I was raised in Sydney, a city on Australia's eastern seaboard with a unique temperate-subtropical climate affected by trade winds from South America. As the grandchild to Italian immigrants, I'm unashamed to admit I have been imbued with a love of nature, a knack for urban gardening and an uncanny sixth sense to predict the weather. Perhaps the most precious of all the things I have adopted is an appreciation for the warm season. The height of summer is my favourite of all, as memories of fond days return to me of the unmistakable sight and smell of jasmine blossoms on every street corner, the plume of tightly budded gardenias and the allure of the fruit market replete with inexpensive, overripe fruits. Blush-tinted mangoes, soft-skinned peaches, wrinkled passionfruit and blemished berries are neatly stacked, intoxicating and compelling with their heady, almost alcoholic aroma. On occasion, my family would purchase carton-loads of fruit during the period of glut toward the end of summer, which we would prepare into smoothies, purees, freeze for later or enjoy on the spot. The bounty of the late summer Sydney is a joyful, almost spiritual experience that speaks to me in the poetry of symbols; the coming and going of people in the spirit of the season, the proud scorching sunshine, the eddy of an ocean breeze, the waft of charcoal briquettes burning late into the night.
Our blend Summer Sonnet is a commemoration of the sublime memories of the season, realised through our choice of base tea and accompanying fruit and floral ingredients. The second tea blend to ever come out of our cupping room, Summer Sonnet is the proud progeny of several days of careful assessment and revision of blending proportions. We selected Keemun, a prized black tea from Anhui Province, China, for its distinct notes of dark berry that is sometimes likened to port wine, as well as its delicate note of wood smoke. A beautiful tea on its own, the addition of jasmine petals enhance the aesthetic appeal of the blend, whilst dried mango and mandarin pieces add a delicious subtle flavour that overall ties into the theme of the blend. Lastly, a dash of natural peach essence enhances the fruity profile and brings out the natural fruit-like characteristics of the base tea itself.