Last fall, my husband rescued a couple of purple shamrocks from our outdoor flower pots before the frost hit. Well the plants weren’t particularly grateful and didn’t care for the change in environment, rebelling with paltry growth—or perhaps telling us that they needed to go into dormancy, but we didn’t get the message.
Anyway, one of them finally gave up on our ever figuring out their care requirements and decided to produce some lovely leaves and delicate flowers. Just in time for St. Patrick’s Day!
According to Bridget Haggerty:*
It wasn’t until the 17th century that it became the custom to wear the shamrock on the feast of Ireland’s patron saint; until then, the Irish wore a special St. Patrick’s cross, made just for the occasion. Then, in the late 18th century, the shamrock was adopted as an emblem by the Volunteers of 1777. But it didn’t really become widely popular until the 19th century, when the emerging Nationalist movements took the shamrock, along with the harp, as one of their emblems.
So as I gaze on the shamrock, I sip tea, of course, because the Irish are among the world’s top per-capita tea consumers. I am trying two versions of the same type of tea—a black tea mixed with cocoa pieces.
Now I am only recently a fan of aroma teas, having for years preferred “just tea.” When my daughter first brought home a tea & chocolate blend, I didn’t even want to try it. However, I have found that I was unnecessarily limiting my options as well as missing out on some terrific tea experiences!
In these blends, the cocoa melts into the robust black tea base—creating deliciously warm notes of whiskey and cream.
So have a cupan tae on this St. Patrick’s Day!
The first tea is Emerald Isle tea from Cupan Tae in Galway, which was brought back from Ireland for me. This full-bodied brew, with its hint of whiskey creaminess, is satisfyingly bold.
The second is O’Connor’s Cream from TeaHaus, which also yields a dark and full-bodied cup. I find the chocolate and creamy notes more pronounced in this blend, giving it greater warmth.
While I think that both these teas are wonderful as far as flavor, I was unable to find any tea sourcing information for Cupan Tae. All TeaHaus tea, whether grown organically or conventionally, is tested for heavy metal and pesticide residue in Germany, which has strict quality control standards.
*”Emblems of Ireland: The Shamrock,” by Bridget Haggerty, Irish Cultures and Customs, http://www.irishcultureandcustoms.com/AEmblem/Shamrock.html