It’s interesting when bands inspire some creation for a sensory experience beyond their music. I remember enjoying one of BEHEMOTH’s coffees a couple years ago, and I’ve also gone through a few bottles of MARILYN MANSON’s absinthe. Unfortunately, I have yet to get my hands on any of the beers that many bands are putting out these days. Now CRADLE OF FILTH has joined with Pitch Black North to bring us two varieties of tea crafted in their name. Since I happen to be a long-time CRADLE fan that drinks tea almost every day, I didn’t think twice about checking these out. “Dark Blood” is for the morning wake-up and draws its name from “Of Dark Blood and Fucking” on From the Cradle to Enslave. The second blend is an evening mellower named “Sweetest Maleficia” after the song from Godspeed on the Devil’s Thunder. The objective here is to share my impressions on these teas without pretending to be a serious connoisseur.
I started with “Dark Blood,” and since I usually like my drinks strong, I used the instructions calling for 1-2 grams per cup as a guideline and brewed about 7 grams in 0.9L of water heated to 207 degrees F. This yielded about two and a half large cups of tea after steeping for 10 minutes. The smell and taste were both mild and pleasant with no bitterness, and the taste had a nice earthy tea flavor with a hint of sweetness. I have a fairly high caffeine tolerance, but it had the desired effect by the time I finished the pot.
I was curious how the leaves would stand up to a second brew so I tried rebrewing and steeped them for 20 minutes this time. Some of the essence was still there but it paled in comparison to the first brew. It could be worth steeping the first brew for less time to see if that would improve a second brew, but I didn’t bother trying this since I got what I wanted in one brew with the methods already in place.
I also tried cold brewing the same amount to see how it would turn out as an iced tea. The tea I normally brew is almost black after being in the fridge overnight, so I was a bit nervous when I saw “Dark Blood” had a much lighter color after chilling for about 24 hours. Thankfully, this color didn’t mean failure, and the result was a refreshing iced tea that had the same pleasant flavor and caffeine punch as the hot brew.
I brewed “Sweetest Maleficia” hot using the same quantities and procedures above. This tea is infused with blueberry and vanilla, but it is definitely not a “flavored” tea. The taste is like a slightly sweeter “Dark Blood” and those infused flavors were almost unnoticeable to me. I went in looking for them and picked up hints, but since I was actively seeking them, I considered that they might have been falsely perceived. I could definitely smell blueberry in the leaves before brewing them, however. As expected, this one doesn’t give a caffeine jolt like “Dark Blood,” but it serves its purpose as a nice evening sipper.
The blueberry and vanilla flavors were easier to pinpoint when “Sweetest Maleficia” was cold brewed, but they were still very nuanced. This was consistent with my experience drinking it hot, and shows those flavors were not just imagined through mind tricks. I like that these infusions are subtle and add something extra to the tea without making it “flavored.” The iced version of this is a good alternative if you’re not in the mood for a hot night drink.
For Science, I decided to brew a pot of both blends combined and see how they might affect each other. My overall impression was that the earthiness of “Dark Blood” and the sweetness of “Sweetest Maleficia” cancelled each other out. The taste was still strong and pleasant but it was also more like a neutrally flavored tea with some caffeine. I didn’t end up trying this mix as an iced brew.
You don’t have to be a true connoisseur to see that these are good quality teas. I won’t choose one as a favorite because they’re both well suited for their own time, place, and purpose. “Dark Blood” has a nice balanced flavor and enough caffeine to speed up in the morning while the infused flavors in “Sweetest Maleficia” show these were crafted by people who appreciate tea for its natural taste and see no need for overpowering artificial flavors. They might be a little pricey for what you get but I also don’t feel like I was ripped off. I’d say they’re definitely worth trying if price isn’t an issue and you’re a fan of CRADLE OF FILTH that drinks tea. I plan to drink more while listening to the new CRADLE album when it comes out this year, and I look forward to reviewing that also when the time comes.