(Apologies in advance because it is 2 am and I know I will ramble.)
This one just came out yesterday with Cherry Cola; and while I’m generally too lazy to bother getting anything done before my work day starts, I hauled ass out of my house early yesterday just to get to DAVIDs for this one so I didn’t have to wait even a day to try it.
Getting the impression I like root beer? Oh yes. I’m such a kid. Depending on the day, I can never decide between orange, cream soda or root beer as my favourite pop. I’ve mentioned before that I essentially gave up pop for tea, yes? So I imagined this being the best of both worlds.
My local DAVIDs is busier and busier these days, to the point that I walked in last week and did a double-take in shock when the store was empty. That never used to surprise me! And when I got there yesterday, there was a line-up of about four people while all the SAs were serving people (including one little old lady who looked to be buying probably about two hundred dollars worth of gift sets and then being picky about how they were packed). The woman behind me – holding her $1 iced tea mug – was clearly agitated by this, saying, “There’s a line-up for the damn tea?!” I kind of wanted to ask her if she didn’t want the tea store she frequents to be financially successful.
(Unexpectedly though, she turned out to be quite sweet. As I didn’t want her making dagger eyes at my back, I offered to let her go first when an SA freed up. “Oh no, dear, you were first! You go ahead!” Some people, I can’t figure them out.)
ANYWAY. The tea.
I got 160g of this packed into a shiny silver tin and the tea in my $1 mug as well because they were, unexpectedly, serving this one at my store as the TOTD instead of Cherry Cola as scheduled. Not sure why. But I kinda squeed to myself when I tasted the dollar TOTD, because it really, seriously tasted like root beer! I know I’ve groused on here before (in my DT’s Tropicalia review) about people saying that teas taste “just like” something else, but this is as uncannily close to “just like” as I think a tea can get.
So I rushed home to make my own pitcher of this one. In order to do this, I was planning to throw out the last fifth or so of my pitcher of DT’s Lime Gelato.
Now, I would not normally do that. I’m not really the child my taste buds think I am. I would normally wait and drink the last of the last pitcher. Unfortunately, that particular pitcher really, really didn’t turn out so great. I cold-brewed the Lime Gelato for about 4 and a quarter hours, and then yanked the leaves out because I was concerned about it eventually getting bitter the way Kiwi’s Big Adventure did. And it was unbelievably tasteless. Faintly lime, faintly green tea, and…that’s it. I talked to an SA in the store, and she told me that she doesn’t think Lime Gelato cold-brews well. Oops. So I’d just been using it up in boozy mixed drinks. And I planned to throw the rest of that failed pitcher out, because it just wasn’t that pleasant to drink even then.
As it turns out though, my loose-leaf hating sister actually drank it! Although she apparently told my mother, “Weird, it smells much stronger than it tastes.” (gigglesnort) And then she and my mom puzzledly went through all my teas in the cupboard trying to figure out which one it was! …Of course, they didn’t because they don’t know that half my stash (including that one) is actually in my room so that no one in my family but me knows how many teas I actually have. Shhh…
So. This isn’t a review of Lime Gelato, but I had to mention that because it’s made me nervous now about cold-brewing. This was the first time ever that the cold-brewing method has failed me, and I couldn’t help but think, “What if it doesn’t work for Root Beer Float?!” But I figured, nah, none of the listed ingredients are things I haven’t cold-brewed before – I think? – and it should work, no problemo.
But. Twelve-plus hours of cold-brewing later (yes, I lost track), guess what?
Root Beer Float cannot be cold-brewed either!
Now, I might not have realized that if I hadn’t had a to-go cup from the store, because it does still have a root beer taste to it and is drinkable. But nothing like what I had from the store! Sheesh! So just a heads-up for anyone thinking of slow-brewing this one cold…nope. Don’t waste your leaves.
So I just made some hot. This review is for that instead. If I can cool this enough before I go to bed, I will maybe try half the cup cold.
First, the smell is amazing. It does smell like root beer, both dry and wet – even hot. It’s another one of those “huff over the cup” teas.
Hot: The first sip was disturbingly tasteless, but it seems to be one of those that gets more flavour as it cools rather than less, so I gave it a few minutes and…yeah, there we go. Root beer and vanilla! I taste the base more hot, and I think it is rather middle-ing…there’s a faint bitterness to it. But I’m okay with it as the flavour is pretty well done. I can’t really separately taste white chocolate in this, and for that I’m grateful as I despise white chocolate.
I really just wish it was sweeter. I know that people have been bitching endlessly about stevia in DT teas lately – although I’m not sure why, it’s even considered safe for diabetes according to what I’ve read – and this tea does not have it. I wish it did. I have not had much of an opinion on the stevia thing until now, but now – I think they should have added it to this one in particular, and I do not understand how so many recent teas have that ingredient which probably don’t need it and this one doesn’t! I do not want to be adding too much of my own sugar to the tea because I don’t want to change the flavour, but this is supposed to be root beer. It should not be about subtle flavours. I don’t want to swirl this one on my tongue trying to pick out notes. I expect tea, but I also expect it to taste a little more like it will rot my teeth.
Cold: Okay, I should probably save this as I’m falling on my face. But this is definitely better cold (as I’m sure you’d already assumed); I keep seeing people on the FB page saying it needs fizz, but floats go flat! It has that nummy flat float taste.
I’ve also been experimenting with adding milk or cream and a swirl of DT’s vanilla agave to bring out the float-y aspects more, and that’s AWESOME. This is another get-me-through-the-work-day tea.
And with that, I’m up too late and talking too long and I’m out!