Tea is one of the oldest beverages in human history and over the past several years has seen a bit of a rebirth. For years, tea drinkers were relegated to poor quality pre-packaged blends, but tea lovers have been blessed with several higher quality brands available at stores and now many more loose-leaf varieties for sale in store, online, and at local markets.
Meet Casting Whimsy
Paula Aitken of Casting Whimsy is one of those tea connoisseurs bringing their love of tea to other drinkers. Several years ago, while on a food tour of Chicago with her husband the group stopped at a local tea shop. The self-proclaimed coffee lover had no idea that this stop would lead to a new love affair with the herbal brew or a new business venture.
Like a lot of modern tea lovers, Casting Whimsy doesn’t take tea or itself too seriously. Known for their small batch loose leaf teas this husband and wife team enjoys making creative blends and giving them quirky and fun names. What they do take seriously is their dedication to quality ingredients and a satisfying final product.
All of their ingredients are organic, and the teas, coffee, and cacao are fair trade certified as well. Each batch is carefully blended and hand packed making only 8-12 bags at a time. Paula researches, hand blends, and packs each tea that comes out of Casting Whimsy. Her passion and love show in each unique flavor.
New to tea
With new tea drinkers joining the ranks daily Paula has advice for those just starting out with loose leaf teas that is right on par with her laid back approach. According to Paula, “it doesn’t need to be complicated with this many grams and this exact temperature of water and this exact steeping time. I think sometimes it’s over complicated and it makes the process seem like it takes a long time or it’s difficult. We provide general steeping directions for our blends so you have an easy place to start. Then you can tweak it with more or less time, tea leaves, or temperature. We have a customer who steeps his green tea in boiling water for 25mins on his commute to work. I know I wouldn’t like the taste, but he loves it. To each his own. Make it how it tastes good to you.”
The concept of making what tastes good to you is what leads flavor development as well. Inspiration often comes from things Paula and her husband like and requests from customers. A popular summer tea came from Paula trying another brand’s cherry tea and not enjoying it. Thinking that black cherry could make a beautiful flavor she experimented until she created Casting Whimsy’s Haruno blend with cherry and rose flavors perfect for warmer weather. Another popular variety, Tale No 62, a rooibos honey lavender blend was born of customers search for honey lavender flavors.
Now you’ve got your perfect cup of tea steeped and ready to go, but what do you serve with it. Forget the dainty tea sandwiches and mini tarts. Paula’s favorites tea pairings include a muffin or shortbread. Or give these easy vanilla scones a try.
We have fallen in love with the well balanced and whimsical flavor of these small batch teas. Check out the Casting Whimsy site for all your tea brewing needs and sign up for B.I.T.E Box to get a taste of other small batch foods like this.