Taste Testing (Part 28)
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Always busy! Today I've tasted tested a couple of teas - one is a reblend (one of my favorites from Frank's era) and one is a new creation - both were created as part of add-on tea collections from our start-up Kickstarter!
Banana Peach Green Tea!
Tea Description: This is one of my favorites of Frank's. It's kind of a simple blend but not a tea blend you're likely to find just anywhere, either. I really liked the combination of sweet, somewhat creamy banana with the sweet peach. It was sweet and fruity, but not too cloying. The buttery note of the Chinese Sencha added just the right background flavor.
The original description went like this:
Banana peach flavored green tea with real no-sugar-added dried banana and peach pieces. Think of it like tea with a hint of cool refreshing fruit smoothie added in.
This one is good served hot however I think I prefer it iced! It's very refreshing!
organic ingredients: green tea, freeze-dried bananas, freeze-dried peaches and natural flavors.
This is really tasty. The green tea is sweet and creamy and buttery. There's a little bit of vegetative taste to it too that is pleasant along with the sweet, fruity flavors. So smooth! The banana and peach flavors add a pleasant fruity taste that is sweet without tasting too sweet.
As I mentioned in the above description, this is one of my favorites from Frank's era. I enjoyed it so much that I remember buying up all that he had at one point. Now, anyone who knows me or remembers me back when I was a SororiTea Sister and drinking six to ten different teas every day know that it's just not something that I do - buy up a bunch of any one type of tea! But this one was different because it just knocked my socks off.
And I am loving it just as much now as I did back then. The banana and peach flavors are strong but not overpowering. I like that I taste the Sencha along with the fruit flavors and that there's a nice balance achieved - I don't get more banana than peach or vice versa - these two flavors are about equally tasted as is the tea.
To brew it - yep, I got out my Kati Tumbler and added a bamboo scoop of the tea into the basket. 12 ounces of water heated to 175°F and steeped for 2 minutes. Strain and enjoy!
This will be added to the website soon!
Next up . . .
This is an all-new blend that was one of those spur of the moment type of inspirations. I decided that I should do a spicy 3-tier collection (I believe someone on Steepster made the suggestion) and I wanted two of the blends to be reblends and I wanted one to be an all-new creation. And when someone says "spicy" - one of the things that pops into my head is the habanero pepper. Because - hot! And my favorite way to enjoy a habanero pepper is to grill the pepper, peel it, mince it and add it to crushed pineapple (read more about that here) and then spoon this sauce on top of vanilla ice cream. YUM. So from my spicy-sweet thoughts of that sauce came the idea for this tea:
Mango Pineapple Habanero Black Tea!
Tea Description: This is a special, limited edition tea that I crafted specifically for one of the 3-tier collections that I promised during our start-up Kickstarter campaign. This tea starts out smooth and rich (from the black tea base) and fruity, but it doesn't take long for the heat from the Habanero to come forward.
This isn't as HOT as it would be if you were to ... say, bite into a Habanero pepper - I didn't want it to be. What I like best about a habanero isn't the over-the-top heat of it, but the pleasant fruity notes of the pepper once you get past the heat. So I took out the ribs and the seeds from whole, dried Habanero peppers and added just the dried flesh of the "berry" which removes a great deal of the heat of the habanero and allows some of those nice fruity notes to emerge.
But be warned, there is still plenty of heat to this cuppa!
ingredients: black teas*, freeze-dried pineapple bits*, freeze-dried mango*, dried habanero pepper and natural flavors*. *denotes organic.
As I mentioned above, while I was blending this tea - I wanted to take a careful approach with the habanero pepper. I wanted a tea with some spicy kick to it, but I didn't want it so spicy that I couldn't comfortably drink it, either. I also quite enjoy the fruity notes of the habanero pepper and I thought they'd be nicely accented with the presence of the mango and the pineapple. So when it came time to add habanero pepper, I used whole, dried pepper pods and I cut the top of the pepper off and carefully removed the ribs and seeds from the habanero (not really an easy task when you consider the fragile dried pepper flesh!) and then I cut the remaining pepper flesh into small pieces into the tea blend.
I started off light, using only a couple of habanero peppers for the blend and added more after I taste tested it the first time - the pepper flavor wasn't strong enough! I kept adding a couple of habanero peppers at a time until I achieved the desired flavor.
I wanted something fruity and sweet but also savory and spicy! I think I managed to achieve an interesting balance between sweet and spicy here! It starts out fruity and sweet, but by about the third sip, I start to notice a wallop of heat from the habanero. By mid cup, there is more spicy than sweet to the taste, but there is still enough sweet to contrast with the spicy notes and it's still tame enough to where I didn't feel the need to rush to the kitchen in search of something to put out the fire in my mouth.
I like this a lot. I managed to achieve exactly what I was hoping for with it.
To brew: yep, you guessed it - I used my Kati tumbler. I measured a bamboo scoop of tea into the basket and added 12 ounces of boiling water. Since I used my go-to black tea blend for this tea, I suggest starting out with 2 1/2 minutes brew time (2 minutes if you're brewing directly in a tea maker like a Breville one-touch) and go from there. There is some Assam in this blend and it can become bitter! After 2 1/2 minutes, I strained the tea and let it cool for about 10 minutes.
Caution: the word "HABANERO" is in the name of the tea - it's not for someone sensitive to spicy flavors! This is spicy and it will warm you from the inside out. There is a warm burn to this tea that some find nice and others find not so nice - so please take that into account!