For those of you who don’t know, I have recently taken a task upon myself; something I have always wanted to be daring enough to throw myself in to. After a few small happenings and some consideration, I have pledged my summer project to my shameless obcession with tea. This is to ensure that, at the very least will come one successful genuine personally-made blend of a delicious, tea-less, ginseng chai infusion.
A strange feat, I know. However following some discussion between myself and my acupuncturist (see Tea History 101 With a Twist), and taking some time to do some local and online research, I have thus far concluded two things: one, that delicious, loose, leaf-less ginseng blends are virtually non-existent; and two, the world needs more chai up in it.
I have begun excitedly collecting various ingredients for the pending experimental season. I paid my first visit to Wise Cicada in Newmarket upon hearing good things from a friend and my sister. It is a wonderful health food store with loads of gluten free and dairy free alternatives for food, loads of organic products, an all-natural supplement selection, complete with a small cafe where they have delicious treats ready for you to buy.
It was here that I begun to gather some fresh, organic, experimental ingredients for my endeavours. I picked a small packet each of organic cloves, cinnamon quills and black peppercorns.
I have recently been in touch with seemingly the only two suppliers of ginseng root in New Zealand. Knowing that ginseng root had to be aged around eight years for some of its properties to be balanced correctly, and being aware of a few other certain quality factors needed for the root to suffice, I carefully checked their credentials before making contact to enquire. One of the suppliers did not currently have any of the sort i made an inquiry about and referred me to the other business I had already made contact with. Their response came quickly:
We do not have stock of first grade dried American ginseng roots at moment. However we have a small amount of second grade roots. The price is $3 per gram +GST. These roots have some flaws such as broken fine roots or others. There is about 30 gram in one bag. If you want to order or need further information please feel free to contact me.
To say the least (not that I really knew what to expect, but…) the cost of the ginseng was surprisingly expensive, especially considering the cost when compared to an already dried and treated/cured 200 gram bag of loose organic ginseng tea costing approximately nine dollars from Wise Cicada.
As mentioned in The Search Continues, a friend of mine had invested in a bag of plain loose ginseng tea for themselves. The next time we met after that first cup we had shared together, she decided that either I would find some use for it, or the trash can would. If you have ever tried it yourself you would understand the lack of desire to force oneself to consume the distasteful brew. Deciding that it would be the perfect thing to experiment with, I was happy to take it off her hands, getting her a little-thank-you-something from Wise Cicada in return.
Some things just work out for the best. There is excitement and increasing anticipation brewing inside of me for the weeks of experimentation ahead. Will it not be so very extraordinary to make, drink, and share my very own concoctions of tea? The mind boggles with impending satisfaction and delight.