SECOND NOTE In my first note (below) I described my initial experience with this tea and how I was perplexed by the relative lack of coconut flavor experienced by me in comparison to that observed by others as reported in their notes. I considered that my small sample might not have been representative of the “bulk tea” and my recent experience with a new larger sample happily supports that possibility.
The new dry tea sample has a much stronger scent of coconut, so I was hopeful that the tea steep would follow suit. I again prepared the liquor as recommended and was thrilled that the flavor of natural coconut (perhaps lightly toasted?) was now assertively expressed in the luquid and persisted nicely in the aftertaste. The black tea base and the fruit seemed to marry well. NOW I feel this tea is consistent with my expectations and will likely keep it on my shelf.FIRST NOTE Interestingly I purchased this from the Persimmon Tree (one of my favored sources) as a small sample and tasted and recorded my thoughts before I read any of the reviews here on the Steepster review page. I was astounded at the difference in my observations in comparison to that of the vast majority most of the tasters.- Right now my favorite theory is that the sample obtained was not representative, but perhaps some other variable was in play here. I’ve been pleased with other coconut flavored teas from The Persimmon Tree Tea Company, so I was surprised – and disappointed with my Coconut Cream experience – so far. However, I’ll record my experiences here – perhaps some of you may be able to suggest other explanations for the general lack of coconut taste and aroma. In all cases I steeped my tea in my cup using a stainless steel infuser – both were preheated. I also strictly obeyed the prescribed tea to water proportions. The dry tea consisted of short, flat leaves, slivers of off-white coconut which gave off a faint but dominant aroma, and various brown/orange threads which presumably were the flower components. The recommended conditions were to steep at 180degF for 2-4 mins. I steeped my tea at 180degF (by thermometer) and tasted it at 2 and 4 mins – the results were very similar. The flavor of the tea base was pleasant, without bitterness, and consistent with white tea. However, the liqour neither exuded a coconut aroma nor its taste until the temperature fell to about 150degF and even then was only mild to even in the aftertaste where I am personally most sensitive to coconut. The wet, post-steep leaves were short, torn and of a uniform color, The aroma of coconut of the leaf was virtually absent. I am perplexed by the difference in my experience with that of others who uniformly indicate a robust coconut flavor. I will return to an experience I had with this tea the day before to try to find an explanation. I had thought it was a black tea base and failed to check the website to verify the recommended steeping conditions – hence I prepared the cup at 194degF and tested at 3 and 5 minutes. The liqour was undistinguished, perhaps a little bitter – not surprising consider my temperature error. The coconut fron the liquor was evident in the aroma – but not greatly so. However, the the coconut flavor was more present and increased with decreasing temperature. There seemed to be more coconut presence in the 5 min steep, in contrast to the 3 minute steep. The two day pattern suggests that a higher temperature or greater amount of coconut might be needed to extract enough flavor to be pleasing – at least to me. Of course the former approach, higher steep temperature, was and is is inconsistent with good white tea flavor. My inclination is to believe that the lack of coconut flavor was due either to 1)a non-representative sample or to 2)sensitive steeping conditions, which I did not meet inspite of my care. Or both. Being familiar with small sampling problems, I’ m inclined to believe – given my love of coconut and the enthusiasm of the other reviewers, I should forgo rating this tea until I obtain another, perhaps larger sample. I’d be interested in your interpretation.