An All-New VIT: Ice & Cream Black Tea!
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Tea Description: A bit of a confession: this tea was actually intended for a January release to go along with our Candy Shop Theme but as I have been so behind since my hospitalization in November, I wasn't able to get this tea started until the beginning of this month. (I am - slowly but surely - getting caught up!) But even though I have been so behind and I didn't get this tea blended until two full months after I intended to, this was a tea that I knew I *HAD* to blend because I was so looking forward to tasting it!
Anyway, this goes along with my "Candy Shop" theme because it was inspired by my favorite lollipop flavor from Lollies by Leah - Ice & Cream Lollies! Even though Lollies by Leah certainly aren't "retro" or "old fashioned" - they remind me a lot of old fashioned candies because Leah uses simple ingredients to create her teas - just like you'd expect from an old-fashioned candy maker. She doesn't use a lot of unnecessary additives to the candies - and the flavors come out tasting like those yummy candies I remember from childhood.
This lollipop was first introduced some time last year, when Leah had a "ice cream" themed box. Of course, I absolutely loved all the lollies from the box, but the Ice & Cream was something special! It tasted like ... well, imagine having a double dip dish of ice cream: one scoop of strawberry ice cream and one scoop of lemon sherbet - and scraping your spoon across the top of both scoops, gathering a little bit of each flavor onto the spoon - and then letting both flavors melt on your tongue at the same time. Oh, yeah - seriously yummy!
And those are the flavors that I managed to capture in this tea! I started with our special Bu Lang Black Tea and added freeze-dried strawberries, some dried lemon wedges and a bit of vanilla extract. And what can I say? This tea tastes a lot like if I had melted a couple of those lollipops in a cup of the smoothest black tea. And just like the lollipop that inspired it - this tea is SERIOUSLY YUMMY!
And of course, it's also VEGAN, gluten free & allergen free!
ingredients: black tea, organic strawberries, organic lemons & organic natural flavors
Oh man, oh man - this tea is AH-may-zzzzing!
The black tea is smooth - I'd say it's probably a medium bodied black tea with the parameters I offer below, but if you want a more robust flavor from your tea, add a few more leaves to your measurement before steeping. Personally, I like it like this - especially nice for an afternoon or early evening tea - or even an after dinner, dessert cuppa. But feel free to play around and find your perfect parameters!
Anyway . . . there's just enough strawberry and lemon and vanilla to this to taste like my favorite lollipop. The flavor is stunningly good. I taste the black tea in there, for sure, but I also get a good amount of the other three ingredients. A really nice balance of flavors here. Totally yummy!
to brew: OK, these tea leaves are huge - so I don't think that conventional measurement utensils work so well. I just grabbed a pinch of the tea leaves between my index finger, middle finger and thumb - then again, I've been doing this for a while so I can kind of eyeball the amount of tea leaf and know what will work. If you don't feel as confident - a scale is a better tool for these leaves. Use 3g of tea before adding fruit to 12g of near boiling water (205°F) and then add a piece or two of fruit to the measurement if you desire. Steep 3 - 4 minutes (I steeped for 3 1/2 minutes), strain and enjoy.
Sugar or other sweetener is not necessary for this tea, it's got a bit of it's own sweetness, but if you like a sweeter tea, please feel free to sweeten. (Taste before sweetening though, to ensure it's not too sweet). I found that a wee bit of sugar brought out the creamy vanilla tones just a bit more than with the unsweetened cup.