Another new offering from my grocery store’s tea section. It’s bagged but this was a new brand that I haven’t heard of, so I thought I’d give it a try. I picked out this tea because I like almond flavoring… not so huge on almond nuts but the flavoring? Awesome.
When I opened the little foil bag, I was hit by the strong (and delicious) smell of pure amaretto. Just what I had been hoping for! When I took out some tea bags, though, I couldn’t help but think that they looked a bit like they were made of dryer sheets. That’s kind of uncool. Mental note: smell the bags, don’t look at them.
After steeping, the tea is a much more tea-like smelling creation. It smells thick, woodsy, malty and occasionally I get flashes of something that smells similar to dark chocolate or cocoa, but just a flash. And waiting patiently behind this very strong and bold tea smell is my adorable little amaretto. I hope the same is true for the taste.
I don’t have huge experiences with Ceylon, not straight at least, but this taste doesn’t remind me of Adagio’s Ceylon blends (or any other Ceylon-based flavored tea I can think of). It actually reminds me of a CTC that I had from Lupicia a while back – thickly textured, malty, a little bit of sticky sweet. (I just looked it up and I’m thinking about Silonibari BPS, which I believe is an Assam.) The amaretto flavor kind of flits around playfully; sometimes it’s at the beginning of the sip, sometimes the end, sometimes I get it all throughout the sip. It’s definitely taking a back seat to the tea but not so much that it fades away.
I do think the tea might be a wee bit strong for the lighter almond taste, though, because the end taste of the tea is so thick and coating that it seems more working counter to the almond than in conjunction. The almond shows up more when I take multiple sips instead of resting in between. I think resting gives the tea a chance to build up its thick, slightly bitter (in a wet, nutty way) end notes which totally drown out the amaretto. Sip-sip-sipping results in more sweet, light almond.
Overall, not bad but it could use a little something. Since this reminds me so much of Silonibari BPS, which turned to flat, boring cardboard when milk was added, I don’t think I’m brave enough to try it with milk. Mentally, I’ve already decided that would ruin it. But trying it with sugar seems like a good idea…
Ah yes, a good idea. It kills off just enough of the nutty bitter that I’m able to enjoy the almond more. It’s still not overwhelmingly almond, but it’s not distractingly wet-bitter at the end, either. Much better. I also seem to drink it faster which helps with the lack of nutty-bitter aftertaste. Overall, the addition of sugar seems to make the tea/flavoring ratio seem a bit better balanced instead of the big bully of the tea running roughshod all over the sweet, innocent little almond.
As always, it is nice to come across a flavored tea that still lets the tea be the star. I’m not sure that they picked the best leading actor in the tea world, though, but since sugar tempers that a bit, I won’t complain too loudly. Overall, a nice tea… and one with a pretty serious caffeine punch. (Seriously, my hands just started trembling a bit and I only had 6oz. Usually only lots of sencha or a stout Assam give me the shakes. Wowza.)