79 Tasting Notes
This is this week’s Tea of the Week – it was inspired by one of my favorite coffee shop drinks – London Fog. When I go to Mat’s medical appointments with him, I usually order a London Fog from the coffee shop that’s in the lobby of the medical office building. It’s not a big, brand-name coffee shop but they do a really pleasant London Fog. The first time I stopped in, I had ordered a Chai Latte which is pretty much the usual drink I order when I go to a coffee shop, however, it does depend upon what kind of Chai concentrate they use. I am not a fan of Oregon Chai because that stuff is mostly milk and sugar – try as I might, I can’t taste the tea in it. So as it happened, this little coffee shop did use Oregon Chai so I quickly altered my order to a London Fog and requested that they use less vanilla syrup than they usually do and also that they use coconut milk instead of their 2% cow’s milk. I loved the London Fog so much I wasn’t at all upset that I didn’t get a chai! (And I do love chai!)
One morning as I was sipping on one of these London Fog drinks, my mind started to play with the idea of creating a tea inspired by it. What would I change about the London Fog? First, I’d rather it be made with loose leaf tea rather than a tea bag. Well, that part is easy because all I offer is loose leaf tea. :)
Second, I wanted a stronger coconut presence in the drink. So I went a bit heavier on the coconut than you’d experience with a tea drink infused in coconut milk. I kept the vanilla moderate. The bergamot is strong but is softened somewhat by the presence of the coconut and vanilla.
This is my new favorite tea right now. It’s so yummy.
This is last week’s Tea of the Week. Last night, I brewed up a pitcher of this tea to enjoy as an iced tea today.
This makes a yummy iced tea. I find that as a cold beverage, the toasted rice AND marshmallow notes emerge a bit more than I picked up on with the hot drink. The mulberry is there too – I get a tangy tart note and a lovely berry flavor along with that roasty-toasty flavor and the marshmallow.
I’m not sure if I prefer this as an iced tea or as a hot tea – it’s two different drinks depending upon how you decide to serve it.
This is last week’s Tea of the Week. I’ve been drinking this all weekend and into today. Last night I brewed up a pitcher to try it iced today and this is a whole different tea when iced versus served hot. I find that some of the spices seem to pop with the chill, particularly the allspice and cardamom, which is quite nice.
When it’s hot, the apple and pear are much more discernible and this becomes more like a cider-type of drink which really wasn’t my intention when I first came up with the idea for this tea, but I enjoyed the cider-y aspect of it so much that I wasn’t complaining about this happy accident.
This is really nice iced too. It is, as I said, a different drink – the spices are more prominent with the apple and pear being more of a background note – but those flavors develop as I continue to drink. It’s definitely very autumnal and makes for a very enjoyable iced beverage but I think I do prefer it hot.
This is this week’s Tea of the Week. I’m currently on my second infusion of the leaves I first infused about an hour ago. The second infusion is probably my favorite steep of this particular tea so I highly recommend a resteep on these leaves! The flavor of both the Oolong and the fruit has mellowed somewhat – and it’s just soft and sweet and really quite nice. Smooth and silky.
This is this week’s tea of the week and I absolutely love it!
My inspiration behind this tea is one of those really ultra-expensive, small-town small-company type of bottled root beers that unless you live near the actual ‘small company’ – you can’t always find the root beer locally. Since I live probably 2 or 3 thousand miles from the company, the only place locally I can find this root beer is at BevMo which is a fairly new establishment here in Washington (last few years). Before that, I would have to purchase this particular root beer online to have it shipped across the country (and not inexpensively, either).
When I was first approached seriously by Frank to take over 52Teas, one of the first things that I did was sit down and start creating a list of tea flavor ideas. I kind of told myself that if I couldn’t come up with enough tea ideas to fill a full year (52 teas) – then I shouldn’t do it. I needed to see if I had the mind to do what I would need to do. The idea for this tea was born out of that 48 hour ‘brainstorming’ session. I decided I wanted to create a tea that paid tribute to the amazing root beer that I so loved.
And I think I love this tea more than I love that root beer. Not only because – TEA – but also because this is so very much like that root beer – but I also get to control the amount of sugar I put into it (probably a fraction of what is used to craft that root beer) and also it seems a lot more reasonable for me to brew up a pitcher of tea and stash it in the fridge than it is to go to BevMo and buy the root beer for nearly three bucks a 12 ounce bottle.
Anyway – yes, we’ve made root beer teas before. We’ve also made butter beer tea. This is different from those because you’ll also get hints of clove, star anise and wintergreen that tease the taste buds as you sip. Oh, so lovely!
As I mentioned in my tasting note of the Dragon – this is the first week of our Anniversary Month (we took over 52Teas in June of 2015!) so for this week, I decided to make not just one but TWO teas for the Tea of the Week – this is one of those teas (the Dragon is the other).
I hot-brewed this and then let it cool for iced tea. I did the hot brew mostly because I forgot to set it to cold brew last night and rather than waiting a few hours to let it cold-brew today, I decided to let the Breville do the work for me.
This tea is really delightful iced. The mango & berry combination offers a lovely sweetness and the vanilla/marshmallow notes give the tea a layer of softness. I usually prefer iced teas to be made with green tea because I often find black teas to be too ‘heavy’ for something I want to be light and refreshing – but the way the flavors come together here, it doesn’t come across as too dense. It has a nice balance – it’s really quite perfect as an iced tea. Sweet and smooth.
One of this week’s TWO Teas of the Week. I decided to make a pitcher of iced tea of this – because it’s that time of year again. I’m of the opinion that the cool weather never lasts long enough. I know that the warm weather definitely has it’s fans, but I’d take a chilly autumn day over the hot, humid days of summer anytime. Fortunately, we haven’t had anything too unbearable yet. We’ve had a few really hot days – uncomfortably hot – but they’ve been followed up with a day of rain which have cooled things down a bit. But then again, June has only just begun and I expect that as we go through July and August, we’ll have that aforementioned unbearable weather.
The solution is to have plenty of iced tea in the fridge – ready to pour. I do drink some hot tea during those very hot days of summer, but the hot tea drinking is limited severely compared to what I drink in the cooler days of autumn, winter and even those early days of spring. At this point in the year, I’m usually consuming at least one half gallon of iced tea each day and at least one – sometimes more – cups of hot tea per day. Normally, I’m drinking anywhere from 6 to sometimes 10 cups of hot tea with very little iced tea consumption.
Speaking of iced tea, the other day I went to Wendy’s and tried their tropical fruit green tea which I found to be more sugar than I liked. The flavors went sort of like this: sugar and fruit – in that order. Very little, if any, green tea flavor to speak of with that. It was still tasty from a fruit flavor perspective, I suppose, but it illustrated for me why I prefer to brew my own iced tea – I really don’t like my teas too sweet – and what sweetness I do experience from my own iced tea – I like to be there from the fruit, not from added sugar.
The two teas that I made for this week are both incredible chilled. I enjoy them a lot as hot teas too, but I think I actually prefer them iced as the fruit flavors really shine as a cold drink. I especially taste the raspberry and lime with the chill – and I like how the marshmallow mellows the sour aspects of the lime and raspberry while not eliminating the tart zing.
Interestingly enough, I can really taste the dragon well tea with the iced tea. Usually with these kinds of blends, I find that some of the tea flavor is obscured or at least altered when the tea cools (it’s the nature of the drink, I suppose) so I found it interesting that with the chill, the soft, buttery Sencha retreated a bit to allow the toasty corn and nut flavor of the dragon well to come through more – and this is something I had not noticed as much when I consumed it as a hot beverage. I still tasted some of the distinct notes of dragon well – sweet with a taste that reminded me of lightly buttered roasted corn – but I tasted more sencha than dragon well as a hot drink – but now as an iced tea – I definitely get the dragon well more distinctly.
I find it interesting, anyway. I enjoy this either way it’s brewed, but I definitely prefer it iced.
This is the upcoming week’s Tea of the Week and it’s nearly sold out! I even made some extra of this tea when I blended it because I did anticipate that it would be a popular flavor and I think that’s the only reason why I still have a few of these in the taster size.
This is sweet and yummy – it tastes like someone melted some cotton candy in my teacup – or perhaps someone ground fine some genmaicha and added it to cotton candy sugar and created a batch of candy floss.
I really don’t know what else to say here – we’ve got cotton candy flavor – we’ve got genmaicha – and it’s a delight!