Do you ever get sucked into buying something just because it is stamped with the visage of a musician, author, character, iconic figure or what-have-you that you enjoy? I know I have. I've been trying to be more cynical about it though, just because something is stamped with Bela Lugosi's name or face does not mean that it's better and that I can justify spending twice the amount that I would for a plain version of the piece on it. However, I was captivated by Steep Show Tea's "Poe's Midnight Blend" tea as soon as I saw it.
The tea is described as being "a smooth licorice spice herbal tea with a tell-tale hint of sweetness. A full-bodied cup of seductive mystery without the macabre." You can even see here that they are catering to Poe's fanbase, I mean, even without his name on it when I see the phrase "tell-tale" I am apt to think of "The Tell-Tale Heart." I even smiled at the nod to Poe's association with Absinthe through the use of a licorice flavored tea. They definitely did their research. However, their packaging is a bit misleading. You get 2.25oz of tea in your bag but that bag is almost twice as big as it needs to be. The tea inside goes up to just below Mr. Poe's nose there, so be aware if you were expecting something more full.
However, the beautiful presentation ends there. When I was looking at the tea in the bag I thought that they'd made a mistake and sent me a bag of saw dust. It's not the prettiest tea to photograph, even with a camera that takes less blurry photos than mine, but the smell is beautiful: woody and a little nutty but with an overlying sweetness. I took my tea out of the decorative bag and put it into a more air-tight canister and it has retained that beautiful smell for over a month now. The bag is currently hanging on my "inspiration board" for me to admire happily.
And the taste? At first I didn't taste any licorice and just had a lovely herbal black tea in my cup but then, just in true licorice fashion, I got that hint of bitter sweetness in my mouth afterwards. It's definitely a tea that lingers in your mouth after you drink it, and because I'm a big fan of the way that licorice tastes I didn't mind that at all. The tea itself is actually a little sweet without sugar which is always pleasant and it takes milk well, if you're so inclined. I don't have tea with lemon or other non-sugar sweeteners though, so I can't speak to how well it tastes with those. However, if you're looking for a tea-time snack that goes well with this, I can recommend thin green apple slices on nutty crackers with cream cheese. Really, anything that tastes earthy and a bit bitter and sweet at the same time will go well with this tea.
Source: Victorian Trading Co.
So, overall? I definitely recommend this tea, but for special occasions only (or, if you're like me and find things with Poe's face on them irresistible.) I'll definitely be hoarding mine, and I had better since it costs almost 13USD for 2.25oz. So, if you're interested in having a cup of delightful licorice-flavored herbal tea, stop on over to Victorian Trading Co. and pick up your bag for 12.95 USD. For the interested, they also have Jane Emily Dickinson and Jane Austen flavored teas (pictured above.)