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Tea of the Week for October 9, 2017: Foggy Coconut Black Tea!

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 Foggy Coconut Black Tea!

Tea Description: My inspiration behind this blend is one of my favorite coffee shop drinks: a London Fog Latte! I order mine with coconut milk and half the usual amount of vanilla syrup (otherwise, it's just too sweet!) One day as I was sipping on this drink, I found myself contemplating the beverage. I love the way the hints of coconut play with the bergamot but I found myself wishing that the coconut notes were stronger. (I do love me some coconut!) I also found myself wishing that the tea notes were stronger - which I felt would be accomplished if it didn't have so much milk product in it - but then, the coconut notes would not be present. Then the idea hits me: why not make my own version of this drink with these improvements in mind!

And here we have it: I started with a base of Assam and Yunnan for a rich, bold, malty flavor. Something that could hold it's own even with the strong note of creamy coconut. Then I added bergamot - I didn't want to go too heavy on the bergamot because I didn't want the coconut and bergamot competing with each other. I wanted enough bergamot to be tasted but not so much that it would interfere with the coconut flavor. Then I added some vanilla bean. Again, not a heavy vanilla taste - just enough to lend creaminess to the coconut and soften the edge of the bergamot and strong teas. 

Then I went coconuts! This is a strongly coconut flavored tea but there's enough bergamot there to give the cup the flavor that I was going for - this cuppa is my ideal London Fog! It's got lots of coconut flavor without the milk drowning out the flavor of the tea. No "latte" required here, there's enough creaminess to the flavor. Of course, if you want to go latte, that's OK - but I'd recommend trying it without first!

YUM! I love this!

organic ingredients: black teas, coconut, bergamot, vanilla bean & natural flavors

As I mentioned in the above description, my inspiration for this drink is one of my favorite coffee shop drinks. I don't often go to coffee shops as I find their prices to be a bit prohibitive to enjoy on a regular basis - I just can't see paying more than five bucks for a beverage! 

But I do make an exception to this rule once in a while. Occasionally, when we're about to pass a 'Brewed Awakening' coffee shop, I'll ask to pull in so that I can have one of their Chai Lattes. I order mine with almond milk and it's outstanding. (They're one of the only places locally that DO NOT use the Oregon Chai concentrate as the base for their Chai Latte.) Or if I'm in the mood for a hot drink and Starbucks is nearby, I'll get a Caramel Apple Cider. (Unfortunately, I'm just not all that enthused about their tea selections.) And if I happen to be at the medical offices where Mat has his doctor appointments, I'll go to the little coffee shop that they have in the lobby and it's there that I order a London Fog and I absolutely adore it! Another plus to this particular coffee shop visit is that I'm getting some caffeine and usually, the doctor visits are scheduled before I have time to get to the kitchen to brew myself a cuppa - so the caffeine boost is most welcome!

But as I say, I didn't like the 'milk' part of it. Oh, sure, I love the creaminess it adds but it also seems to interfere too much with the flavor of the tea (they actually steep the tea in the steamed coconut milk). So I wanted something that would give me this flavor combination that I've grown to love but didn't need the milk - and I also wanted to accentuate the flavors that I especially wanted highlighted. In this case, I wanted a bolder tea base and a stronger coconut note.

And I've managed to accomplish exactly that. This is my perfect London Fog: no milk, but lots of coconut and cream flavor (courtesy of the vanilla) and a pleasant tone of bergamot that is not aggressive or overwhelming - just a pleasant hint of it in the background. It allows the creamy, sweet notes of coconut and vanilla to steal the show, while not becoming too sweet (sweet without sugar!) and there's this bright citrus-y note that lingers throughout the sip. 

I love this! I have a new favorite!

to brew: don't overleaf - a rounded spoonful of leaf to 12 ounces of boiling (or near boiling - I use 205°F) water - steeped for 2 1/2 minutes will do! Strain and allow to cool for about 10 minutes. 

Enjoy! As I mention above, this doesn't really need sugar but if you want to add some, that's OK too! It really doesn't need milk - it has it's own latte-ish flavor to it without the milk!

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