About Tea Time
– Literary Remedies by Kimberly Richardson –
Tea speaks a universal language. The beverage, seemingly as old as time, can be enjoyed hot or cold, and is shared by people from all backgrounds, religions, and beliefs. A simple pot of tea can prompt strangers to transcend language barriers and to discover friendship. From the famous London tea rooms to steeping Boston harbor on the eve of revolution, to the verandas of countryside retreats, through the cinnamon and herbal scented seasons—even overseas in search of rare, exotic flavors—and into the very thermos one takes to work or on picnic, few commodities are so intimately ingrained in the human experience. Hence, the Viridian Tea Company’s unique mission to render tea blends “inspired by subjects of literary, geeky, and artistic natures.” The tea company began several years ago in Memphis, Tennessee and sells their blends via online and through local stores in Memphis and New Orleans. May it please parched readers and writers in search of the right blend to suit their literary muse as they travel worldly fictions, Viridian Tea Company founder, Kimberly Richardson provides the following menu to help us slip into character and to navigate from humming cities deep into the pastoral.
Elmwood – It’s a dark and stormy night… this blend, consisting of black tea, elderberries, and hibiscus, was inspired by Elmwood Cemetery in Memphis. The famous (and infamous) are buried in this historical cemetery that feels like a city within a city. One forgets that they are walking through a cemetery, due to the lush landscaping, massive trees, patches of sweet smelling clover, and the multitude of birds, squirrels, chipmunks, and even a red fox that make the cemetery their home. Brewed to charge the characters of a murder mystery, a private detective makes a visit to the cemetery to search for clues at the freshly made grave. The figure slowly sips on their cup of Elmwood tea as they mull the case…
Quantum Mechanics – Sweet or bitter? Would it bubble? Would it fizz? Gears are churning a confounding white tea blend with lemongrass and spearmint. Herein lies the perfect brooding sip for a character in a dark pensive novel – glimpsed alone in a chilled bedroom of a high-rise apartment, our hero slowly sips Quantum Mechanics as they ponder a cryptic note, or worry their mind as the truth of their existence is presented to them under nefarious circumstances.
Harlem Muse – Created in tribute to Nella Larsen, the celebrated Harlem Renaissance author of Quicksand and Passing. Set in 1930’s urban America, these books handle the complex world of a biracial person. Which “side” do I belong on? Am I black, white, or something entirely different? This blend consists of white tea, jasmine, and lemon balm.
Le Salon – This blend is dedicated to Kristin Fouquet, author, photographer, and owner of Le Salon Press. Arguably the Dorothy Parker of New Orleans, Fouquet’s photographs and books offer a vivid into a woman’s search for self amid the vibrant and eccentric Big Easy. Conjuring warm and dreamy tales tinged with gin, jazz music, and the late-hour wit of front porch conversations overlooking the raunchy endless nightlife, this tea blend, consists of black tea, dandelion, and rose hips.
Manderley – The novel, Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier inspired this herbal tisane blend, Comprised of jasmine, peppermint, and chamomile these country flavors offer spring and summer solace to weary wanderers and will resonate with journeying characters, especially those fleeing trouble at home.
Indigo Kimono – This black tea, fuses dried blueberries, hibiscus, and lemongrass, for an invigorating experience inspired by a werewolf short story that I wrote for the anthology Luna’s Children: Stranger Worlds, published by Dark Oak Press. The main character is the owner of a Japanese style tea house in the middle of a valley and she wears an indigo colored kimono. One night, she takes in a rain-soaked stranger covered in mud and blood, only to discover that he is not what he appears to be. Perfect for wandering travelers in search of illumination.
Endymion – Greek mythology inspires this herbal tisane. Chamomile, hibiscus, peppermint, lavender, and rose petals, conjure the myth of Selene, (the Moon), who fell deeply in love with Endymion, a beautiful shepherd who would sleep in the cave on Mount Latmus. Obsessed, she cast a spell that put him in an eternal sleep so that he would be beautiful forever. These soporific flavors fuel one desire to get back to nature, escape city life and sleep out under the stars.
Shinrin-yoku – Named after the Japanese practice of “forest bathing” this tea offers the ultimate meditative experience in a rural environment. Chamomile, elderberries, passion flower, spearmint, and peppermint are the essential escapist essences luring you away from dingy city airs. Time slows as you wander into a dense forest on dirt pathways. One recalls Thoreau and his self-imposed isolation at Walden Pond, or the brilliant waterfalls described in Last of the Mohicans, and feels their rugged individualism awake.
Books and tea pair well. Tea inspired by books are even better. Enjoying a cup of tea while reading a book allows you to momentarily forget the troubles of the world by way of a relaxing and savory ritual. No matter if the scene is rural or urban, a book in one hand and a cup of tea in the other makes for a lovely night, no matter where you claim as home.
Kimberly B. Richardson is the author of Tales From a Goth Librarian, The Decembrists, Tales From a Goth Librarian II, Mabon/Pomegranate, Open A, and The Path of a Tea Traveler. She is the creator of the Agnes Viridian series, the Maven Chronicles, and the Order of the Black Silk trilogy. She is also the editor of Realms of Imagination: An Urban Fantasy Anthology and the Steampunk anthology series Dreams of Steam, and has stories in multiple anthologies. Ms. Richardson was the 2015 David McCrosky Volunteer Photographer in Residence for Elmwood Cemetery in Memphis, Tennessee. She is also the founder of the literary journal violet windows. Ms. Richardson is the founder and owner of Viridian Tea Company and a certified thanatologist.