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Tea of the Week for June 11, 2018: Coconut Thai Spice Black Tea!

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 Coconut Thai Spice Black Tea!

Tea Description: I recently obtained some organic Wild Thai Black Tea. When I ordered it, the sales rep told me that the tea had a character similar to a high grown Ceylon. When I received it and tasted it - I didn't find it to be similar to a mild Ceylon but instead it had a bold flavor similar to an Assam: robust like a Assam, but not nearly as malty. I still quite enjoyed the tea and even though I didn't feel like it would work very well as a component to the aforementioned blend - I decided instead that this tea would be nicer showcased in a tea inspired by some of the flavors of Thailand. 

So I started with a batch of organically grown Wild Thai black tea and added some Assam to add more depth and a touch of malty to the cup and then I added a little bit of Ceylon to round out the bold flavors from the other two teas. Then I added coconut - lots of it - because when I think Thailand, I think ... well, first I think Pad Thai and Crying Tiger (my two favorite dishes from my favorite Thai restaurant) ... and after that, I think of Thai Iced Tea . . .  but as I say that, I think I should make it clear that this is not my attempt to capture the essence of Thai Iced Tea - which is very yummy but this tea isn't that. 

Instead, this tea is a celebration of Thai flavors. And one flavor I associate with Thai is the aforementioned coconut. I also associate spices with Thailand, so I added star anise, clove and cinnamon. Strong notes of black tea and coconut, subtle background spices - this tea tastes great on its own but it's even better served with a splash of your choice of milk (I'd recommend coconut milk!) as a latte. 

This tea is organic, vegan, gluten-free and nut-free (unless you consider coconut to be a nut) and it is SO GOOD!

organic ingredients: black teas, coconut, star anise, cloves, cinnamon & natural flavors

I love this tea! The Wild Thai tea is a remarkably strong black tea so it holds its own with the coconut and manages to balance it out nicely with it's own edge so the coconut doesn't come across as soapy. So even though this tea has a forward coconut note - even more than the coconut, I taste strong black tea! Beneath the notes of coconut, I taste the spices - lovely notes of star anise with hints of clove and cinnamon. I know that clove and cinnamon can often take over a tea (and yes, I'm guilty of allowing that to happen on occasion) but with this tea, It was important to me to make sure that those flavors were toned down so I utilized these spices very sparingly. 

When served hot with no additions, I taste the richness of the black tea - very bold! - the coconut and the spices and it's quite nice. But after I tried it first this way, I decided that it needed a little something, so I added a splash of whole milk while wishing that I happened to have coconut milk on hand. (Note to self: get some coconut the next time you're out and about.) I didn't sweeten it but it would do well with some sweetener if you like your teas a little sweeter - and I think this would be outstanding with some coconut sugar instead of cane sugar. 

Or if you want something even richer than whole milk, try some half and half or even some sweetened condensed milk - I didn't craft this tea thinking it to be a Thai Iced Tea type blend, but after I tried it with the whole milk, I realized that with some sweetener (the sweetened condensed milk would provide that along with the creamy consistency), you'd have a really nice Thai Iced Tea! This tea is AMAZING!

to brew:  OK, I say this a lot, but be sure to give this a good shake because there are spices in this and some of the tea is cut rather small (the Wild Thai has a variety of leaf cuts, from larger to some smaller, CTC type cuts) and you want a good representation of all the flavors in the cup. You should also take into consideration how you want to serve it. If you want it hot without additions, be careful with the amount you measure this - keep it to 2.5g - 3g for 12 ounces of near boiling water (205°F) and don't oversteep it - 2 1/2 to 3 minutes should do.

If you want it as an latte, be sure to brew it a bit stronger so that the tea withstands that addition. You still shouldn't oversteep because it will result in an over-astringent cuppa on the verge of bitterness.

after the brew time has lapsed, strain and enjoy!