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I went into T2 recently (yes, -again-) and one of the girls working there recognised me from a previous visit. Considering they had only been open about a month, it’s safe to say I have frequented the store more than my fair share of times. T2 has stores in Australia that have been established for a while so I am already acquainted with their teas and tea oriented merchandise from my somewhat brief stint living in Melbourne, and am also a member of their tea society. They have all the delicious teas that I left behind in Melbourne and then some! Ahh, sweet memories. Thus, I am very happy about their store opening here in Auckland, just a short walk from home.

The girl who I was speaking with was lovely and almost too happy to discuss their teas and such. After all, who wouldn’t want to get paid to be a lady of tea!? Before i went on my way she had gifted me a small portion of her current favourite to try at home, oolong bamboo spice. I quickly made my way home, set the jug to boil and steeped this wonderful tea concoction. Needless to say, it was divine. It smelled almost exactly like delicious grape bubblegum, and tasted just the same.

While I was kicking back enjoying the brew, I reminded myself of my summer project I set myself not so long ago – to blend/concoct my own tea. This project came about after a discussion I had recently with my acupuncturist, and I had since consequently found that loose ginseng blends available on the market are few to non-existent.

See my previous post: Tea History 101 with a Twist

These endeavours may well take longer than a summer – in fact I expect them to. First priority is a ginseng chai blend, which will be not only drinkable, but delicious and shall satisfy my own tea palate. By the end of this summer, at the very least I will have conquered this.

I actually tried a plain loose ginseng tea recently that a friend of mine had acquired, and this gave me such drive to set my project in motion! It was abysmal. Ginseng tea on its own with no other ingredients in the mix tastes like dirt roots… funny that, ginseng being a root and all. Don’t try it. Just… no, don’t. Let me do the hard yards and I’ll have a ginseng tea that is drinkable soon enough, I promise.

The only ginseng tea I had discovered was a pre-teabagged blend found on a simple supermarket shelf, which doesn’t quite suffice for my project’s research needs. I took to visiting my favourite tea-house, but alas, came out empty-handed. They had no ginseng tea whatsoever. Visiting the other couple of places around the city resulted in the same.

Deciding that paying T2 another visit to inquire about their ginseng blends was worth a shot, I made tracks down to the store a few days later. After a little fuss from the girls and one of them rifling through some sort of ingredients list upon my inquiry, surprisingly, disappointment ensued again. No luck.

Photo: a picture of a bonsai ficus ginseng plant. Cute, no?

Meeting these disappointments and barriers may seem a little discouraging from an outside perspective, but I feel that even though I certainly have my work cut out for me during the course of my summer project, I may just be on to something pretty special here. You never know, perhaps there are others out there that have the same wants as I? Are you one of those people?

So, the search continues. Tea genius, signing out.