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Taste Testing (Part 30)

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Today, I'm taste testing teas. The first was a flavoring experiment gone in an unexpected direction . . .

 Peachy Keen Rooibos Blend!

Tea Description: I'm a mad tea artist. What does that mean? It means that for the most part, I'm in my tea studio creating wild and crazy flavors to offer up as our tea of the week. Every once in a while, I'll blend something that for some reason didn't quite work out as planned but the resulting blend still had potential so I tweak it a little bit to create something totally different.

That's what happened with this tea. I started out with a blend of green and red rooibos. I like this combination better than I like either of the rooibos on their own because they offer a more diverse flavor profile when blended together. Separately, they can be kind of one note, but together I get a really lovely fruity and nutty flavor with notes of honey-like sweetness and occasionally I'll even detect a hint of smoke.

Then I added some flavors: I started with peach and cake and vanilla. I could taste the peach and the vanilla, but the cake was a little difficult to pick out. So I tweaked it a little and decided to add some blackberry flavor and just a hint of marshmallow. What I'm left with is an interesting, Peachy Keen sort of tisane with notes of peach, blackberry, vanilla cream and hints of fluffy marshmallow. It's sweet, fruity and really quite tasty!

So even though this didn't quite turn out the way I originally planned, I'm really enjoying the outcome!

organic ingredients: red rooibos, green rooibos, marshmallow root, dried peaches, freeze-dried blackberries, vanilla bean and natural flavors.

As I mentioned above, I had originally started out to create a peaches and cream cake-like tisane with this blend, but it didn't quite turn out the way I had originally envisioned. So I tweaked it a little to create more of a fruity, creamy experience with rooibos.

And while it didn't turn out the way I had originally wanted it to - I'm reluctant to call it a failure because I'm really enjoying what I'm tasting now. Instead, I prefer to think of it as a journey with a tea that didn't go quite as expected but still yielded some really tasty results!

Right up front, I taste the sweet notes of peach. Shortly after the peach notes hit the palate, I'm greeted with a soft, creamy note of vanilla. It's a little fluffy like a marshmallow, but this is definitely more vanilla-y than marshmallow-ish. As the sip nears the finish, I taste the sweet notes of blackberry and the tart berry notes hit right at the finish and linger in the aftertaste. It's sweet but a lighter drink, and because it's naturally caffeine-free it's something that is perfect for later in the evening - ideal when you're craving something a little sweet.

To brew: I recommend going with a heaping bamboo scoop (or a heaping teaspoon) of leaf to 12 ounces of hot water (heated to 195°F) - let it steep for 6 - 10 minutes. I went with 10 minutes. With rooibos, since it's very low in tannins, you don't have to worry about bitterness, so steep it longer to get more flavor from it. Let it cool for at least 5 minutes before you start sipping to let the flavors develop.

The second tea I'm taste testing today is one that I blended for the reblend add-on special that I offered during the Holiday Kickstarter pre-sale:

 Black Currant White Peony!

Tea Description: This tea is really tasty. The white tea is soft and smooth. It has a delicate, sweet flavor and it offers an interesting contrast to the tart and tangy flavor of black currant. 

It's a fairly simple blend - just white tea and black currants - but it tastes great!

organic ingredients: white tea, dried black currants and natural flavor.

I let this cool a bit longer than the typical 5 minutes before I started drinking. I took a few sips just after the five minute mark, but I really "got into" the cup after it had cooled almost completely. But that's OK because this is one tea that is one that you must try iced. It really shines as an iced tea.

When cooled, I get a good balance between white tea and black currant. It's a little bit tart and a little bit sweet and a whole lot yummy!  

To brew: I recommend using a little extra leaf with this because White Peony leaves tend to be big and fluffy and sort of bulky - I used my bamboo scoop and measured out about a scoop and a half of leaf. I made sure that there were a couple of black currants in there too - they're tiny, about the size of a dried pea (only they'e blackish in color!) and they might have settled to the bottom of your pouch so you'll want to shake the pouch gently to get to those berries! But, hey, if you don't find any, don't worry - the dried fruit additions don't really add a whole lot to the finished flavor of the cuppa - they just add a lot of visual appeal to the tea. 

I let the tea steep for 3 1/2 minutes in hot water (heated to 170°F) and after straining, I let the tea cool for about 5 minutes before I took those first few sips. After that, the tea cooled almost completely - about 20 minutes cool time. This is definitely a tea that is tastiest when iced - so I definitely recommend trying this as a cold-brew!

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