea. Understood.
So let’s taste this sparkly, rusty, glittery, bug-poopy tea. I’m steeping 1/2 of the tin in my DAVIDs steeper for about 4 minutes. It’s really pretty as the stars explode and fill the bucket with swirling glitter. It smells nice; like dark, black tea, sugar, and spice. The flavour, at first, is of a rich, dark, earthy tea, with hints of oranges and cloves… almost chai-like. I’m glad there’s sugar in it though, because it might be bitter without it, and as it is, I don’t need to add any. I still have the feeling that there’s cinnamon in there, but it’s not an ingredient, so the cloves must be playing tricks on me. The aftertaste is of a good, solid black tea, with a wee touch of astringency, and a hint of cloves. This feels like a winter tea. It sort of envelops you in deep, warm, earthy flavours, like a warm bear hug in a furry blanket.
Despite the shellac, and the Periodic Table of Elements, I’ve enjoyed the tea immensely. It’s fun. It’s pretty. It’s seasonal. It tastes nice. Perfect!
This post is dedicated to my friend GC, who has an unnatural aversion to exclamation points! You may have noticed that I use them liberally, sprinkling them around with reckless abandon, whenever and wherever I feel like it! Sometimes I use more than one!! Oh!! The HORROR!!!