Steeping: Rose Smoked Black Tea Recipe

The months of this year have exposed me to myself in ways that have been humbling and difficult to swallow. It's been harder to get out of bed. It's been scarier and lonelier and my faith in my mental and physical strengths have been on the receiving end of several beatings. I've been tired, indifferent and less productive. But there has not been desperation: I've not felt as though there were no hope, nor that things were not alright in a deeper sense. Rather, the belief that I am exactly where I need to be has stayed with me and with it were patience and a sense of calm, which I am very grateful for––including my awesome Guardian Angel. Perhaps despair has been kept at bay by the practice of expecting the best and worst to happen at any instance and also my lack of confidence in my intellect, emotions and abilities. After all, what is a feeling that moves one like a hurricane only to disappear, leaving just a few debris to be buried in memory? And how can one be fully convinced by an intellect which is even ignorant of itself? All in all, I've felt more amused, little anger and even less bitterness. This attitude has allowed me a constant sensing of beauty––sometimes painful, too. The swirls of emotions and thoughts have inspired some exciting tea blends which I am happy to share with you. One of them is my rose smoked black tea. To try it, you'll need: 
+ Lapsong souchong (loose) 
+ Earl gray black tea (loose)
+ Rosebuds (whole)
+ Rosehips (whole)
+ Cayenne pepper (crushed) 
Prep: 
+ Put about 18 oz of water to boil 
+ Mix 1 tbsp lapsong souchong and 1 tbsp earl gray black together 
+ Add 1/4 tsp of crushed cayenne pepper to black teas and mix thoroughly 

+ Put about 3/4 rosebuds into tea strainer 
+ Add about three rosehips to rosebuds at the bottom of the strainer 
+ Scoop a tablespoon of black tea/pepper mix onto the rosehips 
+ Add about three more rosebuds on top of the black tea/pepper mix in the strainer
+ Add the rest of the black tea/pepper mix to the strainer
* Layering in this way ensures that the tea continues to steep uniformly as you drink
+ Pour hot boiled water through strainer of teas into your teapot 
+ Leave to steep for about three minutes for medium strength or five minutes for pretty strong 
Now sit back in a quite space and let your tastebuds explore your tea. 
If you care for some background music, here are some that I think would go well with this tea:

• The Black Skirts | Wait More 
• Moses Sumney | Doomed 
• Joseph d'Anvers | Chaque nuit en son temps 
• Ane Brun | Big in Japan 
• Lee Hi | Breathe 
• Ibeyi | Behind the Curtain

[I've put them together, as Rose Smoked Black Tea BG Music, on YouTube for you] 

Xx
JAO






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