Tea of the Week for November 13, 2017: Carrot Cake Pancakes (Black Tea)!
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Tea Description: I'm not sure exactly where I got the inspiration for this except that I had ordered some freeze-dried carrots when I placed my most recent dried fruits order and when I got the order in, I couldn't remember why it was that I decided to order the carrots so I started thinking about what I was going to do with them. About the same time I was adding our Pancake Breakfast tea to my to-do list (as in, I needed to reblend the Pancake Breakfast tea) and somehow the idea for making a Carrot Cake Pancake flavored tea popped into my head.
At first, I kind of dismissed it but the more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea of making a Carrot Cake Pancake tea. It sounded like a perfect yet a little different tea for fall. A little off the beaten path. In other words, it sounded like something "not pumpkin" for autumn but with many of the classic flavor profiles for an autumnal tea. The warm spices of the cake - cinnamon, allspice and a touch of nutmeg - the savory/sweet note from the carrot and of course, you've gotta drizzle that stack of pancakes with maple syrup, amirite? Autumn flavors at their finest, but without the expected and somewhat overused pumpkin.
Oh, don't get me wrong, I love me a pumpkin tea or two. I even made a pumpkin tea last month and I can't say that a fall season will ever pass without at least one pumpkin tea from me. However, after finding 'pumpkin' in everything from breakfast cereal to kale chips - heck, there's even pumpkin salsa, pumpkin spice chili starter and pumpkin dog treats - well, let's just say I'm at the point to say, enough with the pumpkin already! I'm ready for something just a little different!
So here it is!
A Carrot Cake Pancake tea: I start with my organic black tea base of Ceylon, Assam & Yunnan teas. Then I added carrots, allspice, cinnamon and a touch of nutmeg and a touch of maple essence. Very YUM!
organic ingredients: black teas, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, calendula petals & natural flavors
Oh! So! Nice!
This is a blend that absolutely benefits from the cool time - so put in that time. I suggest at least 10 minutes but not too much more, you want the tea to still be hot when you drink it because I think that the pancake teas taste best hot. I took a little sip before my 10 minute cool time had expired and I found the flavors not quite where I thought they should be, but then I waited out the rest of the 10 minutes to find that WOW - the flavors are there!
This has a warmth to it. It's not quite a chai - for me to consider something a chai, I think it really needs either some ginger or at the very least some pepper to give it that chai kick - but it does have a lot of chai-like flavors to it from the other spices that are present. The spices are warm but they aren't too aggressive - which is another signature characteristic (at least for me) of a good chai. I love a good, strong chai with a strong level of spice. Here, the spices are more muted, like you'd find in a spice cake and that's what I was going for. I wanted the base to taste a lot like a spice cake - because that's essentially what a carrot cake is: a spice cake with carrots and sometimes fruits like pineapple and raisins.
I didn't add pineapple and raisins to this because I didn't want to take away from the overall spice cake tone by adding fruity notes. Instead, I let the spice cake and maple do it's thing.
I'm sure that there will be those that don't taste much 'carrot' in this, but that's OK because when I eat carrot cake, I don't really taste a lot of carrot in it. I taste more spice and cake than I do carrot - much like I taste here.
I'm really happy how this turned out!
to brew: give your pouch a good shake to make sure that all the spices get incorporated into your measurement. Measure a heaping teaspoon of tea for 12 ounces of hot water (not quite boiling - about 205°F) and let steep for 2 1/2 minutes. I don't recommend going much longer than that - there is Assam in this blend which can get bitter if it's oversteeped. strain and let the tea cool for about 10 minutes.
This tea has a nice sweetness when served straight up with no additions, but, I found that a teensy bit of sugar (about half a teaspoon) enhanced the spices a little bit and also defined some of those maple-y tones.