February 2017 Featured Reblend - Root Beer Float (Black Tea)
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This tea was requested as a reblend by one of our start-up Kickstarter Ambassadors (and one of my dear tea friends) - and we're only too happy to oblige!
Tea Description: I enjoyed the original version of this tea, so I was happy to reblend it at the request of my friend.
I started with a blend of two Assamica teas - one grown in Assam and the other grown in Yunnan, China. Then I added a some Fujian black and golden Yunnan and just little bit of Ceylon black and Vietnamese black teas. My desire was to create a bold base that was solid and well-rounded without being too aggressive. I think this base achieves that goal nicely.
Frank's description goes like this:
There is nothing like a rootbeer float, especially one made with some real draft rootbeer like they have at A&W. I really hope they don’t sue me for using their image, but when I think of rootbeer floats, that’s all I can think of. If you’ve never had draft rootbeer from an A&W restaurant, you’ve never really had rootbeer. And a rootbeer float from A&W… well, let’s just say there’s a reason I really need to go on a diet.
This special blend of premium black teas, marshmallow root and organic flavors comes close enough to the real thing that for zero calories, I’ll be drinking this all day when I’m not saving calories for the real thing.
My version is a bit different than Frank's. (To read my review of that blend, click here.) First of all, my base is different. It's stronger and has a fuller, more rounded flavor. I also added sarsaparilla root and vanilla bean in addition to the marshmallow root because I felt that the root beer flavors would be better expressed with a little sarsaparilla root and because - well do we ever really need a reason to add vanilla bean to anything? Of course not!
my version is definitely more tea than root beer float (after all, it is TEA!) - tasting a bit like someone melted the ice cream and added some completely liquefied root beer float to your morning cup of tea - and hey, what better way to start the day than with an invigorating root beer float?
organic ingredients: black teas, sarsaparilla root, marshmallow root, calendula petals, vanilla bean and natural flavors
ingredients: black tea
I have to tell you, this reblend gave me a bit of trouble. It was difficult to find the right base for this. I originally started with an all Assamica base (one grown in Assam and the other grown in Yunnan, China) - thinking that this robust, malty base would lend itself well to the root beer and vanilla notes. However, after the initial taste test, I realized that this base blend was just too strong for this blend and the rich tea flavors seemed to aggressively interfere with the flavors of root beer and vanilla in a way that obscured those flavors too much. So I went back to the drawing board (so to speak) and tried again with a smoother base.
Ah - this is much better. It's a fuller flavor without being too aggressive because the Ceylon and Vietnamese black teas smooth things out just a bit. I can taste the root beer, I can taste the vanilla and this is EXACTLY what I was hoping for with this blend! It's creamy and sweet. It's dessert-y without being cloying.
to brew: I want to start this off by strongly urging you to wait the 10 minutes cool time after the tea brews with this blend. The flavors really come together in that cool time - and I think with this blend, it's particularly important! Those root beer flavors don't pop until it's cooled a little bit.
I suggest going with a heaping teaspoon of tea to 12 ounces of just under boiling (205°F) water - boiling water may result in a slight bitter taste from the sarsaparilla root - and let steep for 2 1/2 minutes. Strain and let cool for 10 minutes before you start sipping. A little bit of raw sugar will bring out the sweeter tones of the root beer flavors and a splash of your choice of milk will enhance the creamy 'float' aspect. (Although those additions are not necessary!)