This is a sipdown!
I recieved this from VariaTEA in the package of herbals she sent me to try out, and since I had inquired primarily with the intention of finding something to use for cold brewing that’s exactly what I did with this. Actually, this likely isn’t something I’d have bought for myself except that part of the proceeds actually go to KANPE. However, I just think the flavour combination is kind of weird, so it’s not something I’d have specifically jumped at the chance to pick up.
I’m not going to look a gift horse in the mouth, though.
So anyway, the entire sample she sent me went into the jug of water (about five full cups of water), and it was cold brewed that way for about 24 hours. It was actually all strained and ready a few days ago, but I was waiting until ‘Christmas’ (I had an early Christmas with my family) to try it.
Steeped, the liquor is a nice hibiscus-y quality, but with some more brown type tones to it. The smell steeped is prominently mango, banana, coconut, and cinnamon. It’s kind of weird smelling everything together – but for sure not in an unappealing way.
I’ve been slowly sipping on this all day in between all the Christmas food we’re having (and some glasses of Eggnog too). I’m finding it quite filling and relatively refreshing. Taste wise, there’s a lot going on but it does work in a very strange way. I get strong flavours of mango, papaya, and banana initially which is a pleasant enough combination. Actually, if I recall those are a good chunk of the fruits in my Boatsman blend from RiverTea so I’m wondering if that’s happy coincidence or whether that one is also inspired by Haitian origins? The idea behind Boatsman is something I’ve been dreadfully curious about since I received it. In comparison to boatsman, this one has a much stronger taste of banana.
Following the fruit is a pretty decent meld of coconut and cinnamon with some fruit notes (more mango than anything else) in the background. It’s weird drinking a cold brewed cinnamon fruit drink – but I’m not totally sure why that seems weird? I don’t think it’s just because I’m drinking this on ‘Christmas’ – but there is SOMETHING about this tea that makes me think of it in seasonal terms. Perhaps Autumn, and definitely winter. That makes no sense because it has tropical fruits in it typically associated with summer or maybe spring, but I honestly don’t think this is something I’d strongly crave outside of winter. And actually, come to think of it, Boatsman has cinnamon in it too. Hmm, more coincidences…
Another nice thing about this one is that even though it has hibiscus in it and even after an especially long brew time – the hibiscus doesn’t even come close to making things overly tart or drowning out the other flavours. In fact, if nothing else, it really takes the backseat and is more of a forgotten note with not a whole lot of contributing flavour.
I don’t know if I’d restock this. I’d certainly drink it again, that’s for sure. It’s just very weird and feels oddly seasonal to me so I think the leaf might just end up sitting around and not getting a whole lot of use. Plus, I have Boatsman which I’m drawing many similarities to – and that one is a black tea, which is more preferred to me. I think I’d need to try that one cold steeped to see if I could draw out somewhat similar flavours because right now I’ve just had it hot. It’s not a good feeling to be having a sipdown with no idea whether I want more of a tea or not, though…
Also – Tre finally blew up at my for taking over his table with tea tins and pouches, and after receiving Christmas tea there was honestly no room on the table for anything at all (barely and room for more tea). He was probably right to get upset – my storage system was lousy and everything was getting excessive in quantity. So I spent an hour or so clearing out the shelves in the living room closet and making space for two “tea shelves” for tea to be stored.
So, I think what I’m gonna to is keep 20 or so of the tins out at a time on the table (that takes up only a fifth or so of the table) and then rotate what I have out on a biweekly basis. I think this might actually help with my drinking down the larger quantities, too. I also reorganized my sample drawer and made several smaller bags of samples organized by tea type which were brought to the cupboard along with any tea I’m hoping to swap out.
So, now I have 20 tins of assorted tea types which’ll rotate biweekly (on the table), a tidier sample drawer with 10 samples at a time (things I currently am interested in trying) left in it and the rest stored on the ‘tea shelves’ in the closet, my chest of teabags in its normal spot on the counter, and all my matcha on its own shelf in the freezer…
Yay for organisation!