It’s a bright green, sweltering morning, the kind that can only dawn after a summer torrent the night before. It’s been a difficult summer for your Cocker Spaniel, Sparky, since he got a yeast infection on his feet last week, so you want to treat him to a nice walk in the woods behind your house.
Now, you might have a different dog with a different name in your fantasy. I don’t even particularly like Cocker Spaniels, at least American Cockers, but there’s a specific reason why I’ve chosen this particular dog.
It was a pretty violent storm last night, and the trail behind your house is soaked and covered in little pieces of dark, wet bark. You explore the trails for about two hours and head home just as Sparky is beginning to tire and the sun is beginning to grow unbearably hot.
You bring Sparky into the mudroom, and you can smell his yeasty feet all the way from his position on the grimy tiles. You crouch down on the ground and pick up his front paw, separating his pads so you can see through the matted hair clumps between his toes to the villi-like growths on the foot leather. You lean in, ignoring the overwhelming cloud of wet corn chip scent that envelopes your face and shoves its way down your nostrils. You stick out your tongue and gently lick Sparky’s yeasty, wet foot pad, much to his bewilderment.
That’s what this tea tasted like. After a good 15 second rinse, I brewed this bag for about 5 minutes in boiling water. Honestly, I think the recommended 9-12 minutes’ steeping time is overkill; it’s not as though I am going to impart some new exciting flavor in that extra 5 to 8 minutes.
I think it was the rice that made that yeasty, corn chippy scent and flavor. I could kind of see how the smell was related to rice, but it just tended toward the side of dog feet smell. Even my coworker, sitting three feet away from me, commented on how this tea smelled like dog feet. It tasted much like it smelled: heavy on the ricey, yeasty flavor, but add in some wet wood flavor and just a hint of fishbone from the shou.
And yet, despite this disgusting description, I still drank the entire cup. I’m not sure what this says about me and my palate. I wouldn’t say that I enjoyed this tea, but it was a certain sort of experience.