Tea of the Week for March 13, 2017: Amethyst's Gold! (Black Tea)
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Amethyst's Gold (Black Tea)!
Tea Description: As you are probably aware, Amethyst is my eldest daughter and the owner of 52Teas. (I'm just the mad tea artist!) She wasn't always as fond of tea as she is now - in fact there was a time when she claimed not to like tea but I suspect that was more about her wanting to rebel against her tea-loving mom than a true dislike for tea. When we'd go out to tea, she'd have lemonade instead of tea. Stuff like that.
Eventually, she discovered the joy of tea. One of her favorite teas was (and still is) a certain vanilla decaffeinated black tea. (You tea enthusiasts probably know which tea I'm speaking of.) She asked me if I could create something similar to that and my first response was "no" because I have yet to find a decaffeinated black tea that I could use as a base that I like enough to use as a base and that I can obtain wholesale. She told me that the 'decaffeinated' part wasn't important, it was the vanilla. She wanted a SERIOUSLY VANILLA tea.
So, challenge accepted.
My first task was to find just the right base of teas because something I've learned is that it's really all about the base. (OK - ordinarily when I say something that makes me think of a song, I link the video but I hate that song. I really, really hate that song. So if you want to hear the song while you're reading this, google it.) So I spent a few months checking out various teas - trying to find just the right combination of black teas and I think I may have nailed it.
I combined a beautiful Yunnan Gold, sweet Fujian Black and an Assamica tea grown in the JingMai Mountains of China. Together, these teas create a solid base that is sweet and bold. Rather than being an aggressive tea that will work against the sweet, creamy vanilla, I feel like this tea will help express the most from the lovely vanilla essence. I added organic vanilla bean and a few calendula petals because gold!
A few years back, Frank had a French Vanilla Assam - so if you liked that tea - I think you're going to LOVE this!
ingredients: black teas, organic vanilla beans, organic calendula petals and organic natural flavors
I really like this!
I guess I knew that I would - I am quite fond of vanilla teas. I absolutely adored Frank's French Vanilla Assam (as you can read here in my review of the tea) and that's kind of what I wanted to go for with this blend except that I wanted something a little more well rounded because I was making this at the request of my daughter who loves that certain decaffeinated vanilla black tea that I mentioned in the above description. (Come on, now, you know we can't mention names, right?) I can't duplicate the tea exactly because first, I'm not into that (I don't think we should be copying other people's teas, do you?) and second - I have yet to find a pure decaffeinated black tea that I enjoy enough on its own to work with it as a base for my blends.
Since the decaffeinated part wasn't really what she likes about that tea but the rich, strong vanilla flavor, I decided to find some really outstanding black teas to serve as the base for this tea. I thought about going straight Assam and doing a reblend of sorts of Frank's French Vanilla Assam - but I also know that the Assam that I use these days is far bolder than what Frank was using - so I thought that something might get lost in translation.
So I decided to take a different route and I think it was well worth that trip! This is so rich and delicious - the black tea is robust enough to serve as a breakfast tea if you so desire - and it has just enough of a lovely, sweet, creamy vanilla note to turn this into more of a sweet treat if that's more of what you're looking for.
to brew: this tea is a little hard to measure in a teaspoon because - well, when you get a look at the leaves, you'll understand. Beautiful, curly leaves that don't really fit nicely into a teaspoon. So I'm eyeballing it in the palm of my hand. About a teaspoon's worth of tea to 12 ounces of boiling water (I actually used NEAR boiling water, 205°F) and let it steep for 2 1/2 minutes. Strain and let cool for 10 minutes before you start sipping.