Tea of the Week for June 20, 2016: Smoky Butterscotch Peach Black Tea!
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Tea Description: When I started with this blend, I wanted something that tasted a bit like grilled peaches. A little bit smoky, a little bit fruity and beautifully sweet.
I start with a blend of organic black teas: A lovely tippy Yunnan, a sweet Nilgiri, a malty Assam and a pleasant Ceylon to help round things out. Then I added a little bit of Lapsang Souchong to add that touch of smoke.
The smoke is a prevalent profile in the cup but it doesn't overwhelm it. It tastes to me more like the grilled peach idea - with a touch of smoke to it but not so much that it's all smoke and nothing else. The butterscotch starts out somewhat elusive but develops as I continue to sip - I'm not sure if it's the cooling temperature of the liquid or that the flavor just develops as I continue to drink the liquid - but I taste more butterscotch now than I did when I first started sipping.
And the peach - it's simply lovely! Sweet and fruity. There is a really nice combination of flavors here - a nice balance between the smoke, butterscotch and the peach!
organic ingredients: black teas, freeze-dried peaches, calendula petals & natural flavors.
This is really nice. I am very happy with the level of smoke here. My experiences with Lapsang Souchong in the past have been varied - I've been learning how to add Lapsang Souchong to tea to keep it from being too overpowering. In my past blending days (as LiberTEAS) I didn't work with Lapsang Souchong at all because, quite frankly, I couldn't stand the smell of it. It took a LONG TIME for me to finally get past that overpowering scent of smoke. For the longest time, I wouldn't even have the tea in my house because I couldn't handle the smell. As time progressed, I learned to appreciate the tea - not necessarily love it - but appreciate it and actually enjoy it. Even if I didn't LOVE it, I did actually learn to like it.
And I do like the dimension of smoke that the tea can add to blends but I've learned through trial and error that you need to be careful with the amount of Lapsang Souchong added to a blend because even the smallest amount can make an impact on the tea. It's one of those teas that leaves its "impression" wherever it goes.
So I added it very carefully to this blend. I didn't want too much smoke. But I did want enough to offer contrast to the sweet butterscotch and peach flavors.
This tea starts out a little smoky with hints of peach and butterscotch and as I finish the last of the cup - I am picking up on more peach and butterscotch and less smoke. It's an interesting journey. If you want to amplify the butterscotch notes, I highly recommend adding a little bit of raw sugar to the cup - this really brings out those lovely butterscotch notes! Tasty without the sugar - this becomes a totally different drink with it.
To Brew: I used a teaspoon of tea to 12 ounces of boiling water. Let it steep for 2 1/2 minutes (be careful with the brew time, there is Assam tea in the blend and it WILL get bitter if it steeps too long!) and then strain. Allow the tea to cool for at least 10 minutes after brewing. This will help the flavors to develop.