94 Tasting Notes
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!
As I mentioned in our Forum Thread, we are launching “D’s Teas” which is the permanent collection of 52Teas’ teas. We’re starting out with 3 teas: Graveyard Mist, Marshmallow Treat Genmaicha & Pancake Breakfast.
Our Pancake Breakfast tea was just packaged up last night – and is now ready for shipment. YUM!
I’ve taken a different approach with this tea (again) as I’ve recently (within the last 8 months or so) have changed primary suppliers, so the teas are different here. I used a golden Yunnan and an Assamica from the Jing Mai mountains in China. I absolutely LOVE this combination so you can pretty much expect that many of my black tea blends will start with this blend. It’s hearty with a bold flavor – rich with notes of malt but not as astringent as some teas can be.
And I love these two teas as the base of the Pancake Breakfast flavors … there’s a natural note of starch to the blend – and it enhances the pancake aspect of this tea. The maple is prominent and I do love maple – and the butter notes meld beautifully with the maple.
This is the upcoming week’s Tea of the Week and I absolutely adore it.
I love cucumber teas. I absolutely love them. I especially love cucumber blended with a lovely white tea like our Bai Mu Dan – the delicate, sweet flavor of the white tea melds beautifully with the notes of cucumber to create a flavor that reminds me a lot of cucumber water (which I love) but even better because – tea. In the past, I’ve done a couple of cucumber blends with melon flavors (cucumber watermelon is my absolute favorite aqua fresca and so I find myself wanting to do a spin on this flavor combination frequently and then I think – oh yeah, it’s already been done) but this time I wanted to do something a little different.
The mint and lime here are actually rather soft in flavor – even though the tea is named “Limeade” I didn’t want the lime to overpower the cucumber. I really wanted cucumber to be the main event. I feel like cucumber is a difficult flavor to accomplish in tea so that it’s a well-defined flavor. (There are a few flavors like that.)
Here, I think I managed to accomplish a very pleasing balance of Cucumber, lime and mint where each of the flavors is discernible without overpowering the balance – and the white tea is not overwhelmed either. I get that fresh, crisp flavor of the Bai Mu Dan – which is absolutely complemented by the presence of cucumber and mint and the lime adds a pleasing brightness to the cup.
Really nice – even if I do say so myself. :)
Flavors: Cucumber, Lime, Mint
This weeks Tea of the Week – I love this blend even more than I expected to. I am a huge fan of bergamot and I have really taken a liking to how nicely it plays with berry flavors. This blend is more berry than it is bergamot – I just wanted a hint of bergamot for this. I find that the bergamot is most noticeable when the tea is still quite hot so if you’re one who takes a sip before the “waiting/cooling period” to let the flavors develop, you’ll notice the bergamot strongest then.
After the 10 minutes or so cooling time, the bergamot becomes more of a background note – something that just perks the flavors up a bit without tasting strongly/definitively of bergamot.
The berries here are difficult to pick out – that is to say, I’m not certain where the blackberry ends and the strawberry or raspberry begins. It’s more of a medley of the three berry flavors. The marshmallow adds a lovely softness to this – toning down some of the tartness of the berry that would have been otherwise accentuated by the bergamot – as one who prefers things a little less tart – I appreciate the soft, fluffy marshmallow-y flavor here.
Sweet, creamy and just a little bit tart.
This is the upcoming Tea of the Week (for the week of April 10th) that I just posted because 1) this upcoming week, especially the first couple days of the week, are going to be very hectic on the personal front and I won’t have a lot of time to sit in front of the computer and do everything that needs to be done to post the tea to the website and on social media sites; and 2) because Mat asked me to make some tea because he needed some caffeine so I decided to grab this because I actually DO have some time to sit in front of the computer and write a tasting note tonight – so why not enjoy a cuppa now?
This is so good. I was inspired to create it after coming across a banana pancake recipe online that required just 2 ingredients: bananas and eggs. Now, I haven’t actually tried this recipe but when I discovered the recipe, immediately my thought was “Hey! Banana Pancakes would make a great tea flavor!” (This happens frequently – I come across a recipe for something that sounds tasty and I think ‘I want to try that as a tea!’)
And so it was that I made the tea. There is a very forward banana flavor with a strong maple presence. A barely there hint of butter (which is intended, I didn’t want too much of a buttery taste because I didn’t want to interfere with the banana, pancake and maple flavors) – and a delightful kiss of nutmeg along with a nice background of pancake. This is a satisfying, distinctly starchy pancake flavor – not like the aforementioned banana and egg pancake recipe. I can taste the pancake part of this – right down to the crispy fried edges.
A really tasty, cozy kind of blend.
Flavors: banana, Butter, Maple, Nutmeg
This week’s Tea of the Week – I love this Zomba Steamed Green Tea from the Satemwa estate in Malawi – it has a natural fruit tone that is somewhat citrus-y to it and so I like to play to that as you probably have noticed with some of my blends with this base. I realize that neither fruit flavor featured in this tea is actually a citrus fruit but pineapple kinda reminds me of a citrus fruit because it has a juicy, bright flavor that is sweet and tangy.
And I thought that pineapple would work fantastically well with this base so I decided to blend it – but what flavor to go with? I wanted something smooth and sweet – so I went with peach.
This combination is absolutely delicious.