Time for the side-by-side comparison of the vanilla black teas I currently have in my possession.
Up for the challenge are Bayswater Vanilla Cream, Nina’s Paris Je t’aime, and Tea Desire Velvety Vanilla.
I thought the first two would be the most similar, but smelling the dry leaf back-to-back, I’ve discovered that Bayswater’s has a smoky undertone that I never noticed before. Must be the base. But both have a vanilla caramel vibe. Je t’aime is heavier on the caramel. Velvety Vanilla, on the other hand, is like a watered down vanilla.
Of the three, Je t’aime is the smoothest. I can even detect fruity undertones whereas the other two have none of that whatsoever. Je t’aime’s base is the smoothest. Velvety Vanilla is astringent, to be expected from the Ceylon and Darjeeling, and Vanilla Cream is heavier, smokier, and thicker.
It’s amazing how you view teas in a different light when you compare them to others. Now that I’ve compared them side-by-side, I can definitely see that Nina’s reigns supreme. It’s softer, like a caramel cloud, and the base doesn’t wreak havoc on the whole flavour profile. I’m not even sure which one would get the silver medal. From memory, Vanilla Cream takes cream better, probably due to its heavier base.
So, now that I’ve cleared up that, in my opinion, Je t’aime gets the gold medal here, I guess in this case, the price really does reflect quality. But of course, remember, that isn’t always the case due to premium pricing/price-quality signaling! Still not sure I’d repurchase any of the three, as I’m still looking for a vanilla tea that is heavier on the vanilla, and closer to vanilla bean.
And as a side note, thanks again to VariaTEA for the sample of Je t’aime! It was sipped down during this experiment, and I’m so happy I was able to try it.