Tea of the Week for July 10, 2017: Gourmet Root Beer Black Tea!
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Tea Description: I had the idea for this tea way back before we took over 52Teas. I'm not sure if I shared the idea with Frank - I know that I was in his email pretty much every week or so with new ideas for tea and I'm also pretty sure that he got to the point where he was irritated every time that he saw my name pop up in his email yet again.
Once upon a time, I subscribed to a 'foodie' type of subscription, appropriately named "Foodzie." Foodzie has since been sold to another company and the subscription service seems to have fallen by the wayside. I've since tried a few other foodie subscription services - my favorite (Knoshy) seems to have also disappeared. [insert frown-y face here.] Anyway, Foodzie and the other subscription services would send me a box every month and each box would be filled with 'gourmet' treats crafted by small companies. One month, I received a bottle of root beer and it was the best tasting root beer I've ever tasted.
There was the normal 'root beer-ish' sort of flavor to it (or would that be sarsaparilla?) but as this was no usual root beer - there was a whole lot more to it than just the typical root beer notes. It had some really unique, amazing layers of flavor that I had never experienced in a root beer before. I tasted hints of wintergreen, clove and anise in the bubbly bottle of root beer. It was SO GOOD.
So, being as mad about tea as I am, I was certain that this root beer needed to be recreated into a tea. So when the time came that I was to take over 52Teas, one of the very first tea I put on my 'list' of teas to create was this one. Now, it took me a while to get to actually crafting it - but I think it's been well worth the wait.
I started with a base of black teas from China and India (Yunnan, Assam, Ceylon and Fujian) and added some sarsaparilla root, cloves, star anise, a hint of wintergreen and natural flavors to recreate the root beer of my dreams - only better - because it's a tea.
This is one I recommend drinking as an iced tea - because let's face it - root beer is tastier when it's ice cold!
organic ingredients: black teas, sarsaparilla root, licorice root, cloves, star anise, vanilla bean, calendula petals and natural flavors
ingredients: black teas
I'm really glad to have finally created this flavor. It's one that I've been 'steeping' in my brain for quite some time - and it's great to finally have it in my teacup to be tasting instead of having it in my head keeping me awake. :)
As I mention in the above description, this tea really should be consumed iced. Oh, sure, it's good as a hot tea and that's how I drank it when I did my first taste test, but after that, I needed to brew some iced too to make sure it was going to be delicious iced too. (Hey, it's a tough job but somebody's gotta do it!)
And I found myself liking it hot but it is so much better iced!
This tastes so much like the root beer that I remember from my Foodzie box. I am - of course - not relying upon my memory of the bottle that I received in my Foodzie box some four or five years ago (probably longer) - because I managed to find this tea in stock at my local Bev-Mo. I loved the complexity of flavor that I enjoyed from that bottle of root beer - it's not something I typically discover from a bottle of soda. It was almost 'tea like' in it's complexity.
And this reminds me so much of that root beer - with layers of flavor. Front and center is a strong 'root beer-ish' flavor. About mid sip, I pick up on the hints of wintergreen. The licorice and anise weave their way in and out through the sip - not presenting a strong sense of 'licorice' really but more of a supporting flavor to the root beer itself. The clove rounds out the flavor - adding a hint of warmth to the cup. The black tea base is nicely round and supports the flavors in a pleasing way.
I'm loving this tea!
to brew: do not overleaf - and please do not oversteep this tea. Too much leaf and you'll lose some of the complexity - and oversteeping will make the cup more bitter than you probably want it to be.
Use a rounded teaspoon to 12 ounces of almost boiling water (205°F) and steep for 2 1/2 minutes. Strain and let cool for at least 10 minutes. This tea is better iced than it is hot because root beer is better iced than hot!
A little bit of sugar elevates this tea as well, giving it that 'soda' flavor you might be wanting from the tea. It's good without sweetener, but I found that a half a teaspoon of raw sugar really brought this tea to another level.