After reading the reviews here, we wanted to see if we felt this tea lived up to the hype so we ordered up a packet.
52teas ships in 2-ounces packets which are solid silver on the back and see through on the front. This is a nice touch, especially when you have such a visually-appealing tea like this one. Those great images that 52teas creates (the one above) are actually the labels generated for the teas. We like these, but the labels are small on the packet and really don’t do justice to the work Frank and Company put into creating them. On the web and 52teas website, they look awesome, on the packet (printed on an ink-jet label printer) they look boring.
Our advice for this would be to simply leave the label off the packet and have those incredible images printed up as small glossy cards or inserts to be mailed along with the tea packet. It’ll add a bit of glitz and really show off the hard work done in creating the images and labels. The other upside is that there will be no label covering the front of the tea packet obscuring the beautiful tea inside.
Now, to the tea: the dry leaf really does look and smell awesome. The shavings of coconut are monstrous and the scent wafts up wonderfully. The shavings are supported by added flavorings, no problems there because it really gives a great smell. There really is no other tea on the market that we’ve been able to find that uses such enormous pieces of coconut.
In brewing, the tea brews up like a standard black tea. The tea leaves themselves are fairly small – nothing exciting. They are not fannings or dust, it appears to be machine-processed black tea that is commonly available and often used as a base for flavored teas. This is typical and we did not expect otherwise.
The liquid has a unique taste to it, we also found the “mint” flavor that Jason noted – though it isn’t a flavor inasmuch that it is a “bite” that appears as the tea dries on your tongue. It didn’t come in the back of the mouth, it comes at the front marking it as a mild bitter snap. The coconut flavor never really comes out in the liquid, but we are certain that the unique bite this tea has is a result of the coconut pieces. We did not try the latte recipe so we can’t comment on how it enhances the flavor of the coconut.
One interesting aspect we noted was the presence of the coconut oils visibly in the tea. Since oil rises to the top and separates from water, little spots of oil can be seen floating on the surface. We liked this, while we couldn’t taste a strong present flavor of coconut (beyond that unique minty-like bite) being able to see the infusion of the coconut was nice. This is a product of the large shavings used; this has not been noticed in other coconut teas.
That said, the coconut shavings do make this an interesting tea to drink plain; the snapiness that it has certainly sharpens the flavor profile. Because of the uniqueness of the tea, we did several tastings of it on several different days (ultimately consuming the entire packet just to come to our conclusions). We wanted to ensure we were thinking about it correctly.
It is an interesting tea, but as coconut goes, this batch/blend didn’t quite make it into the liquid. The dry tea is absolutely amazing, practically a work of art. If you want a decent cup of tea and don’t expect something wonderful from the cup but it is certainly worth buying just to look at the leaves and to shove your nose into the packet to inhale the smell.