Okay, since I don’t feel like making a custom tea for this blend that I’m working on just yet, I will put it under this ingenious tag.
I have been drawing out my supply of Vanilla Mint Mate since Teaopia closed down two years ago. This is an old tea for me, but a really classic wake-up tea that I genuinely miss in my cupboard. It’s great for those mornings that I really need a caffeine hit, but don’t want anything as strongly flavored as a black tea. I attempted to replace it with The Killers Vanilla, but that tea is just so chocolate-y to me (something about the addition of lavender), and I detest chocolate! The original tea had a definitive, but mild green mate flavor on the sip with a heavy dose of cooling on the swallow, but maintained a pleasant level of sweetness and creaminess from the vanilla all the way through. I have one cup left of the original, so I’m hoping to compare it with several options of my finished blend.
Fast forward to my first online order of tea from Upton last year. I got a giant bag of green mate and an even bigger bag of the most cooling peppermint I could find. Dinosara spoiled me with a bundle of Madagascar vanilla beans to complete my project. Well, I’ve finally gotten around to experimenting. I figured my tea log was the best place to record the endeavor for posterity. My goal today was to determine the ideal mint/mate ratio, into which I will toss a vanilla bean and let it age.
To make each sample comparable, I made sure the brewing was exactly the same (side note: who knew I had three tea balls floating around my house?!) for each mix. I will now review them separately:
1/2 mint/mate mix: I really can taste the earthy greenness of the mate, tempered just slightly by the mint. The cooling really shows up on/after the swallow. The cooling is just not quite what I want it to be, but it taste the most similar to the original.
1/1 mint/mate mix: The cooling is at the right amount now, but the flavor is much too peppermint. The mate is there, but the bad influence of the mint overpowers on the sip when I really want it confined to the swallow. This blend really loses the warm and fuzzy smokiness of the mate. It was a tough call, but I think this is too much mint.
2/1 mint/mate mix: This is basically like a pure mint tea. The sod-like under flavor of pure mint shines through the overpowering cooling of the tongue. Definitely not the winner.
For now, I will most likely proceed with variable amounts of vanilla bean in the blend with the most mate, but perhaps I will bump up the mint just slightly in that mix and try it first.