by Sarah the Tea Mistress I am starting a new series of blog posts where I drink just one tea for a week and work hard to get it just right! Perfect steep time, additions (sweeteners/milk), and water temperature. Hopefully you can take my idea of perfect and make it your own. Spicy Pear is a black tea with pear and cinnamon bits. As I continue my tea affair I am learning more and more about teas, their unique characteristics and what I like. For one, I am learning that when it comes to black teas I like the tea to have a little bite, meaning a strong flavor that hits my nose well before it hits my tongue. This helps me get the most out of the tea. I also like it when fruit flavors are not overly sweet and pear is the perfect fruit for that. The pear has a natural sweetness but not a sugary sweetness and the cinnamon adds the much needed punch of spice to create something spicy and sweet. The diagram of the tongue below should help to model what happens when Spicy Pear is introduced. Fig. 1 [caption id="attachment_500" align="aligncenter" width="254" caption="very scientific explanation of taste...Not pictured, impact on nose"][/caption] This very scientific explanation of taste did not come without some experimentation. I tried Spicy Pear with a little honey but found that I did not really need a sweetener at all. I tried milk since I love black teas with milk but something about pear and milk just did not do it for me. I also tried different steep times. Joy’s Teaspoon suggests a 4 to 5 minute brew time. I tried both and once in between and found that I prefer the full five minutes, this allows the pear flavor to develop fully. As for water temp, boiling! I have a thermometer on the way to get this a little more exact. A love affair takes time to develop; I should know I am a tea mistress! Taking time to brew just one flavor and really getting it right for me has been fun! Off to brew the perfect cup of Spicy Pear.