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Taste Testing (Part 4) . . .

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Pancake Breakfast Black Tea

This is my first reblend with my new black tea base.  The original Pancake Breakfast from 52Teas was really memorable for me, so I'm hoping that this taste test will meet my expectations and with any luck - it will exceed them.  I have a lot of faith in my black tea base - I'm hoping it's going to be just as delicious for you as it is for me.

Other than the change to the black tea base, I stuck to the recipe.  However, as someone who has spent the better part of the last six to ten years tasting teas for a 'living' - I realize that a top-notch base can make all the difference and propel this blend from really good to excellent.

I steeped an 'eyeballed' bamboo scoop's worth of the tea in 12 ounces of boiling water for 2 1/2 minutes.  Then I let the tea cool for five minutes.  

This is really tasty.  The black tea base has a very robust flavor.  I'm tasting the black tea first and foremost, but I also get a really nice pancake-y flavor, along with notes of butter and maple.  I think that if I am to reblend this one again sometime in the future, I might go with a tad more maple, just because I like maple.

Then again, it's making me consider doing a straightforward maple type of black tea using this base.

I'm quite happy with this - I can't wait to find out what you guys think of it.

Next up . . . 

Coconut Cheesecake Honeybush

This is my first honeybush reblend.  I'm not sure why I went for this particular blend when I have several different honeybush options from the campaign reblends.  Perhaps I decided on this one because I knew it was one of Amethyst's all time favorites, so I wanted to get her input on something that she's had a lot of experience drinking.  (She's kind of new to drinking tea, really.  She rebelled against it because it was her mother's passion but she's finally come around to embracing the joy of tea!)

To brew this, I heated the kettle to 195°F.  This is one thing that I'd really like to encourage you to do, if you aren't already.  Lower the temperature of your kettle when it comes to honeybush and/or rooibos.  Yes, I know that there are those that swear by boiling the leaves.  And it won't harm them - in fact, because there are very few tannins in these South African herbs, you won't get a bitter taste from them from boiling water.  But, what you might get is a weird, funky sour wood taste which is especially noticeable in red rooibos.  I have found that by lowering the temperature to just below boiling (195°F) that it eliminates this funky taste for me.  Also, I've noticed less of that weird flavor in organic varieties of these tisanes versus the conventionally grown.  Just sayin'.  

Anyway, a scoop and a half (my trusty bamboo scoop - I'm going to try to find these so that we can sell them here) of the tea into the basket of my Kati tumbler along with 12 ounces of hot water and I let it steep for 10 minutes.  Then I let it cool for another five or six minutes.  

This is good.  I taste a clear note of coconut - sweet and creamy and just enough of that slick-y coconut texture that I enjoy when I drink a good coconut tea - and a tangy, creamy note of cheesecake.  The natural nutty flavor of the organic honeybush adds just the right tone to enhance the 'crust' notes and I even get just a hint of butter to the pastry.

The flavor continues to improve as I continue to sip - I am near the bottom of my tumbler now and getting a really focused flavor from the cheesecake - delicious!  (Even if I do say so myself!)

And finally . . .

Coconut French Toast with Cardamom Maple Syrup Black Tea

Two coconut flavored teas in this taste testing ... not necessarily intentional, just the way it turned out.  With this tea finally being blended and ready to roll, it gets us 'caught' up with our June teas and we can finally ship out the subscriptions on Monday.  We're a little late from our target of June 15th - sorry about that.  We encountered some unforeseen delays with getting all the ingredients I needed for this tea.

And this is the tea I was most excited about this month!  The breakfast that I had a couple of years ago that inspired this tea was so very memorable and I was eager to see how well those flavors translated to our black tea base.  

The verdict?  Oh wow!  So good!  

I steeped this tea for 3 minutes in boiling water, using 1 bamboo scoop of tea for 12 ounces of water (in my Kati Tumbler).  Then I let the tea cool for 5 minutes.

The aroma is really amazing - the cardamom offers a pleasant fragrance and I love the way it comes together with the coconut notes.  A very exotic, enticing scent.

The coconut flavor is well-pronounced.  I pick up on the bready/french toast notes toward the end of the sip.  A hint of buttery creaminess comes through about mid-sip. The maple and cardamom are middle notes, just beneath the coconut flavor.  I like that these accent the flavor.  It reminds me very much of that breakfast, because I was very judicious with the syrup because I didn't want to overwhelm the yummy coconut flavor with the flavors from the syrup.  

And with all those flavors dancing around on the palate, you might think that the black tea is overshadowed, but I like that I'm tasting the rich, robust flavor of the black tea.  

It's a very delightful tea - this is definitely one of my favorites from this month.  Mmm!