Sunday, May 10, 2020

Origin Story: Daydreamer Tea and 5 Books to Pair with It

Blissful, Deep, and layered. These were the notes I was looking for when I first created Daydreamer. Out of all the blends at Tea Spectral, this was the first one that was created. It's no surprise that this blend continues to be the top seller for Tea Spectral. For those of you who are a fan of this blend, I thought it would be great to tell you the story behind it and the creative process.

Before Tea Spectral, I created this tea to be sold under my arts charity; Azure Lorica. For a decade we have blossomed from a theatre company to a social equality charity that allows artists from all walks of life to gather, share, and aid each other in their projects. I had been blending tea as a hobby for some time, and I wanted to make a tea that embodied the heart of the company. Sharing and promoting inspiration.

Meet Kipp: Since our early days in theatre, we had a little mascot that we loving named Kipp, after Rudyard Kipling. We had made him a cloud rider, chasing adventure as a metaphor of an artist in constant chase of inspiration. He was cute, a little silly, and reflected the overall atmosphere of our young company. Yet as it stood past it's five-year mark, the company was growing, and fifteen productions, three charity events, and owning one anime convention later; we were starting to evolve into something else. I decided with the début of this tea that I was going to give Kipp a grownup make over as well.

Here is the first label of Daydreamer. Originally adorned with a watercolor drawing of my hand. I was planning to create all the tea labels in this fashion. I gave Kipp his 'grown up' look, still maintaining his personality.  Having the tea as a part of Azure Lorica never seemed to work. You see, as I was diving into creating this tea, I was falling deeper in love with the art of tea blending. I realized that it would be best to keep this passion of mine separate from the mission statement of the charity. This was how Tea Spectral was born; in turn the tea store can help in hosting events for Azure Lorica. It's a beautiful thing to see both the charity and small business intertwining and helping one another. I wouldn't have it any other way.

Flavor Profile: From the beginning I wanted undertones of classic botanical notes in the blend. The base is created with Rose and Aged Bergamot. Lavender is added to the tea, giving it a botanic flavor that leans more on the herb note. Lastly, the Passion fruit plays between the citrus/fruit notes in the Bergamot to the floras. Azure Lorica's logo is also a triskele, the symbol of harmony between the past, present and future. I see that represented in this blend. The trinity of citrus, herb, and floral creates a surprisingly well-balanced tea that circles through the three profiles from start to finish. I like to think of it as the feeling of floating away with your thoughts and inspiration. A little adventurous, but familiar.

Books to pair it with: Here is a list of inspirational chasing reads to get carried away with this blend. These books remind me of my playwright days, shaping my beloved Azure Lorica, and being brave enough to take the leap with my muses. I hope that they will inspire you. 

Sacré Bleu :A Comedy d'Art by Christopher Moore - Ever wondered what breathed the magic into some of the world's most infamous works of art? Follow down and out Lucien in the late 19th century as he discovers the secrets behind the Montmarte, France art culture and the twisted past of fine art. Dark & Humorous, this book is excellent for anyone who is looking for a grownup fairy tale that never has a dull moment. It's sinfully delightful with the deadly combination of a strong boned historical fiction, entrancing fantasy, and fine honed wit.

Stardust by Neil Gaiman - Travel beyond the city of Wall with Tristan when he tries to retrieve a fallen star to win his crush's heart. He gets more than he bargains for when he finds that the star is a woman. A beautiful nod to classic fantasy; the book is chock filled with Airship Pirates, Waring Dynasties, Evil Witches, and Spells in need of breaking. Gaiman paints a beautiful detailed world with well aged lands that gives you the electrifying feeling of déjà vu in each part of Tristan journey.

The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor - See a Wonderland beyond silly poems, but a land driven by the power of imagination (literally). Princess Alyss must fight her Aunt Redd for her right to the throne in a full out rebellion. Start at this book and follow the rabbit hole to the rest of the books in this trilogy if you dare. Beddor brings a harmonizing blend of steampunk, sci-fi, and fantasy to this retelling of Alice in Wonderland. Wonderland is calling you and the power of your dreams!

The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke - The city of Venice Italy is laced with a deep magic. From its winding streets that seem to lead to nowhere to the watery passage ways centuries old. Prosper and Bo join other runaways living in an abandoned theatre. The misfits are led by the courageous Scipio, known by the underground as The Thief Lord. The plot ignites when they discover the lore behind an enchanted wooden carousel. Funke transports you into a scene that it touchable, but she urges us to look past the façade and into the cracks and shadows. This is where the magic dwells.

Fairy Dust & the Quest for the Egg by Gail Carson Levine- Discover the lore and wonder of Neverland before Peter Pan. Newberry Award winning author Gail Carson Leviene tells the story through the world of Neverland's Fairies. This is the second book of the trilogy, but it is such an epic journey seeing the other residents of this magical island. This is such a great read for those who are fans of the book and/or the Disney 1953 film.  Fall in love with Neverland all over again with beautiful watercolor illustrations by David Christiana. This book is whimsical with a kick.

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