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06 May 2008

Tea with Tarkovsky

“It is a religion of the art of life”
Joerg Muller and Karin Wieland feature this quote from Okakura's classic, “The Book of Tea”, on their handsome Solaris Botanicals brochure, and it's a presumptive but entirely appropriate borrowing, for if you seek the refinement of tea and tea drinking, then Solaris teas should be part of your culinary culture.
Having sampled several of the teas, the word that comes to mind is “subtle”. Try the Earl Grey, for instance, a tea often saturated with an excess of bergamot, but the Solaris Earl Grey is wonderfully delicate and refreshing, the bergamot notes handled with the élan of true expertise.
Similarly, the smoky lapsang souchang is not too smoky: the pine wood smoke is present, but not overstated, and it is such a pleasure to come back to a tea that I had been alienated from thanks to too many encounters with over-smoked teas that had all the subtlety of Laphroaig whiskey.
It helps, of course, that the teas are also so beautifully packaged, making for the vital elements to create your own tea ceremony. Solaris is a bright and brilliant star.
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