Tucker Lake is an inland lake in Glen Arbor, Michigan. In the summertime, a thin layer of fog forms around the lake during the night. Each sunrise brings a light breeze to the lake, pushing the fog northward. If you row out to just the right spot and wait for the sunrise, the breeze pushes the fog right into your canoe. There is a freshness to this fog that defies all explanation. Through the trees to the south of the lake and over Dunns Farm Road, the essence of this place becomes captured in the fog. The journey begins at a small dock across the road at Fisher Lake where the rustic scent of old wooden boats and crystal clear water billows into the fog. Warm and inviting, the fog pushes through the narrow stream connecting the lakes, rolling over summer trilliums and whispering through the pine trees, becoming as sweet and warm as everything it touches. When the sun rises, the fog warms, energizes, and just before disappearing, it reaches your canoe. The last breath of fog is vanilla-sweet and saffron-warm with an energy I can not even begin to describe. As the sun rises above the trees and the bald eagles soar the skies above, you wonder why you’d ever leave.
Port was inspired by this unexplainable scent and moment in time. I wanted to create the best blend I could, something to match one of my most beautiful memories. The base of this tea is a wild-picked black tea from Dehong, China, carrying intensely complex notes of sugarcane, eucalyptus, and barley over a deep rustic body. I tried all of our usual herbs, spices, and flowers, but nothing came close to matching the freshness of this memory, so I took the plunge and used the two ingredients that I knew would bring me back to Tucker Lake - organic vanilla beans and spanish saffron. After hand-chopping the vanilla beans with an ulu (what is an ulu?) and mixing in a generous portion of saffron, the blend was complete. The result is a more perfect incarnation than I could have ever imagined. Port has the most beautiful vanilla notes, a rustic base tea, perfect saffron warmth, and is rounded out with the evergreen sweetness of roasted red cedar tips.
I can proudly say that this is one of my greatest achievements!!