The Coffee Drinker Converter
The Christmas season has officially been launched here in Brampton. Santa paraded by on Saturday night in all his splendour (yes, it’s apparently Canada’s largest nighttime parade). This past weekend also marked Brampton’s first ever Christmas Market. The market that I’m most familiar with is in Toronto’s Distillery District. It’s huge and populated by a lot of unique artisans and activities. Brampton’s was very small in comparison and featured for the most part stores already in the downtown core. Hopefully vendors made out ok, and the next Christmas season will bring with it a larger market. Overall, there was lots of fun to be had – a carousel, crafts, Santa and the aroma of fresh-cut Balsam Firs.
I did discover one fantastic product at the T By Daniel booth. Daniel Lewis’ company sells premium quality loose leaf tea. He was offering fresh brewed samples and had on hand a table full of intriguing blends.
Tea has always intrigued me. I, like many people, spend too much time drinking the crushed powder that comes packed into tea bags. Some of that might hit the spot sometimes. But, there are other times when you just need a sip of something fabulous. That’s where loose leaf tea comes in. With so many varieties of tea available, I really want to love tea as much as I love coffee. And I do love coffee. So, when I met Daniel, I decided to challenge him. I described to him what kind of diehard coffee drinker I am, how I drink it completely black, how I drink coffee from the darkest, freshest ground beans possible. Ultimately, I love coffee because its flavour is deep and complex with a full mouthfeel. Daniel immediately clued in to my problem with tea: even black tea can end up tasting like lightly flavoured water to me. What’s a wanna-be tea lover to do? That’s the situation I presented to Daniel.
He didn’t hesitate a moment. Daniel had in his stock a few blends he informally calls his “coffee drinker converters”. “Ok,” I said nodding, “I’m listening.” Daniel opened a container of Choco Mate and passed it to me. I inhaled aromas of chocolate, vanilla and spice. Wow, its bouquet reminded me of coffee. So far so good. According to the package information, Choco Mate is based on “South American mate combined with real cocoa and almond pieces sprinkled with bits of cactus”. That sounded like a truly inspiring combination.
The aroma emanating from this tea was awesome, but what would it taste like? Well, after spending a few hours trekking around the Christmas Market on a cold night, I went home and brewed up a pot. All I can say is, “Wow”. This tea tasted like hot chocolate. It had the same full mouthfeel, too. It totally won me over. It fulfilled every single one of my expected criteria – deep, dark, complex and full flavoured.
I haven’t forgotten that Daniel has a few “coffee drinker converters” in stock, other tea blends that don’t have a base of chocolate. I will definitely add more to my own repertoire. What about you? What’s your favourite kind of tea?