Last night, I received a request to try this tea. “I’m eager to know what you think of the new black tea base” said this request. So, I was happy to go a bit out of order and try this one. I confess that way behind in sampling my teas of the week from 52Teas … what can I say? I have so many teas to try and not enough palates or bladder space to drink them all at once.
After allowing it to cool a few moments, I took a sip, sort of casually, almost aimlessly, and my first reaction was “wow, this is a really good black tea.” Without even taking a moment to consider that this was a flavored tea, I started thinking of this as a magnificent black tea that is sweet, almost caramel-y, rich, and full-flavored. I started thinking of other “pure” black teas that are similar to this. Then I sort of shook my head when I realized that this is a flavored black tea, not some high quality, tippy, pure black.
This reaction, in my opinion, is the highest praise a tea lover can bestow upon a flavored tea, because more often than not, flavored teas are about the flavor and not so much about the tea underneath it all. Here, black tea and flavor have united seamlessly, with the flavor of cotton candy (and yes, I definitely DO taste cotton candy) highlighting the black tea in such a way as it essentially becomes a component of the tea and not an addition of flavor, if that makes sense.
And I think that this new base has everything to do with that. And let me examine this newly crafted, 52Teas’ base. It is bold and rich … much more well-rounded than 52Teas previous black tea base. The background flavor is SOLID and invigorating. It is robust and flavorful: sweet, malty and has a rich, bake-y kind of background to it, reminding me quite a bit of a Fujian black tea in many ways. And this is a very good thing, indeed.
When compared to the previous blend that 52Teas has used, this one is less astringent, and without bitterness. I do not need to come up with different parameters to brew it, I can brew this just the way I’d brew other black teas: 2 1/2 minutes in boiling water in my Breville. I don’t have to adjust the temperature or the brew time to assuage the black tea base the way I used to with other 52Teas.
Frank, you’ve crafted an excellent base here. I am very pleased, and so look forward to trying your future blends with this base (particularly my double chocolate decadence)! But for now, I this one deserves high marks!