Tea of the Week: Bellocq’s No. 22 National Parks Dept.

Here’s a blend for all you rugged wilderness lovers out there. Now that spring has officially arrived and nature is coming back to life, it’s time for an invigorating cup inspired by everything we love about the new season. Bellocq’s National Parks Dept is an earthy, organic blend of botanicals and blooms. As you drink this tea you can literally sense branches and twigs crushing under your steps. As an avid Martha Stewart fan, I learned about Bellocq Tea Atelier many subscriptions ago. This company hails from Brooklyn where the founders of this tea company met while working at Martha Stewart Living Omimedia. Bellocq has an exquisite collection of mostly organic, handcrafted, single-estate teas. Their teas can be on the pricey side, but if you pick a blend like National Parks Dept., the tea is worth every penny.
National Parks Dept. is like a tranquil walk through the woods without the threat of mosquito bites, dehydration, and getting lost. What’s most remarkable about the blend are the added cedar tips, still bright green and aromatic, as if they’ve just been snipped off of a sappy fir tree. Yellowstone, Yosemite, The Great Smokey Mountains…turn that tea kettle on and you’ll be there!Tasting Notes for Bellocq Tea Atelier’s No. 22 National Parks Dept.:

BREWING TIPS:  Brew at 200 degrees F for 5-6 minutes.
THE TEA:  This rustic, organic blend is a mix of twigs, leaves, and blooms. What seems like a random scoop of nature’s shrubbery is actually 2nd Flush Darjeeling, Assam, twig tea, juniper berries, wild blue cornflowers, and cedar fir tips.
THE SCENT:  Like a hike through the woods on a sunny day. The scent of pine and cedar is pleasantly strong here. If you love the smell of freshly cut Christmas trees during the holidays then you will love this blend.
THE STEEP:  A handsome, coppery brown steep. Full-bodied yet mellow. You can definitely taste the twig tea (Kukicha) here. It takes the edge off of the stronger Darjeeling and Assam teas, and gives the blend a rich, rounded, slightly sweet finish. If you enjoy your black teas with sweetener, I would suggest a touch wild honey or maple syrup.
GET IT:  At One Kings Lane or at the exquisite Bellocq Tea Atelier site.
FOOD PAIRING:  This tea is ideal for a spring brunch or with breakfast favorites like pancakes, waffles, or french toast. Also great with Fragrant Orange English SconesMaple Brick Toast, or Blueberry English Muffins. For a savoy change, enjoy the tea with Beef Bourguignon Pastries or Turkey Tarragon Tea Sandwiches.