April 2017 Featured Reblend: Lemon Cheesecake Bar Blend v.2 (Formerly Lemon Cheesecake Bar Houjicha)
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This tea received it's fair share of votes during last year's poll to determine which teas I'd reblend for the 12 Teas of Christmas and since it's also one that I've also received a few requests from customers to reblend, I decided to go ahead and do that - but I decided that I'd tweak the recipe just a little bit this time around. With the original batch, I used an all Houjicha base - but after realizing the wonderful results of adding just a wee bit of white tea to Houjicha - I decided that this blend needed a little bit of white tea added to it too to lighten up the strong roasty-toastiness of the Houjicha just a bit. So this month's featured reblend is actually a v.2!
Tea Description: This was a tea that I received a few requests to reblend in addition to receiving quite a few votes to be reblended for the 12 Teas of Christmas box last year, so I decided to give it a reboot! The first time I crafted this blend, one comment that I did hear about it was that the flavor of the Houjicha was so strong that it seemed to obscure the notes of lemon and cheesecake.
With the success that I've had with the combination of Houjicha and Shou Mei, I decided to add a little bit of Shou Mei to this blend too to lighten the aggressive roasty-toasty flavor of the Houjicha. As it turns out, when I was measuring out the teas, I didn't have quite enough Shou Mei on hand, so I also used some organic Bai Mu Dan along with the Shou Mei - so rather than being a Houjicha/Shou Mei blend, this is a Houjicha/White Tea blend.
organic ingredients: green tea, white teas, lemon, lemon grass, lemon verbena, lemon balm and natural flavors.
I'll be honest, it's been a while since I've had the original Lemon Cheesecake Bar tea on my shelf but I know I enjoyed the original blend quite a bit - but I LOVE this new version of the blend! The little bit of white tea to the Houjicha helps to lighten the toasty flavor of the roasted green tea just enough so that it doesn't stand in the way of the flavors of lemon and cheesecake - but not so much that the natural nutty notes are absent because those nutty flavors are necessary for this blend to be a "bar" (you know, because of that nutty crust and topping).
As I mentioned in the above introduction - I did hear a few comments about the houjicha being just a little too much in the previous blend and it obscured the flavors - especially the cheesecake flavor - which is one of the more difficult flavors to get to emerge in these blends. So the addition of the white tea helped to lighten the houjicha just enough to allow those softer notes to come through. Now I get a really nice, tangy cream cheese note along with a tart lemon-y flavor and a hint of nutty crust and sweet streusel topping.
This is really good - the lemon is tart but there's also a pleasant creaminess to it. It tastes like a sweet-tart lemon curd.
Like I said - Oh YUM!
to brew: There are some lemony herbs in this, so you want to make sure you get sufficient amounts of tea here - so I recommend using 2 teaspoons of tea to 12 ounces of hot water (heated to 180°F) and let it steep for 3 minutes. Strain and let cool for 5 minutes. A wee bit of sugar will enhance the 'crust' and cream cheese notes just a little so if you don't mind adding it - just a half teaspoon of sugar oughta do it! It's good without the sugar too - but it becomes a whole other experience with the touch of sugar!