29 Tasting Notes
Another VIT that I’m working on – this may be one of the most unusual blends I’ll ever create.
I’m sure that I’ve said on Steepster more than once that I’m really not a beer person. But one of my VIPs has a boyfriend who is and she wanted to create a special tea for his birthday. So, I used my organic Yun Wu as a base (I thought that the natural hint of bitterness to the tea would work with the bitterness of the hops), and added two different types of hops (including Chinook hops from right here in the Pacific Northwest), roasted barley and sorghum and natural flavors.
I’m not a big fan of beer, as I said, but I am a fan of tea (little bit) and what this tastes like to me is a combination of beer and tea. Like equal parts beer and tea. Which to me is a win because I’d rather drink tea than beer so a tea that tastes like beer is better than beer that tastes like beer. (I’m not even sure what I just said makes sense but I hope you get the idea.)
Anyway – this will be available on the website soon – it’s different, it’s unique and it’s very 52Teas.
This is an all-new VIT that I crafted for (interestingly enough) summertime.
I had a pound of Bai Mu Dan in stock and decided that this was the time to use it since Bai Mu Dan has always been like a summertime type of tea. It’s light, refreshing and is naturally cooling. Even when I drink it hot, I find it to be very cooling and much more refreshing than a cold soda. (Then again, I may be biased?)
To that pound of Bai Mu Dan, I added orange blossoms, dried orange segments and then I diced up some vanilla bean and added some natural flavors to create a creamsicle type of experience. It’s sweet, refreshing and really, really good!
I’ll be adding this to the website by Sunday evening.
Flavors: Creamy, Fruity, Honey, Orange, Sweet, Vanilla
Mondays are supposed to be the day that we release our new flavor of the week but I’m not in the office for most of the day on Monday because that’s my day to watch my grandson and since I’m somewhat together today (quite a feat for Sunday), I decided to go ahead and release the tea a day early rather than a day or two late, especially since this is one that I feel like people will be very excited about.
I’ve never actually had a banana marshmallow treat before but the idea sounds yummy, right? And if it tastes anything like what’s in my teacup right now – it would definitely be yummy because this is so good. The banana is sweet – candy-like? Maybe. I don’t think I’m the right judge of that. One comparison I’ve often seen with the banana flavoring in teas is that it tastes like banana runts. I am not a fan of banana runts but I am a fan of banana flavored teas – so I never really got that comparison.
This tea is deliciously banana with a nice marshmallow note. The genmaicha comes through and the matcha adds a little creaminess to enhance the marshmallow notes. The genmaicha has a nice toasty quality to it.
Flavors: banana, Marshmallow, Sweet, Toasty
Yep – I reblended it.
Believe it or not, it was one that was requested by one of our start-up Kickstarter contributors. I was actually kind of surprised as this didn’t seem to be an overall favorite here on Steepster and it really wasn’t one of my personal faves either.
But OK. I aim to please and as I said in the start-up Kickstarter – “YOU choose the reblend” and that’s what this backer did so I reblended it for her. I hope she enjoys it!
As I sit here and sip on this blend – I can honestly say that I’m enjoying this more than I enjoyed the original blend. I didn’t really recall the flavor of the original blend so I had to re-read my review of that tea – http://sororiteasisters.com/2013/05/05/pineapple-bacon-flavored-rooibos-blend-from-52teas/ – and back then I seemed to get a pineapple bubblegum with bacon mid-notes. Well, I’m not getting a lot of bubblegum this time. The pineapple is prominent, it’s sweet but not overly sugar-y sweet. The bacon hits at about mid-sip with a somewhat salty, savory note. After the first few sips, I did add just a pinch of salt to enhance the salty. There was a certain saltiness to the cup prior to the salt addition but I found that the wee bit of salt improved upon that. A nice balance between salty/savory and sweet/tangy.
It’s tasty, it’s interesting, but it’s still not my favorite – they can’t all be my favorite, can they? If you liked the first batch of this – I think you’ll like this. Or get some for curiosity’s sake because not everyone out there is making bacon flavored teas. Or just get some because you don’t want me to have an overstock of pineapple bacon tea. :)
I was in need of caffeine this evening (I’m kind of a night owl – I find that when I stay up very late, that it gives me ample excuse to sleep right through the rest of the morning and then I avoid that whole morning thing.)
Anyway, I brewed up a pot of this and I shared some with Mat. He has declared this to be the best tea that I’ve served him yet.
And it is yummy, if i do say so myself. Lots of maple. nutty tones and a creamy low note. Sweet, creamy and luscious. So good I had to brew a second pot because Mat wanted more.
Flavors: Cream, Malt, Maple, Nutty, Vanilla
Just finishing off my cup of this tea – which I’m taste testing. I think I finally got the heat just right!
My VIP who ordered this VIT wanted a lightly caffeinated detox type morning tea. So I started with a green tea base of several organic teas (Chun Mee, Gunpowder, Chinese Sencha & Yun Wu) and three types of tulsi leaf (Green, purple & wild leaf). Then I added lemon verbena, ginger root, red clover leaf & blossoms and cayenne pepper – all known for their cleansing abilities. I also added some dried lemon segments to add a little more lemony flavor to the cup. I used whole, dried cayenne peppers that I cut up into smaller bits for the tea.
And this tea BRINGS THE HEAT. The very beginning of the sip starts out sweet and herbaceous from the green tea, clover and tulsi. Less than a second later, I pick up on the lemon which is tart but also sweet. Almost immediately thereafter, the palate is hit with ginger and then the cayenne smacks my palate around with some serious heat.
It’s very warm – but not so hot that I’m running for the kitchen in search of something to cool the palate. It doesn’t bring tears to my eyes or sweat to my brow. it’s hot – probably the hottest teas that I’ve created thus far – but it’s still not an uncomfortable heat. I like that despite the heat of the cayenne, I’m able to enjoy the other flavors that this blend has to offer. I taste the ginger and the bright lemon notes. I taste the herbaceous tones from the other herbs and the green tea. I even get a nice buttery note from the tea.
This one will be available on the website soon!
Flavors: Butter, Ginger, Herbaceous, Lemon, Spicy
So I just got finished packaging up a batch of tea so I decided I needed a tea break. One great thing about my job is that I can take tea breaks frequently and still say “I’m working.”
This tea is this week’s tea of the week. I really wasn’t sure if this tea would work out or not. When I first decided to blend it, I was really excited about it but then after I finished blending it and waited for it to cure, I got to thinking “What was I thinking?” Because the idea of a toasty, nutty tea like houjicha and a sweet, refreshing, juicy flavor of watermelon don’t seem like a likely pair. They don’t seem like they’d go together.
So I was very anxious during the curing process of this tea and I started thinking about what I’d do if the tea didn’t work out (because if I’m not happy with the tea, I’m not going to sell it.)
Fortunately, it did work out – quite beautifully actually! This is one of the better Houjicha blends I’ve tasted (I’m still quite fond of the Lemon Cheesecake Bar and the Gingerbread Houjichas too). The watermelon comes through really strongly but that warm, nutty flavor of the houjicha isn’t lost either. These two flavors seem to work very nicely together.
Moral of story: have more confidence in myself.
Flavors: Melon, Nutty, Sweet, Toasty
I am in need of caffeine – so I decided to grab some of this tea since it’s the current tea of the week.
When I thought about this blend, originally, I was thinking strictly a smoky peach tea – but then I decided I wanted another element to it. I had planned on creating a smoked butterscotch tea later this year (in November, perhaps) but while I was brainstorming, I decided I should combine the two – peach and butterscotch – with a black tea base that is a blend of Indian and Chinese teas including a small amount of Lapsang Souchong.
I know in the past, some of my smoky teas have been more smoke than I originally intended. Lapsang Souchong is really potent stuff and when I was LiberTEAS . . . I did NOT like Lapsang Souchong – it wasn’t until I was well into my tea reviewing days that I either acquired a taste for – or learned how to best brew the stuff that I started appreciating the smoky tea. So adding it to blends has been a bit of a learning process for me – and I’m getting better at it, I do believe.
Because this isn’t overly smoky. there is certainly a touch of smoke to it, but it doesn’t overpower the cup. There is a good amount of peach and butterscotch to this too. When I wrote my original tasting notes for this tea – http://52teas.com/blog/tea-of-the-week-for-june-20-2016-smoky-butterscotch-peach-black-tea/ – I conducted the very first tasting without sugar in the cup. My second cup (and this one) has about a 1/2 teaspoon of raw sugar in it and I find that this really helps to bring out the sweetness of the peach and the distinct flavor of butterscotch.
It tastes a bit like grilled peaches, which is what I was going for.
Guess what tea I am in the process of reblending?
One of our VIPs from our start-up Kickstarter campaign selected the incentive to create a VIT and choose a reblend and he told me to choose my favorite reblend to reblend.
Okie Dokie – this one was one of my all time favorites and it’s one I selected because – well, I wanted to reblend it. Fortunately, my VIP was very excited with this choice – so this is the tea we’re going with. Instead of using sun-dried tomatoes in this blend, I used freeze-dried tomatoes so it looks a little different than the original batch.
This is my first taste test of the tea – and I still have some tweaking to do on it. I want a stronger tomato flavor and a more prevalent pepper flavor to it. I went really light on the Lapsang Souchong – so I’m smelling more smoke than I’m tasting so I might add just a little bit more to this to enhance that smoke a little. Or perhaps I’ll add a touch of Keemun to round out the body a little more.
Anyway – this one’s being reblended – so watch for it – it should be done within the first week or so of July (I hope)!