Well, I finished lunch and wanted something to take up to switchboard with me. My new 52Teas were calling to me, so I broke the seal on this baby. As soon as I ripped the top of the packet off, I got a big cloud of vanilla caramel smell. It was very intense, almost sharp. Occasionally I got a whiff of something reminiscent of coconut, but I tend to think of strong vanilla smells as coconutty. It’s not hurting me at all. When I unzipped the seal the smell increased (holy vanilla!) but I also got to see the little cornflower heads hanging out. Cute!
As always, this tea was made under imperfect conditions at work, but I gave it about 5 minutes to steep, and the water was definitely not boiling. The smell in the cup is a slightly muted version of the pouch aroma, still very strong. Unfortunately my travel mug smells strongly of the Wellness I had this morning so that is clouding the aroma, but the strong caramelly vanilla scent is still there. There is some childhood smell this is reminding me of…I think it’s reminiscent of butterscotch ripple ice cream. The creamy vanilla aroma, Mmm…The liquor itself is a deep amber colour, exactly what you would expect of a vanilla black tea!
First sips are hot. But that’s the water. Grr at my impatience! I get a strong in your face vanilla flavour. Exactly what I would expect from the smell. The vanilla really lingers on my tongue for a while, I find it to be quite a rich, creamy flavour. I don’t know what assam tastes like because I’ve never drank plain black tea, but there’s no taste I would identify as strongly tea-like. No bitterness or astringency, nothing I would really associate with black tea. There might be something there underneath the vanilla, but the weird scent of Wellness (darn this travel mug for holding smells!) is clouding my taste buds. I can’t wait to try it again at home with a bit more control over the process.
The spent leaves still have a strong vanilla smell…I suspect they would be a strong candidate for a re-steep. I might give that a go later if I have time. For now, this is an ejoyable and in your face vanilla black. Not a bedtime snack, but a tea to wake you up in the morning or after lunch.
Edit: As I sip, I start to get a hint more of the tea flavour. It’s at the very front of the sip though, and soon overcome by the bold vanilla. Wowza!